The other day, a question was asked on DIYbowhunter.com about what to pack for a week long hunt. Quite a few people chimed in and gave some great advice. A few days later, while sitting at work, I brought the subject of backpacking and survival with a co-worker who is an avid hiker. We discussed scenarios and options that could happen to any of us. We discussed thinking ahead and survival in the outdoors. I've been reading up on hydration and survival lately, and it is disturbing how many people only pack enough food and water for the exact time they plan to be outdoors.
Now, I realize that there are many other factors to consider like bears and mountain lions, etc. when you venture into the wilderness. I am only touching on a few major topics.
Last year, when planning a day-long hunting trip in the high desert, I checked the weather and saw that the temperature where my friend and I were going to be hunting would be in the 90s. I also knew that we'd be hiking a few miles in, spotting and stalking, and be sitting in the direct sunlight much of the day. Where I hunt there are no water sources at all. Every water source listed on the map has dried up, so we plan accordingly. We each packed in an extra gallon of water.You should have seen the emails and comments I received stating I was crazy. Many said I was packing too much, or that I was over-thinking the situation. The day of the hunt, we found ourselves having to hike out a longer distance and we ended up drinking all of our water AND we had to stop at a gas station for more. Thank goodness we had planned to have extra on hand!
The next discussion was about food and how much to pack in. Sure, for a day hunt you may not need a lot of extra food, but do you pack more just in case? I know that when I go out, I plan for an extra two days. That's even when I go on a day hunt into the backcountry. Plus, if you pack in smaller food stuffs, like some of the 400-calorie survival bars you can save space. I don't want to be caught alone, not able to get out of the forest, and to be dehydrated and hungry.
We also discussed surviving the elements and I mentioned that I always pack a survival blanket. It's not always me I am thinking about. What if my hunting partner falls and needs to stay put overnight until help arrives? What if I come across a stranded hunter who is chilled and needs assistance? These are some of the things I think about when I am hunting. Sure, it can mean a little extra weight, but I am willing to heft the extra 10 lbs or so in. To me it's worth it.
There are some great articles out there about what to pack and if we pack too much. Mark, from SoleAdventure, posted this two-parter back in April offering some great ideas and advice.
What do you hunters do? How much water and food do you pack? Do you plan for a 'what if' situation? I am very curious whether you are a treestand hunter who hunts a local farm or you are an extreme backcountry hunter who hikes 10 miles in. Please comment and let me know.