Ah, yes! It’s that time of the season and the spirit of the hunt CALLS YOU!
We know that preparing for a rifle hunting trip can be overwhelming with the JACK LOAD of things to consider.
Excited? Confused? Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Whether you’re out to catch a deer, a dove, or an elk, BEING ORGANIZED about hunting gear helps!
That’s why we made this hunting pack list of stuff you should always consider when you’re out in the great outdoors!
Hunting Pack List Essentials Guide
What should be in the hunting pack?
Well, of course, this trip CAN’T be called a hunting trip without proper preparation and tools.
Choosing the right ones is a tedious pre-meditation for hunters, with a load of stuff to consider like:
- Weather conditions
- The plot of a base camp
- The intense hiking
Hunting is a lifestyle that rewards proper research, knowledge of the woods, and PREPAREDNESS in the hunting areas.
If you think about it, Davey Crockett wouldn’t be who he is in hunting history by being the most impulsive and reckless hunter, right?
But also, properly contemplating the stuff to have in your backpack can really help you achieve that!
1. Prepare Your Daypack
Think really well about the hunting gear you need before TAKING ON THE WILD! Ask yourself:
- Is this a shooting trip?
- Is this an archery hunt for deer?
Base all the equipment that you’ll be bringing to the things that you plan on doing throughout the trip.
Also, consider the kind of creatures you’d be hunting for in the field.
Deer hunting needs different equipment compared to a buck or elk hunt, mind you!
Another thing you should always consider on your trip is to bring a quality knife you can RELY ON!
A good quality hunting knife is your bread and butter! It can be used to get you out of sticky situations and make a clean, ethical kill.
To expand your field of view better, bringing a pair of binoculars can really help you spot that prized deer!
And of course, we cannot forget about the essentials for nighttime treks, like a flashlight or a headlamp! A small and simple thing like this CANNOT be forgotten!
Having a flashlight on you at all times can definitely pull you out of UNEXPECTED situations.
Most importantly, bringing your hunting license is something you should never forget. You should always have the hunting license inside your pack at all times, just in case!
Get on the Fast Track with a Daypack
Considering where to put all of your essentials is one of the key things for a comfortable experience, and getting reliable backpacking gear is the first step to being an efficient deer or game hunter in the field.
Having a daypack that’s specifically made for rifle hunting is highly beneficial with its subtle camo pattern and quietness to help you blend in and not disturb the ecosystem around you.
Plus, having a daypack light enough can be a HUGE HELP! You’ll be having this thing on your back the entire day on the field!
DAYPACKS ARE YOUR GEAR AND BACK’S BEST FRIEND.
Bow or Rifle?
This age-old hunting question is just really based on personal preference!
There are certain characteristics for each, like:
For the bow:
- Quiet shots
- Higher skill ceiling
- Requires practice with a bow and an arrow
For the rifle:
- More welcoming for beginners
- Missing shots on a rifle mean missing opportunities because of the noise
- Relatively cheaper
- Can feature attachments like flashlights for ease of use on the field.
Your Hunting Daypack Checklist
- Tree Stand
- Fixed-blade hunting knife
- Hunting license
- Standard flipper knife
- Ammo (and extra ammo)
- Scope for your rifle
- Cell phone or GPS
- Game Calls
- Bow and Arrow
- Shooting sticks
- Game Bags
- Nylon cord
- Long-lasting AA flashlight
2. Camping Gear
It’s not a hunt trip without the joy of camping!
Of course, the sight of a warm bonfire and cozy tents is a comforting way to end the day after a long day of tracking, hiking, and shooting.
Setting up camp in the woods is definitely one of the most satisfying experiences of the hunt, but also takes some logistics and planning, too.
REMEMBER: Prepping the right kind of camp gear is of UTMOST IMPORTANCE!
You’ll be building your place of rest, retreat, and share meals with your co-hunters in the woods!
Selecting the right kind of tent to use depending on the weather conditions, making sure that the place is secure and cleaned up right after your stay are the stuff that you should always consider.
