The time to prepare for your upcoming big game hunt has come. Whether you are a seasoned or novice hunter, bringing the right gear with you is crucial. Not doing your research ahead of time and making the wrong choice can affect the success or failure of your hunt.
Over the years, we have learned from our own experience which gear should actually make the cut and we want to share this list with you.
Below are the top 5 must-have gear items for big game hunting.
First and foremost, your backpack will be your number one companion throughout your hunt. The requirements change depending on whether you are backpacking into the backcountry or taking day hikes.
If you are backpacking in and planning on camping for a few days, it will be important that your pack is ultra-lite while remaining durable, ultra-versatile, and ultra-comfortable. The consequences of not having these items can leave your back in pain, or unable to carry out your meat. Before you make your purchase, ask whether the pack can hold your weapons with ease of access as well as whether it will do its job hauling out meat.
If you want to leave camp for the day, or you truly are hunting for just one day, be sure to have a lumbar pack ready and full of only your essentials. Most backpacking companies are making packs that have the option of removing a daypack from the full pack for convenience. This tends to be your best bet from a cost and convenience perspective.
When it comes to optics, spare no expense. Your binoculars and scope are crucial for an accurate kill and should be able to withstand use and abuse.
Binoculars: The terrain when hunting for big game like elk or mule deer is rugged and you need to have the ability to look ahead with your binoculars and see from a great distance before you choose to make the treacherous hike. Your binoculars should be small, light, and bright without compromising clarity while remaining durable and powerful.
Spotting Scope: Your spotting scope can be the very tool your hunt depends on. Whether identifying a trophy bull in a herd or spotting sheep on a mountain-side, your scope will be critical to your success. Make sure your scope can deliver ultra-sharp images and gather the maximum amount of light for low-light conditions with the ability to reach out to identify game at great distances.
Depending on how “old-school” you may be and whether you are still holding on to maps and compasses (nothing wrong with that), a great GPS could take your hunt to the next level. GPS’s are great at helping you identify public and private land and it can open up a whole new territory on what you once thought to be restricted. Most importantly, your GPS can be a life-saver for those times when you’ve left camp at daylight and find yourself wandering back in the dark.
Let’s be honest, if you’re out on a hunt in the rugged terrain that often accompanies a big game hunt -- you will be exhausted. There’s nothing that will ‘kill your hunt’ more than your inability to wake up and hike. With that said, your tent will be an essential piece of gear to help you recover each night. The hard part is that comfort is often associated with extra weight and that is not going to help you when you’re backpacking in. The good news is that many outdoor companies are already on top consumer demand and there are really great options out there in the marketplace. Some must-haves when researching your tent are that it is lightweight (often in the 2lb or less range), weather-proof with a place to store your gear, and easy to set up and stow away.
5. BOOTS AND CLOTHING
You can have all the things above and feel pretty confident that you will come home with a kill but if you don’t have comfortable boots or the changing weather takes you by surprise, you could be rendered completely useless and have to go home early.
Boots: Many people believe you should spare no expense when it comes to your boots. What’s most important is that they are right for you and that you take the time to break them in before you leave. A non-insulated boot will be lighter and a better bet for the warmer months but don’t underestimate how important a good sock system plays into keeping your feet warm and dry. Insulated boots are a great option for the colder months but if you are an active hunter, you can find yourself sweating, causing cold feet which can also make you miserable and completely useless.
Clothing: The name of the game here is layers, layers, layers. Most hunters rely on the high-performance of merino wool. Whichever layer system you use, make sure they allow the sweat to wick so you can stay warm, dry and comfortable. What about your outer layers? Anything with Gore-Tex® is a great investment. If your jacket and pants have Gore-Tex®, you can rest easy knowing you are protected when rain or wind comes your way.
And there you have it. While this list doesn’t represent everything you should bring on your next big game hunt, they are the essentials. We at ALPS OutdoorZ are in the trenches and are constantly developing new products with you in mind. We don’t let anything leave our doors without researching and testing them in the field. If you are in need of quality hunting products at a great value without compromising performance, take some time to explore our product page dedicated to big game hunting to see which gear might be the right fit for you.