Gear Guide: 11 items to bring on a hunter's perfect road tripWhat you need to successfully complete outdoorsman and photographer Sam Soholt's hunting trip
By Sam Soholt
Heading out on Sam Soholt’s perfect hunting road trip? Here is some essential gear you’ll need to successfully complete the journey—items you’ll find in Sam’s bus and backpack when he’s out on the hunt.
This trip will take some major planning, and a lot of that planning will revolve around tags. You will need to apply for deer and antelope tags in Montana. The other states and tags are easier to come by, but you definitely don’t want to miss that March 15 deadline in Montana.
For sucks, pheasants, turkeys, and any other small game, the shotgun is the obvious go-to for the job. You will need something that is going to cover the whole spectrum of species. I suggest a nice 12 gauge. I’ve been shooting the Remington V3 for the last few years. It is an affordable gun with the performance of something twice the price.
In order to maximize tag opportunities, it is important to have a rifle on hand. This will mainly be used for deer. However, it can double as a way to do a little predator control at the same time. I have been using a Kimber Hunter the last couple of years, chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. It is a great caliber for big game. It will also reach out and touch a coyote at longer distances, if you need it to.
The bow will be the least-used item in the weapons kit on the trip. It does allow you to get another tag along the way, however. I’ve been shooting Prime bows the last four years and have been super impressed. The new Logic model is nice and compact. I recommend it.
If you can only bring one pair of boots for the trip, you are going to want something you can use in a ton of different applications. The Kenetrek Mountain Extremes are built pretty damn tough, and even though they can be a little heavy for something like upland bird hunting, they will get the job done, especially if the the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Pants and Jacket
It doesn’t matter what brand you choose. However, it is imperative you have a good set of hunting pants and hunting jacket for this trip. My favorites are the Timberline and Jetstream jackets from Sitka Gear. If you get them in a solid color, you can wear them year round—not just for hunting.
You will need good optics on this trip. Without a good set of glass, you might as well cut your success rate at least in half. Whatever your budget is, spend as much as you can on optics. It’ll out-hunt anything else you own. I like Vortex optics. I use the Razor spotter and binoculars. I also own the 1800 range finder. They’re all highly reliable pieces of gear that you shouldn’t take this trip without.
If you are hunting a variety of species, you are going to need a good knife. I tend to like custom stuff rather than off-the-shelf. I found a custom knifesmith company called Tuckamore. They make some amazing pieces of art that just happen to be sharp as hell—and hold an edge for a long time. If you want a one-of-a-kind blade, I recommend Tuckamore.
You will need a good backpack as well as a good duffel. I suggest a day pack that can also double as a meat hauler. Also, get a duffel big enough to handle the rest of your gear. The Pintler and Mission Duffle from Mystery Ranch packs are hard to beat. I use them every single day of the season.
Let’s be honest, you are on a quest to hunt and shoot about 15 different animals. You are going to need some cooler space, because I don’t think eat-as-you-go is an option. There is really only one option: Yeti. I think most people would steer your toward one giant cooler. However, I would say you’re better off getting two or three more functional sizes. I would get two Tundra 75s and a Hopper Flip 18. You can use the 18 as your drink cooler, one of the 75s for groceries to start, and the other for ice storage until you start stacking meat in there.
I do still like paper maps, but only when I am starting my scouting. I have pretty much transitioned to using electronic maps. And I use virtually just one app: OnX. If you ask me, it is the only way to go. It’s super easy to use, plus you can cache maps on your phone and use them as a GPS—even when you don’t have phone service.
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