This will be part one of a three part series on packing gear for camping out in the wilderness. In this issue I will go over what I take on a quick overnight walk in trip with a good forecast. No tent or fly on these trips, just camping under the stars. The idea is to travel as light weight as possible to make it easier to cover a lot of country in a short time.
Firstly we need a decent pack, my choice is a “Vaude” 75 litre. I’ve had this pack for over ten years now and it’s still going strong with no breakages. Being 75 litres it is a little on the large side for an overnight trip but having the extra room allows you to pack in a good load of meat or that trophy head without having to tie too many things onto the outside of the pack. Any comfortable heavy duty pack from about 55 litres would be sufficient for these quick overnighters.
Next on the list is a good down sleeping bag and bed mat, my sleeping bag has a down rating of 750grams which is usually enough for late spring, summer and early autumn trips, but leaves me a bit chilly once there is a bit of snow around. In mid-winter I prefer to use a tent or hut as opposed to under the stars camping. For a bed mat I have gone away from the blow up variety and moved back to the old foam roll up type. The biggest downside of the foam roll is that it’s very bulky but I find I stay a bit warmer with this option.
If I am up on the tops, camp site choice is pretty important for this type of mission. I usually try find a small flat spot out of the wind. This can sometimes be very difficult but if you duck off the main ridge onto a terrace or get in behind a knob you’ll find a survivable spot. I have often in the past made small rock walls as a bit of a wind break. These don’t need to be very high, maybe a foot or so is plenty to tuck in behind and reduce the wind chill.
The other items in my kit are:
Rifle (of course) plus a bipod.
A good quality fold out knife
A small pocket knife-just in case I lose my main knife.
A small diamond steel
Camera+ small tripod – very handy if you’re hunting alone and want some good quality pictures with your kill
Spare batteries for head torch and GPS
Compass and map
Spare ammo- ten rounds is usually plenty
Basic 1st aid kit and locater beacon (if you have one)
Lighter and also a piece of rubber for a fire starter
A light weight water proof jacket
Thermal top and long johns
(this list assumes I am already wearing, boots, socks, gaiters, shorts, thermal, mid and outer bush shirt layers, plus a cap or sun hat)
My tucker for these trips is just simple food that doesn’t require cooking, usually two one square meal bars for each meal plus a couple of other muesli and chocolate bars for snacks and back up. That way you don’t have the extra weight of cookers, pots and cups. And I always make sure I have some decent food in the car for when I get back.
A crucial reminder for all your trips, is to give friends and family good details of the area you’re going to hunt and what time you’re planning to return home.
Next issue I will go over gear for two or three night trips, until then be safe and happy hunting.