The Guided Hunter’s Daypack: What (and What Not) to Bring
A guided hunt is an awesome experience. It often means seeing a new area for the first time, and sometimes hunting a new species for the first time. One of the most common questions we receive from our guided hunters is what they are responsible to bring.
We send a checklist to each of our hunters before their trip. The needs of a hunter on an antelope hunt from town are of course much different than hunting elk or mule deer from a remote mountain camp.
While packing lists can vary considerably, there are some general things to think about on any guided hunting trip in the west. Here are a few tips to consider:
Don’t Overload Your Daypack
Ask most hunting guides, and they’ll tell you that hunters’ daypacks are always heaviest on the first morning of the hunt. Excited and sometimes not sure what to bring, hunters tend to over pack the first day. But after carrying a heavy backpack through rough western country, those items quickly get paired down. A few days into the hunt, most hunters are carrying only the essentials.
On a big game hunt, shouldering a heavy backpack can take a toll. Be very careful about how much you intend to carry in your daypack.
Listen to Your Guide’s Advice
Every guided hunt is different. But in most situations, the guide will be carrying essential items, like field dressing equipment. If your guide has those things covered, there may be no reason to carry duplicates – especially bulky items like game bags. Most importantly, pay attention to your guide’s advice. If he says you don’t need it, don’t put it in your pack.
Invest in Lightweight Hunting Gear
If your gear is heavy to begin with, you’ll have trouble keeping the weight down on your daypack. Items like rain gear can be one of the biggest culprits. Rain gear can spend a lot of time in your pack, but you don’t want to be caught without it.
Wherever possible, invest in lightweight hunting gear. There is a higher price for gear that is both highly functional and also light weight. But on a tough, multi-day western hunt, it can be well worth the investment.