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Split camps?

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Split camps?

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 01 11, 2018 •  [Post 1]

Who runs these? Base camp and a deeper spike camp for elk. What’s the game plan, what do you take in, how do you config your base camp, how deep do you go in that justifies the hike and pack in? Let’s discuss this ;)
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Re: Split camps?

Postby Swede » 01 11, 2018 •  [Post 2]

I did the base camp/spike set up about three tears ago. The base was the normal operation. I went out with four days food and materials in my pack. I stayed out two nights and three days. The hunting was not good where I was, so I came back to base. It was good just before the season opened, but the elk left as soon as the hunters arrived. I was back 2.5 miles with my spike camp. Packing an elk is probably the limiting factor. Food could be a factor, but is not for a short hunt like I planned.
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Re: Split camps?

Postby ElkNut1 » 01 12, 2018 •  [Post 3]

I haven't done it to date but have considered it over the years! Maybe this year! I'd most likely take some things in ahead of the opener like Tent, Small Stove, Pad, Sleeping Bag & maybe another item or two. I'd not worry about water/food at the stash time. I have the perfect place in mind too! (grin) Great idea Rory!

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Re: Split camps?

Postby Backyard » 01 12, 2018 •  [Post 4]

Swede wrote:I did the base camp/spike set up about three tears ago. The base was the normal operation. I went out with four days food and materials in my pack. I stayed out two nights and three days. The hunting was not good where I was, so I came back to base. It was good just before the season opened, but the elk left as soon as the hunters arrived. I was back 2.5 miles with my spike camp. Packing an elk is probably the limiting factor. Food could be a factor, but is not for a short hunt like I planned.

This is essentially what I do. I have my base camp set up out of the topper of my truck with a tarp type tent over the back end, go in 1.5-2 mi. with 4 days provisions, come out and replenish supplies after 3, go back out. Maybe to a different area if needed.
Works for me as I don't need to carry so much food weight this way.
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Re: Split camps?

Postby Indian Summer » 01 12, 2018 •  [Post 5]

I’ve done it in the past but it’s been awhile. I would never, I repeat NEVER take the time to pack a spike camp in unless I knew for sure I would be into elk and not into other hunters.

If you read the other thread where I mentioned a lightweight wall tent you know that I’m considering it in the future. I have the perfect spot. It’s not so much the miles from the truck I’m trying to eliminate on a daily basis.... it’s the elevation gain. It’s up up and more up. When I ride a horse there his hind quarters are quivering by the time we get near the top. Some don’t even make it and I have to lead them the last half mile. Getting there at first light is never easy. Waking up there after getting 2 extra hours of sleep would be a dream.
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Re: Split camps?

Postby Navesgane » 01 12, 2018 •  [Post 6]

I've tried it before- I think the way to do it is to go as minimal as possible in good weather and basically just sleep on the ground unless the terrain is flat enough to follow the elk wherever need be with a bunch of gear. My legs were killing me by mid day and I condition year-round, but this was in 11k' or so in the San juans
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Re: Split camps?

Postby Indian Summer » 01 12, 2018 •  [Post 7]

Navesgane wrote:I've tried it before- I think the way to do it is to go as minimal as possible in good weather and basically just sleep on the ground unless the terrain is flat enough to follow the elk wherever need be with a bunch of gear. My legs were killing me by mid day and I condition year-round, but this was in 11k' or so in the San juans


I’m of the opposite theory. I never take good weather for granted. I’m a wall tent guy. That’s why I’m looking at the 30 pound 10 by 10. I want heat too. When I do something I overdo it. I’ll pack my stuff in on a horse at the beginning of the hunt and leave it. It’s actually less effort than backpacking a minimalist camp in. But the bottom line is once I’m up there nothing can stop me from staying up there and hunting hard for as long as I want or need to.
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Re: Split camps?

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 01 12, 2018 •  [Post 8]

Light gear in, yep.... an area that holds elk and not a butt load of aspiring elk slayers camped on the trail elbows, yep, not too close to the indigenous outfitters if they're working your target area, yep, this is always the goal when spiking back in there. There are such places and they don't have to be 5+ miles back in there (trust me). The cool thing about spiking in for elk hunts is that yep, you don't have to start your ascent on the trail at 0400 in the AM.. that's a huge plus for many reasons. And yep, you're fine with hunting till the last second of shooting hours without looking forward to a 2 to whatever hike outa there.

