Hunting season is upon us and if you haven’t already ventured into the hills, hopefully you soon will.  One of the most important facets of any outdoor adventure is being prepared and a good place to start is putting together a good daypack and equipping it with the essentials you will need for a successful scouting our hunting trip.  The following is a list of most of the things that the Sportsman’s News Team includes in our preparations and we hope lays a great foundation in helping each of you prepare for your next exciting adventure in the great outdoors.

Daypack

Eberlestock’s X2
The X2 is a tough little pack with big pack features like oversized compression straps for lashing on a heavy load, dual hydration compartments, quick access pockets for spotting scopes and tripods and now features a rugged IntEx™ metal frame. Other major features include:

  • Ample FlexChassis which can flip forward for use as a seat or a cradle for loads you strap to the pack.
  • Perfect platform for our ARCG ButtBucket, for carrying a compound bow.
  • Designed to accept either their A1SS or A2SS Side Scabbards to carry either shotguns or full-scale hunting rifles.
  • Padlock webbing tie-points in key locations for accessory attachment and lashing on gear.
  • Shooter Harness, which is both thinner for shooting and more comfortable for heavier loads.
  • NT-7 Waterproof Microfleece fabric or 1000d nylon.

The X2 has over 1800 cubic inches of room while weighing in at only 4.5 lbs with a MSRP of about $190. X-project packs are designed for the hunter that wants light and fast mobility.  Whether you’re a bow hunter or a gun hunter, you will find the X2 is very rugged and can do some serious load lifting for its size!

Sitka’s Flash 20
The Flash 20 is a highly technical day pack, suited for long jaunts that may take you a pretty good distance from you vehicle or base camp.  Its’ 2000 cubic inches provides enough room for all of your immediate needs and more!  An adjustable configuration of load and accessory straps gives you the freedom to secure even the most awkward of loads.  Detailed with a padded spotting scope pocket, pocketed waist belt, quick-stash mesh pockets, enabled for hydration systems and a suspended back to maximize air circulation in the lumbar region, this pack will surely get the job done.
Weighing in at just over 4.5 lbs, the Flash 20 is available in Sitka’s patented OPTIFADE pattern in either Open Country or Forest Concealment and its MSRP is about $269.

Tenzing TZ 2220
The definition of overachievement. The Tenzing TZ 2220 is all a hunter could ask for in a day pack. The Tenzing 2220 has an internal storage capacity of 2228 cubic inches and weighs only 4 lbs. The 2220 allows you to stay extremely organized due to its eleven storage pockets. The Tenzing 2220 is an unreal daypack for the serious hunter.

  • Internal aluminum frame stay
  • Padded hip support
  • Channeled, air-cooled back pad
  • Foldout bow and gun carrying boot
  • Foldout rain cover
  • H2O compatible (2-liter)
  • Six specialized zip pockets
  • Four lateral compression straps to secure load
  • Two lower compression straps to attach extra gear
  • The nylon ripstop material provides unmatched durability, making this great little pack a perfect addition to any hunters essential equipment.  MSRP $199.

Compass

Highgear offers a unique line of compact and affordable outdoor navigational tools. Watches, hand-held navigational devices and innovative outdoor accessories are all part of their product base and the line is infused with top notch design. Hook the TrailPilot 2 to your belt loop or backpack to help you navigate maps with ease while you’re on the trail. This carabiner analog compass also features a digital temperature display.  It is a simple, very essential part of any outdoorsman’s equipment and is available for under $30.

GPS

For navigation in the outdoors, a GPS device can enhance your chances even more of getting from point A to point B.  Many people either are hesitant to purchase one because of what they see as a steep learning curve or purchase one and then never learn how to maximize the capabilities of the unit. Both Magallen and Garmin offer great choices from beginner to pro models with many now capable of using SD cards and chips to download maps for areas all over the world.  You can greatly enhance your outdoor adventures by investing in a good GPS device.

