Hunting Backpack Checklist: Things You Should Be Carrying

I’ve been hunting for the last 8½ years. Quite a long period, right? When I look back to where I started, I’m convinced that this has been a great time for learning and learning.

Yes, I’ve amassed a wealth of experience in every aspect of this field. Backpacking stands among the most important skills I got. Today, I’ll let you know all the essential items you should always carry in your hunting backpack.

This might sound like a simple task to do. But after going through my hunting backpack checklist below, you’ll be shocked. You’ll discover many essential things you never knew were important for your hunting trip. And how they could be affecting our effectiveness in the woods…

Things to Carry in Your Hunting Backpack:


hunting compass

One of the lessons I learned the hard way is to never leave my compass at home. This was after getting lost in the woods severally.

I struggled a lot trying to find my way. But when I started carrying my compass, things changed for the better. Everything became incredibly easy. I could easily trace my way.

Though a GPS unit is also necessary (as we’ll see later in this post), I choose my magnetic compass for several reasons. One, it doesn’t need any batteries to operate. It works exemplary well everywhere- in the valleys, under thick tree covers, e.t.c.


Hunting Knife

I don’t poke my nose into other people’s businesses, including their hunting packs. But when I do, always get the sight of a knife nicely packed in these backpacks. No hunter would dare leave the house without a knife in their daypacks.

Most of the hunters would even go beyond the expectations and carry an extra knife in their pockets. Are you still asking yourself why you should take a knife to the woods?

How about taking apart that moose, sheep or the brown bear?

A knife will serve the purpose well.If you don’t already have one, head to the stores right away. Look for an affordable, lightweight knife with a visible handle.

A replaceable handle is also an added advantage. And remember to keep your knife razor sharp always!


Whoever forgets to carry water in their hunting expedition isn’t a serious hunter. Why? Simply stated, this is a must-have item in your hunting pack. Any time you set out to hunt, pack a bottle of drinkable (clean) water which you’ll use for quenching thirst.

You can also use it to rinse your wounds when you get an injury. Plus you can wash your hands after you’ve field dressed a critter, and so much more.

After you’re done with the water, why don’t you use the empty bottle as a pee bottle?

It’s good to note that modern hunting backpack has been made hydration compatible. This means that it offers you a suitable location where you can conveniently carry your hydrating bladder on a standard water bottle.

A Rope (Whether Light, Heavy, Short, or Long)

As one of the most useful tools for hunting, failure to carry a piece of rope will affect your effectiveness. To understand this better, let's look at the many ways through which this item can help you.

You can use your cordage or piece of rope to secure other things to your stand or tree.

Use the rope as an emergency sling for your rifle. Lassoing your slain critter to some stout stick for dragging is also completely easy with a cord. There’s actually no limit to the number of tasks you can successfully carry out with a rope.

First Aid Kit

Hunting First Aid Kit

Accidents do happen. And when they do, they come with some consequences. The uglier side of the accidents is that you don’t know when they’re coming. If you did, you could have prepared yourself enough or avoided the fated path.

Good news is that you can prepare yourself well in advance by taking a complete, good quality first aid kit in your hunting backpack. The basic items a kit should carry are:

  • Hand sanitizers
  • Bandages
  • Medication for cold, pain and digestion
  • Duct tape
  • Water treatment droplets
  • Parachute cord.

You can also customize your first aid kit to meet your specific needs.


If you thought that this is stuff for the smokers who are used to smoking burnable tobacco, you’re wrong! A butane lighter or matches in your pack is a great goodie for its usefulness.

It will help you determine the wind direction, melt that pesky loose threads from your clothing, start an emergency fire, etc.


hunting flashlight

A flashlight is another great item in the woods. As a hunter, you need a good quality tactical flashlight, not the model you keep in your kitchen drawer. You can use your flashlight to get to your stand in the morning hours.

Going back to your camp or vehicle in the evening or locating stuff in your backpack is also easy. If you don’t already have one, act now! Get yourself a compact, bright flashlight and spot the difference.

Game Calls

Game Calls

You don’t use game calls when hunting?

Well, this might be the reason why you never bag that game you always targeted. But you can improve the situation today by simply packing some game calls in your bag.

I believe that these won't occupy any significant space in your bag. Look at a deer hunter who carries the bleat and grunt calls with him. The tools help him have a good bleat as well as a grunt call that will draw the deer to their circles.

The calls don’t always work, but when they do, you’ll smile all the way home!

Toilet Paper (or Paper Towel)

Don’t feel amused that a toilet paper made it to our checklist for a hunting backpack. After all, we couldn’t afford to keep you from learning how this item could be of great help to you out there. Starting with the most obvious one – the call of nature that comes unexpectedly. When you’re prepared with a toilet paper, you’ll handle this one comfortably.

