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Hunting fanny packs are a relatively new, and very unique system of packs built specifically for certain types of hunter. While they might not benefit everyone, if your style of hunting matches up, you might just stumble upon your new favorite hunting pack.
It's clear that these packs lack the room of other hunting backpacks, and as a result, the design is really built for minimalists. Now, for those that deer hunt and know how to pack light, you still might be wondering what exactly can or should you bring if utilizing a fanny pack?
The simple list below is one I put together specifically for anyone going out with a hunting fanny pack. Since you have limited space this gear list is all about the necessities. It's about staying light, compact and only having what's required for a morning or evening hunt.
Take a look a the list below and I hope you enjoy the blog!
No matter if you're hunting with a bow or gun, you're going to need a good pair of binoculars and/or a rangefinder to put yourself in the best possible situation to make that final shot.
The convenient thing about today's optics is the fact that many of them are relatively compact, and as a result, optics should be one of the most important things to bring in your fanny pack.
The great thing about today's best hunting fanny packs is the fact that most models have separate optics compartments built into the pack so hunters can easily find and take out what's needed. Furthermore, you can be certain they will remain well protected with the rigid frame designs offered by many of the top brands.
Pro Tip: If you want to pack your optics separately, look to integrate a bio harness in addition to your standard hunting pack.
Out of all the things to forget on this list, it's probably most important to never forget to bring some sort of hydration pack or water bottle on your trip. Even if you're going out for a short morning hunt, being hydrated before, during and after your hunting is vital.
Most hunting fanny packs are going to come with a separate compartment to hold either a standard water bottle or hydration bladder. Additionally, a lot of the packs are engineered so you can easily remove these compartments or stow them away if not needed.
If you're out searching for a new hunting fanny pack, I would mark this particular features as a must-have in your search. Purchasing one without this may prove to be problematic for future hunting trips.
Hunting early in the year can be an issue as temperatures start to fluctuate and you have to bring extra layers to stay warm. Initially, you might think that having a hunting fanny pack doesn't allow you to do this, but many of the top options have this solved!
We've all been out in the woods when temperatures suddenly drop or a front moves in and you're forced to either pack up or get out more hunting clothing to stay warm or dry. Hiking out in the woods with everything on isn't an option, and having a good fanny pack with additional straps/pockets allows you to bring what's needed.
For instance, the top hunting fanny packs from brands such as Badlands and Sitka have outside straps and pockets where you can easily store additional clothing. This keeps the pack relatively minimal while still allowing hunters to integrate additional gear.
Any deer hunter knows that most hunts either start or end in the dark, and a good headlamp is key to getting in and out of the woods easily and safely. Again, the best thing about today's headlamps is the fact that they're so compact - making it easy to store in a fanny pack.
While today's hunting fanny packs don't have specifically built compartments for headlamps, they do have easily accessibly outside and/or hip pockets, which is perfect for something like a headlamp.
A good headlamp is going to be utilized right when the hunt starts and right when it ends; however, if something does happen fanny packs do allow hunters to quickly find it without sorting through dozens of other items. Keep this in mind when you're looking to purchase your next hunting backpack.
There's nothing I like more than a good, compact hunting knife, and I never leave the house without it. Some hunters tend to leave this behind - only looking at a knife as a piece of gear when you hoist up that buck to clean it. However, I think it should be at your side from start to finish.
The most important things I consider when packing my hunting knife is safety and accessibility. Having a hunting knife placed where it can be easily opened or come in contact with yourself or other gear is a big no-no. However, packing the item tightly away can prove to be a bad choice if an emergency situation comes up.
To combat both of these issues, you'll want to find a good hunting fanny pack that integrates some sort of MOLLE system to confidently secure your knife in place while keeping it close to your side.
The most difficult thing to consider when packing for a hunting trip, both short and long, is figuring out how many accessories or pieces of backup gear you're going to bring. Hunting with a fanny pack doesn't allow you to bring everything, but there's still more available room than you think.
As a bowhunter, you might want to prioritize other gear such as another bow release or maybe a good windicator since you're going to be close to the deer. On the other side, someone hunting with a gun might require cleaning gear for your optics or maybe a good tripod if you're spot and stalking.
Either way, make sure to jot down the miscellaneous gear you normally bring and try your best to match it up with the hunting fanny pack you might purchase. Not all packs are going to have specifically built compartments to house this type of gear, but you'd be surprised what these companies think of.
I personally don't deer hunt with a fanny pack even though there seems to be quite a few benefits. However, I do routinely utilize a scouting backpack so I know how beneficial it can be to hunt with only the essentials.
If you're looking to test your hunting skills and streamline your hunting style, I would definitely recommend checking the many different designs of hunting fanny packs available on the market today. They can help you stay focused on the important things - taking down that big buck.
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