HuntingGPSmaps
Technology to Enhance the Best Days of your Life.
Ever pored over a map trying to decide which side of the unmarked line between public and private ground you are standing on?  Hunting GPS maps has developed a handy preloaded statewide microSD chip that fits in Garmin GPS units.  Allowing you to see exactly whose land you’re on, including color-coded state lands, national forests, BLM, tribal and much more.  The statewide maps also include landowner names, private property lines, 24K Topo, hunting districts, roads, water features and national forest trails —all in your handheld GPS.

Knives

Outdoor Edge SwingBlaze
Never lose your knife again! Outdoor Edge’s best selling SwingBlade with easy to locate Blaze-Orange handle and black nylon belt sheath is the most innovative new hunting knife to hit the market in years. Simply push the lock button and the blade changes from a drop-point skinner to the most functional gutting knife for big game. This unique blade cuts under the skin to open game like a zipper without cutting hair or internal organs. The SwingBlaze is hand finished shaving sharp from AUS-8 stainless steel and subzero quenched for superior edge retention and performance. Rubberized Kraton® handles ensure a positive, non-slip grip, even when wet. The SwingBlaze comes complete with a quality nylon belt sheath and is lifetime guaranteed. MSRP $80.

And you can also take it to another level and choose the SwingBlaze Combo Pak, combining the SwingBlaze with Outdoor Edges T-handle wood/bone saw, providing a 6-inch diamond-cut saw blade that is ideal for quartering your game or clearing thick brush.  This great combo will take care of your needs and comes in at a MSRP of $120.

Havalon Piranta-Edge Knife
One of the best knives on the market for field dressing and skinning, the Piranta-Edge features surgically-sharp replaceable blades and an easy-to-find blaze orange handle. It›s always sharp – just replace the blades and go! Each knife includes 12 additional stainless steel #60XT blades. The overall length of the knife open is 7.25 inches and you’ll like the easy-grip black rubber inlay, liner-lock construction and pocket clip.

You’ll appreciate the light weight of this skinning and caping knife, coming in at less than three ounces and because the blades are disposable, there is no need to carry heavy files, stones or other sharpeners.  A must have for under $40.

Shooting Sticks

Shooting Sticks are becoming more and more popular for hunters of all types. You will always be more accurate when shooting from a solid rest and a good mono, double or triple legged set of sticks can all do the job. Great products from Stoney Point, The Allen Co., Do-All, Vanguard, Primos and Shooters Ridge can be found on the shelves of your local Sportsman’s Warehouse.

Game Bags

Caribou Gear offers many great products at your local Sportsman’s Warehouse store.  The Carnivore II is a great “Total Package” which includes five 24” x 21” meat bags w/logo, five big game ID tags w/locks, 48” x 48” plastic ground tarp, a black storage bag and field instructions with a MSRP of $55. Single quarter bags, full game carcass bags and  game bag packs are also available and include one bag with ID tag and lock.

Another great product is their Game Bag Spray and Meat Preserve, a product that helps combat against bacteria growth that causes meat spoilage and deters flies from landing on your game meat. Protect your hard earned harvest on your next hunt by picking up this great new product for under $10.

Tarp

A compact, lightweight, waterproof tarp can serve many purposes from simple tasks to lifesaving situations.  Lewis N Clark offers both 6’ X 8’ and 8’ X 10’ models that will take up little space in your pack, but give you loads of peace of mind when venturing into the wilderness.  They can be used for things such as  helping to keep your supplies covered, covering the ground  while in camp, helping in transporting of game to even making a shelter in a pinch.  These tarps are constructed of 210D waterproof oxford nylon, are extremely lightweight and durable, have reinforced grommets every three feet and include an attached zippered carry case.  Remember, don’t underestimate the value of things that can fill the void when you are in the backcountry.  MSRP under $60.

Socks

SmartWool
An extra pair or two of socks can make your hike a lot better and you can really tread lightly with the Hiking Light Sock from SmartWool. Lightweight is the mantra of many outdoorsmen and women. The new Hiking Light Sock from SmartWool follows that dogma with an impressive blend of features woven into a thin sock. Support and comfort are built in for mile after mile of quick, blister-free hiking. Wool is a natural choice for hiking socks because of its ability to resist moisture and odors. Durable and soft Merino wool is used to make these socks a perfect trail companion.  Cushioning provides shock absorption and insulation against the elements and under weighty loads. An arch brace holds the sock in place and adds additional support as well as flat-knit toe seams to keep you comfortable all day long.

