6 Bow Hunters Share How They Pack Their Hunting Bags

Packing as a bow hunter isn’t as easy as it might seem.

As with any other packing job, it’s difficult to choose what to bring. You also don’t want to risk ending up with a bag that is heavier than necessary – or risk breaking your bow and arrows because you stuff things the wrong way!

To improve how we bring our gear around, we have talked with 6 experienced bow hunters and asked them
to share their best advice.

Read on and learn from their best tips and tricks (all 6 have years of experience, so they know what they are talking about!).


I’ve been a bowhunter since the age of 14 and I’m always working to evolve as a hunter and an outdoorsman. I have worked with many outdoor and hunting film projects and companies and I run the Working Class Bowhunter Podcast.

Favorite hunting area? The Midwest


How do you pack everything for your hunting trips?

The current pack I’m using is the Badlands Superday. I chose this pack because of the size and the lifetime warranty that Badlands offers. The Superday has a lot of storage and organization so it helps to separate my gear that I need to grab quickly in a spur of the moment situation of a shot opportunity on a big Midwestern Whitetail. The larger storage compartments help me carry trail cameras, water, food and anything else I might need for an all day hunt. This pack has the capabilities for me to attach my bow, which I’ve used before on long hikes or to climb up or down a tree, but I typically carry my bow with an attached quiver. This way I know my bow isn’t getting knocked around too bad.

What top 3 things do you always bring besides the common stuff everybody bring?

The top three items that you will always find in my pack besides the obvious necessities:

  • Range finder – This might be a common item that every hunter has but I feel its one of the most important. Not only does it help make ethical shots on animals by taking the guess work out of the distance, but it can also help pass the time in the woods. My range find is always in a quick and easily accessible spot.
  • Equipment hooks – In the Midwest 95% of bowhunting is done from a tree. Having hooks to hold equipment in the tree can really be a game changer for comfort and can allow much longer sits on the days it matters most.
  • Ratchet straps / rope – If you find yourself in a difficult situation you would be surprised how useful something as simple as a good strap or rope can help. From strapping stands to trees, loading equipment, or even helping you drag out an animal on a successful hunt.

What are your top tips for other bow hunters?

My top tips for bowhunters in the Midwest:

  • Hunt the wind! Deer survive on the power of their nose! It can be difficult but a setup where the wind is quartering to the deer but he’s not catching your wind can be very effective! The idea is the deer thinks the wind is good for him but it’s working in your favor. Mature deer rarely move with the wind to their back. One thing I learned from a great friend and someone I highly respected as a hunter told me ” Mature deer only move with purpose.” That one sentence has completely changed the way I look at hunting the wind.
  • Don’t be afraid to put in the extra effort to pack a tree stand in, hang it and hunt it that day. Most of my success has been on a first sit in a tree stand. Yes, it requires a ton more effort but it really can pay off. I like to call it the ninja effect… assuming you’re hunting a correct wind, it can really catch them off guard.
  • Shoot a bow that you are comfortable with! I’m currently shooting an Elite Archery Tempo. This year I will be switching to the Elite Archery Ritual. The Ritual has been proven to be the most efficient bow on the market this year and it provides a feel that is unexplainable. Always use equipment you can be confident in.


Kevin Paulson is the Founder and CEO of HuntingLife.com. His passion for Hunting began at the age of 5 hunting alongside of his father. Kevin has followed his dreams through outfitting, conservation work, videography and hunting trips around the world.

Favorite hunting area? Nebraska


How do you pack everything for your hunting trips?

I currently pack all of my gear into a couple of large lockable containers that fit in the back of my truck easily and they lock into the bed of my truck along with my Yeti Cooler. I organize my gear in a bottom up approach. I put the gear I use the most on the top and the gear I need the least on the bottom so that I can easily get at what I need. My hunting pack and bow are in the back seat of the truck ready to go along with a set of binoculars.

What top 3 things do you always bring besides the common stuff everybody bring?

