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8 Backpack Essentials for Your Hunting Trip

If you’re preparing your pack for a hunting trip, there are a essentials you will need for the journey—whether you’re trekking for tens of uncharted miles or taking a simple morning hunt at a nearby preserve.

Let’s explore eight key items to include in your backpack for your upcoming hunting trip.

1. Gun Storage

Keeping your weapon clean and operational is a top priority while hunting, no matter what type of weapon you’re using to harvest your target species.

If you’re archery hunting, consider packing a carrying case for your bow. If you’re using a traditional firearm, crossbow or an air gun, pick up a designated case or use a backpack big enough to carry your gun.

But if you need to keep your air rifle or firearm out and exposed to the elements while you stalk through the terrain, consider bringing along an extra rag and some oil for cleaning, especially if you plan to camp overnight.

2. Hunting Optics

As you walk through the wilderness, you will need rugged binoculars or a hunting optic, like a laser sight, that can be properly affixed to your weapon and sighted in.

Even if you’re just using iron sights, make sure to reduce knocking the optics. Carry your weapon safely and close to your body to keep the sights from knocking against trees, rocks, or debris.

In addition, consider carrying a small toolkit to adjust your sights while you’re on the trail, just in case you do dislodge them.

3. Hunting Ammo Storage

Like your weapon, your ammunition should also stay clean and dry while on the trail. How you carry ammo safely and securely will depend on the size of your pack, the type of trip you’re taking, and your weapon.

Ammunition storage options include:

  • A dedicated ammo box
  • Bullets loaded in extra magazines
  • In a quiver attached to your archery weapon
  • In a dedicated cloth carrying bag inside your pack

Ammunition canisters are one of the safest ways to store and transport ammunition; they can also double as storage for food and water.

4. Keeping Hydrated While Hunting

To stay hydrated while hunting and avoid feeling lightheaded, make sure to pack as much water and food as you will need, plus extra supplies in case you need to backtrack to the trailhead in an emergency.

So how much food and water do you actually need? Bring at least three nutritious snacks or meals for each day you will be.

Useful hunting pack food can include:

  • Cans of fish or meat
  • Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MREs)
  • Nonperishable cheeses
  • Protein bars

It’s also a good move to pack one half-gallon of water for each day you will be on the trail. And if you’re taking a multi-day trip, mark water and food restocking locations on your map before you leave.

5. Hunting Cords and Rope

Seasoned outdoor adventurers, hikers, and hunters will tell you that you can never have enough hunting rope or cordage.

A heavy-duty cord, like rope or paracord, can be useful for:

  • Holding up your tent if one of your poles breaks
  • Stringing up garbage to keep bears away from your campsite
  • Hanging your harvests from tree limbs for field dressing

Simply put, a little cordage can go a long way on the trail.

Hunting Trip

6. Exposure Protection While Hunting

Even if you’re just hitting the trail for practice with a gel BB gun, don’t forget to pack items that will keep you cool and comfortable on the trail.

These items can include:

  • Ear protection – earbuds, earmuffs, or electronic hearing protection devices
  • Eye protection – UV sunglasses or goggles
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Raincoat
  • Rubber or latex gloves when handling carcasses

If you’re taking a multi-day hike, nothing will spoil your fun more than getting a sunburn or a back full of bug bites on the first day.

7. Blaze Orange Hunting Clothes

Depending on your local regulations, you may be required to wear blaze orange while hunting on a trail. But, even if you aren’t required to, packing blaze orange is a smart move.

You may be asking yourself Why do I Need to Wear Blaze Orange? This specialized shade of orange is invisible to deer, but highly visible to other hunters stalking in the same area.

You never know who you will find on the trail. Wearing blaze orange vest and hat can reduce the chances of novice hunters from firing at you by mistake.

Packing blaze orange in your pack, even if it’s not required, is simply a good hunting safety practice. If you fall on the trail or get lost, pulling out your piece of blaze can also help other hikers or emergency responders find you more quickly.

8. Hunting First Aid Kit

It should go without saying that no hunter’s backpack is complete without at least a rudimentary first aid kit—but, if you’re new to hunting or backpacking, you might not know what you need.

Hunting Disinfection Kit

To address minor injuries on the trail, clean wounds, or to treat major injuries until help arrives, pack the following in your first aid kit:

  • Alcohol prep pads
  • Bandages in a few sizes
  • Betadine
  • Chlorhexidine soap
  • Self-adhering medical tape
  • Sterile gauze
  • Tourniquet

Hunting OTC Medicines

Packing a few doses of over-the-counter medications can come in handy as well:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Antihistamines (allergy medication)
  • Backup doses of any prescription medications you take
  • Cough medicine
  • EpiPen if you have a severe allergy
  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen

If you have room in your pack for additional first aid and safety supplies, consider packing a flare gun, ice packs, heat packs, or hand warmers.

Blaze Orange

Preparing for a Hunting Trip

Whether you’re a first-time hunter or a seasoned outdoor enthusiast, putting together a high-quality pack can make or break your trip. In addition to staples like your weapon, your binoculars, and your camouflage gear, add the supplies listed above into your pack to ensure a safe, successful trip.

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