Each season I am asked by many hunters which brand or type of a certain item I recommend. As with anything, it is important to buy the highest quality equipment that you can afford. This eliminates having to purchase that item again or more often than you would like. I also strongly recommend buying items of minimal weight. This cuts back on fatigue while in the field, allowing you to go that extra mile.
Binoculars – If you are to own one set of binoculars, the 10X42 would be the best all-around size. Binocular sizes that work well for open country hunts (such as coues, mule deer, antelope, bear, sheep) would be: 10X42, 12X50 or 15X56. For forest hunts (such as archery elk and turkey): 8X30, 10X32, or 10X42. Swarovski, and Leica are superior European glasses that bring in much light and detail. I highly recommend them. If you don’t want to spend $1200-$3200 on a pair of these fine European optics, the higher end models of Vortex are great binoculars.
Bipod – It is highly recommended that you mount a bipod on your rifle. Don’t skimp and buy an “off the wall” brand thinking they are all the same. I have used most bipods on the market. Most cheap brands come apart after a few uses in the rugged mountains or are designed poorly causing wobble.
Sleeping Bag -Sleeping bags come in all shapes and sizes but what is important is the thermal rating and compactness (packing in your luggage for the plane). Cold month hunts in November through April may be spent in wall tents. Outside nighttime temperatures may get as low as 10 degrees, with inside tent temperatures around 50 with the heater on. If the heater goes out in the middle of the night (and it more than likely will), you need to be prepared.   I recommend a 20 degree rating for those cold weather hunts. During mild weather hunts, I recommend a 40-50 degree rating. Slumberjack, Eureka, and REI have a line of compact sleeping bags at various temperature ratings that fit nicely into your luggage. Also, don’t forget a small travel pillow or Coleman camp pillow. These stuff into a sack to save room for luggage packing.
Beanie – A beanie is great for keeping your head warm while sleeping during cold weather hunts. It eliminates the need to bury your head under your sleeping bag and it actually keeps your whole body warmer while sleeping.
Tweezers – Every plant in the desert can either poke, stick or jab you, often leaving stickers and thorns throughout your body. Tweezers are essential in getting these thorns out if they happen to occur, especially the fine cactus needles. It seems like the most favorable activity for our hunters during downtime is to sit around camp and pull out thorns…
Blisters – For those who are prone to blisters, mole skin is a great remedy. Also, the small pads for corns and callous by Dr. Scholl’s work well around blisters too. There are also gel-type blister bandages on the market. Many hunters have quit hunting or gone home early because of severe blisters.
Daypack – Most hunters come with packs too small…. One reason to have a good-sized pack is to handle all the layers of clothing that you will be peeling off during the day. Remember that mornings are often 35-40 degrees cooler than noontime temps, which means you will be layering. Another reason to have a decent pack is that, if you tag an animal, you will need to take the guide’s gear in your pack (and they have a lot of stuff) as he packs out the game. If it is a large animal such as a bear or elk, you will need to help pack out the game. You do not need a giant backpack, but a good daypack with a waste strap for putting the weight above the hips and not all on the shoulders is best. You should have a mid-sized pack with a capacity around 2000 – 3000cu-in.
Water Transport – As many as three-hundred people die in the desert per year due to severe dehydration. Having enough water in your pack is very important in this arid environment, especially after the kill. Once you kill, you just doubled or even tripled your water requirement in order to help pack out the extra weight.
Hiking Boots – Get a boot with good ankle support and deep traction lugs.
Hiking Socks – A good pair of wool blend socks is essential to keeping your feet from being too moist and helps to eliminate blisters. Please, for the sake of the other hunters in your tent, bring one pair per day!
Walking Stick or Trekking Pole – A walking stick or trekking pole will help to stabilize you on the loose ground or steep slopes. Most models are compact, lightweight and telescopic, folding down to around 25″. Make sure to use the rubber tip, as the metal tip clanking on the ground scares game on a regular basis. Some hiking sticks have a V-yoke to act as a shooting stick. This can be a very useful tool when getting a “surprise” offhand shot.
Clothing – There are many brands on the market, but what is important is the material they are made of. High performance hunting clothing is not 100% Cotton. Try a polyester/cotton blend or, better yet, a 100% poly material.
Camouflage Pattern – The Camo pattern to bring depends upon which type of hunt you will be on; either a desert hunt or a forest hunt. Desert hunts such as bighorn sheep, bear, deer, javelina, and antelope require lighter camo patterns like Natural Gear, Mossy Oak Brush, King’s Desert Shadow, or Sitka Gear’s Optifade Open Country. Most colors in the desert during hunting season are light shades of gray/brown. Stay away from the really bright “prairie” patterns though. You’ll stand out like a sore thumb using the prairie patterns. Forest hunts such as Elk and Turkey require darker camo patterns like Mossy Oak New Break-Up or Real Tree AP and even Kuiu Verde.
Portable Field Seat Cushion – This may not sound too important, but when you are glassing and sitting on a cold, jagged boulder for hours, it is invaluable. The comfort a foam pad brings will help you be more patient. Make sure it is not too big or it will be cumbersome to carry in or on your pack. Don’t bring a field chair unless you don’t mind carrying the added weight or bulk.
12-Volt Vehicle Cell Phone Charger – If you really need to use and re-charge your cell during the hunt, bring a 12-volt vehicle cell phone charger (cigarette lighter plug). The guides may let you plug into their vehicle when you need charging. I recommend turning off your cell phone until you need to make a call. If you keep the phone on during the daytime, it will search for a tower, thus, drain your battery within hours.
Weight of Gear – I strongly urge big game hunters to bring field items that are LIGHTWEIGHT, without compromising quality of course.   If you can save a few ounces on each item, it can add up to pounds and will be felt (or not felt) at the end of the day. Bringing items into the field like: rifles with varmint barrels or heavy wooden stocks, big spotting scopes, big tripods, field chairs, sand bags, video cameras, big SLR cameras with telephoto lenses, giant Rambo knives, etc., is a common mistake. Also, after the first hike, you will figure out that there are things in your pack that you don’t need. Unfortunately, it always takes that first hike for people to figure this out. If there is anything in your pack that you don’t really need (within reason), then leave it behind. Saving weight reduces fatigue while in the field, allowing you to go that extra mile, thus, increasing your odds of harvesting a real trophy and having a more enjoyable hunt!

