What to Pack in a Hunting Backpack
When you’re stalking game through the bush and want to avoid fatigue, it’s always best to pack light. But even the basics can become burdensome if you don’t plan ahead. Seasoned hunters still swap out items and finetune their hunting pack years after their first kill. After all, no one wants to carry around 30 pounds of gear!
Whether you’re just starting out or want a refresher, here are the vital items that require a spot in your hunting backpack.
What to Pack for a Hunting Trip — the Basics
These are the bare essentials. If you leave any of these items behind, it’s best to turn around and head home.
Knife — A sharp, properly packed field knife is a key component of any hunting backpack. Choosing a knife with a replaceable handle adds a distinct advantage.
Water — Fill a reusable bottle with filtered water to stay hydrated on the hunt. Water can also be used to rinse wounds or wash your hands.
Flashlight — Don’t just grab the one from your kitchen drawer. Invest in a compact, tactical flashlight to help you locate your stand in the morning or track game into the night.
Compass — Don’t risk getting lost in the woods after the thrill of the kill. A battery-free magnetic compass is a foolproof tool for navigating confusing terrain.
Lighter — You never know when you’ll need a portable fire. Lighters are useful for melting loose threads, determining wind direction, and signaling others in case of an emergency.
Hunting License — Don’t give a warden cause to fine you. Carry your hunting license in a plastic bag to protect it from the muck and grime of hunting.
What to Pack for Hunting — Next Level
For larger packs and longer trips, it’s better to veer on the side of caution and pack these more specialized items. You never know when you’ll end up tracking game into the night or have to deal with inclement weather.
Rubber Gloves — When dressing an animal, wearing rubber gloves will help you avoid infecting your hand with bacteria or parasites.
Rope — A piece of rope will increase your efficiency in a myriad of ways. Use rope to secure items to a stand or tree, drag a catch through the woods, or as a sling for your rifle.
Rain Gear — Choose material that will wick away moisture so you don’t get soaked and risk hypothermia. A simple tarp can be effective while you wait for the rain to pass.
Snacks — Keep your pack light by choosing high-protein foods like mixed nuts, jerky, and protein bars for an all-day trek.
Game Calls — Lure bulls and bucks to your circle with a bleat or grunt call. Put these in your bag last for easy access: you don’t want to make too much noise in order to get to your game calls.
Bags — Sure, simple trash bags work fine enough for small creatures and pieces of meat. But if you plan on dragging heavy game, buy some durable and reusable game bags.
What to Put in a Hunting Pack — Total Concealment
Seasoned hunters will want to up their game to catch more game. Certain additions to your hunting backpack will allow you to fully conceal yourself visually and mask your scent.
Camouflage Makeup or Mask — Applying camo makeup or wearing a hunting mask transforms your face from a far-off warning sign for deer into part of the environment.
Camo Glomitts — Depending on the weather, add some lightweight camo mesh gloves or camo glomitts to your pack to prevent your hands from being literal red flags that ward off game.
Scent Killer — A simple spray will keep your presence a secret, even if you work up a sweat at your post.
Bottle — Hear us out! Relieving yourself in the woods is perfectly legal and sanitary, but the scent will ensure deer avoid your area at all costs. Bring a large, empty bottle to remain undetectable.
Camo QALO Ring — Light reflecting from your prized metal wedding ring will instantly give you away. Blend in while remaining stylish with a Brush Camo Modern Ring, or with any of the neutral-toned silicone rings designed by outdoors enthusiast Eva Shockey.