The best hunting gear to take on a road trip

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On a recent hunting trip across the country, my wife and I had the chance to test out a lot of gear. From the Colorado Rockies to the Tennessee swamps, we hunted upland birds, deer, waterfowl, squirrels and elk while living in our truck. If you want to hit the road and just hunt, the following equipment will help you along the way. All this if it’s tough and reliable enough to withstand months of road travel.

This case will secure your bow, period. I trust him so much that sometimes I just leave him outside no matter the weather. You can throw it in the back of a pickup, let it rain and snow, shoot your bow and go hunting. It also has room for the extras, which are essential when you’re miles away from a bow shop. You can keep plenty of arrows, broadheads, an extra trigger, and string wax in the various pockets. It’s not the lightest arc case, and it certainly takes up space, but you can be sure it will withstand any amount of blows.

YETI Tundra 160

You can stack critters from coast to coast, but if you can’t get the meat home, it’s not worth leaving your front door. When we started our trip we wanted a cooler that could hold everything, so we went with a Yeti Tundra 160. If you are traveling with friends and have multiple labels, this cooler is for you. And if you get dividers, you can use half the cooler for your food and the other half for frozen meat. When you’re not on the road, it’s perfect for aging deer quarters when it’s too hot outside and you don’t have room in your fridge.

Filson guys

There are pungent things all over the country that can make the hunting of highland birds miserable. In thick brambles, these guys are like bulletproof vests. They will keep cactus thorns at bay in the wilderness and rose bushes out of your thighs in the woods. Unlike a pair of brushed pants, you can get rid of them when it’s too hot or when you find a softer blanket.

Women's boot off-piste

When my wife was looking for a pair of boots that were both comfortable for long truck rides and strong enough for trail running, she decided to go for a pair of Lowa Explorers. They are tough and lightweight and good for fall hunting in moderate winter temperatures. They are also not too bulky or stiff, so they won’t get in the way of you while driving. Lowas really shine when you have a load on your back, and this is no exception. Personally, I wear the Tibets for hunting pretty much all year round. I’m on my second pair and they haven’t let me down yet.

Winchester SX4 shotgun

I first tried an SX4 on a turkey hunt two years ago. I was impressed by the lightness and smoothness of the shot. When it came time to pick out a sturdy general-purpose shotgun to take on this trip, we chose a 20-gauge SX4. With several screw-in chokes, it is comfortable in a duck blind or in a. corn field chasing pheasants. The SX4 also ate every shell we put on it, from light grouse loads to full-fledged 3-inch magnums. It is also less expensive than other high-end autoloaders. For less than $ 1000, it’s hard to beat.

Gerber Randy Newberg knife

I’m not a big fan of disposable blade hunting knives. It’s not that they don’t work, I’m just used to bringing either a fixed blade or a bender to the field. And for a record, Gerber’s DTS is a good choice. It’s lightweight, ideal for hunting on horseback or ATV (the fixed blades can end up where they shouldn’t fall if you fall off a horse or 4-wheeler), and it’s got a head start. To help maintain this edge, the DTS also features a D2 steel “tendon tool” for cutting through joints and tough skin. Anyone who has punctured a joint with their knife knows how blunt bone can be on a blade, and the tendon tool protects your primary skinning knife from abuse. I also love that it’s orange and easy to find on the ground and has a reflector to catch light in the dark.

Alu-Cab umbrella awning

Not all truck mounted awnings are created equal, and the Alu-Cab Shadow awning is one of a kind. It’s a big investment, but if you are hunting in large areas with little tree cover, it is definitely an asset. We used ours to provide shade for our dogs on an unusually hot day in Minnesota. It is easy to set up and take down and it has a coating that reflects the sun. Some people have compared the temperatures under the Alu-Cab awnings to those of the competition, and the Alu-Cab is cooler.

KLYMIT Timberline camping chair

Space was limited in our motorhome so we needed chairs that had a small footprint when stowed but still comfortable. Klymit’s Timberline gave it to us in spades. They are about the size of a large thermos and can be stored just about anywhere. They are also easy to assemble. I also love that they are small enough to fit in a plastic tote, which makes them easier to keep dry in the back of an open pickup.

