I am a huge fan of multi day fishing and hunting trips using as little gear as possible. Of course this entire depends on the location and time of year, but if you plan right you can have a fantastic weekend without having to carry military size backpacks.
At least twice a year I bring my sons on a weekend trip into the mountains and we have got it down to just a few fishing rods, sleeping bags and a few small luxuries. This allows us to hike further and to places that would be quite difficult to get to in just a weekend. In this article I want to highlight how little we actually bring with us on these trips.
1: Sleeping Bags
First off, no matter where you go on an overnight camping trip you will need a sleeping bag. At this stage we have about 4 or 5 different ones each, and they all differ in two areas: (a) water proof and (b) insulation thickness. Dependent on the time of year and weather forecast we bring a sleeping bag that will keep us warm and dry.
While it is better to have a sleeping bag that will be too warm than too cold, you do need to account for this resulting in a heavier bag to carry. Same with the water proof sleepers, these do weigh a bit more, but can make a huge difference if you get caught in a bit of night time rain.
2: Digital And Paper Maps
These days we all have our smart phones with maps down loaded and GPS built in. But you really do not want to rely on digital equipment in the wild. On one occasion I managed to slip while crossing a sream and my back pack fell into the water.
The phone was destroyed, but the printed map simply got a bit wet and could be dried at the camp fire. Unless you know the area like the back of your hand it will always be safer to have a printed map.
3: Fishing Equipment
Obviously you will need to eat, and one of the ways to make sure you don’t go hungry is to bring some fishing equipment. You will not want to bring your high end carbon fiber rod with a huge box of different tackle. The simpler and cheaper the rod the better, as it is likely to get quite a bit of battering on the hike.
I generally bring a selection of 5 to 10 different lures and I select them based on the time of year. You can see my guide to fishing lures in this article here (ADD LINK).
4: Hunting Rifle
Whether you are going hunting or not, I always recommend bringing a hunting rifle for protection. Unless you are certain that your intended hiking area does not have any dangerous predators this is really a must have.
It is too easy to stumble upon bears, wolves or various wild cats, and in those situations you do not want to be unarmed. It is also a great way to get some extra food, and if you are going for several days you can add to the adventure. Make sure you read my guide to this years’ hunting season for some info about hunting licenses.
5: Survival Kit
This is absolutely essential and should contain a few crucial things. You will need some water proof matches and maybe a flint stone, even if you plan on manually making fire. If you urgently need a fire to dry clothes and yourself, the last thing you want is to wait for heat.
I also pack some pain killers and medication for various stomach upsets. This will help if you get sick or hurt.
Bandages, disinfectant, etc. should be all in an emergency care kit, but make sure to regularly check the dates. You don’t want to pack a hospital’s supply cabinet, but most adventure stores will be able to show you different kits
Very important as well is a survival knife which you will need for preparing food and possibly gathering fire wood. There are tons of different knives available for sorts of prices, so you can just get one that suits your budget.
6: Radio Or Sat Phone
I used to bring a small radio, but have found that radios have become less reliable in certain parts of the country. Satellite phones have significantly come down in price and I now share one with a few friends. Fortunately I have never needed one, by my friend Tony did break his leg on a hike once and was glad to be able to call rescue services on a pretty reliable phone.
7: Optional Stuff
If I go on hunting trips I will bring along my hunting scope, as I am not that good a shot to be reliable without it. If it’s just a fishing trip then I usually leave it behind as it adds weight and is expensive to replace if it gets damaged. I would recommend you check out the rifle scopes at scopesandspotters.net.
One thing we do like to bring along is our spotting scope, as we have a keen interest in birds of prey. Being able to observe them up close is fascinating and you can get some pretty portable spotters that will allow you to get real close.
Other than that all you need is a sense of adventure and a willingness to adjust your plans as and when needed.