The woods are a place of solitude, peace, and respect. Any long period of time spent in the great outdoors leaves anyone feeling alive in their soul. There are many benefits to being outside and many ways to spend time in nature. Hiking, biking, and hunting are just a few ways to get outside.
If you find hunting the most invigorating way to get into nature, then you understand what it means to be prepared. Preparation for hunting is no simple task, but it can be made easier with a better understanding of what is essential in your day pack.
We hope to help you simplify your hunting packs and ease your prep time.
The Best Gear
For thousands of years, hunting has been equal parts survival-based and recreational pastime.
Whether you are out for the day hunting a pronghorn deer or you are out searching for squirrels, specific items and gear are necessary to make your trip more successful. No hunter is the same, and everyone’s loadout will differ.
Here are a few things that tend to sit in the middle of the hunting Venn diagram:
Outfit of the Day
“Dress for success” has never been a more critical phrase. When it comes to hunting, one might amend it slightly: “Dress for success and for safety” is a more accurate sentiment.
Hunters are advised to dress in bright colors — red, orange, and neon green are all classics. If your dog is along for the ride, they’ll also need a bright green or orange vest. In fact, in some hunting seasons, hunters are required to wear blaze orange. Blaze orange sticks out like a sore thumb to people, but deers can’t see it at all — a win/win.
Grab a camo hat to keep the sun out of your eyes, and you’re all set.
Depending on the season, pants may seem overkill, but pants offer some protection from snake bites, scratches from the underbrush, and tick bites.
Hunting comes with some potential hazards, but with a handy checklist, we can protect ourselves the best we can.
A Reliable Bag
Most hunting seasons entail some amount of walking. If you know you’ll have to hike, bring a sturdy bag to make the trek with you.
A backpack cooler is a practical and efficient style of bag. It is easy to carry for a long period of time, and it won’t slip off like an over-the-shoulder bag does. With a backpack, you can climb a mountain or a tree since your hands are free.
The best backpack coolers will be lightweight, have side pockets, padded straps, and a breathable mesh backing. Side pockets are also a must-have. Such pockets will keep your pack divided and organized, so you don’t need to stress about finding your gear in a timely manner.
Your Go-To Hunting Tools
Different seasons bring about different ways to hunt. Archery, muzzleloader, and rifle seasons are just a few of the specific seasons you can try to find your catch of the month. Choose whichever type works best for you!
Other items that are helpful to carry in your pack are a sharp knife, a multi-tool, rope, additional ammo, a map of the area you are in (in case you don’t have phone service), and a compass. Other non-essential but helpful items to keep in your pack are hand sanitizer, matches, and a flashlight.
Ultimately, the length of your trip and your hunting type will inform how heavy or light you can pack the rest of your bag.
The Best Snacks for Hunters
Most hunts begin in the early hours of the day when the world is just starting to wake up. The air is crisp, but your eyes are still heavy — it isn’t always easy to wake up at the crack of dawn. Since it is difficult for some to wake up extra early in the morning, it is understandable to skip out on making a hearty breakfast. This is where snacks save the day.
If you know you will be spending most of your day walking in the woods, it is best to pack high-protein snacks. Foods that are high in protein are good for helping you stay energized while also helping you remain full longer.
A typical go-to road trip snack, beef jerky is delicious and easy to pack. It is a perfect snack for a long day of hunting because it is packed with protein and flavor. Also, what better way to embrace your inner woodsman than eating a whole bag of jerky?
Beef jerky is an ideal hunting snack because it is very lightweight; lighter foods are optimal since they won’t weigh down your pack.
Jerky is also a fabulous motivator because jerky can be made from deer, bear, and almost any other meaty game available to hunt. So, if you’re successful on your next hunting trip, you won’t need to buy any more jerky for the rest of the season.
If you’re looking for a high-protein snack but aren’t a fan of meat, mixed nuts are a great alternative. Another easily transportable snack, nuts are a delicious and healthy option to take with you on your journey.
Peanuts, cashews, pistachios, and almonds are healthy and nutrient-dense nuts. These nuts are high in protein and can boost your metabolism, which makes you feel more energized.
Another benefit to nuts is they’re rich in sodium and potassium — two nutrients that are important for maintaining energy throughout your long day. Food is fuel, so it is important to feed your body the best fuel to keep you going.
Granola / Protein Bars
Since you will be spending most of the day tromping through the woods, the more dense in protein and calories your snacks are, the longer you will be able to last outside. Granola and protein bars are easily carried and stored, making perfect hunting snacks.
Rich in fiber and calories, granola bars and protein bars help you feel fuller longer. So, before your next trip, add granola bars to the shopping list.
Other Cold Cuts
A small, soft cooler may be a handy addition to your load if you are willing to add a little extra weight to your pack. Good for keeping sandwiches and water chilled, coolers are worth the extra weight, especially on hot days.
In a moderate climate, it is recommended that men drink around 3.7 liters (15.5 cups) of water and women drink 2.7 liters (11.5 cups) of water each day. This recommended daily water intake is for an individual at rest. So, the more active you are, the more water you need to drink.
To understand how much water you should drink, you need to understand the strain of your activity (Are you moving around a lot, or are you a stationary hunter?) and the climate you are in. Both of these factors affect how much water you should add to your pack.
Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Water is essential for everyday function. On your hunting trip, it is necessary to drink enough water so that you don’t grow fatigued during your journey. A high-quality reusable water bottle, ideally one 20-36 ounces, is an essential item on the packing list.
For some, coffee may be a big motivator in getting up in the morning. For hunters, it may just be the extra boost necessary to get the day started. Coffee helps wake you up in the morning, and it helps you stay energized throughout the day.
You shouldn’t worry about weighing down your pack with coffee because the cup will be empty on your way back. You may start out with some extra weight, but the fun part about beverages is they’re much lighter after the day is over. If you’re a coffee drinker, take your cup to the woods and breathe in the aroma of coffee and the misty morning forests.
Hunting is an activity that many men and women look forward to. At times, it can be exciting, exhausting, and eventful. While other times, nothing may happen. Hit or miss, hunting is an excellent opportunity to get outside.
Now that you are equipped with the essential items to make your hunting pack just right, it is your turn to make your list and check it twice.
Take the time to enjoy your trip without the stress of packing too much or too little. We hope you enjoy your time in the woods!