OK, here's a pearl for you wild bohemian Wapiti Talk members referencing lightweight backcountry gear. This is a future sponsor on WT, coming soon to a theatre near you. They are adding a few more absolutely choice items over the next month and I'll get their banner and text link flying high here in ample time for you cats to check em out and perhaps, order those killer items that will make your backcountry hunts great!

https://luxe-hiking-gear.com/
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Re: Split camps?

Postby Lefty » 01 12, 2018 •  [Post 9]

Indian Summer wrote:
Navesgane wrote: I’m a wall tent guy. That’s why I’m looking at the 30 pound 10 by 10..
I was at Deseret Industries ( Like salvation Army Store) Some lady had just bought 5 tents for her cub scouts to practice setting up. And I thought of your other wall tent thread.
And I blew it a few munutes too late she had a White Stag2 man back packing tent $3.00 . another one-man Sylnylon $2.00
There was a big family dome tent 10x 12 $10.00 Maybe not a wall tent but $1000 cheaper. And you might need to tie up the poles in the snow :|
Maybe look at some of the other synthetic material for your tent
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Re: Split camps?

Postby Indian Summer » 01 13, 2018 •  [Post 10]

The Li-Tent from Buckstitch Canvas is $600. $660 with stove jack. I’m in!

30 pounds!!! A wall tent I can backpack out. Sweet!
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Re: Split camps?

Postby saddlesore » 01 13, 2018 •  [Post 11]

I never understood this spike camp deal.When I packed in,I set up a nice comfortable camp . Now with a small pop up camper on my truck,I ride in every day.Yea,I leave camp an hour earlier than most but comfort,good food, and a good bed trumps the inconvience. Being well rested, clean, with good food enables me to hunt harder, longer. In 2018, I will, maybe, be packing in, but lighter. However, my camp will still be comfortable and warm and you can bet, I won't be eating out of a plastic bag.
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Re: Split camps?

Postby Indian Summer » 01 13, 2018 •  [Post 12]

saddlesore wrote:I never understood this spike camp deal.When I packed in,I set up a nice comfortable camp . Now with a small pop up camper on my truck,I ride in every day.Yea,I leave camp an hour earlier than most but comfort,good food, and a good bed trumps the inconvience. Being well rested, clean, with good food enables me to hunt harder, longer. In 2018, I will, maybe, be packing in, but lighter. However, my camp will still be comfortable and warm and you can bet, I won't be eating out of a plastic bag.


I agree Saddlesore. It’s not a good trade off to live like a rat with no heat and just enough room to sleep just to save a morning hike. Keep in mind bud that not everyone has or wants horses. But where there’s a will there’s a way. I’ve taken turns backpacking a 10 by 12 canvas wall tent so that I could cash in on my efforts the rest of the week. If you don’t sleep right or have damp clothes you are better off getting an earlier start from further away because quite simply you won’t be in the right frame of mind to be effectively hunting elk. So you’d be defeating your purpose. What fun is that? Horse or no horse my camp will be 100% comfortable and for that reason I’ll be at the top of my game all day every day!
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Re: Split camps?

Postby Navesgane » 01 13, 2018 •  [Post 13]

Indian Summer wrote:
Navesgane wrote:I've tried it before- I think the way to do it is to go as minimal as possible in good weather and basically just sleep on the ground unless the terrain is flat enough to follow the elk wherever need be with a bunch of gear. My legs were killing me by mid day and I condition year-round, but this was in 11k' or so in the San juans


I’m of the opposite theory. I never take good weather for granted. I’m a wall tent guy. That’s why I’m looking at the 30 pound 10 by 10. I want heat too. When I do something I overdo it. I’ll pack my stuff in on a horse at the beginning of the hunt and leave it. It’s actually less effort than backpacking a minimalist camp in. But the bottom line is once I’m up there nothing can stop me from staying up there and hunting hard for as long as I want or need to.