  • Coat
  • Beanie
  • Neck Warmer
  • Good Boots
  • Sock Liners
  • Belt
  • Leather Gloves
  • Underwear
  • Hats
  • Thermals
  • Rain Gear Camouflage/Orange
  • Underwear
  • Gloves
  • Shirts (long/short)
  • Socks
  • Pants


  • Bow
  • broadheads
  • Releases
  • Arm guard
  • Spare sight, pins, string w/ accessories, nocks, cable set, arrow rest, glue
  • Allen wrench set
  • String wax
  • Hunting license


  • Spotting scope
  • Extra Memory Card(s)
  • GPS/Radio
  • Binoculars
  • Satellite Phone
  • Radio Ear-Bud
  • Tri-pod
  • Camera Adapter
  • Lens Cloth
  • Range Finder
  • Wireless Mic
  • Video Camera
  • Camera
  • Extra Camera Batteries
  • Camera Charger


  • Weapon
  • Backpack
  • Backpack Rain Cover
  • Ear Protection
  • Scent Block
  • Headlamp
  • Saw/Knives
  • Flashlight
  • Water Bottle/Bladder Light Weight Bags
  • Folding Saw
  • Padded Seat
  • Utensils
  • Scope Cover
  • Hunting License Plate
  • Hand Warmers
  • Permit/Tag


  • Toiletry Bag
  • Anti-Diarrhea Meds
  • Neosporin
  • Mole Skin Sun Screen
  • Soap (Travel Size)
  • Talcom Powder
  • Chapstick
  • Tooth Paste
  • Baby Wipes
  • Body Powder (Travel Size)
  • Tooth Brush
  • Energy Additives
  • Band-Aids Towel (Travel Size)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Shampoo (Travel Size)
  • Aspirin
  • Medical Tape
  • Strong Pain Medicine


  • Twine
  • Electrical Tape
  • Rope


  • Knee Pads
  • Game Calls
  • Chaps
  • Tent
  • Lighter
  • Leatherman
  • (3) Zip Ties
  • Water Purifier
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Surgical Gloves
  • Dry Bags
  • Sunglasses
  • Walking Stick
  • Pillow/ case
  • Meat Bags
  • Shoe Laces
  • Small Unbreakable Mirror
  • Water
  • Cooler (If Traveling By Vehicle