Overview on every Item Tim packed for his Fiordland hunt.
Tim Shulpen, he’s the kind of guy that you want to hear his opinions on almost any hunting gear. He makes us laugh because of how he immerses deep into researching anything and everything to do with hunting. But even more than that, he goes bloody hard in the mountains so he actually develops an In-Field understanding of the product he’s spent weeks researching.
So we wanted to take advantage of this hunting nerd, and get a run down on the gear he carried on his Fiordland hunt in 2022. If you haven’t pictured it already, Tim is that bloke who creates a spread sheet with a checklist, months before he’s even lacing up his boots. So we’ve taken advantage of that and below is a full list of everything you’d need on your hunt in Fiordland.
On this episode of Getting on the Gear, Tim goes into a little detail on each of his products, and what he’s done since to replace some items that didn’t stand up to his expectations.
Stone Glacier Sky Talus 6900: Good luck finding a better backpack.
A versatile backpack that combines lightweight design with enhanced organization and access. With a large 6,400 cubic inch main compartment and a 500 cubic inch lid, this pack features 4 external side pockets for added storage. The two spacious side pockets boast heavy-duty zippers with dual sliders for easy access to essentials like your spotting scope. These pockets are strategically positioned to allow for tripod or rifle carry without sacrificing their functionality. The lower side pockets are open-top, perfect for carrying water bottles, tripods, or other gear.
The Talus 6900 also features 4 Swing Out pockets and attachment points for Camp Pockets on the interior, making it a great choice for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. This backpack can be easily converted into a compact 4,000 cubic inch day/bivy pack or expanded to accommodate larger loads with a load shelf, offering a total capacity of up to 8,000+ cubic inches. Whether you’re going on a day hike or an extended trip, the Talus 6900 offers unmatched organization and function to meet your needs.
Boots: La Sportiva, Lowa or Crispi?
Most of us don’t have the luxury of going out and buying a new set of boots before a trip, but it doesn’t hurt to know which products work best. The best suggestion is to avoid leather-insulated boots because they retain water, adding extra weight and strain on the feet and body, which is crucial for keeping your feet dry and warm, especially for an extended period of time. The La Sportiva Aequilibriums, a lightweight and synthetic boot, are the perfect design to suit Fiordland, but Tim notes that they may not be durable enough for hunters. Being lightweight boots, they will naturally be less durable in our harsh environments and while they’re perfect for a week in Fiordland, they may be best stashed away in the cupboard until the next trip comes around. The LOWA Tibets are not recommended due to poor experiences from other hunters and a high price point. Instead, we’d suggest Crispi boots, like the Summit GTX, as a better option for hunting in Fiordland.
Synthetic or Merino for hunting in Fiordland?
From Tims experience, a synthetic base layer was his go to when pushing through the wet scrub. He was running the Stone Glacier Arvo Hoody and he’s bloody loved it. Synthetic will dry quicker and can handle the scrub bashing more than merino. The only downside to the synthetic layers is how much they stink after you’ve lost some gravy—obviously they can be washed with a delicate detergent. But after a few days sharing a tent with ya mate, they’ll be grateful if you’re carrying another merino layer for sleeping in.
Tim was running Kuiu merino layers but can’t exactly rave on about them. The Kuiu merino seems to wear out easily around the waist and shoulders and for Tim that happened after only 6 months—not what you want from a $170+ hunting top.
Since then, he’s purchased a First Lite Merino Wick QZ and after a year of using almost every weekend, it still doesn’t have a hole in it. That’s what you want. And merino obviously has a lot of benefits over synthetic still and most hunters will agree that a couple merino layers are essential to have in your kit.
Sleeping Bag liner
On its own a bag liner does add some bulk and a small amount of weight to your pack (536gr). But the benefits of a liner mean you’ll get away with using a smaller, more lightweight or cheaper sleeping bag. The Bloodline Dream Liner adds around 7 degrees to your sleeping bag, making it a no-brainer for those trips in the colder months or when the forecast isn’t too flash. A main feature of this bag liner is the layer of non-scratchy merino wool designed to not only keep you warm but to wick away the moisture from your body and keep you dry throughout the night. After a long day on the hill, a layer of merino will always be nicer to lie on than your synthetic sleeping bag material.
