When hunters are out in the bush, they often rely on what they have in their hunting packs for survival. Generally, the items in your hunting day pack will depend primarily on the nature of your pursuit. For instance, a whitetail hunter in the Midwest will have a different pack than an elk hunter in the mountains.
While a seasoned hunting guide can give you some expert advice on what to bring, you still need to do some research as the gear list is constantly evolving. Ideally, you need to make an assessment based on the situation at hand. However, below are some of the items that are considered staples in most hunting day packs:
Item Number 01: Water
While you will need several things to survive your hunt, water is undeniably one of the most important. That said, the majority of the weight in your pack should be saved for water. To ensure it does not take up too much space, consider putting your water supply in a bladder. Another alternative would be to use a platypus collapsible so you can place it at the bottom of your pack.
Item Number 02: First Aid Kit
Whether you cut yourself with a knife, get a blister on your heel, or get into a fight with a cactus, you will need a first aid kit. Your first aid kit can be as simple as a few band aids, hand sanitizer, anti-itch cream, and antibacterial cream.
Item Number 03: Knife
Another important item you should take with you is a good field dressing knife. When hunting, it is recommended that you pick a durably handcrafted knife designed for the active outdoorsman. Your knife of choice should also come with a convenient drop-point blade so you can clean it easily.
Item Number 04: Headlamp
If you need your hands free to dress an animal in the dark, a good headlamp can come in handy. Opt for one with a long runtime for longer hikes back. It would also be ideal to get a lamp with alert mode settings such as strobe and SOS for emergencies. Fortunately, many headlamps today are lightweight, so you won't even notice you have one in your pack.
Item Number 05: Rubber Gloves
When field dressing an animal, wearing rubber gloves is recommended. Come to think of it, you never know the parasites or bacteria the animal might have. If you scrape your hand while dressing your animal, you can potentially get sick without gloves on. Bring at least two pairs of rubber gloves so you will have an extra in case you lose one.
Item Number 06: Rangefinder
Rangefinders are not only small, but they are also lightweight. If you want to make an ethical shot, bringing a rangefinder with you is a must. If you see a trophy elk through your binoculars but believe you can't make a 700-yard shot, it would be irresponsible to take a shot as you can only end up wounding the elk.
Item Number 07: Survival Blanket & Signaling Device
Regardless of the type of hunt you are doing, it is important to have a survival blanket in your hunting pack. Fortunately, survival blankets hardly take up any space. If you are tracking an animal late into the night and you need to post up camp, you will be glad you have a dependable survival blanket with you.
And speaking of survival, aside from your survival blanket, you also need to make sure you have items that can help you signal for help in the event of an emergency. In line with this, make sure you carry a whistle, cellphone, and a light to signal with on your trip. It will also make a world of difference if you research various ways you can signal for help before your hunting trip.
Item Number 08: Flashlight
If you are tracking an animal that you shot as sunset approaches, there is a huge chance you would be tracking the animal well into the night. In similar scenarios, you can use a good flashlight with 300+ lumens so you can see what is in your path or what is around you.
Item Number 09: Baby Wipes
There are countless uses for baby wipes, so make sure you always have them handy. Baby wipes can be used when you have to go to the bathroom, wipe the blood off after field dressing an animal, clean your knife off, or get the sweat off your face and cool down after a long day of hiking.
Item Number 10: Game/Trash Bags
When packing game, trash bags can definitely come in handy. However, if you will pack out an animal larger than a whitetail, bringing game bags would be a good idea. It pays to remember that trash bags can tear easily when filled with heavy pieces of meat.
Item Number 11: Game Call
Once you have all the essentials in your hunting day pack, remember to put your game call last. This is ideal so you can access it easily without making too many movements or noise.
Item Number 12: Hunting License
Another important item you should always take with you is your hunting license. To ensure it is protected from the elements, consider putting it in a plastic bag. The last thing you want is to present a wet and illegible hunting license to a game warden.
Essentially, your hunting day pack should house gear designed to keep you warm, safe, and comfortable. It should also contain meat-cutting equipment and tools. Don't forget to check your day pack before leaving to ensure you have everything you need for a successful, comfortable, and enjoyable hunt.
About the Author
Maren McReynolds is the Content Marketing Director ofBlack Mountain Outfitters, a company that offers world-class guided hunts in New Mexico, Arizona, and South Dakota. When not working, she spends time swimming with her two kids and giving back to the community.