Thinking of heading out on a weekend trip, but not keen to take the whole house with you? When it comes to hunting gear, people can convince you you need a veritable truckload of gear just to get out the door. Here, we break down the backpack essentials of hunting gear for you.
So what do I really need to take?
Of course, there’s really nothing stopping you walking into the bush with only a backpack and the barest minimum of equipment if you’re looking for a challenge. Most of us would prefer some of the creature comforts, though, as well as some basic safety precautions out there in the woods. One big determinator will be the time of year and the season you’re hunting in, so your essential’s list will need a little tweaking, but here’s the basics:
Keeping yourself safe in the woods.
Believe it or not, your humble cell phone is as good as any radio out in the woods. If you have an emergency that needs 911, you’ll be glad you took it along. Of course, if you’re heading somewhere where the signal is legitimately likely to be terrible- although there’s fewer and fewer of these pockets left in the world- you may instead want to look at something like a radio, gps system or satellite phone.
Think light- lighters, matches and a flashlight. New batteries are great too if you have the room to spare for them. The ability to make a fire in a pinch- lighters are easier, but take matches as a backup too, and be sure they are in a waterproof box- can literally be a lifesaver. The ability to see easily and conveniently in the dark is great too.
What about food?
Food and water can also be the difference between life and death. Packs some lightweight energy bars and some easy to carry water. You may also want to take along an empty bottle for urine- just don’t get the two confused! A compass can also be useful for saving your life and locating your prey. Remember it all looks different from up there!
If you’re using a tree stand, invest in a safety belt. They may sound naff, but they can actually also prevent death by falling in case you drop off to sleep. Full safety harnesses are better, but invest in at least the belt. A good folding knife kept on your person can be a good idea too, to cut through straps or entrapments if you come up against some bad luck. You might want this to be your general hunting knife, but if you’re opting for a static knife, you may want to keep this separate for convenience.
Remember your weapons- all of them
Make sure you have everything you need to use the weapon of your choice- be that spare bow strings, arrows and beeswax, or a way to clean a jammed gun. You don’t want to get all the way out there and then find out you left the bullets behind!
What else do I need?
Your choice of hunting knife will be determined by taste, preference and how much of the preparation you intend on doing out in the field, but make sure you have one. Don’t forget to take your tags and licenses, and a pair of elbow-length plastic gloves never goes amiss either. You will likely also need de-scented gloves, rain gear, and extra hat and a vest- depending on the weather. Scent killer is incredibly useful too.
If you want to take a little more, binoculars and a good range finder are invaluable, as can be a folding saw. Whatever lure you intend on using, or scent sprays, will be useful too.
Overall, making sure the hunting gear essentials are in your backpack ensures a safe and happy trip.