The off-season is the time to dial in critical hunting gear like boots and backpacks. Make sure everything is ready for the hunting season. Don’t procrastinate and cram your to-do list into the final weeks before the hunt. Start now, and use this time to properly prepare.
As you do your packing, keep in mind that LOH Outfitters is an authorized dealer for Kenetrek Boots, Best of the West Rifles and Zeiss Optics. Additionally, we have a special discount code for KUIU clothing and equipment for any hunters who are booked with us this year!
Additionally, see our previous article on making changes to your bow or rifle setup. Making sure your weapon is dialed should be your top priority during the off-season. Once you’re on track with your weapon, it’s time to make sure boots are fitting property, as well as your backpack and any other critical equipment.
Here are a few things to think about as you prepare for upcoming hunts:
1. Hunting Boots
The last thing you want is to discover an issue with your hunting boots while you’re on the hunt. Don’t put this off. Make sure your footwear – including socks – is comfortable and ready for the trip.
If you need new boots this year, now is the time to make that purchase. Don’t put it off. Settle on a new pair of boots now, so that you have plenty of time to break them in before the season. If there are problems, you want to discover that sooner rather than later. We highly recommend Kenetrek Boots to all of our hunters. They are excellent mountain hunting boots, built to handle rugged terrain. We personally use and recommend the Kenetrek Mountain Extreme. Most of the time, we run the non-insulated version. For later season hunts or if your feet tend to run cold, you might consider the 400 Gram Insulated Mountain Extreme. LOH Outfitters is an authorized Kenetrek dealer. If you need boots for this season, please text us at 315-374-8209 and we will help you with an order.
Likewise, you may want to try a few different socks of varying thickness to see which one works best with your boot. Finding the right boot/sock combo will keep your feet in the best possible condition on a long, tough hunt. Make sure you’re not using any cotton in your socks. We recommend a merino wool or merino-synthetic blend for the best performance. Even the best boots in the world won’t function properly if you’re wearing cotton or another sub-par sock underneath.
Once you’ve settled on a boot and a sock, wear them throughout the summer. Take them for hikes near your home or do stadium stairs. Make sure the boots are broken in, and that you don’t have any hot spots.
In addition to your boots, you’ll want to settle on a backpack that you plan to use for your hunt. Making this decision now is important so that you can achieve the proper fit. A good backpack should be able to fit all the items you need to carry on the hunt – rain gear, extra layers, water, snacks, and field dressing kit. If you’re not sure what you’ll need to carry, ask your outfitter or guide. Avoid carrying items that are unnecessary – on a tough mountain hunt, any extra weight is going to hurt after a couple of days. We personally use KUIU backpacks in the field and would recommend them to any of our hunters. If you’re going to purchase a backpack this season and you are booked with us, don’t forget to use your special LOH Outfitters discount code with KUIU.
Load your backpack just like you would for the hunt. While you’re breaking in your boots, wear your backpack while you hike or climb stadium stairs. Make sure the pack fits comfortably, riding with appropriate weight on your hips and shoulders. If it hurts now, it’s going to hurt worse on a hunt in rugged terrain. Get the fit right now and your hunt will be much more enjoyable.
Another reason to settle on your backpack now, is to give yourself plenty of time to practice shooting before the season. This is particularly important for archery hunters. Make sure you can comfortably draw your bow while wearing the backpack. Depending on the situation, you may not have time to drop your pack before a shot opportunity. When bow hunting for elk, things can happen quickly. Being able to shoot with your pack on is important.
3. Other Hunting Equipment
Other things to consider will include your optics and a well-fitting binocular harness. We use the KUIU bino harness as it’s lightweight, compact and easy to use. Remember too that if you’ve booked a hunt with us this year, we have a special KUIU discount code for you.
Once you have settled on a bino harness and optics for the hunt, then spend time practicing at the archery or rifle range. Every time you shoot, wear your bino harness. When it comes to making a shot in the field, you’ll be wearing it. So you might as well start practicing with it now. Need optics for this season? LOH is an authorized Zeiss dealer. We’ve used a lot of optics over the years, and nothing compares do Zeiss. If you’re looking at new binoculars or rangefinder for this season, let us know and we can give you our best recommendations on Zeiss optics. Text us at 315-374-8209 and we will help you place an order.
As draw results become available and your fall schedule falls into place, go ahead and make checklists for your clothing needs and any other hunting equipment. The more you can make those decisions now, the less you’ll have to think about the weeks leading up to your hunt. The stress of packing will be much relived, knowing what you’re going to bring and having tested everything. This way, you can spend those final weeks practicing your shooting and keeping up physical conditioning.
For recommendations on gear, we have a series of videos that you might find helpful:
- Clothing for Early Season Elk Hunting
- Clothing for Cold Weather Hunts
- Recommended Elk Hunting Gear and Accessories
- Weapon recommendations for a New Mexico Hunt
- Recommended Hunting Optics with Zeiss
Hunt with LOH Outfitters
If you’d like to know more about the guided hunts that we offer in New Mexico, please take some time to review the information on the rest of our website. If you have specific questions about availability or booking, please don’t hesitate to send us a message or text us your name and questions to (512) 865-8990. We’d be thrilled to help you plan your dream New Mexico hunt!