Day Packs for Elk hunting
Most hunters under estimate the importance of having the right pack to fit their hunt. No one pack fits every hunt’s needs. So if you are like me and can’t afford to buy 5 different day packs and 5 different weekend packs it’s important to find that one pack that fits most of your needs for most of your hunting situations.
Start by using your hardest day pack situation. And use this as a model to choose a pack that will be a good all around performer. For me the most demanding hunting situation on a day pack is spot and stalk situations, and mainly spot and stalk elk due to the amount of stuff you need to carry and the distances you need to cover in a day.
Once you have figured out which situation requires the most pack this should often be enough pack to cover most of your other hunting situations. Then start laying out your equipment that you need to carry to be effective, safe, and not kill yourself carrying it.
My Day Pack For Elk Hunting
First aid kit: I make my own: athletic tape, ace wrap, little packs of antiseptic, thread and needle, snake kit, electrolyte tabs, water purification tabs.
Lighter and spark tool (always have a back up it is not fun to start a fire with sticks and stones)
Leather man and/or small tool kit.
5-6 large and small zip ties and a piece of wire about 15’.
Big knife, small knife latex gloves, 50’ of 50-80lb cord, 2-3 clear garbage bags.
Head lamp, pack light, and small led flash light.
Garmin Rhino 120 or similar GPS with radio capacity.
Extra batteries for everything I’m carrying.
Packs of hand warmers/toe warmers.
Compass, topographic map, trail markers.
Harper essentials “the ultimate survival guide” and/or falcon guide’s “wilderness first aid”. I am trained in wilderness survival, and still carry these books because in a stressful situation you don’t always think clearly and it is nice to have something to refer too. Remember a mistake in the field can cost you your life.
Extra peep sight tubing/ extra pins for my sight. A couple of easy fletch
Small spray bottle of scent killer cover spray.
Primos Mouth diaphragm elk call, and or hoochie mama (obviously substitute your calls per your quarry).
My Day Pack For Elk Hunting Continued…
Survival blanket/ survival rain poncho Coleman makes nice ones that are less then $5 and fold up into 3×4” squares saves room and money.
Lunch, snacks, protein bars.
1-2 small bottles water in side the pack and a large bottle in the water bottle holder on the outside of the bag. I also drink a whole bunch of water before I head out.
Slik pro gm ultra-light compact tri-pod (depending on the terrain).
15×56 svaworski SLC binos
Topo map, pencil and compass.
You need to have room to spare. Where I hunt elk it’s very cold in the morning and warms up quick so I need to shed clothing and have a place to put it.
After you have figured out what you need to carry start figuring out how accessible each item has to be, this is critical in choosing a pack, you can pick a pack that has a large capacity but if items aren’t accessible you will fumble through your pack every time you need something.
I like the pack to have a lot of internal pockets and sections so I can pack my gear in a way that it is easy for me to get to everything quickly and easily. I always pack my bag the same way, so looking for an item becomes like second nature. I need something, boom its right there! Develop a system of your own for where you keep certain items.
I like to test myself in the dark to see if I can locate my flash light and with that light locate a few key items under pressure or timed. That way I know I can perform in the field in a life threatening or stressful situation. Now that you have your spread and you’ve visualized what you need and where, check the two page list of your pack items. Take your list and begin shopping for a pack.
Armed with your capacity needs, begin poking through several models and brands. Once you have chosen a few candidates start looking a quality of construction: zippers, stitching, and material. Now you are down to your final choices start checking for comfort I like to go grab a bunch of heavy items off the shelves and put them in the bag for a more realistic feel: making sure the shoulder straps are comfortable, it has trim adjustments, chest straps, good back pad with stiffeners and thick padded waist belt are all good things to look for.
Remember the more adjustable the pack is the more customized you can make the fit. Take your time wear awhile in the store your spending good money don’t be hasty and buy on a whim. I made those mistakes early on in my hunting career and now I have a bunch of useless packs. After years of trial and error I finally figured out how to purchase packs. And with this knowledge found a pack that best fits most of my day pack hunting needs.
I found for me the Blacks Creek “All American” day pack fits all my needs…..
But don’t take my word for it go find a pack that works best for you.