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Essentials for Overnight hunts in the Wilderness
Essentials for Overnight hunts in the Wilderness

Essentials for Overnight hunts in the Wilderness

If you are planning on going on a backcountry hunt, there are a number of things that you are going to want to pack.  These hunts aren’t like a normal hunt, and all of your provisions and equipment must be light enough to carry, but also enough to sustain you through the hunt.  A backcountry hunt isn’t for the weak, and it will test you both mentally and physically, so it is important that you are prepared for the journey.

Backpack or Rucksack

The most important thing that you are going to want to get is a good backpack.  Before you go to the head out on this hunt, you will want to try a number of different packs.  It needs to be light, as you will be filling it with a bunch of gear, and you don’t want to be bogged down with a heavy pack.

Also, you need something that is large and durable.  If it is a three or four-day hunt you are going to need enough food and water to last.  So you will need a pack that is able to hold enough supplies to make it. Durability is another key thing to consider.  You will need something that can hold up to your daily activities because if your pack breaks, you will be in a lot of trouble trying to carry all of your gear.

Tent and Sleeping bag

You are going to want to look for the same things in a tent as you are a back pack.  You will want something that is light, durable and compact. It needs to be light and compact so that it is easy to stow away when you are done using it.  There are a number of light tents on the market that will give you the perfect option for backcountry hunting trips.

Also, you want something that is meant for whatever environment that you are in.  If you are up in the mountains make sure your sleeping bag will keep you warm when the temperatures dip well below freezing.  There are a good amount of bags out there, but the recon bags are one of the most compact bags, and they will keep you warm in the coldest of climates.  

Bear Bag

If you are going to be anywhere near bears you are going to want a simple bear bag.  You can pack all of your food in the bag; then you will want to go a little ways away from your campsite and find a tall tree.  Then you will throw the bag over the tree branch and hang it in the tree.

Often times bears will smell your food, and that is why they will come towards your camp.  If you have the bear bag placed in a tree that is away from your camp, you won't have to worry about intruders in the night.  The last thing you want is a bear waking you up while you are sleeping, or one that gets to your food, and leaves you hungry.

Fire Starting Kit

Also, any outdoorsman that is worth their weight will know how to start a fire.  It is a great way to cook, purify water, and provide some warmth through the night.  Also, fires have been known to keep any animals away, so it is good to light a fire when you are in bear or mountain lion country.  

These are usually pretty small and can be simple to make at your house.  Buy some waterproof matches or a Zippo lighter, and bring along some kind of tinder.  Dryer lint or cotton balls dipped in petroleum jelly make great firestarters, and all of this can be easily packed in your bag.  Make sure that when you are looking for wood to start your fire that you find the driest wood around, a dead tree is usually a good place to start, also check with the local authorities to see if there are any burn restrictions in place.  


Moving through the backcountry is physically exhausting work.  It will have you burning more than your regular 2000 calories a day, and you need to make sure that you are eating a large number of calories.  They have a number of lightweight freeze dried options that make for a delicious meal.

These meals are very similar to the Meals Ready to Eat that the military eats.  They are easy to pack in your bag, and they give you a lot more calories than a normal meal.  You will probably want to be eating anywhere in the range of 3000 – 5000 calories in a day, to make sure that you can make it through your hunt.  

Some other foods that are good to have are simple things like trail mix and beef jerky.  Items like this are lightweight, and they are a good snack when you don’t want to make a whole entrée.  You will want to be eating a good amount, a good rule of thumb is bring enough food for at least two days more than what you expect your trip to be.  You do not want to run out of food while you are out in the woods.

Water/ purifier

Another essential piece for any hunt is water.  You will be drinking and going through a lot of water as you trek across the woods, so you need to make sure that you bring enough water.  Most recommend that you drink 150 ounces a day, and that is before rigorous activity.

You will want to drink more because the last thing you want is to suffer from dehydration.  Camelbak and other companies make large water carriers that you can use over extended periods.  The bulk of your weight in your pack will come from water.

Also, it is good to have some way to purify water.  There are a number of things out there from pills to straws that can do this, but it is a good thing to have in case you run out.  Make sure that you plan and ration all of your water accordingly. You will want to drink before you get thirsty to prevent dehydration.


Overnight hunting trips to the backcountry are both physically and mentally challenged.  The things listed above are the bare essentials for your hunt, and it is important that you bring all of these things, plus the gear for your hunt.  It may be heavy, so you want to make sure that you are physically capable of completing the hunt.

Also, it is recommended that you try your gear out first.  Make sure everything works properly, and you are comfortable with all of your gear.  It may take some practice to figure out exactly how much food and water you need, but the more times you go, the easier it will be to figure everything out.  

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