Shooting Mystery is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Essential Hunting Gear for Beginners [Complete Checklist]

Essential Hunting Gear for Beginners

The joy you get in hunting and the knowledge about hunting gear are directly proportional.

But, there is no shame in being a beginner!

As they say, everyone has to start SOMEWHERE. The same is true for hunting, too!

This article lists all the essential hunting gear for newbies, including some gear reviews and how they can help you.

Ready? Let’s dive right in!

Hunting Gear Checklist for Beginners

Before anything else, remember that these hunting gear list prioritized equipment created for beginners with minimal hunting investment.

As they say, these are the BASICS.

Once you become more comfortable and accustomed to hunting, you’re more than welcome to add more.

Without further ado, here are the best hunting equipment and gear for beginners.

1. Appropriate Hunting Clothing

Hunting clothes

You will need THREE layers for your hunting clothing: the base layer, an insulating layer, and an outer shell layer.

The BASE layer is the layer that touches your skin. We recommend choosing items made of synthetic polyester or merino wool.

Avoid cotton at all costs!

Use this material for your underwear, bottoms, tops, and socks. This will help you in absorbing sweat and in moderating your body temperature.

For your insulating layer, you can get by with regular fleece jackets, sweatshirts, and jeans. The goal is a wool or polyester jacket.

Pricey, but a great investment nevertheless!

Lastly, the outer shell layer consists of your hunting jackets, pants, and the like.

The pattern will depend on which state you are from and the hunting activity that you are doing.

We recommend hunting clothing from HECS as they are created with technology designed to avoid the electromagnetic sensing of animals, especially for bow hunting.

In terms of design, their clothing is ULTRA-lightweight and breathable!

You can spend the whole day in Stealthscreen fabric and will have an easier time deer hunting because of its flexibility.

Why Is Proper Clothing Important to Hunters?

Your hunting trip hugely depends on the quality of your hunting clothing.

Feeling too cold or too hot in the middle of the woods is not a good thing! Hunting has unpredictable conditions, and hunting clothing is your first line of defense.

Different activities require different materials, but everything must be breathable!

To be sure, essential hunting gear starts with hunting clothing that is water and wind-resistant. These materials will help seal the body warmth you need for cold places.

When it comes to size, choose something slightly larger than what you would normally wear. The air space will let you hold your body heat.

Are you going deer hunting? You’d need something quiet when you move so you can get closer to your prey and have better accuracy.

PRO TIP: To test your hunting clothing, wear them at the store and start walking around it. Try moving your arms around to see if it makes noise. Do the same with a pair of boots.

The right hunting clothing is an investment, of course. But the things we mentioned above are the absolute minimum.

2. Hunting Weapons

Two hunters

Aside from having the right hunting clothing, the right hunting weapon will also MAKE or BREAK your first hunting trip!

Consider this factor when choosing your hunting weapon.

Your state regulations are important! Depending on what’s allowed, you can choose between using bow hunting, hunting rifles, or rifle scopes.

Let’s explore your options one by one.

Bows and Arrows

When it comes to hunting equipment, using bows and arrows takes A LOT of practice.

Bows have an effective range of around 50 yards, meaning you must hunt more closely to your intended animal.

If you really want to try deer hunting with the bow as your hunting equipment, try practicing bow shooting first.

There are a lot of archery classes that will not only improve your aim but also make you more acquainted with your bow.

Another advantage of using this traditional hunting gear is that it is easier to carry than a firearm. A newbie hunter will not get overwhelmed as there are fewer safety concerns.

Hunting Rifles

There are a lot of debates when it comes to the best hunting weapon for beginners. One other piece of advice is that you start with a firearm on your first hunt.

You have three options when you are hunting using a rifle.

  • Caliber .243 (two forty-three)
  • .270 (two seventy)
  • .30-06 (thirty ought six)

Let us tell you the difference.

The .243 has enough gunpowder to quickly kill a deer. The positive side is that it has very little kickback.

Meanwhile, the .270 and the .30-06 are lifetime hunting rifles.

Veteran hunters swear by these trustworthy guns to deliver a quick kill during deer hunting, elk hunting, and the like.

They’re built for squeezing as much velocity as possible for long, accurate shots.

This is ideal when your hunting trip has an ideal stand, or you are used to long-range aiming. Hunters usually use these guns when their preys are really sensitive to sounds, like deers.

Rifle Scopes

Rifle scope

Rifle scopes improve the vision and accuracy of the firearm.

This is one of the BEST hunting equipment for new hunters as it minimizes error and helps in shooting more deer.

Rifle scopes from Vortex boast extra-low dispersion glass and fully multi-coated lenses, resulting in a bright and clear picture.

It also has exposed tactical turrets and a side parallax knob which helps hunters aim better in long-distance precision shooting.

Some optics and rifle scopes from Vortex are also waterproof and fog-proof!



Since some hunting regulations don’t allow rifles, new hunters can carry a shotgun as an alternative.

Aside from having a longer and more effective range, using a firearm takes less practice than using a bow and arrow for hunting.

This shotgun is the Mossberg Maverick 88 in 12 gauge, one of the inexpensive models for hunting.

It also has removable plugs if you want to go waterfowl hunting! The strong gunpowder can take down a big animal with as little kickback as possible.

This shotgun is an IDEAL and the best hunting weapon for someone still learning how to shoot.

3. Hunting Gear and Equipment

Man looking through binoculars

The best hunting weapon is useless when you can’t see anything, right?

A few pieces to compliment your hunting gear list would be things that will help your vision.

New hunters would benefit from investing in these miscellaneous items under this essential hunting gear list.



