When you're out hunting, you only have what is in your pack to deal with anything that crosses your path. If you're walking or traveling considerable distances, you'll need to limit what you bring with you though, and keep it to just the necessities. Carrying extra weight will only stand to make you more fatigued and unable to deal with issues if they arise. We've put this list together for the novice to the intermediate hunter to help prioritize what's essential for a hunting pack.

1. Water

Perhaps an obvious one, but easily overlooked, a constant supply of water is crucial for any hunting pack. Regardless of what happens, if you don't have water, you're going to be in a difficult situation. A good proportion of your pack should always be dedicated to your water supply, ideally stored in a flexible bag to minimize the amount of space it takes up.

2. A first aid kit

After water, a basic first aid kit should be your second priority. This should include plasters for any cuts or blisters you pick up while trekking, antibacterial cream to sanitize your hands, insect repellent, and some basic medication including painkillers and digestive health tablets. Related to the first point, we would also recommend hydration tablets to help replenish your body of the essential salts and sugars that are lost during a long expedition.

3. Protection from the rain

This will be somewhat climate-dependent, but in almost every scenario, some sort of rain gear is a must. If you're in a situation where you know there's a good chance you may get wet, then make sure to really get this right. Invest in full waterproof clothing from head to toe. The last thing you need is getting wet, as this can lead to cold, itching, and worse. A tarp is a good idea, which can be set up quickly as a makeshift shelter if the rain is getting particularly bad.

4. A light

While a torch may be useful, what we really recommend is a headlamp. This will free up your hands for putting up your camp at night, and also gives you extra mobility if you're hiking in the dark, freeing up a hand to help you navigate the terrain. It's also advisable to get a headlamp with strobe and SOS settings if anything is to happen and you get lost in the dark. Most modern lamps are very lightweight so they won't make a significant impact on the weight of your pack. This can then be combined with a spotting scope to see wildlife in the dark, which we recommend buying with a stay on trails scope tripod to keep it in one place.

5. Food and snacks

Being on your feet all day while hunting burns a lot of calories. You'll need a good stock of calories to keep you going. Calorie-dense food is recommended, with pre-made army style food being ideal for your main meals, which just needs to be boiled in the bag for a quick and nutritious warm meal. Then, snacks should include dried fruits, nuts, and other high-calorie non-perishable items.

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Author, Freelance writer