If you’re anything like us, you probably have more than one hunting trip on the books for this fall. If you’re lucky in the draw, maybe you’ll even be joining us on multiple hunts right here in New Mexico – it’s not unheard of for our hunters to join us on a hunt for pronghorn or elk early in the season, and then return later in the year for mule deer, Barbary sheep or oryx.
Whenever you’re planning multiple hunts, dividing your pack into isolated kits makes it easy to toggle between a light daypack, big volume daypack and even overnight pack without requiring a full reorganizing of your gear.
Every pack requires a few basic kit categories and the specialized gear can remain in the specialized packs. Use this simple approach to gear to stay organized while shuffling between different hunts, species and travel luggage.
Here are a few tips to help you get organized for hunts this year…
Cubes and Stuff Sacks
Making categorical divisions is easy when you use dedicated packing cubes or stuff sacks for each mini-kit. Check with companies like Sea-to-Summit, SeaLine or even your favorite backpack brand for lightweight packing cubes or stuff sacks.
They transfer easily between packs and keep everything important in one place with easy accessibility. Lightweight stuff sacks are ideal for backpacks but packing cubes offer more durable and rigid options in general luggage.
Your safety kit should go with you everywhere and include basic first aid supplies at a minimum. I combine my GPS into this kit as well because my Garmin has emergency services functionality. Tape, Anti clot, antiseptic, aspirin, gauze, moleskin and my small GPS all live in a small sack.
Some of the pre-assembled backcountry medical kits come in waterproof bags with a little extra room for a GPS as well. Or you can start with a lightweight bag and assemble your own kit. It’s a little more work, but making up your own kit tends to be lighter, less expensive and of course more customizable.
Every hunter should carry a dedicated kill kit with some basic processing supplies. Combining my knives, bone saw, sharpener, game bags, latex gloves and some paracord into a bag that I can add and subtract quickly has been a huge help when moving between day packs and multi day packs. Depending on the license and tagging requirements in the state where you’ll be hunting, you might also consider carrying a pen to sign a paper license and zip-ties for attaching the carcass tag if required.
Specific hunting gear can really vary by hunt type. For example, an early season elk kit might look much different than a late season rut hunt for deer. Essentially, each kit contains the calls and any seasonal-specific gear needed for each individual hunt. Keeping each of these kits organized helps ensure that your loose elk mouth calls aren’t mixed up you’re your other small items, so they won’t be lost or add unnecessary clutter to your pack. Ammo and field accessories for my weapon live in this kit as well.
I also separate optics from this kit into their own but that is managed based on each situation and generally separated into a chest harness where everything besides the rangefinder lives.
Day Hunting Kit
My day bag has some permanent items included like a small multi-tool or spare pocket knife, a section of paracord, a water bladder and a few random accessories. I don’t have a clothing kit here because it varies drastically based on the conditions. On any given day, my daypack will have a layer or two, snack bags and any of the other kits mentioned above that are appropriate.
Overnight Hunting Kit
More involved than my day kit, the overnight hunting kit is split between the sleep system, cook system and clothing system.
The cook system contains a lightweight pack stove, fuel canister, lighter, spoon and a lightweight pot or mug. Although this kit is mostly used for overnight trips, it might go in my daypack on long day trips where hot tea or a simple meal is planned in the field as well.
Otherwise, the cook kit and sleep system largely stay in my overnight pack. That way, the other small kits are added or removed based on each situation.
Reach Out With Questions
If you have questions about our hunts or recommended packing tips, please take a few minutes to explore the rest of our website. We have lots of helpful information here on the blog page, as well as an FAQ Page and a dedicated Hunting Gear Page. If you have other questions about our guided hunts or hunting New Mexico in general, please don’t hesitate to contact us!