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backpack hunter with rifle

10 Essentials For Backpack Hunting | What You’ll Need

A backpack hunt can be a great way to get in touch with nature and turn a hunting trip into an explorative adventure. However, you need to bring the right gear for a hunt like this to have a comfortable and successful time. Below are 10 pieces of gear that you absolutely need to have on your next backpack hunt.

1. The Right Backpack For The Hunt

This seems like an obvious choice but choosing the right backpack is essential. It’s still important to address, though, because nothing is going to ruin your hunt like a backpack that’s uncomfortable or difficult to wear once it’s full.

Needless to say, not just any backpack will do. There are a few main things you want out of a backpack.

First, it should offer enough support and room that you aren’t struggling too much even after you’ve filled your pack.

Additionally, it needs to be durable. If you’re halfway through a backpack hunt only for one of the straps to break, that’s going to make the rest of the hunt much more difficult.

Many hunters find that frame packs help them carry everything that they need without wearing them down too much.

When you’re choosing the size of your pack, don’t forget to consider that if your hunt is successful, you’ll be carrying your game in addition to what you brought with you.

hand holding rifle and scope
Using a scope on your hunting rifle, as opposed to just iron sights will increase your chances of success on your hunt.

2. Your Rifle and Scope

If you’re hunting with a rifle, it goes without saying that you need to bring that rifle with you. But, what’s important is that you remember to bring the accessories that go with that rifle as well.

One piece of equipment that you’ll want to invest in regarding your rifle is a scope. The main reason you’ll want to do this is that it helps enhance your vision on the field.

You can get a much clearer picture of what’s happening when you take a shot rather than trying to squint and rely fully on your natural eyesight.

When it comes to scopes, though, you have a lot of options. This can make it a little intimidating to try and find something that works for you and fits your gun. Luckily, there are plenty of resources that will help you with taking these in and finding the best scope for your rifle.

Note: If you are a bow hunter, in addition to your bow, be sure to pack accessories such as broadheads, arrows, an extra release, etc.

3. The Right Wearables

When you’re going on a backpack hunt, it isn’t all about what you carry. In addition, you also have to think about what you’re going to wear.

First, make sure you have the warm hunting clothes you depend on during the season. This includes gear like insulated pants and a parka if necessary.

However, you’re also going to want to be prepared for inclement weather which means rain gear goes in your bag as well. The last thing you want is to be caught in the rain only for you and your gear to get soaked through.

It’s a good idea to invest in waterproof and water-resistant gear rather than just throwing a flimsy rain poncho into your bag. It’s also a good idea to bring an extra pair of shirts and paints just in case.

You also need to invest in a good pair of boots. These will help keep your feet safe and dry as well as comfortable. While your boots shouldn’t be old, it’s a good idea to wear a pair that’s already “broken in.” There’s a lot of public hunting land out there to be explored, and you don’t want to have to accommodate for blistered feet while you’re hiking your way through it.

4. First Aid Kit… A Backpack Hunting Must

This is an important piece of gear to remember. Anytime you’re going on any type of outdoor excursion, no matter how much risk is involved, you’re going to want to keep a well-stocked first-aid kit on hand. This will allow you to take care of anything like a scrape from a fall or take urgent methods to help get a more seriously injured party member to help.

There are two parts to making sure your kit is as useful as possible.

man holding hiking poles
Hiking poles are a must on a backpack hunt, as they will help you maintain good balance and take pressure off your legs and knees.

First, you need to have the right supplies. A well-stocked kit has more than just a few spare bandages and antibacterial wipes. It should be much more comprehensive including items like non-latex gloves, antibiotic ointment, gauze, tweezers, and more.

The Red Cross has a handy checklist of what should go in your kit. You should go back through this checklist before every outing.

Secondly, those supplies are only so helpful without the knowledge to use them. It’s a good idea to study up and make sure you have a first aid guide in your kit to help you out.

5. Hiking Poles

Hiking poles – also referred to as trekking poles – are a must for a backpack hunt. This is because there is a lot of hiking involved in backpack hunting and you want to be as smart and safe as possible.