I always have a first aid kit with me at all times. I used to guide for several years and I have seen some really stupid things happen in the field so safety first. I have bought a really great first aid kit and augmented it with gear that I feel would be best in class gear that if I really need it the proverbial crap has hit the fan. Where I hunt I still have access to cell service but when I do not have access to cell service I carry with me a SPOT messenger to get the message out if I am really in trouble. I always carry electric tape with me on all my trips and I have found it to be slightly better than duct tape for most all of the uses that I have and it is easily removable.

What are your top tips for other bow hunters?

All of my gear goes into my check-in baggage when I am flying. Buy the best case you can get with extra room for optics, gear, broadheads and arrows. Do not skimp out on getting the absolute best case you can afford.


I am a passionate hunter who has been fortunate to host my own tv show, “Pure Hunting” on the Sportsman Channel for the last 6 years. I am an all-around hunter, hunting everything from waterfowl, turkeys, predators and big game with both rifle and bow, but archery hunting is my favorite method. It’s a bigger challenge and getting within archery range of any animal is an awesome experience, especially bugling elk in the Western U.S. I have been fortunate to hunt elk in Montana, Oregon, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.

Favorite hunting area? I love to hunt the Western United States for archery elk.


How do you pack everything for your hunting trips?

If I am packing for an archery hunting trip where I am traveling by air, I pack my archery gear (bow, arrows and accessories) in a Plano, Field Locker compound bow case. I’ve found this bow case to allow me to carry my archery gear and protect it from the airline baggage handlers. I can customize the foam to fit my bow so there is very little movement of the bow inside the case.

This case also allows me to carry a half dozen arrows without the risk of them falling out and moving around the case, as well as any archery accessories, like my release and if I remove my stabilizer. This case also has a rubber gasket, making it virtually water and dust proof when traveling in the back of a truck and has 4 heavy duty latches, with 4 reinforced padlock gates for security. It has two wheels which make it easy for rolling on the edge of the case.

I have used other models from Plano that are not as rugged as well as a case from SKB and this one has proven to be the best for me. With other cases, I have sometimes felt the need to add a jacket or other clothing items inside the case to fill up the space and protect my gear, but not with this case.

What top 3 things do you always bring besides the common stuff everybody bring?

What I take on my hunting trips definitely varies from the time of year I am hunting as well as the type of hunt. If I am going on a multi-day backpack hunt, I will pack far differently from a hunt where we will be car-camping or staying at a lodge or hotel.

One item I always bring on early season hunts that not a lot of people seem to bring is a can of black pepper. When there are bugs around while field dressing am animal, spreading black pepper on the exposed meat will keep the bugs off the meat.

Another item I bring, especially when there is little or no cell service, is an “In Reach” unit by Delorme. This allows me to keep in touch with family through satellites. Not only does this allow me to let them know I am okay and/or where I am, but they can let me know that everything is fine at home which gives me comfort on a hunt.

The other item I take that comes in very handy is a Wyoming Saw. This is great saw that comes apart in a few pieces, making it very packable, and comes with a bone and wood blade. It may be heavier than other “packable” saws, but it is a more rugged saw and has a more traditional saw handle making it easier to use.

My gear list has changed over time as gear has gotten better and new gadgets have come out. Some of the things that I take now that weren’t around years ago include the “In Reach” unit, allowing easy communication, a small, powerful charger for small electronics from Dark Energy, Outdoor Edge Razor knives, allowing only one knife but replaceable blades, eliminating the need for a larger, heavier knife and sharpener.

There is newer, better, lighter clothing options that weren’t around a few years ago, including Primaloft and lightweight Merino Wool. These have great insulation properties and Primaloft does better than down if it gets wet and Merino Wool does not stink as quickly as the poly undergarments as well as continue to insulate if they get damp.

What are your top tips for other bow hunters?

Whenever I travel for a hunt through the air, I have a few tips I like to give. One is to wear your heaviest pair of hunting boots. This can help with the weight of your luggage as a good pair of hunting boots can be 10% or more of your 50 lb limit. I also try to carry all of my important optics (binoculars, range-finder and possibly spotting scope) and camera gear with me in my carry on and personal item. I just feel safer that nothing will get stolen or broken.

