11 Necessities to Bring on Your Next Hunting Trip
Brought to you by Driving Line | September 05, 2017
Whether you are an avid DIY hunter, a western adventurer, or like the experience of hunting way off the grid, driving off-road with the right gear is critical for a successful hunting trip. From the basics of packing first aid kits and matches, to the bow or gun you rely on, your hunting gear is enormously important when you’re exploring the great outdoors. This gear not only ensures a productive and successful hunt, but is your ticket back home safely. To make sure your next outing is even better than the last, take a look at this “hunting trip checklist." These often forgotten items will confirm that you are absolutely prepared for whatever the hunt throws your way!
A dead battery is the last thing you will want to deal with while driving to or from your hunt. However, batteries always seem to be the least reliable part of your vehicle and it will inevitably be the first problem you have on the road! This simple problem certainly should not throw a wrench in your hunt. Warranting you have a simple fix handy is a sure fire way to guarantee the hunt goes on as planned. While upgrading your rig to a dual-battery setup can be a great option, a portable battery pack is easy to store and use. Jumper kits such as this Stanley unit shown below can be purchased for under $100. It doesn’t take too much room away from the other hunting gear in the back of the truck, so it is a good insurance item to bring along!
One of the main reasons you are setting out on this trip of a lifetime, besides bringing home satisfaction and memories, is to escape the bright skies of the city! When you are way off-grid, you seem to experience the true meaning of darkness. Because of this, you need to ensure you can create your own glow. While modern LED headlight upgrades have transformed the way hunters can see at night, it is highly recommended to carry at least one portable light. The ARB Adventure Light 600 punches out 600 lumens, plenty of light for any task on the adventure. It also has two hooks along with a magnet, so you can use it for everything from making early morning breakfast to quartering out your harvest after the hunt!
Every hunter should know how to read a map and use a compass. If you don’t, it’s never too late to learn! While modern off-road navigation equipment, like the TRX7 from Magellan, does a great job of guiding you off the beaten path, you need to be prepared to navigate without an electrical device. Even something as simple as packing a printed Google maps image of your intended base camp and hunting area can be incredibly useful. Chances are you have already studied the area enough while scouting to know which way can get you out of a bad situation!
As the only part that’s designed to contact the road, your tires are the most critical part of your vehicle. No matter what part of the country you are planning to hunt or what time of year, it is always recommended to go with an all-terrain tire at the very least. If you think there’s the possibility for remote roads, off-roading, challenging terrain, or mud or snow, look at upgrading your rig with a more aggressive all-terrain tire such as the Nitto Ridge Grappler or a Nitto Trail Grappler. These tires are expertly crafted for areas where mud and rough terrain will be a frequent occurrence. Don’t let a little mud hole, drifting snow, or remote road ruin your chances at the hunt of a lifetime.
Even if you don’t plan on spending the night, it’s always a good idea to have camping gear with you. If you frequently camp while hunting or use your 4x4 as a base camp, it is highly recommended to purchase a roof top tent. While on the expensive side, they are easy to use, spacious, and most importantly keep you high off the ground. At the very least, pack a sleeping bag, just in case the hunt requires an early morning or a late night!
If you are a solo hunter for most of your hunts, self-recovery gear will be important. This includes recovery gear while hiking, hunting, and driving. Most notably, however, would be a reliable self-recovery winch. You’ll want a winch capable of pulling 1.5 times the weight of your vehicle. So, for a 5,500-pound truck, you would look for a winch with an 8,000-pound rating.
Camp fires are great. Truck fires are not. Always carry at least one fire extinguisher on your hunting trip. This is often one forgotten item that can save a hunt from going downhill in a big way. A basic ABC extinguisher can be picked up from your local home improvement store for around $20. Two extinguishers are a good idea, one that’s in reach of the driver and one that’s easily accessible in the back of the vehicle.
Can You Hear Me Now?
This one may sound counterintuitive, but it could be lifesaving. You probably would rather not have cell service when you’re trying to disconnect from the daily grind, but there are instances where an emergency could arise. This is especially true for multiple day backpacking hunts in rough terrain. Satellite phones are a pricey, but a great solution if you require communication (or help) with the outside world. A slightly less expensive alternative would be a SPOT tracker device which allows you to send out your coordinates to a select group of people, along with a distress signal that can get you help if you need it. Both will require a monthly fee, but it is money well spent if you devote a lot of time in areas of little to no cell service.
First Aid Kit
This should go without saying, but accidents happen when hunting. A good first aid kit won’t cost you much money, but it could be another item that will save your life. If you’ve been toting around one for some time, open it before each outing to make sure the contents are still in date and in good shape. Also be sure to familiarize yourself with the contents, knowing what is where and how to use the items in the chance of an emergency.
Parts break and things sometimes come loose at the most inopportune time. While you might keep a Leatherman in the truck at all times, venturing out to more remote locations might require a dedicated tool kit. Knowing the weak points on your vehicle will help you determine the right tool set, along with any spare parts you should be hauling.
Bring Fluids, Lots of Fluids
Always bring more water than you think you’ll need. Your truck might serve as base camp for your hunt, so don’t consider having to take the water up the mountain or across the rough terrain. It is simply there as a backup. Even if you don’t need it, you can drink it when you get home. Larger storage bottles with an insulated cup will work better (and create less waste) versus a case of water bottles. Behind basic hydration for you, your rig will need fluid too. A five-gallon fuel caddy can make the difference between walking back to civilization and driving!
Whether your next hunting trip is across the arid plains for pronghorn, the steep mountains for sheep, the aspen slopes for elk, or deep woods for whitetails ensure you will arrive and leave in one piece. Your greatest asset is preparation, so always be sure you look over this “hunting trip checklist” before setting off on your next adventure!