Tim prefers lightweight and compact cooking gear for his hunts. The MSR Pocket Rocket is a popular camping stove known for its lightweight and compact design, making it easy to pack and carry on hiking trips. The MTN Gear titanium cup is also known for its lightweight and durable properties, making it a great option for hunting trips as saving weight and space is crucial. By choosing these items, Tim can still have a functional cooking setup without adding too much extra weight or bulk to his backpack. Yes, you may have to wait a few extra moments for your water to boil, but the gravy you’ll save will be well worth it. It’s worth noting that there are other options for camping stoves, such as the Jet Boil, which is known for its fast boiling times and efficient fuel usage. However, the Jet Boil tends to be heavier and may not be as reliable in extreme weather conditions. As for the MSR Pocket Rocket, one potential downside is that it requires a lighter or matches to ignite the flame, so forgetting a lighter could be problematic. However, this can be mitigated by carrying a backup lighter or using a firestarter as a backup ignition method. Choosing between camping stoves ultimately comes down to personal preference and the user’s specific outdoor adventure needs.
With an average of 200 rainy days per year, its one of those places where being unprepared can dramatically affect your trip. In such an environment, having a tough tent is essential to protect you from harsh elements. The KUIU Stormstar is a great example of a tough tent that can withstand the conditions in Fiordland. The tent’s design includes a four-season structure, reinforced seams, and an outer shell made from a durable, waterproof material, which helps keep the interior dry during heavy rains. Additionally, the KUIU Stormstar has a strong and sturdy frame, making it less likely to collapse or become damaged during harsh winds. It’s also important to note that while having a tough tent is essential in Fiordland, not all tents are suitable for every location within the region. In particular, MIA tents should be used with caution in exposed areas due to their big, flat walls that can catch the wind and cause them to potentially blow away. MIA tents are typically designed for use in less extreme weather conditions and may not be able to withstand the harsh winds and heavy rains that are common in Fiordland. If camping in an exposed area with strong winds, campers should consider using a tent with a more aerodynamic design or a four-season tent, such as the KUIU Stormstar. Overall, it’s important to carefully consider the location, weather conditions, and the tent’s design and durability when planning a trip into Fiordland.
Radix meals are a great option for multi-day hunts because they are designed to provide optimal nutrition while being lightweight and easy to pack. These meals are specifically formulated to meet the needs of hunters who require sustained energy and focus during long, physically demanding hunts. Radix meals typically contain a balance of complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. One of the key benefits of Radix meals is their low weight and compact size, making them ideal for hunting. Radix meals are also designed to be easy to prepare, often requiring only boiling water, which can save time and energy in the field. Radix meals are also known for their high-quality ingredients, with many options featuring natural, organic, and non-GMO ingredients. This means hunters can feel confident that they are fueling their bodies with healthy, sustainable food sources while out in the wilderness. Overall, if you’re looking for a convenient, nutritious, and lightweight food option for multi-day hunts, Radix meals are an excellent choice.
While the country stays the same, the gear we use is always evolving, and rain layers have come a long way since the big, heavy, bulky, jackets that we used to rely on. For a trip into Fiordland, dry spells are few and far between, so you can pretty much bank on getting rained on. Whether you get wet or not comes down to the protection you provide yourself. The best option is a lightweight jacket and pants combo, allowing you to carry all your rain layers with ease so when that sudden downpour comes, you can be fully protected. The Earth Sea Sky Hydrophobia Jacket and Kuiu Kutana Wet Weather Pants are both excellent options for rain gear in Fiordland. The Hydrophobia Jacket is made of a 3-layer eVent fabric, which is waterproof and highly breathable, ensuring that you stay dry and comfortable throughout your trip. The Kuiu Kutana Wet Weather Pants are also made of waterproof and breathable material and feature a reinforced seat and knees, ensuring that they can withstand the rugged terrain. Although these products are top of the line pieces of kit, there are still some great products from likes of Hunters Element like the Typhoon jacket.