5 Packing Tricks for the Backcountry Hunter

Posted by Ryan McSparran on 23rd Aug 2016

Backcountry hunters who focus on lightweight performance come up with some cool tricks when it comes to loading their bags for a mobile hunt. Here are a few that we’ve picked up along the way from our friends in the industry. What are some of yours?

1. Keep your field dressing kit in a compression sack.

You’ll only use them once on your hunt, but game bags can take up too much space in your pack if you let them. To avoid this, put them in a small compression sack and cinch it down tight. You can keep your entire field dressing kit in a compression sack, including blades, latex gloves, hunting license and a pen. It’s compact and it keeps these items together in an easy-to-grab bundle.

2. Lose the kit bag to your first aid kit.

Most first aid kits come organized a nylon bag with pockets, zippers and other weight-adding features that you don’t really need. So, lose the pack that your first aid kit came in, and empty the contents into a zip-lock baggie. It’s everything you need at a fraction of the weight.

3. Tie your para-cord in a daisy chain.

If you don’t know how to get it started, ask a buddy who rock climbs or find a YouTube video. This is a common knot used for storing rock climbing rope but it’s perfect for the para-cord in your pack. You wad it up and stuff it in your pack and it will never get tangled. One simple pull on the tag end, and it neatly unravels when you need it.

4. Carry your smartphone as both GPS and Camera.

Rather than carrying a standalone GPS unit and camera simply use your smartphone’s built-in GPS capability, along with a GPS/Topo app. If you’re happy with your smartphone’s camera, you can easily save space and weight. Try a waterproof iPhone case like the ones from Hitcase that turn an iPhone into a changeable-lens camera with both a standard and a wide-angle lenses. To keep it all charged, use a lightweight, compact solar charger.

5. Duct tape your water bottle.

Duct tape is a great thing to carry with you. But you’d be crazy to haul an entire roll in your daypack. Instead, make about 10 wraps of duct tape around your water bottle. That should be enough for most backcountry repair situations.