Depending on the type of hunt I have, I have also shipped some gear ahead of time. Sometimes the amount of gear I need to take makes it difficult to keep my baggage to only two checked bags or under the 50 lb limit. Shipping ahead of time usually proves to be less expensive than the fees airlines charge, especially if you exceed the 2 free bags on Southwest, multiple bags on other airlines or overweight bags. I can usually ship up to 50 lbs for less than $40 with 3-4 days, depending on the destination. I then print a return label and take it with me to ship back when the hunt is over.

I happen to shoot a Hoyt bow and absolutely love it. My recommendation to hunters new to archery or those looking to upgrade to a newer model, is to try several manufacturers and see what feels and fits you best. Are you looking for a smooth drawing bow? One that may be faster but a harder draw cycle? A good pro shop will be able to let you shoot several different models to allow you to pick the one that feels the best. Even if you are new to archery or haven’t shot a newer model bow, you’ll know what feels good to you.

I think all hunters are gear junkies and look for new, cool gear every year. I would have to say that my favorite purchase under $100 over the last few years has been my Jet Boil. I couldn’t believe I was dropping $89 for one a couple of years ago and was experiencing a little buyers remorse, until I used it. It’s a great piece of gear and I use it on multiple trips every year.


I am the founder and blogger at DeerHuntingGuide.net. I am in the whitetail woods year round, either hunting or preparing for next year’s season. Bow hunting is my passion and I love to share the knowledge that I’ve gained over 40 years chasing the wily whitetail.

Favorite hunting area? My favorite place to bow hunt whitetails is Southeastern Ohio.


How do you pack everything for your hunting trips?

I am primarily a whitetail deer bow hunter, so one of my main concerns is scent control. I have found that the best way to pack my gear so that everything remains a scent free as possible is in Scent-Lok Hard Totes.

I usually travel with six of these and all of my gear fits neatly in the sealed containers. I always travel in my Chevy Suburban and these totes stack nicely in the cargo area.

I am a big believer in using ozone for scent control, so it is only a matter of time until I switch over to Scent Crusher Ozone Gear Bags for my gear, but for now the totes work really well.

My bow is kept in a separate hard case along with a dozen arrows and two releases.

What top 3 things do you always bring besides the common stuff everybody bring?

There are a few things that I always bring on my bow hunting trips that other hunters don’t:

  • I always bring a journal and a pen. I usually spend all day in my tree stand when I am bow hunting whitetails and I like to record all of my thoughts and experiences. You would be amazed at how patterns develop over the years and how you can use those patterns to your advantage. It is also pretty cool to go back and read about hunts you were on years ago. It is a great way to relive those memories.
  • I also always bring Ozonics with me. Scent control is probably the important factor in whether or not your hunt will be successful. I like to stack the odds in my favor by using an Ozonics ozone generator to effectively remove as much human scent as possible from my hunting area.
  • The third thing that I bring with me that most other hunters don’t bring is knee high rubber boots. I always wear rubber boots and I prefer Muck Boots. Most of the bow hunters that I know wear regular leather hunting boots and I just feel that the extra scent control provided by the rubber boots is well worth the effort.

Those are just a few of the less common things that I bring with me on my bow hunting trips.

What are your top tips for other bow hunters?

I am a big believer in being over prepared, especially when you are bow hunting in rural areas of the midwest, where you may not be able to buy what you need. There is nothing worse than breaking an important piece of equipment and not having a backup, so I try to bring two of everything.

That means two bows, two releases, two knives, two pairs of binoculars, two rangefinders, two Ozonics, two tree stands, two pairs of boots, you name it, I bring two of them.

My buddies used to think that I was nuts, until they needed something and I had an extra that they could use.

My favorite purchase under $100 would have to be the Outdoor Edge Razor Pro Knife. These knives have revolutionized the deer hunting knife industry. You will never again have to deal with a dull blade. You simply replace the dull blade with a razor sharp replacement in seconds.

I recently purchased a set of Thermacell Proflex Heated Insoles and I am very disappointed with both their performance and especially their customer service. Do yourself a favor and save your money.

