Those who hunt and like the outdoors won’t wait very long until they try backpack hunting. Backpack hunting is challenging, rewarding, and demanding, and it’s definitely for the fearful and shy. When you go backpack hunting, you’re ready to spend the night out and to go back on trail the next morning; you won’t stop until you get that final shot, right?
You would have to be at least an experienced hunter or an avid backpacker to try combine hunting and backpacking; we don’t recommend you try it if you’ve never hunt nor backpack for some years. If your mind is set, you don’t want to learn the hard way that backpack hunting is no walk in the park. Preparation, both mentally and physically, is essential.
When you go backpack hunting, you will have to carry your hunting gear and your essentials for camping/day trips. From ropes, lighter, camera to the flashlight, knife, or ammo, there are so many things that you need to stow in your hunting backpack. Even if you only go for a day hunt, you still want to be prepared.
How important is it to carry water when hunting?
Nothing ruins your hunt like being dehydrated or hungry. It does not spoil to have both water and some snacks when you go backpack hunting; it’s merely taking care of your essential needs to focus on your shooting.
You don’t need to be an experienced hunter or backpacker to know that a bottle of water won’t do much on a day hunt; it adds weight to your packs and doesn’t provide enough water the whole day. Outdoor gear has evolved a lot over the last years, and hydration packs are among the best inventions for outdoor enthusiasts.
When it comes to hunting, though, not all hydration packs will work; the same way, not all backpacks will work for hunting. Silent zippers, comfortable carry, quiet zippers, or rugged materials are features that make a backpack reliable for hunting, and they’re not that difficult to figure out. But what qualities should a hydration backpack have in order to work when hunting? Which features count most, where do you compromise? Keep reading if you have no idea how to select a hydration pack for your hunting.
Which features make a hydration backpack reliable for hunting?
A hydration backpack for hunting will have to resemble any regular pack for hunting. It’s important to be durable, reliable, comfortable, and so on. The most important aspects to consider when selecting are listed down below:
Size, weight, and fit
You should decide if you will go with a day pack or a backpack. The daypack makes a dependable option for a day hunt, as it’s lighter and smaller and typically quieter than a pack. In the beginning, you may want to try backpack hunting so that a day pack will be a safe choice.
The more experienced you become, the more gear you will want to pack, and you will eventually want to spend the night. A day pack won’t cut it anymore, so you will need to look for a backpack.
As it’s still a pack, you want the hydration pack to fit your body shape and fit you perfectly; just because it’s a hydration pack doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be as comfortable as any other hunting backpack. You have to pay attention that the hydration pack fits you well around the chest or hip and fits your torso length. It would help if you had someone measuring your torso length (the distance between your small bump on the neck and the imaginary line between your hips). Knowing the torso length will help you identify the best hydration pack for your torso length. Also, keep in mind that you can find backpacks made explicitly for women, fitting the women’s body shape better than bags that aren’t made with female-specific features.
Your pack’s weight is also essential; go with lightweight for the shorter hunts; the longer the hunting trip, the heavier the pack will become, for you need to stow the extra gear and essentials.
Even if the water compartment counts, you don’t want to buy a hydration pack without providing features for a comfortable hunt. The hydration pack should still offer pockets for organizing your gear and enough storage for your items. A pack over 11 liters will work for day hunts; don’t use one over 20 liters because it will become too heavy at the end of the day. The pack’s material should be silent, and the pattern should be camo, as you still want to be as subtle as possible.
Always consider the length of your hunting trip when choosing the hydration pack’s size; at some point, you will have to refill it, so make sure you don’t end up with an empty hydration pack too soon. The longer the hunting trip, the bigger the hydration bladder should be; a bigger hydration bladder means more weight, so the pack should be very comfortable.
If you’re planning a long day hunt, you will need both comfortable carry and hydration. Should you sacrifice any? No, because they’re both essential. Look for a pack providing you good water volume; 3 liters will be enough for the entire day, whereas 1.5 liters will require you to refill the midday. You will have to check which gear you put in the pack to don’t end up with back pain in the evening.
The water reserve
The hydration packs are made with three components: the bag, the water bladder, and the hose. It doesn’t look like much, but many factors make the hydration packs differ from each other. Weight, bag size, and material are the most important to name.
There are several aspects to remember as regards the bladder
- The bladder should have a wide mouth if you want to clean it by hand or add solids such as ice.
- The bladder capacity varies, so you have to choose according to the length of your hunting trips. Three liters is a good size if you want to spend more than one-day backpack hunting.
The hose is the tube going from the bladder through a particular slit inside the pack and back to the head, allowing hands-free drinking. Couple of notes to highlight too:
- The bite valve should come with a twist/switch so that you don’t spill water
- Some hoses feature insulating materials for cold weather; look for this kind of hydration pack for the cold season. Bear in mind that insulation will add weight and some bulkiness to the pack too.
- A clip on the hose fixating to the chest or shoulder for effortless access will count a lot for comfortable use.
- You need a flexible and skinny brush for cleaning the house.
Instead of a conclusion
Do your bits and bobs before you go backpack hunting; learn about the gear, the essentials, the tips, and ask your fellow hunters about the beauty and challenges of backpack hunting. If it doesn’t scare you off, start small with a 3-hour day hunt with your hydration pack on. When it comes to backpack hunting, learning to walk before running is essential for succeeding- taking that shot, that is.