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Whether you’re a hunting pro or just a newbie in the game, there’s a 90% chance you’ll end up forgetting some things that you should’ve prepared beforehand.
But don’t fret, because we’re here to make sure that you’re properly covered and armed for any kind of situation—emergency or not—that can happen while you’re out and about in the wild.
Here are our top 10 survival items no hunter should be without—and word to the wise, you might want to take down notes just to make sure.
1. First Aid Kit
A hunter’s first aid kit is certainly not your ordinary first aid kit.
Basic band-aids and Ibuprofen would not be enough if you suffer a major injury (crossing our fingers that would never happen, though!).
Build your first aid kit from the ground up—start with meds, especially if you have some special needs such as blood pressure pills, epinephrine pens, asthma inhalers, antibacterial ointments, and so on.
You can then move on to items that are meant for more serious injuries.
These consist of heavy-duty bandages and gauze, tourniquet, splints, etc.
Of course, on top of having a first aid kit, it would also help a lot if you actually knew how to use these items in case of sickness or injury.
From the hunting days of yore, the compass has been the guiding force behind hunters.
Thank goodness we’ve evolved, and we now have GPS, right?
But still, hunting pros say you can never be too prepared.
Which is why it’s smart to always have a compass, a GPS (preferably one that you can wear on your wrist and fully-charged), and a [waterproof] map on hand.
Regardless if you’ve mastered the ins and outs of the area, this is the only fail-proof way that you can avoid being stuck or lost.
Better have all of these in your trusty backpack than need them and not have them. And throw in some positive thinking if worse does come to worst.
If you’re heading out to hunt for days and camping out, pack some heavy-duty and waterproof flashlights and headlamps.
A tip: if you’re carrying more than one bag, better slip in spare headlamps or small flashlights in there for safe keeping.
It’s also better to invest in a quality flashlight as opposed to getting the cheapest ones just to get by.
Again, it’s as a matter of being well equipped for any kind of situation and quality and trusted brands—despite being a tad bit more expensive—would be your best bet and ally.
Also, don’t forget to pack those extra batteries and bulbs!
Better yet, test those babies out before you even leave and put in new batteries for less hassle.
One of the 10 survival items no hunter should be without is food (and utensils!).
Whether you’re hunting for days or just going on a hike, you need to have easy-to-eat food such as canned goods and energy bars (I like these and these) that you can munch on as you go.
It’s also helpful to invest in a portable water purifier in addition to your water bottles.
We also highly recommend stainless steel utensils such as cups and cookware, which you could use for cooking and heating purposes, as well as for eating and drinking.
Don’t even dare bring paper cups and plates along the way—limit your trash and expect harsh weather conditions, so go for what’s functional and reusable.
Space blankets are also a go-to essential for hunters and campers alike.
Besides being waterproof and windproof, you can easily fold these up inside your backpack.
These blankets are as functional as it can get—you can use them as blankets (well, obviously), sleeping bag, signaling device, ground cloth, and heat conductor.
And when it rains, you can also make use of it by turning it into a poncho.
If you need additional shelter, you can simply pitch a space blanket and use it as a tarp to cover you.
This is even more important if you’re planning on hunting during colder seasons.
6. Knife or Multitool
A knife is to hunting as the pen is to writing—or something like that.
If you’re going to invest in a high-quality survival item for hunting, you’d better put a good knife on top of the list.
You’re the best bet is a top-grade and multi-functional tool that you can use on different textures and thickness.
If you have a retractable or folding tool, it’s also better to keep it on your person and not in a separate bag.
Keep this as close to you as possible for varying situations such as cutting rope, skinning game, opening canned goods, or even emergency injuries like removing splinters.
7. Whistle & Signal Glass Mirror
A whistle and a glass mirror (or this combo) are additional items for hunting that don’t exactly fall on top of the list of essentials, but they surely come in handy when you actually need to use them.
And if you don’t really know how and when to use them, let us enlighten you a bit.
Both a whistle and a glass mirror can be used to signal for help.
A whistle can also help ward off and frighten animals and the mirror, well, for you to look at yourself and check for injuries—or just to see how you look.
It’s highly recommended that you pack at least 50-feet of parachute cord A.K.A. paracord.
Its function ranges from building a shelter, securing loads to your backpack, tying a splint/sling, and even rappelling down from steep paths and inclines.
Disposable lighters and matches are of crucial importance to hunters.
You can build a fire for light, cooking, melt ice/snow, and for comfort and warmth.
While more hunters prefer disposable lighters, you still have to have backup matches that are stored in waterproof containers—especially for higher elevations where disposable lighters may not work as well.
Whether you’re traveling alone or in a group, better pack in a fully-charged mobile phone and two-way radio for communication.
Better throw in a power bank as well to keep all of your gadgets charged and recharged.
Well, that’s it.
Once you’ve got those items prepared, make sure to have the best hunting backpacks in which you’re going to place all that gear.
Heavy-duty survival items call for heavy duty luggage, in order to have proper storage, better function, and top-grade protection from the elements.
Cross out all the items you’ve placed in your bag and once you’ve crossed out all these essentials, then you’re good to go! Stay safe out there!
About the Author
Joseph Gleason is the founder of Captain Hunter. We provide guides on how to hunt effectively, answer reader questions, and reviews of the latest hunting gear. We specialize in providing expert information that does exactly what it claims.
Our dedicated staff members are each seasoned professionals with a passion for hunting built upon years of in the field experience.
Joseph Gleason Captain Hunter