Lorpen
Lorpen socks soothe your feet with uncommon softness, durability and feel. Made with the best fibers, the most advanced designs and the highest quality processes, Lorpen socks enhance performance, fit and comfort. Lorpen’s Cold Weather System socks include a thin soft Merino Wool inner liner and a medium weight, Italian Wool outer sock for ultimate warmth. Yes, two socks work better than one!  Lorpen offers a great line of hunter specific socks. Remember, you are going to be working your feet to the max when in the field, so make sure you are wearing the best socks available.  Lorpen definitely can help your performance.

Flashlight

When looking into choosing a flashlight, it must be designed to help you meet your specific needs when in the field.  Thermal management, optimal balance between brightness and runtime and now maximum LED performance are all important areas that need to be covered.  The little dollar store model that sits on your kitchen counter isn’t going to cut it when you are in the wilds, so make sure you choose a top quality product that will always do the job. SureFire, Extreme Beam and 5.11 Tactical are all good choices and each offer some of the very best products on the market.  Make sure you also carry some extra, top quality batteries as well to assure that you have a better chance of finding your downed animal and then finding your way in the dark back to camp.

Camera

Don’t forget to take along your favorite digital camera to capture those priceless photos of another successful trip.  Cannon and Nikon are the leaders in the field, but the new generation of cameras just got better with the great line of GoPro cameras and accessories, now available at your local Sportsman’s Warehouse.  They are lightweight, compact and have many great accessories, including a waterproof cover that definitely comes in handy in many outdoor situations.  The standard camera and accessories package can be picked up for around $300.

Rope

A good roll of cord or rope is another essential piece of equipment that every outdoorsman should carry.  It can be used to help secure your tent, tie down your equipment, hang you downed game and even help to rescue your hunting buddy in case of an emergency.  Sterling Rope Company has a great assortment of ropes to choose from in all shapes and sizes, so make sure to stop in and pick some up before you head out on your next adventure.

First Aid Kit

Adventure Medical Kit’s Sportsman’s Series is built around the most common hunting trips – a medium-sized group out for up to a week – but really proves itself when those trips take you to uncommon locations. Fully-stocked with supplies to treat serious injuries when you are far from medical care, the Sportsman’s guarantees you don’t need to be near a hospital to be safe. It is available in four sizes, Grizzly, Bighorn, Whitetail and a waterproof Steelhead model for all kinds of activities and a variety of group sizes.  Each kit comes in a bright orange nylon case that easily organizes the contents by the condition you are treating, such as wound care, medications, fracture/sprain, etc.

Trail Camera

Bushnell Trophy Cam, in our estimation, continues to run away from the rest with great new innovations and upgrades to their great line of trail cams.  Every new model now features true HD video resolution with audio record for stunning clarity and detail.  The new Field Scan 2x gives you two windows of image capture to capitalize on dusk and dawn movement.  You can also expect brighter, sharper nighttime images with the addition of Hyper Night Vision – with no-glow black LED models available for absolute stealth. Bushnell is the first company to match quality battery life with the huge memory capacity at an affordable price.

Sunglasses

Good quality sunglasses can protect your eyes from 100% of the sun’s harmful UV rays. Another great positive is that they are a very effective wind barrier. Sunglasses can reduce the rate of evaporation of tears and help keep your eyes moist and comfortable.  If you wear contact lenses, sunglasses will help to keep them moist also and prevent windblown particles from getting in your eyes and causing a corneal abrasion.  Sportsman’s Warehouse carries a good selection of great brands such as Native, Smith and Coyote.  Make sure you choose a pair of glasses that fit comfortably and that have lenses that will not alter you color perceptions adversely.  You might also want to consider a close-fitting “wrap” style frame as these make for a much more effective barrier from the elements.

