Backpack hunting in the wilderness is one of the most freeing ways to hunt and will test your mettle and ingenuity. Backpacking gives you a great way to embark on a nomadic hunt and not be tied down to the radius of a specific campsite.
If you are planning on a day hunt, you need to make sure you bring the right supplies. Even the best hunters can fall prey to the wilderness if they are not adequately prepared. That is why we are here. Today, we are going to talk about how to properly pack a backpack for a day hunt and what kinds of items you should bring along. These items include hunting supplies, first aid supplies, and anything for comfort out in the wild.
In general, we like to divide our hunting gear into three categories, each for a specific purpose
- Safety (emergency gear)
- Success (hunting gear)
- Comfort (clothing, food, etc)
We will cover each in turn and then talk about how to properly pack a backpack for a day hunt.
The Safety category covers all emergency gear you may need. These items include a tourniquet, compact splint, trauma shear, Ham radio for emergency contact, distilled water, eyewash, and a first aid kit with bandages, antiseptic, sunscreen, safety pins, tweezers, rubbing alcohol, and small scissors. Out of all the items you should not neglect to pack, items for your safety are the most important. The last thing you want is to injure yourself and have no way to manage.
We would also include a space blanket in this category. You may think that we would put that in the “comfort” category, but the dangers of exposure and cold temperatures are real. A space blanket is an efficient and lightweight method to make sure you stay warm during the night.
Other common items you should include from the safety category are
- Waterproof matches
- A paracord or other kind of rope
Items in the “success” category include your hunting gear and whatever else you need to make your hunting successful. If you are a regular hunter, you probably already know what kinds of hunting gear you need so we won’t belabor the point too much here. The best approach in this circumstance is if you wonder whether you need it or not, you probably don’t. However, there are a few key items we can list here
- Extra bullets (arrowheads for bow users)
- Topographical map or GPS
- Headlamp or heavy-duty flashlight
- Game calls
- Gloves and bags for field dressing
Our last category is items needed for comforts, such as clothing or shelter amenities. If you are doing a day hunt, you won’t need a tent or sleeping bag which opens up a lot of extra space in your backpack.
Other common items related to comfort include
- Extra socks (seriously, blisters are no fun)
- Rain gear
- Proper hunting attire
- Energy bars and snacks
How to Pack a Hunting Backpack
The basic method to pack a hunting backpack is to put the things you will need last at the very bottom of the bag. This includes things like field-dressing equipment, tags, game bags, and other items for the end of the hunt. Once you bag your game you won’t have to worry about stealth while you dig through your stuff.
The second layer should have backup clothing and weather gear like rain jackets and socks. These should be things that you won’t need first access to but might need to access if conditions change while on the hunt.
The topmost layer of the central pocket should include your hunting gear like binoculars, game calls, and scouting instruments. You will need consistent access to these things so they should be at the top of the bag.
Lastly, food and snacks should be placed in the side pockets so you have easy access without having to take your backpack off. Remember that if your backpack has a hydration bladder, you may have to take it out to fit everything. That’s why we recommend taking a bottle of water instead.
Day hunting is a great way to connect with nature and test your skills but you don’t want to be caught with your pants down metaphorically speaking. That is why you should take time to prepare and properly pack your gear. Just remember the 3 categories safety, success, and comfort, and you should do just fine.