Yeah no doubt I'd rather have a heated tent and more creature comforts, I was just stating what I thought the best way to spike camp "if" you're going to. From what little I know of actual spike camping is to follow a herd or certain bull you're after (with your camp on your back) and set up at dark if you don't get him that day, with the hopes that you'll be closer to that herd or bull in the morning, which I think is a shot in the dark at best?? Maybe I'm wrong here, but that's what I always thought a spike camp was. Anything else is just a camp, be it a minimalist or not?
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Re: Split camps?

Postby Backyard » 01 13, 2018 •  [Post 14]

I think RJ’s question here was ‘who does it? What do you pack in? And why for? Not why the hell would anyone in there right mind...
I myself happen to like the whole idea of packing everything be it minimalist or not in on my back and taking on the challenge of trying to be as comfortable as I can out where I have none of the comforts of home. I do the same when I go on wilderness canoe trips. I like to refer to it as having the time of my life while being about as uncomfortable as one can be. Given the option between my bed and the ground I would certainly pick my bed. But Im not going to wake up in my happy place if I dont lay down in it first. And if that means being a little uncomfortable in order to do it Im all in. Different strokes...


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Re: Split camps?

Postby saddlesore » 01 13, 2018 •  [Post 15]

Backyard wrote:I think RJ’s question here was ‘who does it? What do you pack in? And why for? Not why the hell would anyone in there right mind...


Guess I should have kept my mouth shut then.
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Re: Split camps?

Postby Indian Summer » 01 13, 2018 •  [Post 16]

The question was split camps. Do you use two camps, what do you have in each camp, and how far in is your spike. I take that to mean how far is too far from the base camp making you decide a second camp is worth the effort. My answer was distance isn’t always the deciding factor. Elevation gain can be. A spike is defined as any secondary camp. A satellite camp regardless of whether you live like royalty or like a dog. There are definitely those who enjoy both. Any camp is primitive compared to home right. Carry on......
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Re: Split camps?

Postby Backyard » 01 13, 2018 •  [Post 17]

Hmm. I guess I misinterpreted. Sorry guys


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Re: Split camps?

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 01 13, 2018 •  [Post 18]

All good discussion! Obviously, ponies make a big difference in what one would take in (and, consider essential for gear and a relatively comfortable and functional camp). I don't use four legged critters so my pending SEP 2018 hunt will be all on my boots and back. Base camp will a minimalistic set up by our trucks, probably consisting of a sleep tent or two and a gazebo with tarp over it (meeting room, cook shack). I use a large propane tank heater to take the chill off cold evenings and/or dry clothes if needed. The backcountry camp (I guess more appropriately titled secondary camp) will be for up to a week at a time max (but will probably be packing elk out before the first week expires). How far in from the basecamp? Not positive but the couple of areas I'm looking at are 3-5 miles in... I'm getting too long in the tooth to hike that far in each day from base, lol. Looking at a gear list (considering what I have already and what I feel I need to get) so the backcountry camp will be a home away from home so to speak ;). I'm almost certainly thinking a 6 man synthetic material Teepee with stove jack and packable wood stove is a starting point (two hunters on this adventure). From there, quality sleeping gear (bag or quilt and pad), cooking gear and chow, and the essential hunting gear packed in is where I'm at. I've got a bit of time to plan, shop, and finalize gear lists; it's all part of the total experience and one I enjoy each pre-hunt offseason.
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Re: Split camps?

Postby saddlesore » 01 13, 2018 •  [Post 19]

I'm looking at a Cimarron tepee tent, by Seek Outside along with their large Titanium packable stove( really isn't large)( Thanks to Luke Kessler for putting me on to them) along with a new bag and pad. There is a possibility that I will take my mil-surplus Ocatgon squad tent which weighs 30 pounds instead of the light weight pack. It all depends on how every thing packs and I'll figure that out next summer

Should be comfortable along with using a Pocket Rocket and MSR WHisper stove for cooking .The LED lantern I posted in the gear forum will serve as a tent light.

