2021 spring black bear hunting gear list — everything for a backpack hunt

Brady Miller 2021 spring black bear gear list

Photo credit: Chris Neville

It's hard to believe that spring bear season is already here! Hands down a spring bear hunt is my second favorite hunt right behind mule deer.

What's truly great about bear hunting, you can honestly use whatever gear you have available. Especially when it comes to the plethora of different hunting options for spring bear. You don't need a super heavy weapon, you don't need a ton of weight in optics, but for me, it's just something that works well. Spring bear is just a fun, fun hunt!

You can watch the video below for a look at my 2021 spring bear gear list, or jump further down this article to see an item by item list. This year Chris Neville and I are doing a full backpack hunt so this is everything I'm carrying in my pack. Some of the items for this hunt Neville and myself are splitting up. For instance, I'm having him carry my solar panel (but I haven't told him that yet). While I love the challenge of a solo hunt, being able to split gear when hunting with someone is a huge advantage.

I haven't put everything in my backpack yet to get an exact weight yet. We are going to do another video shortly where we have everything in our packs before we go on our hunt and hang the packs on a scale. For people who are curious, currently, my full backpack weighs around 54 pounds based on my excel sheet when I weighed each piece of gear the other week. And that weight includes 2 liters of water. The 54 pounds I mentioned does not include food as I'll be honest, I just haven't had time to put together my food list yet for this hunt, so that is why you don't see it in the video or this article. This will be a roughly 8-day bear hunt and is pretty much the exact gear I will be using. I'm going to go through my gear again several times and see if I can toss anything out. That's why I like doing these gear list videos/articles as it gives me a great way to check and plan everything as well as ensure I don't forget anything. Which I why I always try to tell people to take all their gear and place it on your floor and run through it several times to ensure you have everything and to see what you could live without. I keep my gear lists in both a Google Sheet that I can access from my phone and I also have a custom excel spreadsheet I built several years ago that I linked in some previous articles for people to download and work off of.

Gear list video

Check out the video above for a complete overview of the gear for this hunt.

Gear list breakdown for a backpack spring bear hunt

Clothes Packed In Backpack (Extra layers)

Rain JacketSitka Dewpoint Jacket - Pyrite - (LT)12.10
Rain PantSitka Dewpoint Pant - Pyrite - (LT)11.10
Mid LayerSitka Heavyweight Hoody - Subalpine - (XL)15.40
Softshell JacketSitka Jetstream Jacket - Subalpine - (XL)27.00
Insulation TopSitka Kelvin Lite Down Jacket Subalpine - (XL)18.60
Insulation BottomSitka Kelvin Lite Down 3/4 Pant Subalpine - (L)13.60
BeaniegoHUNT Orange Beanie2.70
GlovesSitka Blizzard GTX Mitten - Open Country (XL)8.40

Clothes Worn (Items I always wear each day)

Top (Wicking)Sitka Core Lightweight Hoody - Subalpine - (XL)7.70
Bottoms (Outer)Sitka Mountain Pant - Subalpine - (34T)24.30
BeltSitka Stealth Belt2.50
GlovesSitka Gunner WS Glove4.40
Blaze OrangeSitka Ballistic Blaze Orange Vest14.40
Hat (Hiking)goHUNT The Blaze Trucker2.80
UnderwearSitka Core Silk Boxer (Large)2.80
WatchGarmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar3.0
Socks (Hiking)Darn Tough Merino Hunter Boot Full Cushion 2012 - (XL)3.10
Leg GaiterSitka Stormfront Gaiter - Subalpine - (L/XL)11.30


BootsHanwag Alverstone II GTX - Size: 12.564.0
InsolesSheepFeet Full-Length Custom Orthotic Insole (Heel Stabilizer & Double Cushioning)


BackpackStone Glacier Sky Guide 7900 w/ XCurve frame96.0
Pack Rain CoverStone Glacier Pack Rain Cover3.50
Weapon HolderStone Glacier Quick Release Sling1.40
Camera HolderCotton Carrier Strapshot 


Spotting Scope EyepieceSwarovski BTX Eyepiece50.0
Spotting Scope ObjectiveSwarovski 95 mm Modular Objective47.3
Tripod PlateSirui TY-70A Quick Release Plate1.90
Digiscope SetupBTX Phone Skope Eyepiece Adapter0.30
Scope CaseMarsupial Gear BTX Spotting Scope Case10.50
BinocularsVortex Razor UHD 12x5036.90
HarnessMarsupial Gear Enclosed Bino Harness (L)15.10
RangefinderSig Kilo 2400 ABS9.20
Bino AdapterVortex Pro Binocular Adapter w/Arca Swiss Plate2.80
TripodSirui T-1204XL Carbon Fiber31.90
Pan HeadSirui VA-5 Ultra-Compact Fluid Head20.00
Digiscope SetupiPhone 12 Pro Max with Phoneskope**

Sleep System

ShelterStone Glacier SkyAir ULT Tarp27.0
Shelter MeshStone Glacier SkyAir ULT Mesh Insert
Shelter VestibuleStone Glacier SkyAir ULT Vestibule
Shelter FootprintStone Glacier SkyAir ULT Footprint
Compression SackSea To Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Sack - Size: XS
Shelter Stakes13 stakes5.00
Sleeping BagStone Glacier Chilkoot 15 Degree Sleeping Bag34.70
Compression SackSea To Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Sack - Size: S2.20
PillowKlymit Pillow XL3.60
Sleeping PadThermarest NeoAir UberLite11.40


