How to Pack for a Long Hunt: The Complete Guide
When planning any trip packing can be a burden. Deciding what you will need for clothes, shoes, and sometimes even toiletries. Trying to predict weather conditions is nearly impossible, making it difficult to figure out how warm or cool your clothing should be. Not knowing tends to make us overpack, causing you more hassle than worth.
The checklist for a long hunt
Packing for a long hunting trip can have you in that same situation. Sure you can look to see the weather forecast ahead of time, but do you really trust mother nature that much? Using resources such as this guide can give you an advantage when it comes to being ready.
We will cover the clothing you should have on hand, as well as some of the must-have gear to keep handy. Some hunters will pack a separate backpack just for going out into the woods. This allows them to travel lightweight and smart during their hunt. Any experienced hunter can and will tell you that you need to be prepared for any situation.
Tips for Packing Your Hunting Bag
- This may seem time consuming, but weighing your gear can be beneficial. Look for the most lightweight gear possible. This will prevent you from carrying a heavy load into the woods. Remember, if you are successful on your hunt, you will also have to drag your prize out of the woods.
- Before heading out always be sure to waterproof your hunting backpack. This will keep your gear protected from moisture. There is nothing worse than getting caught in the rain unprepared.
- Pack only the essentials, always ask yourself “Do I really need this item?”, this will help you decide whether or not it is essential. You really don’t want the extra weight in your pack if it’s not necessary.
- If you plan to do any camping on your hunt, cooking equipment will be necessary. One good thing to keep in mind, try to find equipment that will fit inside of each other. This will be a big space saver for you, some companies will sell nesting cooking equipment. These are great for this purpose. Put your equipment into a cloth bag inside of your pack. Doing so will reduce the amount of noise the equipment makes when clinking together.
- Take your time while choosing a backpack, you want one that fits to your back. This will reduce the stress to your back considerably. Finding one that has some breathability will cut down on the amount of sweating you may do.
- Choose some gear that can be multi-purposeful. For example, when choosing a knife find one that can be used to not only dress your game, but around the camp as well.
- Check your pack regularly to be sure you have everything before heading out. It may seem redundant, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Getting on the trail and finding out you left something behind is a miserable experience.
Keeping these tips in mind, we can take a look at some examples of what an average hunting pack may have inside.
Useful Items Found In Hunting Bags
- Heavy duty rope: This can come in handy for many situations. For those using a tree stand, you may want the rope to hoist up your gear after you situated into your stand. When camping the rope can be used to tie things down, which will prevent things from being blown away.
- Rain protection: A die hard hunter will tell you that a little rain shouldn’t delay your hunt. Carrying a form of rain protection can keep both you and your gear dry during the rain.
- Flashlight or headlamp: This makes travel in the early hours as well as in the evening a little easier. If you get caught up chasing that blood trail, you won’t want to lose sight once it gets dark.
- Water and snacks: Packing both of these can be beneficial. You don’t want to get yourself turned around in the woods without food and water. When packing water, it is best to use a thicker plastic bottle. The thin bottles tend to make too much noise. As for snacks, things like granola bars, protein bars, or beef jerky tend to travel well.
- Duct Tape: Hey you never know when you might need to patch something up so you can continue hunting.
- First aid kit: You can find relatively small sized first aid kits that won’t take up a ton of space in your pack. Trust me you won’t be sorry you packed this.
- Toe and hand warmers: Even if you think it is going to be warm, these are always a must have. In some areas the days can be warm while the nights get colder. An extra heat source never hurt anyone, besides they are very lightweight, so you won’t even notice them.
- Binoculars: This will help you see what is coming in the distance. Over the years they have become more compact and lightweight. Finding room for them in your pack shouldn’t be a problem.
- Folding knife: Putting your knife in the same pocket of your pack after every use is a good habit to get into. This will ensure that it is always there when you need it.
- Zipper storage bags: For those who are camping during their hunt, you can get XL bags for storing your meat. This will help you to preserve the meat while minimizing the space needed for storage.
- Toilet paper: Everyone has to go at some point, so why not be prepared!
- GPS: These are great for marking your location, as well as marking your path. This can help prevent you from getting lost while tracking.
- Compass: Simply because we all know technology can sometimes fail us. Having a compass as a back up plan, so at least you know the direction you are heading.