My truck pop up camper will be at the trail head and I figure I will ride out and back in every four days or so during mid day for mule feed and more chow for myself. The camper has a refrig and freezer in it so I will be able to take regular meals. I can take my panniers that go over a riding saddle and with them plus the saw buck,I can pack a whole elk out in one trip if I walk.( It's all down hill).

Big ideas for an old fart still in a sling with this titanium shoulder. :o
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Re: Split camps?

Postby Swede » 01 13, 2018 •  [Post 20]

I am sure you will be ready Saddlesore. I appreciate seniors with big ideas. It gives me hope that I still have a lot of hunting left.
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Re: Split camps?

Postby Kessler10 » 01 14, 2018 •  [Post 21]

I think it really depends on the area and where the elk are that year, how well you know the area, and some places might make more sense than others to have a base camp and spike camp.

For the area saddlsore and I are looking at and how each of us hunts, there might be merit depedning on a few factors.

Setting a good base camp 2-3 miles in, then depending on how the first few days of hunting goes in the "base camp area" maybe then sending the "young buck" off another few miles back to a spot we/you know has held elk in the past, and settign a very basic spike camp. Having that spike camp there the rest of the hunt gives me or my hutning partner the option to go back further and hunt that area until dark and not have the burden of making it back to the base camp the same day. Or better yet, getting an elk down late back by the spike camp and being able to catch a few Z's. Of course, if going further back with the idea to set a spike camps and you do not see sign or hear anything, I would not set a spike camp there. So another reason (in my opinion) this type of decsion is really done on the fly and depedns on real time information you gather.

Set a day/time to meet back up at base camp with your partner a day or 2 later after you do some recon and set spike camp to share what each of you have seen and heard. This is a good way to cover a lot of country, understad where the best opportunites might be, and really dial in where you should focus the final days or final week of the hunt. The bummer of it being if you do set the spike camp, you have to pack it out in the end.

I think this is a unique way to hunt and really depends on a lot of factors to determine if its worth the effort. And a lot of those factors you might not know until you get out there. A good strategy to have in your tool box, in my opinion. And works much better if you have a hunting partner and you both know what your doing and know the area well enough

For my spike camp I would not bring my packable stove. Just the very basics. Tent, sleeping bag/pad, 2 days of food, kill kit are the essentials for my spike camp. Leave the luxuries at your base camp.
I feel the main advantgae to this is to maximize your opportuniteis and extend your hunting "grid". Best if you know you will have at least 10+ days of hunting to go to the works of splitting camps, in my opinion.
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Re: Split camps?

Postby elkstalker » 01 30, 2018 •  [Post 22]

For me, like most it seems, it depends on the location. I have mountain biked in a spike camp about 3 or 4 miles so that I could access more country than I could otherwise. It put me right between the day trippers (1-3 miles in) and the week long horsepackers (5-10 miles). For that spot it was a good deal for me, I ended up shooting the bull in my profile picture. I stayed in that spike camp for 4 days, killed my bull day 2, packed him back to the spike camp days 3 and morning of day 4, and packed bull out on my bike afternoon of day 4. I slept at my base camp (pop up camper), and came back in to hunt deer for a few more days before I packed out camp.

For that trip I had a small stove and fuel, food, a backpacking tent and tarp, water filter and camel back bladders for water, survival gear including means of starting fire, a set of spare clothes, and my hunting gear (i'm sure I missed a few items).

I have another spot here in MT I would do this again at, if I feel so inclined, it's a closed logging road where I could bike or hike in a spike camp 3-5 miles. I tend to hunt primarily from a base camp these days.
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Re: Split camps?

Postby milesm12 » 02 14, 2018 •  [Post 23]

Backyard wrote:refer to it as having the time of my life while being about as uncomfortable as one can be


I feel like this is the definition of elk hunting, especially for a guy like me without a horse. we pack in 3+ miles, live on pop tarts, granola bars, and trout for dinner. Its not exactly ideal, but it sure beats the guaranteed 6 miles of walking everyday while hunting from base camp (and that doesn't include the miles walked while actually hunting.) It doesn't really matter where you camp, if you're like me, you forget about all the torture as soon as you hear that bull start bugling. Aint nothing like it.
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