Packing for Hunt Camp
Russ Chastain 11.26.19
Every hunter has his or her own different style, whether it’s about hunting tactics, camp cookery, or fireside manner. But one thing we all have in common is the need to pack our gear to get from home to hunt camp.
Keep a List
Years ago when I got an iPod Touch (think iPhone without the phone function), I found a text editor app and began using it to keep notes and even write articles while afield. And this is how I keep my packing list for hunt camp.
I have a text file simply called “a list.” (The “a” is to keep it at the top of my file list.) Whenever I think of something I’ll need at camp, I pull out my phone and add it to my list. I’ll even start making a list for my next trip while I’m at camp. It’s easy to forget what canned goods or other stuff you ran low on, so keep a list.
It’s also a good idea to keep a checklist that’s more or less universal… meaning a list of the things you always want to pack: Socks, underwear, ammo, phone charger, sleeping bag, etc.
Instead of a text file, you may want to use a list app; either way, make sure you keep a list.
A List of What?
So what do you need at hunt camp? That’s up to you; but all of us will want to pack hunting clothes appropriate for the expected weather, guns/bows and ammo/arrows, cleaning/maintenance kit for guns and/or bows, a couple pairs of boots, lightweight comfortable shoes to wear around camp, and toiletries such as soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, anti-perspirant, and shampoo, plus any various other stuff you may want (floss/flossers, eye drops, spare eyeglasses, powder, etc).
Then there’s bedding: sleeping bags or blankets, pillows, and perhaps a sleeping mat/mattress. If you’re staying in a tent, a ground sheet or cot might come in handy.
Speaking of tents, if you need to pack camping gear, make sure it’s all in good shape before you start packing. Go through your stuff ahead of time so you can replace or repair any defective items. Tents, stakes, ropes, tarps, zippers, screens, tables, stoves, and lanterns should all be in good working order before being stowed in truck or trunk.
Tables and chairs should be a priority; standing around the campfire gets old after a while.
There’s no such thing as too many socks or too much underwear. Pack generously! And in all clothes, allow for getting rained on and having to completely swap out your duds — in short, bring more than you think you will need. It’s always better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
And don’t forget extra batteries for flashlights, game cams, and whatnot.
Stow and Go
Consider how you want to pack your gear; in duffel bags is great if you’re transporting it inside your truck or some other dry vehicle, but you might need waterproof containers if you haul it in the bed of a pickup. Think this through beforehand so you don’t end up scrambling to shove your goodies into trash bags when the rain starts to fall.
Essential hunting gear you’ll want includes the aforementioned gun/bow stuff plus things like tree stands, knives and sharpeners, coolers for bringing your meat home, hand warmers, gloves/glomitts, hats & caps, water jug, scent killer, lens cloth for rifle or shotgun scopes, and plenty of snacks to stave off hunger when you’re away from camp.
Rope and other cordage is always handy and should never be neglected or omitted.
Packing is a Process
Perhaps you pack your gear in one big flurry, as I used to when I was young and had a full-time job. But these days I usually pack a little at a time over the course of a few days. However you pack, make sure there’s a method to your madness so you don’t get caught out in the woods without something you need!
If you pack well, you’ll be a happy camper… er, hunter. And on that note, I’ll end with my standard salutation: Happy hunting!