Hunting Daypack Essentials
What you can carry in the field is all you’ve got for your game handling and survival needs. It’s essential to consider what you’re hunting, where you’ll be, and what’s practical. Here’s list to get you started.
- Water – The essence of life. A supply of water is the most important item to have with you at all times.
- Navigation – It’s far easier to get lost in the bush than many hunters imagine, even when you’ve not gone far. A handheld GPS can be invaluable in directing you to stored locations, from your vehicle or camp to a downed animal. A compass is excellent back-up, and never needs batteries.
- Communications – Cell phones are wonderful when you have coverage but hunting often takes us to remote locations where they’re of little value. When hunting the backcountry, consider carrying a satellite phone, or a portable messaging-capable device like SPOT.
- Knife – Knives clean game, cut rope and so much more. Ensure the blade is sharp before heading out and carry a small portable sharpener for touching it up. Many hunters also carry a multi-tool for gear repair, from tightening scope rings to fixing your glasses.
- Game bags and disposable gloves – A great help for cleaning and packing out your game, ensuring you and the meat you harvest stays clean.
- Baby wipes – Whether you have to answer nature’s call, wipe blood or dirt off your hands and face after cleaning an animal, or clean your knife, baby wipes are the go-to solution.
- Headlamp – A quality headlamp allows you two free hands for cleaning game or performing other tasks in the dark. It’s waterproof, lightweight and most have strobe modes for emergency situations.
- First-Aid Kit – Various band-aids, a couple sterile gauze pads, something for pain management, antiseptic wipes and adhesive tape should be your minimum.
- Firestarter – Fires provide warmth, cook food and are effective signals to rescuers. There are lots of options, from simple lighters to magnesium sticks and strikers. Carry waterproof tinder as well.
- Survival blanket – You may go your whole hunting career and never take it out of the package, but it weighs next to nothing and is effective should you need one.
- Parachute cord/Duct tape – Parachute cord is strong, lightweight and has untold applications on a hunt. Duct tape, meanwhile, can nearly do it all—from patching a hole in your pack to repairing torn clothing.
- Licences and ammo – You’re not hunting unless you have both of these in hand.
For more thoughts on what to bring in the field, check out the article in our Start Harvesting Series, Hunting Equipment: The Basics.