It seems pretty obvious, but if you are on a backcountry hunt you won’t always be comfortable. There are things that you can pack to increase your comfort level. That increased comfort level will allow you to hunt harder for longer. The 1st Rut families Top-10 Backcountry Comfort Items are listed below.
Bugle, Bark, and Chuckle this to your buddies!
1. Coffee – Some may be able to live without, but I love coffee. It is the first thing I want in the morning and in the mountains, during a long hunt. There is nothing better in this man’s opinion than a cup of coffee. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t some fancy cup of coffee, but up there it is the best cup you will ever drink.
2. Wet Wipes – These things are amazing, they keep the funk at bay. It is amazing how bad you can stink after a few days on the mountain and when you begin to be grossed out by how bad you smell, it is time for a quick wipe down to freshen up. They also work well to clean up knives eating utensils and more. As a note, make sure you buy the ones with alcohol, they won’t freeze on a cold weather hunt.
3. Toothbrush/Toothpaste – This is a combo here, but it is refreshing to have some sort of personal hygiene up there and your significant other will thank you when you get home.
4. Clean Socks & Underwear – You are probably picking up a trend here, but to hunt for an extended period of time you need to be comfortable and this list is all about making the backcountry more comfortable.
5. Water Reservoir – I drink a lot of water, multiple Nalgene’s per day. At work, I drink two full ones before lunch and at least two more before I leave for the day. That isn’t counting the evening. Clearly, I drink a lot of water and being on the mountain without access to water is not comfortable for me and it can become a dangerous situation. With that in mind, I carry an XL Nalgene and 2.0 Liter water bladder in my pack. If I come across clean water, I filter and fill my bottle/bladder every time.
6. Inflatable Pillow – Ok, so sticking to five didn’t happen, think of it as a bonus. In the past, my pillow would be my extra clothes wadded up in a dry sack. That worked, but I didn’t realize how much better I could be sleeping until I bought an inflatable pillow. They are cheap, light and will help you rest when you need it most.
7. Crocs – Do you even Croc Bro? Seriously, There is nothing better in this world than sitting down at the end of a long, long day and removing your boots and sliding Croc’s On. I know this sounds ridiculous, but you absolutely need a pair. You will thank me at the end of your first or second day in the backcountry. Don’t forget to get the kind that have a 4-Wheel drive strap, in the event you need to offload to the bathroom at any given moment.
8. Chapstick – This only makes the list if it is windy, some years I can’t live without this stuff and others I don’t seem to need it. Take it with you just in case, I would rather have it and not need it then regret not having it.
9. Comfort Food – Backpack hunting is not the time to start a diet, you are going to need extra calories. What ever you think you need using the online calculators, go ahead and add 500 – 1000 extra calories each day. I don’t necessarily have a single comfort food item, but #knuckles of the 1st Rut family loves him some candy bars. He brings along at least one candy bar per day, and let’s just say it mirrors the commercial “Your not you when your hungry”. If there is something you love to eat at home, bring it along.
10. Garmin InReach – This may seem like an odd item to have on the comfort list, but let me tell a story. A couple of years ago, my wife was pregnant with our 4th child due a month after my scheduled return home from this hunting trip. To add to the stress, we were moving houses a week after my return. Needless to say, there was a lot going on. I went on this hunting trip “hoping” I would be able to catch enough cell service to make contact a couple of times during the week. Let’s just say that didn’t happen. My wife is a champ and persevered, but it was hard not being able to communicate in some way. Today, I don’t leave home without a Garmin InReach. Being able to communicate with home while also having the “Oh Crap” button is priceless piece of mind.