Most hunters prefer paper towels to toilet papers. This is because the latter remains intact better in the pockets and get the job done when the time comes.

You can also a tear bits of the toilet paper and drop them along the trail when you’re tracking or blood trailing an animal that has been hit. With a paper towel, you’ll have an easy time cleaning up after field dressing. You can also wipe off camo face paint or start an emergency fire.

Gloves and Glommits

Hunting Gloves

When you’re hunting in warm weather, put on a pair of lightweight, camo mesh gloves. This goes a long way in preventing your hand from looking like waving flags whenever you move them.

I’ve experimented this many times, and it works. When hunting in cold weather, I'd advise you to put on camo mesh glommits (or fingerless gloves if you like). Besides hiding your identity, they’ll make your hands comfortable in such weather.

Camouflage Makeup or Mask

If you don’t stay totally concealed when hunting, you're missing the point. This might make you feel disappointed at the end of the day for not bagging anything. If the animal connects with you, chances are fewer that you’ll bag it.

As for me, I always keep my bright face fully concealed. How I'm able to do this? I simply use the camo face paint (which is always in my pack) to darken it. A friend of mine and an expert hunter prefers to use a mask which also serves the purpose perfectly well.

Thus, both tricks work well and will make you stay hidden all day.

Spare Batteries

Spare Batteries

I'll never forget the day my flashlight went off without giving me any prior signs. I was in the middle of the woods when this occurred. You can imagine how finding my way back to my truck was real trouble.

My friends, since this ugly incidence, I always carry some extra batteries in my pack. I know there are hunters reading this and remembering a similar incident they encountered.

All in all, the key lesson is: always carry some spare batteries with you. This is inclusive of all hunters who use a flashlight, range finder, red dot scope, GPS unit, etc. I guess you have one of these devices.

So, pack some extra batteries!

Scent Killer

What’s the meaning of concealing your identity completely? It not only means making your face undetectable by the animal you’re targeting. It also means completely covering your scent.

Always do this if you want to have real success in your hunting activities. Covering your human scent might sound tricky, but with a scent killer, it has never been so easy.

Whenever you spray it in the woods, it completely covers your strong scents- like sweat. This makes it tougher for the deer to detect your presence and raise your chances of bagging it.

A Roll of Flagging Tape

Flagging tape is another cool stuff to have in your hunting pack. But get it right from here- this is not a tape as many people tend to think. A tape is sticky or used for measuring/recording things.

With a flagging tape, you can be able to show your location when an emergency occurs. You can also mark a trail, downed animal, stand, and so much more.

When purchasing a tape, go for ones with highly visible colors. Pink, orange and red colors are great choices).

And NEVER leave your tape behind after using it. A fellow hunter left her tape behind after work. It was leading to the stand, and when thieves showed up, you can guess what happened to it

Spare Arrows and Ammo

Heading to the hunting location without extra ammo or arrows is like showing up to a battle without a weapon. Within the first years of hunting, I used to carry a single shot. I thought it was enough.

But after getting an emergency in the woods, I learned to take extra groceries with me when going to the woods. You need to do it too.

GPS Unit

Gps for hunting

A GPS Unit is a necessity for every hunter. You can use it to mark your stand location as waypoints, map different things such as trails, roads, and so on.

When you’re trailing a deer also, your GPS unit will help you mark waypoints. Some of these Units integrate advanced technology!

This helps you maintain a grip pattern when trailing the deer and even reveal the read you had missed.

Pee Bottle

Before we close our list of things you need to carry in your hunting backpack, let's discuss a pee bottle.

First, let me tell you something that might be affecting your hunting effectiveness.

That’s peeing in the woods. Peeing in the woods isn’t prohibited. That’s right. But you need to look at the consequences of doing it in your hunting spots. As you know, anything unusual is a great cause for the deer to change their patterns, your pee scent among them.

The scent will make the deer avoid your hunting zone like plague. Keep off this disappointment by carrying a bottle where you can pee.

One more thing:

As you know, not all backpacks out there can handle all the items discussed above. In simpler terms, you need to get a high-quality pack that will give you an easy time packing everything for the day.

Final Thoughts

That’s my checklist for a hunting backpack. It covers all the important stuff that you should always put in your hunting pack before you set out to hunt. With all the above items beside you, you’ll start to note success in your hunting activities. You’ll be in a position to bag more games.

You’ll always take care of your injuries when they show up. You’ll never lose your way. If this list does not help you become a better hunter, then it will make you a better-equipped hunter.

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