Spring, it is just around the corner and Punxsutawney Phil may not always get it right but one thing he knows is its time to think about your spring hunt preparations! As many avid outdoors-men know the spring can be very unpredictable and just as dangerous as winter when your out in the back country or even local honey holes!
Spring Hunting Gear List
- Base layering system with waterproof outer layers
- Backpack with rain cover or wet/dry bag inside you pack
- Leg Gaiters
- High calorie food
- Rain proof tent system ( All tents are not made equal)
- Sleeping system
- Waterproof boots
- Trekking poles
- extra clothes
- Compact cooking system (can be used as heat source)
- fire starter kit for wet condition
- Water, or a way to treat water
Base layering is the best course of action whenever outdoors, forget the heavy jacket! when properly layered you will have the ability to shed or add layers with the changing weather conditions. With that said a rain proof outer shell is vital! take it from someone who has been caught with his pants down layering wont matter if you cant stay dry. Rain gear now days comes so compact that you will hardly notice you have them but when you get stuck on the mountain in a wild 30 minute spring storm you will never forget to bring them again. other base layers i would highly recommend are light and heavier pairs of thermal long underwear, yes grandpa was on to something.
Rainproof pack or wet/dry bag
I learned a long time ago during my time in the Marine Corps on 20 mile ruck marches that a good pack will make or break you! Take special care in picking your pack, things to consider are the size and placement of your comber-bun / waist belt, adjust ability, weight, storage needs, and whether its waterproof.
Your comber-bun is going to depend a lot on your body type, a thicker one maybe great for a thinner person but for those packing a little extra weight if you know what i mean you might want to consider how its going to ride at the waist line and maybe use a thinner waist belt on your pack.
When packing you want to carry the weight of your load mostly on your hips. If your belt doesn’t ride right and you have to unbuckle your comber-bun your shoulders will hate you! let’s say you find that perfect pack but its not waterproof, no worries simply obtain a wet/dry bag. they come in many sizes and will keep all your packs contents dry through anything nature throws at you.
You can count on the spring delivering you a plethora of wet pant legs and socks. The animus for leg gaiters is some what surprising when considering anyone who has used them in any kind of damp, wet, or snowy hiking condition will likely never venture far without them. What gaiters do is prevent then moister or snow from slowly creeping up your legs and down your socks leaving you rather discontent and ready for camp instead of pursuing the days goals. If you haven’t tried them give them a shot, you wont be disappointed!
High calorie food
Hiking and or Hunting is NOT the time to eat your hip new heath diet! You will typically be expending a lot of energy especially if you manage to down that trophy spring bear. High calorie foods will keep you going when the going gets tough. Besides the obvious energy needed to pack in camp or pack out your quarry your food choice will help you keep warm during adverse weather. There are so many different options online and at your local sporting goods stores i recommend taste testing them before ordering a pallet of it and then becoming the camp mooch because they suck. (lesson learned from experience, pictures always look great!)
Like packs don’t go cheap on your tent. I would recommend a tent that is light weight waterproof with a durable bottom this is water proof and extends up the sides at least 3 inches minimum to prevent water from running into your tent when that midnight rain storm hits. Another lesson learned the hard way is to in sure your tent has good ventilation or you may wake up just as wet from the condensation build up while you sleep.
I recommend a a two part sleeping system, first part should be rated for well below the expected temp. i have found rarely do most bags feel comfortable at the low temp they are rated for so be sure to get the lowest temp rating bag you can. Second part of your system should be a waterproof outer cover/shell that will help your bag stay dry if you have any kind of water or condensation issues with your tent. its never easy drying a wet or damp bag in the spring.
Find a good pair of boots and break them in before you head up the trail, sore and wet feet are never a good combination. You get what you pay for, that can be said for most things in this list but without good boots you will likely cut your trip short. I prefer a durable leather boot with a Gortex liner to prevent the eventual saturation of the boot with water during those long wet days. I find a insulated boot can be nice but when dealing with changing temperatures its easier to change to lighter socks then pack extra boots for when your feet start getting to hot. some light weight fabric boots are great when its dry and no moisture but you will become miserable when you have miles to hike out and your feet become soaked. obviously the best course of action is to do your research on the area and climate your will be operating in then choose your gear.
USE THEM! That is about all i have to say about that.
If you need help figuring out how much clothing you need to bring find a mother, any mother will surly do since they all tend to have an innate ability to pack the right amount of clothing for any trip. In all seriousness pack multiple base layers and a few extra days worth of outer layers. you can never have enough socks, socks are your life line! take care of your feet because they are the only thing you can rely on to get you out of any situation you may find yourself in.
Take your pick, there are so many good systems available to us now days that come in small portable setups its really up to you and the meals you plan on having while in camp or spike camp. Always bring extra fuel cells for your portable stoves. Beside cooking food a compact stove can save your life and provide a vital heat source or a way to dry tender to get a life saving fire up and going.
CAUTION: you are dealing with compressed gases don’t place your stove under sticks, branches, and or logs, you may blow yourself up or get burned if you cant get it back out after your tinder catches flame. Don’t be stupid!
Fire starting kits
Always have a back up, packing a waterproof fire starting kit is a must when adventuring outdoors. In fact it is one of the first things your taught in boy scouts. The reason for this is lighters fail, matches get wet, and camp stoves run out of fuel. research your options and be prepared for the worst. Ferro rods, tender boxes, fuel free electric ignition systems and good old wax covered matches are all good options for your kit. keep several options in your kit.
It can be a large load when you put all this list together in one pack and water will take up a lot of room so before heading out do your research, figure out where sources of water can be obtained and plan your days around the ability to reach them. I recommend a camel bak with an inline filtration system so when on the move you have the ability to fill and go. If you have time to wait or maybe take a break you can also use tabs or a gravity filter to fill your water storage. If in California filter straws are probably illegal by now but everywhere else they are a viable option for a quick drink.
This spring be prepared and take your outdoors adventure to the next level. Hopefully this list has helped and will better your next trip into the back country.