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Create Hunting Gear Checklists for Your Upcoming Trips

Hunting seasons are just around the corner. That means it’s time to finalize your gear choices and create packing lists. Checklists are a valuable means of staying organized. Creating a list now will let you know the exact weight of your pack. With everything accounted for, you can make any necessary adjustments and feel confidently ready for the next hunt.

Consider separating out your gear into storage containers with labels to keep everything in one place while idle. Keep a day trip bin and a backcountry bin. Be ready with your backpacks to mix and match gear as needed for each specific hunt. 

Personalize your own lists and create one for each of your trips this season. Here are a couple of examples to get you started:

 

Day Trip Hunting Checklist

  • Day pack or underloaded multi-day pack with meat hauling capabilities
  • Backpack rain cover
  • Butt pad for glassing
  • Hiking poles
  • Optics - binoculars, spotting scope, range finder, tripod
  • Binocular chest harness
  • Clothing - boots, socks, base layers, mid-layer, rain jacket and pants, heavy layer, gaiters, hat, sunglasses
  • Field dressing knife, replacement blades and/or sharpener
  • Game bags
  • Hunting License
  • Water bottle or bladder
  • Micro water filter, SteriPen or purification tablets
  • First aid and emergency kit (incl. lighter, waterproof matches, survival kit, etc.)
  • Smartphone/GPS with maps
  • Toilet paper (in ziplock)
  • Lunch, trail snacks and supplements
  • Hunting weapon and ammunition
  • Species specific calls
  • Headlamp with spare batteries (in case of a late-night pack out)
 

Backcountry Multi-Day Hunting Checklist

  • Multi-Day Backpack with rain cover
  • Tent, Stakes and Groundcloth
  • Sleeping Bag - 30 degree for summer, 0-degree for late season
  • Sleeping pad
  • Clothing bootssocks, base layer, mid-layer, rain jacket and pants, heavy layer for late season
  • Extra Protection - gaiters, Warm Hat, spare underwear and shirt
  • Hiking Poles
  • Optics - binoculars, spotting scope, range finder, tripod
  • Butt pad for glassing
  • Binocular chest harness
  • Water bottle or bladder
  • Water filter plus backup purification
  • Smartphone/GPS with maps
  • Battery pack with ultralight solar panel for recharging phone, GPS and headlamp
  • Game Bags
  • Hunting License
  • Field dressing knife, replacement blades and/or sharpener
  • Cook system (incl. stove, pot and fuel)
  • First aid and emergency kit (incl. lighter, waterproof matches, survival kit, etc.)
  • Headlamp
  • Backup headlamp or ultralight emergency light
  • Toilet paper (in ziplock bag)
  • Food - dehydrated meals, breakfast items, trail snacks, coffee pouches, supplements & other high density calorie foods as desired.
  • Hunting weapon and ammunition
  • Species specific calls

 

Tips for Shaving Pounds

On multi-day trips, ideally you’ll keep the pack under about 60-pounds (of course depending on your size, the time of year and other factors). Weight will gradually shed as your food supply diminishes. Hiking to a fixed camp location also means you can ditch the weight of your sleep system, cook system and all but your daily ration of food. Hang the remainder of your food supply away from camp when you leave to hunt for the day.  

The sleep system and optics account for a good deal of weight on backpacking trips. Therefore, minimizing the weight of your tent, sleeping pad and optics can make a big difference. Lightweight tarp or tipi style tents can easily drop 3-4 pounds off your shelter. Sleeping pads that weigh mere ounces are also a good choice.  

Optics are a tough call. You can drop the spotting scope and tripod and still be effective with binoculars. It really depends on your preference, the species and the location you’re hunting. On an archery elk hunt in country that’s mostly heavy timber, you can probably get away with 8x binoculars and no spotting scope. While on an open-country hunt for mule deer, those needs would be different. 

Save Your Lists

When you finalize your packing list for a trip, save a digital copy that you can continue to use and adjust for years to come. Each year, you’ll probably make changes. But starting with the previous year’s list will give you a big head start on packing. It will also help you recognize which items are the most helpful, and which unused items you can omit on future trips.

 

By Zach Lazzari | Photos by Ryan McSparran

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