Flagging Tape

To help you find your way in and then back out of your favorite hunting spot, it can be a good idea to mark your trail.  The Allen Company offers reflective flagging tape that makes finding your way a breeze.  This compact roll takes up little space in your pack, costs about $4 and sure comes in handy when marking the spot of your kill for the return trip with a little extra help for the drag back to camp!

Camo Facepaint

Hunters Specialties can help you with a little extra concealment with their Camo-Compac Makeup Kit.  The pocket-size case has a built-in mirror and four camo make-up colors.  The paint won’t dry or crack or come off with rain or perspiration.  It removes easily with HS Camo-Off or with a little soap and water.  Woodland/Bark Gray includes leaf green, bark gray, flat black and mud brown colors.
Another great option is their Cream Tube Makeup.  It comes in 1 oz/ tubes that you can take anywhere while taking up little space in your pack.  Comes in single tubes or can be purchased in a number of combo kits.

Scent Elimination Spray

Hunters Specialties, Primos and Wildlife Research offer many great scent elimination products and should be a part of every hunters supplies. Your pre-hunt preparations need to start at home with scent-free laundry detergent, then continuing at base camp with unscented soap, antiperspirants and body sprays.  Get the upper hand on the game animals you are after with a good assortment of these great products.
Well, there you have it.  This is a quick list of must have items in our hunting daypacks, and of course, you may even have a few more items that you feel need to be included as well.  Of course, a good pair of binos and/or a spotting scope with tripod is also a must, but that category is a great review for another day as well as the great camo choices that may not necessarily be part of your day pack, but definitely an important part of your hunt.  Here are a couple of our favorites and all of us here at Sportsman’s News hope the rest of the year offers you safe and successful hunting adventures wherever the trail takes you.

Camo

Under Armour
You already know that UA’s got you covered when the temps start to drop—their best-selling ColdGear Evo baselayers have been a staple for off-road athletes for years. Now they have taken that comfort and added their exclusive UA Scent Control technology to mask you from your prey. The duel-layer fabric gives you a soft, ultra-warm interior and a slick, fast-drying exterior. The 4-way stretch fabrication allows greater mobility and maintains its shape.UA’s signature Moisture Transport System wicks sweat away from your body and the quick-dry fabrication keeps you light and comfortable. Anti-order technology prevents the growth of odor causing microbes and lasts 10x longer than traditional carbon scent blockers. It’s also lighter and quieter, helping you stay stealthy from tracking to treestands. Never detected. Always Lethal®.

Browning
While nearly every mountain range has a location of this name, the Hell’s Canyon located in Utah’s rugged Wasatch Mountains deserves its name. It has a reputation for holding giant mule deer and for being nearly impossible to hunt due to horrific terrain and thick brush. Old timers hunted this country years ago in heavy canvas and leather. While these materials resisted tears and abrasions, they were noisy, heavy, soaked up water and provided little or no insulation. Fortunately, thanks to modern fabrications and technology, all this has changed.

Browning’s Hell’s Canyon hunting apparel was engineered with three things in mind: Ruggedness, weather-resistance and quietness. The three-layer fleece fabric is built to withstand the punishment of places like Hell’s Canyon, where the abuse from jagged rocks and twisted branches will destroy lesser fabrics. It is also 100% windproof and highly water-resistant to handle any conditions, all while being soft and quiet enough to keep from alerting wary game, allowing you to concentrate on the hunt instead of what you are wearing.

Sitka Gear
Sitka Gears’ Stormfront rain gear is built with intense durability in mind.  The Stormfront’s GORE-TEX® fabric makes it some of the most abrasion resistant breathable rain gear on the planet.  Designed for Alaska guides, this jacket has it all with articulated elbows for an unrestricted range of motion, pit zips to dump heat during a climb, taped and welded seams, water tight chest and hand pockets and a bomber hood that will withstand prolonged exposure to nature’s wrath. The perfect partner to the Stormfront Jacket, the Stormfront Pant provides a critical shield against a saturated mother earth by utilizing GORE-TEX® fabric and is also durable enough to last above timberline.  Available in either OPTIFADE Open Country Concealment or Forest Green.