Your Camping Gear Checklist
- Sleeping bag
- Layering system
- Sturdy & durable flashlight (like a police flashlight)
- OTF Knife
- Fire starter
- Hand sanitizer
- Plastic bag
- Wet wipes
- Duct tape or electrical tape
- Toilet paper
3. Kitchen & Cooking Supplies
Hunting is a LONG and REALLY TIRING hobby, but it’s ALL WORTH IT after a fulfilling day in the woods!
But of course, we need to replenish and refresh ourselves as hunters who have had a long day hunting for wildlife.
We mean, who wouldn’t want a nice and hot meal after a long day of lugging HEAVY GEAR or hunting for the perfect deer all day, right?
Setting up a field kitchen with buddies is the perfect way to bond and talk about the day!
Just imagine the fun feeling of talking about the day over some freshly roasted game, some hot tea, and snacks?
Maybe you wanted to talk about that elk you were chasing or the deer that you thought was the most beautiful one you’ve ever seen?
Sounds like a dream right?
Setting up your supplies in the camp is a good way to get started right after pitching the tents.
It’s also best to make sure that you have a supply of clean water!
HUNT HACK: Using those LifeStraws definitely saves a lot of trouble, as it enables you to drink from any source in the wild!
Of course, for cooking, you’ll need a stove, too!
Stoves that have butane often burn out quickly, especially in windy environments. It’s best to invest in one that burns white gas to keep it running, despite any weather!
Consider titanium hardware over steel, as it is more durable.
Packing these kitchen gear will not only ensure your fresh meals but also some time to bond with your friends while you’re out and about!
Your Field Kitchen Checklist
- Water Supply
- Water Bottles
- Cook Pot
- Sandwich Bag
- Fire starter
- Camping Stove
4. Food and Snacks
Food is life. We wouldn’t deny that!
We love gorging on our favorite meals as much as we love hunting.
There’s nothing like eating your favorite food for comfort while out in the wild. Part of the joy of hunting is to celebrate the spoils and to have a fresh roast of the day’s catch.
Some may opt to roast a healthy slice of game, like deer or elk meat after a long day hunt in the true outdoorsman spirit!
Otherwise, bringing meal ready-to-eat (MRE) products is also an effective way to cut down all the weight in your equipment and supplies pack.
Check out this list of food that we recommend bringing for that OUTDOOR ALFRESCO experience:
- Cereals, instant oatmeal, coffee, and tea for breakfast.
- Dried beef jerky pack, canned meat, trail mix, and tortillas for lunch
- Freeze-dried dinners, ramen noodle pack, instant pudding for that easy just-add-water dinner experience
5. Appropriate Clothes and Rain Gear
We need to set something straight…
Being in the great outdoors exposes us to various uncontrollable elements and the possibility of extreme weather conditions!
While setting up the tents in the camp can protect us well, it’s still best to bring the right kind of clothing for the weather, temperature, and environment.
The Right Clothes
Take this situation for example:
In a hot and humid environment, the last thing we’d want to wear is a heavy cotton shirt and really thick denim jeans. THAT’S GONNA MAKE US SWEAT BUCKETS!
We wouldn’t want to go through that extremely uncomfortable experience while hunting, right?
Bringing the right kind of clothing during hunts makes the BIGGEST difference in our experience and focus while hunting for that coveted deer!
Instead of heavy stuff, you may prefer to wear something like a light polyester t-shirt and some light yet durable pants! Even better, get a HECS Suit.
This will not only make the heavy temperatures more bearable but MORE COMFORTABLE!
Don’t forget your hat, too! It can definitely help out in keeping the sun away from your sights!
Considering these while packing clothes before your expedition will surely help you tons!
Bring the Rain Gear
Hunting in the rain can be a huge pain in the ass, but getting the right kind of gear to protect you from the pouring water and the cold weather will surely protect you better!
It’s great to invest in heavy jackets and fleece to keep the warmth in and feel your best all throughout!
We talk more about this in our Guide on Keeping Your Feet Warm During Hunting Season
Your Clothing Checklist
Hot and humid weather:
- Hiking boots
- Lightweight socks
- Lightweight shirt
- Lightweight pants
Cold and rainy weather:
- Fleece shirt and jacket
- Fleece-lined pants
- Lightweight gloves
- Lightweight hat
- Warm hat
- Wool scarf
6. First Aid Kit/Survival Kit
NOTHING BEATS the security of having a first aid kit, especially in the wild!
