Going Way Off The Grid: Preparing Gear And Cameras For A Remote Alaskan Bear Hunt
BY LAUREN SILVERS
I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t looked at their inbox just after their first cup of coffee in the morning at least once over the last 18 months or so, and hasn’t fought the sudden urge to run. To run as far and as fast as that first shot of caffeine could carry your stressed-out body from the blue light that binds you. But what if your job is what actually calls you to run so far off the grid that you can’t even see the grid lines behind you?
My business partner Clint is often called to travel to some very far and away places as a videographer for some epic big game hunts in very remote areas. When we have had to travel to the same area, I have often marveled at his packing skills. His camera equipment is his top priority and he can generally expend 2-3 times the effort packing the gear than he spends on his own belongings. Recently he had to pack for a 3-week hunting expedition to the Alaska Peninsula where he, guide Cole Kramer’s Guide Service and a five-man hunting party from Black Rifle Coffee Company (BRCC) would be dropped by a single engine Supercub on a tiny little dirt landing strip and they would hike hours into the wilderness from where they set up a base camp for a bucket list bear hunt. I was incredibly curious what you take when you know you can only take what you can carry with you – and he has to take an expensive camera (which personally, I would have two hands on the whole time – so I would be in trouble!).
And did I mention that these cameras have heavy rechargeable batteries and they were going to be using the cameras every day, so recharging was going to have to happen every night. Excuse me, does Home Depot carry 200 mile long extension cords? No, they do not. Clint said this was the first trip where he employed Goal Zero Sherpa Solar Charging System to keep his devices running while he was filming this bear hunt. The challenge with solar power has always been, and still is, storing that energy for when you need it the most. This system has power banks to store the energy in reserve. The hunting party also needed to carry a satellite phone with them since no cell phone carrier has service in this part of Alaska.
Clint has said the most challenging part of extreme remote work is making sure your footage is safely downloaded to a portable drive (which requires energy) and that your gear is charged up and ready to go when the hunting party is ready to roll out again. Losing an unforgettable shot you captured or missing one you have yet to film due to low battery life is the kind of nightmare that keeps outdoor videographers awake at night.
It seemed that cooking, brewing coffee and sleeping at base camp were easy for this crew. They all pitched in to support each other throughout the trip. The wind they experienced did make it difficult at times to stay sheltered and comfortable. They used “guylines” to stake down the tent securely to the ground and strategic tucking of the tents in the brush to reduce wind and access for bears. Another easily acquired product that proved to be a game changer on this trip was his Crazy Creek Chair. These chairs are so lightweight and comfortable, they make glassing for hours much more doable. This chair is readily available on many websites and in so many different colors.
I personally can’t imagine how I would pack to be completely unreachable by phone for 3 weeks, but as the holidays approach, it is sure to be something I will fantasize about in the coming weeks as I try not twitch in long checkout lines or as I stealthily evade questions about the travel plans I’ve made. Wherever your travel plans take you, on or off the grid, pack wisely!
Editor’s Note: Lauren Silvers is is a writer, producer, travel coordinator and a partner at REVOL Entertainment with Clint Easley, founder of REVOL Entertainment) Follow them on Instagram @revolentertainment and check out https://www.revolentertainment.com for more information.
Listen to Black Rifle Coffee Company’s podcasts about this hunt and guide Cole Kramer: