8 Must-Have Tools for Your Next Hunt

Hunters making a game plan for a morning hunt.

Hunting has become exquisitely refined over the past years. Countless agencies offer well-planned hunting trips that entice hunters, but preparing your hunting gear may be tricky. Be mindful, though, that having the proper hunting tools with you can make the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful hunting trip. We’ve comprised a list of must-have tools for your next hunt, so that your experience will be enjoyable, successful and care-free.

Hunting Backpack

You’ll need lots of room to carry all your hunting essentials, so a high-quality backpack should be a priority. You’ll have to decide about size and specifications, the little details. What if I told you that you could get a sweet pack capable of handling as much weight as you could pick up, carry that weight extremely well, AND come in at a mere 4 lbs 14 oz? Sound too good to be true? I’m referring to the company that is Exo Mountain Gear, and specifically, the Exo 3500 backpack.

Rifle Scopes

Most mountain backpacking hunting trips are done with rifle scopes, so this particular item will also have to be on your hunting gear list. Now, hunting enthusiasts may have diverging opinions as to which scope is best for the job but that’s not the issue here. Some prefer a lightweight scope that ensures maximum magnification, good range and a custom turret. However, knowing how to zero a rifle scope is something that you should definitely know how to do.

Hunting Knives

Granted, there’s nothing that compares to the rush of adrenaline that you get when deer hunting or when you’re mere seconds away from pulling the trigger. But after the hunt is over and the animal is at your feet, you’ll need a quality hunting knife if you’re not keen on spending half a day skinning and field dressing a deer. Having a hunting knife on you is essential, but aside from the small one that you probably keep in your pocket at all times, you should also have a larger one packed in your backpack.

Rain Gear and Proper Boots

This should go without saying: a hunting trip involves harsh weather conditions, extreme temperatures and most annoyingly, lots of precipitation. Investing in a pair of quality, waterproof boots as well as rain gear goes without saying. Shop around and find “breathable” gear that is both light and easy to dry. The only issue, though, is that “breathable” rain gear will eventually get wet once it’s saturated with water.


This may seem mundane, but carrying a lighter or a set of waterproof matches is essential on any hunting trip. Yes, you may only end up using them to melt threads on your clothes, but more often than not, you’ll be checking wind direction or may even have to start an emergency fire. Regardless of the scenario, fire-starting equipment (at least in the form of matches) should be something you never leave home without.

Portable Stove

Let’s be honest: your wife won’t love the idea of packing 14 days-worth of sandwiches or snacks. In fact, you won’t enjoy carrying them either. But hunting trips do tend to run long, so you’ll have to stay properly nourished. A stove is a great idea to carry with you, especially since there are multiple lightweight models. Compressed gas stoves are a great option and particularly packing friendly (since numerous models are so small that they, together with a fuel canister, can fit inside a boiling pot). The issue, though, is when you’re flying to remote destinations. Since you won’t be able to transport compressed fuel canisters, another option is to go for a multi-fuel stove (they work on gasoline, white gas, diesel or kerosene).


You’ll also have to be able to identify the direction you’re going and a compass is a tiny yet essential item to carry with you. While a GPS may seem like the more tech-friendly option, there are situations where it, too, may fail. Or at least its batteries. A compass, however, will always work, even under thick tree covers, in deep valleys or other secluded areas where a GPS may fail.

First Aid Kit

Make no mistake: however careful you are, accidents do happen and you need to be prepared to dress a wound or disinfect a cut. That’s why a first aid kit is a must-have and should never be left at home in order to save space for some other, less important item. First aid kits contain bandages, disinfectant, chap sticks, but make sure to also pack other items such as pain medication, cold and digestive drugs, an extra lighter perhaps. Also, duct tape and water treatment drops are a welcome addition.

There are other items to carry with you: binoculars, a flashlight, extra ammo, ear plugs (especially if your gun is particularly loud), glove, insect repellent, spare batteries and 550 cord. A well-equipped hunter will be able to make the best out of any situation, so, with that in mind, enjoy a successful hunting trip and let us know if there are any essential items that we missed.