We gotta admit that we might encounter a few slip-ups along the way while we’re hunting.
We might get a few cuts on our hands, arms a little sore from tying up a cord, or even accidentally injure ourselves from our folding knife…
Nothing beats having a first aid kit to guarantee instant treatment from emergency situations like these, no matter how small!
It’s best to keep a first aid kit tucked inside the backpack!
Keeping items like these ensures immediate treatment to certain scenarios, should something turn up out of the blue like saaayy, encountering a bear? These items will surely help:
- Gauze pads
- Cotton balls
- Antiseptic wipes
Keeping emergency items in your backpack at all times gives you the peace of mind that you need while you’re out and about!
Other Things to Consider When Going Hunting
Being out and about in the woods during hunting season truly does require time, preparation, and a few logistics to make sure everything runs well.
Making sure you have the right stuff in your pack, of course, is QUINTESSENTIAL for a successful trip!
But of course, it still all depends on your personal choice of how you’d want to have them.
A lot of enthusiasts identify their needs and preferences in their hunting packs list throughout the years of trial and error, and experience truly is king!
And we’d also like to address the elephant in the room:
LUGGING OUT ALL THAT STUFF CAN BE REALLY HEAVY!
Imagine bringing the necessary hunting equipment and all the camping, cooking, and maintenance tools that you’d need…
It sounds a little overwhelming right?
We have to admit that the hobby of hunting can be physically taxing, but is one of the most rewarding experiences ever once you get that prized deer you’ve been eyeing!
We’ve got a small tip for you: MINIMIZE WHERE YOU CAN!
Yes, we’re talking semi Marie Kondo-ing the stuff that you won’t really need!
Think of it this way:
- You don’t need a 6-ounce tube of toothpaste for a few days, right? Only one small ounce would do.
- Instead of bringing that huge gallon of mineral water, consider using a LifeStraw and get water from natural sources like rivers and lakes instead.
- Instead of bringing your entire armory at home, just bring that trusty AR-15.
NOTE: Now these are just small considerations that you can do while packing your gear, but thinking about what to bring and being intentional with all of your equipment can save you and your back!
IDEALLY, IT WOULD BE BEST TO KEEP THE ENTIRE LOAD IN THE 50-60 POUND RANGE.
Keeping everything light will make the climbs easier, trust us!
Since hunting may involve serious physical activity, getting in shape is REALLY ESSENTIAL.
You wouldn’t want to tap out in the middle of a boar hunt, getting exhausted when you’re so near the target, would you?
Being in your best possible physical self is key to being more efficient on the field! Consider committing to a fitness routine to increase your stamina and inner strength.
Here are some tips below to improve your stamina when chasing boar or deer:
- Running is a good place to start! Keeping a routine of running and setting goals every week can drastically improve your overall endurance.
- If you’d want to take your routine up a notch, try rucksacking or rucking! It’s a known military exercise of running with a set amount of weight on your back to simulate going around combat in full gear!
- Training yourself with running and rucksacking at ELEVATION will surely give amazing results in the long haul, and not only will it make you last longer in the hunt but also feel more fulfilled daily!
- Lifting weights with EMPHASIS on your legs can be of huge help!
- Climbing mountains with a full pack of gear will be as natural as walking with nothing in no time!
The experience of hunting truly is fulfilling!
It takes a lot of skill, patience, and commitment to be successful in it, and starting with how you plan for your trip can really work wonders.
While the whole process can be nailed down through the personal experience of trial and error while on site, starting with a list of essential items is a great foundation for consistency.
REMEMBER: HAVING THE RIGHT BALANCE OF FITNESS AND STICKING TO THE NECESSITIES TAKES YOU A LONG WAY!
Trust us, hunting for the prized deer or elk will be easier with coordination and premeditation!
Now we hope this article helped you out majorly for the next open season and happy hunting!
CHANGELOG: June 24, 2022 - Made minor updates to content and formatting, updated article title September 9, 2021 - Reviewed and updated article links