For the avid outdoors enthusiast, the summer season means one thing — a hunting trip. A tradition as old as time, people have looked forward to this magical time when they could head off into the woods with their friends and tune out all of life’s daily responsibilities. Though part of the fun is leaving behind distractions, here are 10 items you need to remember to bring with you.
Though the point of your trip is to relax and unwind away from all of the distractions that tether you to the daily grind, you’re not a savage. The baseball season stops for no one, so your cellphone lets you check scores while you are away, and you can also load it up with helpful apps like a compass, range finder, radio and GPS. So, if you happen to get injured you can call for help, and, if needed, a pizza delivery.
2. Zipper Bags
Sealing baggies have 101 uses, but on a hunting trip they are particularly helpful. For example, you can store scent lures separate from your other belongings, so your favorite sweatshirt doesn’t end up smelling like elk urine.
3. Wet Wipes
Also providing multiple uses, the convenient and disposable wet wipe will serve you well after dinner, after a messy field dressing and after nature calls when you are in the middle of the woods. Wet wipes are more durable and sanitary than standard toilet paper, so they are perfect for your trip.
One goal when packing for a weekend hunting trip is to pack light, so a single item with multiple applications is ideal. For this reason, the tried and true Swiss Army Knife is invaluable. There are so many versions of this baby that you can find one that serves all of your needs. However, you may want to carry a separate hunting knife or a small wood saw or ax.
5. First-Aid Kit
If you have not had to break into yours yet, you will. Carry one with you if for no other reason than to account for Murphy’s Law.
The sun will get to you after awhile. Don’t leave home without a pair of sunglasses and extra lenses, since you will be spending the majority of your time outdoors, sitting, standing and waiting in the sun.
7. Food & Drink
Hunters tend to have mixed feelings about carrying water into the woods. There will always be that one friend who refuses and boasts about his ability to head off into the dark with nothing more than a weapon in hand and a license. This is also the person who refuses to eat anything while on the trail and thinks doing a few squats every few hours will keep him warm in the chilly night air.
There’s nothing wrong with packing a few energy bars for the hike. Even though you don’t want to lug around a gallon of water and have to pee every 45 minutes, you also don’t want to get lost in the woods without it. A canteen or water bottle is fine. And when you return to base camp, nothing beats a cold brew, either as a congratulatory toast to a successful hunt or as a consolation prize for your empty hands.
Your trusty Zippo is great to have on you, but a few additions to your fire-starter kit will save you a massive headache when it comes time to kindle. Bringing waterproof matches, a metal match, Vaseline-coated cotton balls for tinder and a plumber’s candle along with you will ensure that starting a fire will be a snap.
9. Spare Release
Here’s one for bow hunters in particular. If you know the sense of dread and disappointment that washes over you when you take aim on an approaching deer and then hear that god-awful clinking sound that your release makes as it hits the tree stand on its way down, then you know the importance of having a spare release on your person before making your climb up that tree. Check and recheck your pocket or vest to verify.
10. Silk Scarf
Men have been wearing scarves for hundreds of years, so get past your senseless aversion. The cowboys of the Wild West understood that wrapping your neck in a silk scarf protects it from the dreaded neck chafing that comes with wearing a wool shirt. It also can be used to block cold drafts from your skin or as a sling if you’re in a pinch. You can question the manliness of wearing a scarf all you want, but you cannot deny its applicability.