Backpacking Tips for Hunting in Africa

The backpack or rucksack is an item of the utmost importance for hunting. You wear it all day for exploration, preparation and the hunting itself. In choosing one, you detect your needs and select a model that is comfortable, waterproof, noiseless and convenient. A camouflage pattern color is preferable but not essential.

A thing to keep in mind when getting a backpack is that not all hunting backpacks are fit for all the types of hunting. There are several things to keep into account:

– the length of the trip. A day or several days, a week to a few weeks; whether you are going to return to camp every day; all that determines the type of backpack. For a weekend hunting trip, a backpack of 3,000 cubic inches may be enough. You’ll need a larger backpack on longer outings. Normally between 4,500 and 7,000 cubic inches.

– the time to carry the backpack in one go;

– the load that it has to support. The are two sides to that: first, the backpack itself has to be well built and durable so it doesn’t give way under the load. Secondly, the build of the backpack will have an impact on how it will transmit the weight to your back. It can make the difference between a comfortable hike and a painful back.

– the type of hunting: by stalking or by watching. If you wait in one place for a long time, it makes sense to have a backpack with more pockets just so the various items are easier reachable without fully opening the pack.

– the need for a weapon carrying system. A bow or a light rifle can be easily locked in place with a strap and a drop-down pocket. A larger gun will need a backpack with an internal scabbard or a system to attach an external one.

– the necessity for a hydration system.

Depending on the distance from your vehicle or camp, some items must be carried in your backpack. Here is a minimal list: a Swiss army knife with a blade and small saw, a survival blanket, a source of reliable fire, a whistle, a compass with map, a GPS with extra batteries, a flashlight, a small survival kit (there on sale in supermarkets the size of a box of sardines), a mini first aid kit, rope, brass wire (for building a shelter, snaring) and an orange garbage bag. Also take a bottle of water and when the temperature is cold, opt for a small thermos with a hot drink and a few grain bars or a light snack. The contents of the backpack will be adapted according to the distance, the type of hunted game and the temperature of the season.

Before heading for the forest, you should always notify someone close about your destination and especially your expected time of return. In case of delay, take all steps to notify your contact either by cell/satellite phone or with the new “SPOT” technology messaging device.

It is also recommended to complete a first aid and survival course before venturing in the forest. Good hunting!

These tips were made possible with the help of the friends over at Rangermade, who inspired us with their page on the best hunting backpack.