Streamline Your Pack

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“You don’t need that” my loving wife stated flatly.
Hovering near her, sporting goods catalog in hand, I tried to counter “But look Honey, it holds 2150 cubic inches of gear”, as I tried to give her my best loving look.
“Nope, you do not need to carry more gear – you have several packs already… if one of them is not big enough, take two” she stated and then fell back to attacking her Sudoku puzzle.
Sulking, I moved back to my side of the bed and continued thumbing through my now dog eared catalog.
“Take two…. yeah, right”… I muttered under my breath.
“You got something else to say?”, she says, pencil poised like a poison dart…
“No, I reckon not” and then without adding it out loud, the thought was “not when you ain’t even listening to me in the first place, anyway…"
Man, that pack looked nice, though… lots of spaces for storage, zippers, straps, etc… man… I could carry ALL of my stuff.
Faced with an upcoming first ever Midwest trip, I was already envisioning putting all of my gear in there, keeping it neat and organized…
Fast forward about 10 days.
It is 3:50 in the morning and I am about ¼ of the way to my stand location.
I have a bow, my climbing stand (darn, this thing is heavier than I thought it was) and my well worn pack – which is stuffed just about full.
The corn field is roughly 800 yards long, then I gotta take a left hand turn at a millet field and follow it for about 400 yards… and then it is about 300 yards across the CRP field to the creek bottom…. Man, I knew it was a long way when I scouted, I was not thinking of having to carry all of this STUFF!
That was the first morning.
By the third morning, my pack was nearly empty!
I had to carry the stand and the bow, no way around that.

What I did not have to carry was all of the junk in the pack!
I started removing items… I had two extra flashlights, a extra grunt call, an extra set of gloves, a rain suit, a poncho, two pair of reading glasses, a Thermacell (remember, it was 24 degrees that morning), extra flashlight batteries, a bottle of water that had been in there so long the label was gone… well, you get the picture!
Here is my tip (finally, JimBob!)…. Reassess what you really need and streamline your gear… bring the items you use on a regular basis.
If you do not use it that often, you can probably get by without and be a lot more mobile (and less worn out) as the days progress.
I lessened my pack out of necessity – after the third day or so of straight hunting, the toll was wearing me down physically.
On some days, I even left the binos and harness behind – when I knew I was hunting in an area where they were likely to be of little use.
After I had ranged an immediate bow area and knew where 20, 30 and 40 yards were, I left the range finder.
I quickly discovered my wife was right – “you do not need that”!
Streamline a little.
Walk some more.
Be less worn out.
You might find a bigger __________________ (fill in the spaces with deer, buck, elk, bear, whatever, you get the picture!)


ManOfTheFall's picture

Thanks for the tip. Whatever

Thanks for the tip. Whatever I don't carry around my neck, or in my pockets, I carry in the little camo bag I wear around my waist. Usually in this bag I will have my tags and licenses, flashlight, knife, camera, and some extra cover scent. I am a heavy sweater. So usually, by the time I get to the stand, even in colder weather, I spray down again. Thanks for sharing.

groovy mike's picture

All true

This applies to hunting but I learned teh same lesson when reenacting the revolutionary war.  The new guys (like I was) carry bedrolls, haversacks full of trinkets, mess kits, bayonets, tomahwks and any number of other things that weigh you down unnecessarily.  Those of us (like I am now), carry a musket, the makings of ammunition (in reenacting just powder and paper for blank firing) and a canteen - period end of story.    

You don't need anything else, and all it does is weigh you down. 

This is well worth remebering any time you will be hiking or huntiong over any appreciable distance.  Go ahead and carry the heavy pack.  You will learn from it and know better the next time! 


CVC's picture

Want to learn about

Want to learn about streamlining your pack?  Go on a mountain hunt.  You will be shedding lots of equipment after the first day.  We all tend to carry more stuff that we actually need.  I do carry stuff that I hope I will never need like a first aid kit.  But I do try to elimnate the junk stuff.  I still use my large pack because I can strap my ground blind to it and haul it in on my back and well, it is just comfortable so I use it regardless of how much stuff I carry.