Most monoculars have a magnification between 5 and 10, which are a must if you plan to travel lightly. This is a must if you plan on moving from one place to another.

They are also decent in low-light settings, especially if you are deer hunting during dusk or dawn.


Pair of binoculars

Binoculars can have up to 20x magnification and multi-layer coated aspherical lenses that will provide a high-definition view with minimal transmission.

This is an essential part of your hunting gear checklist, especially if you have been watching something for a long time.

Not to mention most binoculars are suitable for harsh situations!

For instance, in elk hunting, a hunter must be able to see the elk from a high vantage point or from a tree stand. Binoculars are useful for precision and accurate aim.

We recommend that you do not submerge binoculars under water as it can also affect their brightness and clarity.



A hunting gear checklist is never complete without carrying in equipment for illumination.

A tactical flashlight can have multiple adjustment methods for different situations.

Some even have additional features like a flash jump reminder and an SOS emergency rescue in case of an unexpected situation during your hunt.

Some flashlights, like police flashlights, can withstand harsh handling. We recommend that you put them inside your backpack during the daytime to avoid an accidental fall into the water or misplacement.

This is also an essential item when you are going camping during your hunt.

Pack extra batteries if your flashlight is not rechargeable!

4. Hunting Knife


A hunting knife is another important part of your hunting gear list!

Aside from being handy, it performs various functions that will help you in the woods.

A good hunting knife would have a short blade — which can be around 4 inches. In terms of the mechanism, choose a fixed or folding blade knife for a quicker response.

While a folding blade knife takes longer to unlock, it’s much safer, especially when you’re not used to using sharp objects on your first hunting trip.

The ideal hunting knife boasts stainless steel, can have replacement blades, and have excellent edge retention.

Excellent edge retention means you won’t have to sharpen your blade frequently, no matter how often you use it for cutting rope or field dressing.

This feature is useful when your hunt takes a couple of days or weeks.

When you’re in the middle of the woods, you will find that a knife is essential for both camping and the hunt itself.

Just wipe it with toilet paper to prevent rusting.

Believe us; the absolute minimum is for the knife to be securely fastened, as there are a lot of possible situations during the hunt that will require you to bring a knife out quickly!

5. Hunting Backpack

Open backpack

Your hunting backpack will ensure protection for all of your hunting equipment.

This bag will help protect your hunting gear from the elements, such as the rain and extreme heat.

What’s important for a hunting backpack is its COLOR.

Avoid flashy colors like neon and other bright colors like yellow and orange. Instead, opt for black, brown, gray, or green.

Your clothing, extra boots, food during the hunt, and other items essential for camping must be protected by a reliable bag.

It’s also a plus to get one with an ergonomic design that will keep your hunting gear organized and a few pieces easily accessible, such as staple items like food.

We urge you to also buy one that is lightweight and durable, perfect if your hunt involves stalking a deer, an elk, or fowl.

6. First Aid Kit

First aid kits

In case anything goes awry during a hunt, or maybe you catch a cold and need some good rest, some first aid is a good option when there is no nearby camping ground.

Have a first aid kit that has burn cream packets, ibuprofen, gauze roll, and other items used for different wounds and situations.

7. Pair of Hunting Boots

Hunting boots

Sometimes, the hunting gear checklist isn’t always about what you’re carrying, but what is carrying YOU (a.k.a your pair of boots).

Your gear will not be complete without a pair of dependable hunting boots.

Your pair of boots must be durable enough to last all the conditions you’ll experience in the woods. They should also be 100% waterproof.

It’s also a plus if they’re lined with a breathable mesh design, like much of your hunting clothing.

Aside from that, it helps if your boots are contoured to prevent slipping, which is important when your hunt trail is slippery, when it is raining, or when you’re up in a tree stand.

Additional Hunting Tips for Beginners

You now know about all the things you should bring and wear.

Here are some important tips you should keep in mind before starting your next/first hunt!

#1 Prepare Emergency Supplies

First aid kit icon

While they are not part of the main list of hunting equipment and gear reviews, emergency supplies are also important, especially if you are on your first hunt.

The thing is, ANYTHING can happen in the woods, especially when you are camping. These emergency supplies are as important as any other piece inside your backpack.

Believe us; these items may save a life. Aside from first-aid, make sure you prepare the following:

  • Toilet paper
  • Extra batteries
  • Extra food
  • Bug repellent

#2 Invest in Tree Stands/Ground Blind

Tower icon

Want to absolutely increase your chances of seeing a deer?

The key is to create a ground blind or a stand with a safety harness on a tree.

If your hunting equipment is a bow, a tree stand will offer you more advantages as the need for movement absolutely increase.

Ensure you have a pair/buddy to spot you.

#3 Know Essential Skills

Person in safety attire icon

Your hunting license will not include other survival skills, but it is paramount to know other stuff like cutting rope, how to field dress a deer, and climbing a tree.

If you want to save money, you can also learn how to repair your pair of boots, clothing, or gloves.

You can even learn how to make a water bottle silencer in case the situation calls for it!

It’s not enough to just know how to shoot.

The key is to master your gear and your role in the hunt, like spotting more deer from a tree stand or knowing how to save food.

Part of the hunt is cooking your catch to become food. Ensure proper cooking, too!

Final Words

Man looking through rifle scope

We hope this article helped you put together your essential hunting gear list.

Your first hunting trip can be both exciting and overwhelming, and our goal is to help you prepare as much as possible for anything.

Happy hunting!



July 12, 2022 - Made major updates to content, updated aritcle title
June 14, 2022 - Made minor updates to content
May 30, 2022 - Added 1 new article link
September 8, 2021 - Reviewed and updated article links

About the author