Mobile Campsite

Testing Hilleberg Soulo

Testing Hilleberg Soulo, Exped Mat, Valandre Mirage

A few years back I was on a hunting trip and it took us several days to get into the elk. But, it was late in the day and we didn’t want to spoil our chances for the next day. So, we made the decision to back out and hit again in the morning. After marking our location on the GPS, we realized that we were almost 6 miles from camp. We discussed whether to head back to camp and make the hike back with only a few hours rest. Or do we just rough it on the ground and get an early start on the elk, we chose the latter. 

While from a hunting standpoint, this was a more tactful solution it wasn’t from a wellbeing! We flat out froze our butts off, even with my emergency blanket!!! Needless to say, we weren’t as vibrant the next morning as we had hoped.

Ever since that trip I have been trying to replace my gear so I can hunt with my camp on my back, which allows me to stay with the animals and conserve energy and time. Otherwise known as bivvy or bivouac style of hunting.

So, my first piece of equipment, that I needed to upgrade was my shelter. I wanted something lightweight, all-season (not just 4 season), easy to put up and take down. I found what I was looking for in my Hilleberg Soulo. The Hilleberg Soulo provided me ample shelter for year round, even in snow and wind. With enough room to store my gear out of the weather and even cook without having to leave the comfort of my shelter. Then, I added my JETBOIL Sōl Cooking System, while it may not be the smallest or the lightest, I feel that it is the best all-around for efficiency, compactness and it allows me to have hot coffee on those chilly mornings. I also ditched my emergency blanket and Sportsman-Hunter First-Aid kit, replaced it with Adventure Medical Ultralight – Watertight and SOL Scout Survival Pak. This was to save on space, increase my survival inventory and saved me 13.6 ounces in weight. I have added those those trusty little HotHands! You can throw them into your sleeping bag, tape one to the bottom of your fuel canister if it’s really cold and on those frosty mornings, toss them in your boots to pre-heat them before you put them on.

Hot coffee before hunt

I have replaced my backpack with the Mystery Ranch Crew Cab, that I cannot say enough about. It fits well, even loaded with 50+ pounds and hiking 8 miles, it allows me to load and carry all of my gear for up to 10 days. I also have added the Valandre Mirage 3/4 Sleeping Bag sleeping bag which is lightweight, extremely packable, made with the world’s best goose down and very comfortable to sleep in. Exped DownMat 7 (cold weather) and the Exped for warmer weather trips. In 2o16, Mystery Ranch upgraded the Crew Cab with the Mystery Ranch Cabinet.

There are several other items that I have replaced during this time, as it is costly and it would be irresponsible of me financially to replace all of it at once. Not to mention that I would probably end up having to use it on the streets, once my wife found out! But, research the gear, set your budget and if possible test your buddy’s gear out to see if it right for you. I would recommend buying the best you can afford the first time, even if it means waiting a bit longer!

With this type of system I have been able to leave my vehicle at the trailhead with my full camp on my back and not sound like a one-man-band going up the trail. I can continue hiking and spotting until I see my game get within about a mile or so and setup camp. Then, in the morning I pack it all up throw it on my back and I am back into the chasing game with minimal energy used. Opposed to wasting all that energy of hiking back and forth to base camp. This way I can hunt from home, just about anywhere!

Some additional companies making gear that suites the needs mention in this article:
Adventure Medical
Big Agnes
Easton Mountain Gear
First Lite
Sitka Gear

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