I currently use a Mathews bow, but as I get older, I am moving towards the idea of using a crossbow. There are some amazing innovations in crossbow technology that are helping me to make that decision.

Regardless of the bow or crossbow that you use, we owe it to the game that we pursue, to practice often and to become proficient with our weapon of choice.


I’m the owner and blogger at TheWilltoHunt.com. I’ve been bowhunting for about 10 years now and have been fortunate enough to bowhunt whitetail deer, mule deer and wild turkey across Virginia, Maryland, Wisconsin, Minnesota and South Dakota.

Favorite hunting area? So far, South Dakota.


How do you pack everything for your hunting trips?

It really depends on the length of the hunt and route of entry. I’ve hiked in to hunt and I’ve used a Fatbike to get further in faster. If I have a bike I can spread some of the weight out and take some luxury items. If I’m simply backpacking I have a basic set up that I then supplement to make it additional days. I’ve used several different bags with my current being an EXO Mountain Gear 3500. It’s light enough without giving up durability and it fits great putting basically the entire load right on your hips. I try to take a little as safely possibly. The biggest lesson was making sure you take your food selection seriously by looking at how many calories you get per the weight of the item as well as picking my clothes appropriately without bringing unnecessary items. I generally take my bow with a full quiver lashed to the exterior of the pack or just in my hand with a few extra arrows and broadheads in my pack.

What top 3 things do you always bring besides the common stuff everybody bring?

I always make sure to have a waterproof first aid kid, a multi-tool and two sources of fire, (ie lighter and striker). Other than that it’s general gear. That stuff stays the same and adapt my clothing and food stash to the duration of the hunt and the climate.

What are your top tips for other bow hunters?

If you’re just starting to backpack hunt pack your gear for your hunt and go hike with hit and then reassess each item in there. Start with short 1-2 night trips just to test out your gear before actually embarking on a hunt. Another tip would be to always know where your headlamp is. I always keep mine in the cargo pocket of my pants. It’s easy to keep pushing and then realize it’s going to be dark and your headlamp is buried int he bottom of your bag or in your bag that you left back at a glassing spot before you went on a stalk. This has been focused on bags but be sure you spend time and money on good boots and break them in before you hit the backcountry.


As a young boy, I grew up hunting these furry tree dwellers in the hills with my father. Some of my best memories of him come from us sitting on a fallen log, breathing in the fresh air while searching the tree tops for activity. It was in this sacred place that he told me about girls, how to be a man, smoking was bad for you (even though he offered me one anyway), told me about life and passed on some of his favorite stories of his father and his youth. I cherished those times then, and even more now that he’s not around.

I started Myhuntingear.com 5 years ago. The goal of this site is to offer hunters a resource for all things related to hunting. Whether it’s increasing your shooting accuracy, firearms safety or hunting tips, we hope this site can help make your next outing a productive and more enjoyable one.

Favorite hunting area? Nebraska and West.


How do you pack everything for your hunting trips?

Actually. It’s a challenge to pack all your gear. The pact I am currently using the Remington Twin Mesa Daypack. This is one of the high-quality packs by Remington. It comes with five separate outside pockets that let you stow your duck calls, rangefinder, spotting scope, ammunition, and other items you can bring in the field. Especially, it offers a densely padded hip belt for some added comfort.

What top 3 things do you always bring besides the common stuff everybody bring?

Rope: one of the most versatile and useful items to bring in your pack. I’m keen on a parachute cord instead of a traditional rope. It allows you to tie the animal you took down feet at once. Also, you can use it to hang various items.

Knife: for any hunting trip, you need one. I recommend highly the Havalon Piranta. They come with replaceable blades. Of course, they allow you to taken apart everything from sheep to brown bears and moose.

A first aid kit: This is an essential item. Indeed, I can get injured when getting off the beaten path as well as doing something even remotely dangerous

What are your top tips for other bow hunters?

For any bow hunters, it’s important to be patient. It is the key to a successful hunt. In addition, remember to keep your phone in your pocket on silent. Last, wear your best hunting clothes



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