Wind CheckSmoke In A Bottle0.70
Trekking Poles For ShelterBlack Diamond Ergo Cork20.10
Glassing ChairHillsound BTR Glassing Stool 17"14.10
Glassing PadZ Rest Cut Into Small Section2.00
Wind CheckKestrel 5700 Elite Meter with Applied Ballistics LiNK6.00
Ear ProtectionOrange Wrap Around Head Ear Protection0.60
Battery PackgoHUNT Dark Energy Poseidon8.87
Solar PanelGoal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel15.00
Food HangingZ Packs Z Line Slick Cord2.00
Ammo HolderOld Ammo Holder Kept In Top Lid Of Pack2.40
Camp ShoesCrocs - Size: 1315.7

Optics Accessories Bag

Gear BagStone Glacier Swing Out Pocket1.00
Dust BlowerOptics Dust Blower1.60
Lens WipesZeiss Lens Wipes1.20
Lens PenVortex Lens Cleaning Pen0.50
Lens ClothRandom Lens Cloth0.40
Bluetooth RemotePhone Skope Bluetooth Remote0.70
Charge CordiPhone Charge Cord0.65
Charge CordCord For Headlamp & Sat Messenger0.20

Kill Kit

Gear BagStone Glacier Camp Pocket1.8
KnifeGoat Knives Capra Hunter Ti1.30
Replaceable Blades60A Replaceable Blades x 50.50
KnifeGoat Knives TUR Carbon Pro2.40
Knife SharpenerWork Sharp Pocket Knife Sharpener1.60
Stuff SackMini ZPacks Cuben Fiber W/Rangefinder Battery & Rubber Bands0.60
Hunting LicenseLicense0.28
LighterLarge Bic Lighter W/Lukotape0.70
LighterSmall Bic Lighter (Backup)0.40
TapeSmall Roll Of Electrical Tape0.80
PillsElectrolyte, Advil1.50
Game BagsCaribou Gear Carnivore III (Four Bags)9.80

Safety Gear

Satellite MessengerGarmin inReach Mini W/Carabiner3.90
HeadlampPetzl Reactik+3.97
Headlamp (Spare)Petzl Actik2.80
Tooth Brush & PasteZ Packs Ultralight Travel Tooth Brush & Paste0.70
First AidAssorted First Aid Kit in aLOKSAK bag1.40
Toilet PaperToilet Paper in ZipLoc Bag0.99
Bear SprayCounter Assault Bear Spray11.50


RifleBrowning X-Bolt Max Varmint/Target 300 Win Mag240
Muzzle BrakeArea 419 Sidewinder Muzzle Brake
RiflescopeVortex Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27 FFP
Scope LevelFlatline Ops Patriot Plus Level (34mm)
Two round holderShort Action Precision Two Round Ammo Holder
BipodRugged Ridge Outdoor Gear Extreme Bipod Gen 1
Bipod FeetRugged Ridge Claw Feet
SlingQuake Original Claw Rifle Sling
AmmoPersonal Handloads = 215 Berger Hybrids, Norma Brass, Federal Match 215 Primers, H1000 Powder = 10 total rounds 
Rear SupportRugged Ridge Outdoor Gear Rear Support System4.37
Rifle CovergoHUNT Gunslicker Rifle Protective Cover4.83

Cook Kit

StoveMSR Windburner Stove System14.80
FuelMSR Fuel Canister6.20
SporkSea to Summit Alpha Light Long Spork0.30


WaterPlatypus Big Zip EVO Hydration Bladder (filled with 2 liters of water)78.0
Water BottlegoHUNT Nalgene (empty)6.2
Water PurificationAquamira in UL Mini Dropper1.10
Water PurificationSawyer Micro Squeeze Water Filter3.10
Water ContainerMSR DromLite 6L4.80

** Waiting until the new Phone Skope case arrives so I can purchase one and weigh it.

There will be another video that will follow up this article where I will take all my gear and place it in my backpack and show you all the true weight. I did my best to weigh out every piece of gear individually in the table above, but a good reference will be the full pack weight video.

A few different categories of gear I'd like to talk about

Camp gear

This year's camp setup is fairly trimmed down. The beauty in this system lies in the packability of Stone Glacier's Sky AirULT tarp, vestibule, and mesh system. It's worth mentioning that I've done the whole floorless shelter thing enough times in the spring that I'll admit it's no longer fun to sleep with ticks at night. Dealing with ticks all day, and then have to deal with ticks that crawl into your shelter at night and then in the morning you find them on you or worse... starting to dig at your skin. So we stopped using floorless shelters in the spring a few years ago and this year that will continue.

I consider this a fairly light sleeping setup that is barely over 5 pounds.


To be successful at spring bear hunting, in my opinion, you need a ton of patience, determination and you need quality optics. My optics setup weight increased a bunch this year by purchasing a Swarovski BTX setup. I'm excited to see how it performs on this spring bear hunt!


In the video, I totally spaced out and forgot that last year on our spring bear hunt was when I initially used the Hanwag Alverstone II GTX boots. These boots are so comfortable and at a Flex 3 rating, they are a great do-it-all boot.


There's no denying that I love quality hunting clothing. Each year I appreciate the quality and the full layering system that Sitka offers. They have everything I need when it comes to clothing that can hold up to any hunt I go on.

In conclusion

Best of luck to everyone headed out after spring bear this spring. Have fun and enjoy the time on the mountain. There's no better way to kick off the dust and experiment with gear, food choices, and hone your glassing techniques than on a spring bear hunt.



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