When you’re out in the bush and all you have to rely on for survival is what is in your hunting pack, you really want to bring what is necessary. Especially, without carrying extra weight. If you’re hiking for hours, your body will get fatigued by the end of the day. Add a 15-pound hunting pack (and possibly coupled with 10,000 ft elevation) that you’re not used to carrying, you’re going to wish you had spent more time exercising and preparing for your hunt.
Our Factor Equipment team has always been a group of avid hunters. However, we all have different opinions about what the most important items for our day hunt packs are. So, we decided to get together and write out a list of the most important items that we never leave the hunting lodge without.
Many hunters determine what they need in their day hunt packs just through trial and error over the years. The best way to figure out what you need is to get out there in the field and experience the tribulations of being a hunter. However, if you are new to the hunting sphere or taking your kids hunting for the first time (this was a great refresher for us since our kids are starting to be old enough now, too), we understand you might not know what to carry in your day packs. So, whether you’re a seasoned or novice hunter, here is what you will find in the hunting day packs of every Factor Equipment team member:
There are many things you need for survival, but water is definitely the most important one. All of us at Factor Equipment agreed that water was the most important item to carry in your hunting day pack. You should always save the majority of the weight in your pack for water. We suggest putting your water supply in a bladder to minimize the amount of space it takes up in your pack. Another alternative is platypus collapsibles that you can put in the bottom of your pack as backups.
First Aid Kit
Whether you get a blister on your heel from your boots, get into a fight with a cactus or cut yourself with your knife, you should carry a small first aid kit in your hunting pack. It can be as simple as two or three small, medium, and large band-aids, antibacterial cream, hand sanitizer, paracord and anti-itch cream. You want to carry enough with you to keep yourself comfortable.
You want to make sure that your rain gear is actually a material that will wick away any moisture. Especially, if you’re hunting on a snowy mountainside and run the risk of your layering system getting soaked. That’s when hypothermia could become a potential problem, and you’ll have to cut your hunt short. Sometimes, you can even set up a regular tarp overhead while you glass a canyon and wait for the rain to dissipate.
When you need your hands free to dress an animal in the dark, a good headlamp is always a good resource to have. Find one that has a long runtime for longer hikes back, and alert mode settings like strobe and SOS for emergency situations. Several of today’s headlamps are so lightweight, you won’t even notice you are wearing it or that it’s even in your pack.
When you’re hiking all day, you tend to get pretty hungry. Many hunters like to carry mixed nuts in their bag and other hunters swear by their jetboils for heating up prepackaged freeze-dried food. If you want to limit your weight, mixed nuts, any kind of jerky, and high-calorie protein bars are probably the method you want to take. However, if you have another pound or pound and a half to spare in your day pack, a jetboil and your favorite prepackaged freeze-dried meal is a great option as well.
A good field dressing knife is pretty important to any hunter’s daypack. Make sure you have a sharp, strong blade while you’re hunting. Factor Equipment’s Hardened Knife was durably handcrafted specifically for any active outdoorsman. It has a convenient drop-point blade that makes for a fast and easy cleanup.
It’s always a safe bet to wear rubber gloves while field dressing any animal. You never know what bacteria or parasites an animal might have. If you have even the smallest scrape on your hand and then dressed your animal without gloves on, you could potentially become very sick. Throw two or three pairs of rubber gloves in your bag just to be sure you have an extra in case one goes missing.
Trash bags/ Game Bags
Trash bags can always get the job done when packing out game. However, if you’re packing out anything larger than a whitetail, it would be worth investing in game bags. Trash bags are more likely to tear when they’re filled with heavy pieces of meat. Game bags can be reusable and overall are much easier to use.
No matter what type of hunting you’re doing, you should always have a survival blanket in your hunting pack. They weigh almost nothing and they hardly take up any space. If you end up tracking an animal late into the night and have to post up camp, you’ll be happy that you had it.
A rangefinder is small and fairly lightweight. It’s important to carry a rangefinder with you when you’re hunting. because you want to make sure that you can make an ethical shot. If you know you can’t make a 700-yard shot, but you see a trophy elk through your binos, then that would be an irresponsible shot to take and you could potentially wound that elk.
On the off chance that you might have to track an animal that you shot as sunset quickly approaches, there is a good chance that you could be tracking that animal well into the night. It’s a good idea to have a great flashlight with 300+ lumens such as the Factor Equipment Mizpah 300 to ensure that you can see what is around you or in your path.
Baby wipes could be used for any number of things whether you have to go to the bathroom out in the woods, get mud and dirt off your hands before you eat, wipe any blood off of you after field dressing an animal, get the sweat off your face after a long day of hiking, clean your knife off, etc.
Fire Starter & Lighter
It’s always smart to carry a lighter because you never know what you might need it for. Whether you need to start a fire because the sunset while you were tracking an animal and you decided to post-camp for the night, you are hurt and need to call attention to yourself, you need to burn the end of some paracord to solidify a knot, etc.
After everything is in your bag, it’s a good idea to put your game call in last. That way, you can easily get to it without making too much noise if you see a nice bull or buck not too far away from where you are hiking.
Put your hunting license in a plastic bag to protect it from the elements. The last thing you want is to cross by a game warden and your hunting license to be illegible because it got wet.
What are some of your favorite items to throw in your hunting day pack? Be sure to leave them in the comments below!