- Lighter and paper: If needed, you can start a fire to keep warm if you get stranded. This can also help signal emergency personnel, in the event you need them. Smoke coming from the middle of the woods will definitely raise some eyebrows.
- Extra clothing: These can keep you warm and dry when raining. If it is cold you can add a layer to prolong your hunt. In the event it does rain, you have the option to get out of your wet clothing.
- Disposable gloves: These are great for field dressing, they will keep your hand clean and dry. A box of these are a cheap, yet useful expense.
- Tarp: Some hunters will carry a smaller tarp in their pack. Mainly in case they need to make a temporary shelter. But if you do get that huge deer, dragging it on the tarp back to camp or your vehicle might be easier than trying to carry it.
- Scent eliminator: With all the new products now, you won’t need to cover yourself in doe urine, to mask your own scent anymore. Look at your local sporting goods store they probably have a full aisle of these products.
- Extra ammo or bow release: Most hunters will travel with these things in their vehicle when on a hunting trip. Having extra in your bag never hurts anything. That way you can be sure you have what you need when you get to your stand.
- Map of the area: This will help you familiarize yourself with your surroundings. It is also helpful if you do get turned around somehow in the woods.
- Hunting License and tags: Keeping both of these in your pack will ensure that you won’t forget them. Most states require that they be on your person while hunting.
Now you have a few good ideas of what you may find in a hunting pack. This brings us to what type of clothes you may need for your hunt. It is recommended that you first consider where you will be hunting. This can help you determine whether you need a lot of extra layers or just a few. Keep in mind that weather forecasts are not always accurate, so packing for all occasions can be useful.
We can give you some general ideas of what type of clothing you can expect to pack. Only you can decide how prepared you wish to be. Always check the state laws for the area you will be hunting,as some states have specific laws for clothing color.
Hunting Clothes Packing List
- Orange safety vest
- Jacket (suited for the climate you will be hunting in)
- Pants (both jeans and wool)
- Long underwear or base layer
- Gloves ( thin and thick)
- Socks (as well as thicker socks)
- Winter hat (this may need to be orange)
- Shirts (some heavier and lighter)
- Always pack a few extra socks, pants, and shirts!!
Having reviewed this basic list should give you a general idea of what should be in your clothes bag. When choosing a jacket, be sure if you know it is cold that this jacket will keep you warm and dry. Weather proofing your jacket whenever possible is a great idea.
For climates that are colder, wool and fleece material clothing is said to keep you warmer than cotton or other materials. Also finding good thermal gear is essential. You may have to pay a little more, but you won’t regret doing this. When packing socks, my mother always told me you can never have to many pairs. Boy was she right! There is no worse feeling than cold, wet feet.
In warmer climates, look for gear that is made for heat. Wearing loose fitting clothing will provide airflow reducing the amount of sweat. If you are hunting in warmer climate, having extra clothes will allow you to change more often. This will cut down on the risk of having your scent detected in the woods.
As for what type of boots you should use, you will want to consider the terrain you will be traveling over. Hiking boots are more durable for rougher terrain, but you may want to consider bringing some boot gaiters. These will protect your pants and legs from water. For more ankle support, choosing a boot that goes over your ankle are best for that. Muck boots are a go to for hunters who will be in the mud or wetter areas during the hunt. These boots don’t typically have the comfort of hiking boots, so extra socks or boot liners may be necessary.
If your trip is planned with a guide or friend from the area you will be hunting, check with them for what additional items you may want to pack. They should be able to give you the information you need to be prepared. You can also do some additional research via the internet, about the terrain and climate for the area.
One thing I will recommend is that if you are purchasing new clothing and boots for your trip, be sure to get them well ahead of time. This will give you ample time to break in your new boots, as well as washing and wearing your clothing. This will offer you a higher level of comfort on your trip. As breaking in your gear in the field during a hunt can make you uncomfortable.
Additional Gear That Can be Packed for Hunting
- Hiking Pole
- Cartridge holder for your belt
- Knife sharpener
- Emergency locator
- Wind meter
- Range finder
- Harness for binoculars
- Bright ribbon for marking blood trails
- Shooting stick
- Wet wipes
- Battery pack (for your cell phone)
Now get packing and go after that trophy your seeking. Most importantly, have fun, be prepared, and stay safe. Making memories can be one of the most exciting aspects of anyone’s life.
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