Black Diamond Volt Hiking Lantern

I had this lantern to use in the camp in case the lights on our truck go out, but now I bring it to almost any backcountry hunts I have. A lantern is certainly a creature’s comfort when trying to fit a light pack – one or two headlamps usually suffice. But this one is an exception because it fulfills two functions: light and power. The light is nice, but what’s even nicer is its ability to be used as a backup battery for your phone. It is rechargeable and requires AA batteries, which gives you two solid battery options.

Ignik Growler Refillable Gas Propane Tank

Before I bought Growler gas, I relied on green propane cylinders to run my stove. They are great, but they have their drawbacks. For one thing, they’re easy to burn if you use a portable stove for days on end. Second, when you run out of gas, what do you do with the cartridge? I have a bunch of spent or half-used green propane cylinders at home, and I’m not sure how to dispose of them exactly. The Ignik changes all that. Compared to green bottles, this is a big initial investment, but well worth it. You get more capacity – one Ignik refill equals five green bottles – and, pound for pound, refilling only costs a fraction of disposables.

PKGO Portable Charcoal Smoker

I had a few small grates, but eventually they all burned down and started to fall apart. The PKGO is quite different. It is made of cast aluminum instead of sheet metal and the hinges are part of the cast. The cast iron grates offer two levels so you can bring food closer and away from the flame. Smoke vents are also easy to use and so far haven’t been debased to the point of getting stuck. But the coolest thing about this grill is the flip kit. It lets you take the lid and turn it into another grill, giving you twice the cooking space in a small package. If your two-man hunt turns into a four-man hunt, you will be able to feed everyone. So far we’ve used it in both setups everywhere, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Pendleton wool blanket

Large woolen blankets have been used in camping for hundreds of years. Why? They work no matter what. Today it’s easy to forget about wool, especially with so many synthetic / down options. But unlike down comforters, wool won’t melt or spill feathers all over when it comes in contact with the hot coals of the fire. It will also keep you warm when wet and acts as a great heat booster for any sleeping bag. We have a queen blanket so it can be folded in half for double the warmth, and we’ve been using it for years. Lay it on the floor of a tent to lift the feet off the ground, fold it up for a dog bed, wrap yourself in it around the fire, or roll it up to make a stool.

Merino wool shirt

The benefits of wool don’t end with a blanket. Over the years, I’ve replaced all of my synthetic underwear with wool for one reason: it doesn’t stink. Wool is antimicrobial. You can wear it for days and you won’t smell bad. It is also breathable and wicks away perspiration. In fact, if I could only pick one high-priced piece of equipment to hunt, it would be a nice set of woolen base layers like the ones from Smartwool. On what I like to call cold DEFCON-1 days, I combine them with Filson merino wool underwear. The Filsons are a bit looser and fit well over the Smartwool, and when worn together it’s an incredibly warm jumpsuit.

Maven RS.1 rifle scope

I like to hunt with focal foreground scopes as the reticle measurements stay the same no matter what magnification you are on. (However, the size of the reticle will increase). This makes long shots easier in heated situations, as you don’t need to dial in a turret – you can just adjust for the shot with your reticle. I also like that the RS.1 is available without a cartridge specific turret. This allows me to hunt at different altitudes and with different rifles and just use a ballistic calculator to get my remains. The RS.1’s turrets are capped so you won’t hit them while hiking, and they can be adjusted with your fingers when they’re open. Paired with a lightweight rifle (like the Springfield Waypoint) this is a solid setup for everything from Rocky Mountain Elks to river bottom whitetails.

Read more: One Wild Ride: A Hunting Road Trip Across America

Sitka backpack

For years I have hunted with a traditional external frame. I liked the stiffness of the metal frame compared to the internal frame packs. But when I wanted to upgrade to something newer, I went with the Sitka 6500. The pack has a metal internal frame which is a perfect platform for heavy equipment and animal quarters. So far I have helped pack three mule deer with it and each time it has gone perfectly. The shoulder straps are strong and well padded, and the bag is adjustable for different body types. When not using it at full capacity, I use it as a backpack and tighten all the tie-downs so that it has a small footprint. I have found it to be small enough that it won’t get caught in the brush, and when you shoot an animal, it’s good to have the full capacity of packing the meat. There’s also a front chamber that can separate the meat from the rest of your gear, so you won’t get all bleeding.


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