Idaho Elk, Mule Deer and Black Bear Blog

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Fine-Tuning Last Year’s Gear List

I imagine most people who prepare for outdoor adventures make a list of gear and clothing to take before they pack, that way they don’t forget any critical items like toilet paper. I make my lists in spiral notebooks, the younger generation probably makes their lists on smartphones. Years ago, I started saving my gear lists to make trip-prep more efficient the next time around. Lists can be quite specialized. I have gear lists for summer scouting trips, lists for deer hunting trips in the Ozarks, and lists for backpack, elk-hunting trips in the Rockies. All of them include gear and clothing specifically chosen for the activity and season at hand.

When I keep up to my tasks, I’ll get my gear list out several weeks or months after I take a trip and “fine tune” it. Basically, I cross items out that I took and did not need and add items that I did not take but needed once I was there. The list is then stored, until I begin preparing for a similar trip in the future. I date the covers of the spiral notebooks where I keep my lists, but they’re scattered about and can be time consuming to find. A better approach would be to organize your gear lists electronically, where they’re easily accessible.

April is a bit early to start packing gear for a fall hunt, but it’s not too early to start researching the gear you needed last year but didn’t have or repairing any gear that has been damaged. Going over your gear lists will remind you of these things. Waiting until the last minute might not allow enough time to make the right purchase decision, or the item you’ve decided on correctly might be sold out. You could also wait until the last minute to repair something and then find that you need a new one. High-end equipment is often expensive or critical to the outcome of your hunt, and the purchase of such can demand a great deal of thought. Availability can also be inconsistent.

Over the years I have accompanied some very skillful hunters who carry minimal equipment. Still, at some point each one of them has had to choose the gear they considered indispensable for a specific hunt; and the less gear one takes, the more refined the choices seem to be. To these minimalists, carrying a piece of equipment far from home that they don’t need is just as unacceptable as neglecting to take something they do need. Fine-tune your lists now and you’ll have it right by fall.

Good hunting,
Joe Cavanaugh

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