Hiking poles can help take some of the pressure and impact of steep hiking off of your legs and knees. These poles are also praised for keeping your hands raised rather than at your sides which is better for circulation. This improves your stamina.

While there are a number of other benefits to go on about, another one of the biggest things that hikers often call on their hiking poles for is balance and anchoring in tough conditions. This is particularly useful in backpack hunting since you’re carrying a large pack that could throw your center of gravity off, especially when you’re carrying large game back.

backpack hunting knife
A knife is an invaluable tool on any backpack hunting trip.

6. A Knife

A knife is a must have on a backpack hunting trip. While there is some debate over whether a fixed blade or folding blade is the best choice, there’s no debate that having a knife on hand can be a lifesaver.

Of course, a knife comes in handy for standard tasks like field dressing your game, but knives are one of the most versatile tools to keep in your pack and can help with anything from first aid to preparing your nightly meal.

Because your knife is so important, it’s a good idea to keep a sharpener handy too. This way you don’t end up having to struggle with a dull knife. There are plenty of handheld models, so you don’t have to worry about losing a lot of storage space by taking it along.

7. Gear for Sleeping

backpack hunters
Travel as light as possible while still bringing what you will need to sleep on and in.

Without a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and tent, your hunting trip will probably be pretty short-lived. If you’re going backpack hunting and plan on staying a while away from hotels and homes, you’re going to need to be just as ready to camp as you are to hunt.

While you’re choosing your camping gear, remember that the general rule of thumb that you’ll want to follow is to travel light. After all, whatever you want to bring will be on your back most of the time. That’s why it’s a good reason to lean towards lighter, simpler tents rather than an excessively expansive or luxurious tent.

8. Food and Water

Once you have your shelter accounted for, you’re going to need to consider your other basic needs: food and water.

First, let’s look at water. This is one of the most important things you put in your bag because your body can’t operate in top condition without it.

It’s crucial to keep plenty of water on hand because you aren’t guaranteed to find a fresh, clean water supply while on your trip. It’s also a good idea to keep a way to purify water on hand. Iodine tablets or small, handheld water purifiers are popular among campers and hikers.

As for food, you have a lot of different options as to what you can bring to eat. You can rely on all of your campfire favorites including everything from made-for-camping freeze dried meals to your favorite coffee, as well as non-perishable snacks like trail mix and granola bars. As you learn your way around backpack hunting, you can get creative and find out what unique campsite meals you love.

When on a backpack hunt, the campfire is a critical piece, so don’t forget to keep a fire starter kit on hand just in case.

9. A Source of Heat

Whether you’re cooking or just staying warm at the end of the night, you’re going to need a way to get a fire started on your campsite. Matches and a lighter are good to keep handy but it’s also a good idea to have a fire starter kit on hand. This way, you won’t have to struggle trying to get started from scratch without help.

Don’t forget that you have to make sure any campfire you set has to be put out safely before you pack up for the night. It can go a long way to study up on or even keep a copy of the USDA Forest Service steps to extinguishing a campfire.

10. Game Bags

When you’re going to be carrying game long distances, you need a reliable way to do so. Your best bet here is to invest in game bags to carry your game in after you field dress it. This will help you make sure that it makes its way from the spot you took it down to your dinner table back at home.

Backpack hunting can be a unique and rewarding experience but you need to be well-prepared. So whether you’re after elk, mule deer or other big game, having basic essentials like these, you can be more prepared for what is hopefully a successful backpack hunt!

josh montgomery of minute man review
Josh Montgomery of Minute Man Review

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Josh Montgomery

Josh Montgomery, MMR’s founder, runs Minute Man Review in his spare time and actively documents the Texas secessionists’ movements from his home in Austin, Texas. Since its inception in 2013, Minute Man Review has been covering gear reviews, citizen’s rights, and reporting on what Josh believes to be the crackdown on free speech and activity both in the US and worldwide.

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