When packing for a cold-weather hunting trip, my first requirement is to be warm, dry and comfortable, and prepared for the unexpected — most especially in northwest Canada or Alaska. Here are a few suggestions, from the things I’ve learned:
#1 – Make a written list, well in advance – and review it many times; begin the packing process by staging everything in a corner or on an extra bed, before the actual packing. Plan for the coldest, wettest possible weather; and for things not going according to plan. Items can be lost or stolen, you might take a wrong fork in the trail or there could be a horse wreck or an injury.
#2 – Never presume that you will spend every night in a tent or cabin. On a sheep hunt in the Yukon in 2000, Russell’s guide got lost and they spent a cold, rainy night in the wilderness. Russell, an Eagle Scout, had a small tarp and some 511 cord that made the night much more comfortable. Yes, they built a fire.
#3 – Take a pillow case; you can make a nice pillow by stuffing it with your heavy jacket for a better night’s sleep. In remote areas, I always take a satellite phone, with extra battery and a solar powered flashlight that will also recharge my cell phone (camera). Of course, a sharp, heavy-duty knife is a requirement. Fire starters are a must, to light up wet tinder that waterproof matches or even a good lighter won’t. These days I take my own drinking cup and eating utensils.
#4 – Include a 2-quart plastic bowl, shampoo, soap, drinking cup to pour water, washcloth and towel. A good wash every two or three days will help you maintain a positive attitude.
#5 – Make maximum use of your carry-on luggage; carry your hunting boots, one set of hunting clothing, rain gear and anything you must have for your first day of hunting; binoculars always go in my carry-on. You can borrow a gun and ammo, if yours are lost. On a moose hunt in the Yukon in 2010, Brenda and Sara waited several days in Whitehorse, because their luggage was delayed in Vancouver. Also, it’s a good idea not to use the outfitters’ luggage tags, as I believe the opportunists in luggage handling look for them.