In the Field

How to Plan a DIY Alaska Hunting Adventure – Episode #7 – Hunting Gear and What to Pack

How to Plan a DIY Alaska Hunting Adventure - Episode #7 – Hunting Gear and What to Pack

Welcome to the seventh and final epside of the DIY Alaska hunting series. In this article, we’ll take a look at everybody’s favorite topic: gear. I’ll offer some ideas on how to categorize your hunting gear and what to pack for your adventure. On another topic, before I forget, if you’ve enjoyed this DIY Alaska hunting series and would like a hard copy of all the information I’ve covered, as well as some additional resources, you can order a copy of my Alaska Hunting Quickstart Guide by clicking on the link below.

Alaska Hunting: A Quickstart Guide for Planning a DIY Alaska Hunt
Alaska Hunting: A Quickstart Guide for Planning a DIY Alaska Hunt

 

When all the research, planning, and training are done for your DIY Alaska hunting adventure, the time finally comes to pack up and head north. Selecting and choosing the right gear for such a monumental endeavor can be a source of confusion and even anxiety! Forgetting something vitally important or having critical gear fail on such an adventure can be the difference between success and failure, and even more so, it can be the difference between life and death while out in the unforgiving wilderness.

As you begin the process of discerning what gear to choose and pack, keep in mind that you’ll have limited space and strict weight restrictions on an Alaskan hunt, especially if flying out to a location in a bush plane or doing a float hunt. The gear you pack should be as lightweight and multifunctional as possible, and it should also be the highest quality you can afford. The Alaskan wilderness is no place for cheap, piece-of-junk gear that will fail when you need it most. The equipment you choose will have a significant impact on your productivity and personal safety, and again, it can certainly play a key role in your overall hunting success. Naturally though, having the best gear in the world is useless if you don’t know how to use it properly. Well-practiced outdoor skill is much more beneficial than simply having top of the line gear.

Much of what you take along on an Alaskan hunting adventure will depend on what and where you’ll be hunting, as well as what time of year it is. Based on these factors, there can be many variables as far as the specific gear that you may or may not need. This is way too big of a subject to cover in just one relatively short article, so please keep in mind that what I’ll be sharing with you here is a general overview to get you started in the right direction. If you’d like more detailed information on gear selection for hunting in Alaska, pick up a copy of the Alaska Hunting Quickstart Guide that I mentioned earlier, as I cover things much more extensively there.  Keep in mind too, that while all the gear I’ll be covering here may seem like a heck of a lot, when it’s all said and done you should be able to pack it all up in a few large duffle bags and/or plastic totes. Which again, is why you want to choose gear that is durable, but lightweight and multifunctional.

 

Hunting Gear Categories

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No matter what or where you’ll be hunting in Alaska, the gear that you’ll need to pack for your adventure will fall into the following categories…

  • Weapon, Ammo, and Accessories
  • Species Appropriate Hunting Accessories
  • Personal ID & Hunting Permits
  • Food and Drink
  • Cooking Supplies
  • Game Care & Processing
  • Camping Gear
  • Personal Care Items
  • Clothing and Footwear
  • Safety and Survival
  • Optics
  • Packing and Transportation

As a first step, based on all the extensive planning that you’ve done for your particular hunt in your particular location, make a well-thought-out list of what you’ll need for your trip for each of these categories. After you have that list together, be sure to check things off the list as you’re getting packed and then go over it all again before you get ready to head out. As an example to get you thinking about your own hunt, what follows is my packing list for moose hunting, however, most everything on this list is also what I take along on all my wilderness hunts. The only thing that really changes is my weapon of choice and any animals specific hunting accessories such as game calls.

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Weapon, Ammo, and Accessories

  • Rifle and case
  • Bore snake and oil
  • Scope cover
  • Ammo
  • Shooting monopod/bipod

Species Appropriate Hunting Accessories

  • Tactics notebook/hunting journal
  • Moose call (megaphone) and white cloth for “flashing” call
  • Wind checker

Personal ID & Hunting Permits

  • Driver’s License
  • Passport (if necessary)
  • Hunting License
  • Tags

Food and Drink

  • Instant oatmeal
  • Raisins and dried fruit
  • Peanut butter
  • Freeze-dried meals
  • Nutrition bars/granola/power bars, etc.
  • Nuts
  • Cheese
  • Water purification
  • Water bottles
  • Powdered Gatorade/Tang, etc.
  • Instant coffee and creamer
  • Collapsible water jug or two

Cooking Supplies

  • Camp stove and fuel
  • Eating and cooking utensils
  • Lighter/matches
  • Cooking vessels
  • Plate/bowl/cup
  • Paper towels
  • Small camp grill
  • Dish soap
  • Scouring pad
  • Can opener/multi-tool
  • Aluminum foil

Game Care & Processing

  • Field dressing knives
  • Sharpening tool/stones
  • Bone saw
  • High-quality, synthetic material game bags
  • Meat tarp
  • “Gamekeeper” spray (citric acid) and spray bottle
  • Tape measure
  • Rubber gloves

Camping

  • Tent
  • Ground tarp
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping clothes and hat
  • Pillow
  • Insulated sleeping mat
  • Flashlights/headlamp – extra batteries & bulbs
  • Duct tape
  • 5 min epoxy or super glue
  • Portable bow saw with wood and bone blades
  • Camp shovel
  • Bug repellent and head net
  • Cooler or plastic tote(s)
  • Bunji cords
  • Camp chair
  • Small axe and/or large camp knife

Personal Care Items

  • Cell Phone and charger
  • Sunglasses
  • Deodorant
  • Contacts/glasses
  • Toothbrush/paste
  • Vitamins
  • Soap/Shampoo
  • Ibuprofen/aspirin
  • Journal & pen
  • Chapstick
  • Washcloth/towel
  • Bio-degradable toilet paper
  • Ear plugs
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Mole skin/blister treatment
  • Thank you card and cash for tips

Clothing and Footwear

  • Traveling and camp clothes
  • Layer system of hunting clothing
  • Belt
  • Boots
  • Camp shoes
  • Packable hip waders (if applicable)
  • Gloves (light and heavy)
  • Hats (brimmed and stocking)
  • Camouflage face mask
  • Chemical hand/toe warmers

Safety and Survival

  • First aid kit
  • Survival kit
  • Topo maps
  • Compass
  • Satellite phone
  • EPIRB (Emergency positioning indicating radio beacon)
  • GPS and extra batteries
  • Flagging tape
  • Bear pepper spray
  • Proximity alarm for camp and meat cache
  • Packable electric bear fence

Optics

  • Binoculars
  • Rangefinder
  • Camera (still and video)
  • Tripod
  • Spotting scope
  • Extra batteries and/or charger
  • Lens cleaning brush or wipes

Packing and Transportation

  • Large frame backpack
  • Duffle and/or dry bags
  • Large plastic totes
  • Knee braces and back brace
  • 150 Feet of 550 parachute cord
  • 100 Feet of nylon rope
  • Zip ties and clipper
  • Heavy-duty garbage and or contractor bags (large and small)
  • Ziplock freezer bags (large and small)

Summary

To wrap things up, planning for an Alaskan hunt is a huge adventure in and of itself. While there are lots of details to go over and many preparations to be made, all of those things should ultimately be an exciting, educational source of fun! Don’t let the process intimidate you. Start knocking out all the tasks that I’ve covered in this series one by one and before you know it, all the work will be done. You’ll have a sound knowledge of what’s in store, and you’ll have the confidence to take on whatever may come your way in the Great Land of Alaska! Check out the video below to see more…

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