Rucking up and heading into the wild unknown brings many memories to mind. Some of them painful, others amazing. My time in the Marine Corps taught me how to best use a rucksack and a day pack. Displacing the weight right and learning how to pack properly took me a couple of years. Add a .50 caliber machine gun receiver or TOW missile on top of that, and it would normally throw things off quite a bit, but made me know my capabilities and limitations while packing a seriously heavy load. Sometimes, depending on the mission and duration of it, we could be packing an excess of 100 pounds. Mind you, this is on top of the 45 pound sapi-plate (bullet proof) vest, a couple hundred rounds of 5.56mm ammunition, a pistol, medical pouch, grenades, and rifle; to name a few. We became extremely good at taking everything we may need, and then a little extra.
After a few deployments, I found myself living in Virginia, reconnecting to my roots as an outdoorsman. I also found myself taking way too much gear into the woods. I would end up packing things “just in case”, almost as though I was hunting in a “what if” scenario. I would fill up an entire day-pack with all of these items, zippers about to blowout, and pack it in every hunt. Most of these hunts, I was only hunting a few hundred yards away from where I parked. Yet, hunt after hunt, I would lug around all of this useless gear.
I have since simplified my approach and, quite literally, lightened the load. I started off with fanny packs. They do work out well, but they can get in the way when mobile treestand hunting. I still use one from time to time, but the fanny pack is no longer my go-to. I have since changed gears and gone with a more versatile system – The Hidden Woodsman Haversack. It has just enough room for me to take the necessities, small comforts, and wears well. I also like to joke about it being a man purse; an obvious plus fashion wise – so hot right now. In all seriousness though, this little pack delivers a heavy punch. Combined with traditional archery equipment, this is a lightweight and highly effective way to enter the woods.
The materials on the Haversack remind me of the cloth covering of a bullet proof vest. I religiously drag this pack through thorn bushes during my hunts. I have also used the shoulder strap to drag a whitetail buck by the antlers, and it’s still like new. The stitching is unique to each bag as they are handmade. The company, owned and operated by Malcolm Coderre, is quick to answer any questions, and there is no doubt this man loves what he does.
The contents of this pack, like I’ve stated before, are for AM, PM, or all day treestand hunts. I do use it for still hunting as well, and it works exceedingly well. These items will change slightly throughout the season, as the whitetail rut plays a huge part in my gear choices. Packed correctly, these small packs can hold a lot of items.
Packing light and packing smart should be a blended goal. Too much or too little gear and you may be miserable. Since a majority of my hunting is from a treestand, I plan for the fall out of my stand. It’s only a matter of time and it will happen to me. Though I wear a safety harness, I still ensure I have the ability to start a fire, fasten a brace, and make a tourniquet. To me, it is much more important that I am able to enter the woods again than to pack an ultralight load. No matter the pack or hunting situation, being properly equipped and packed, boosts my confidence heading into the woods where I know, that at any time, my life may depend on whats inside.
Most things in my pack, aside from the majority of my scent control items, serve more than one purpose. This allows me to be able to carry what I feel I need, with generally less equipment or gear. In future writings, I will go into further detail about certain items I pack, their multiple uses, and their value to the traditional bowhunter. Until then, check out these amazing little packs by visiting www.thehiddenwoodsman.com or follow the link in my “Recommended Products” page.
Stay light, stay smart, and enjoy the simple things. If you have any questions about this article or the items I am using, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also direct message me via Instagram – @recurve_hunter.