These 9 items fall into that category for me that get put off and often forgot about. You could purchase this entire list for $70, and yet it could have more impact on your hunts this fall than almost any other gear if the situation arises. I have found all of these items incredibly useful in the past, and I hope that you find this list helpful as we head into the fall hunting seasons.
Rangefinder Battery- $6.50
A dead rangefinder is a terrible situation to find yourself in while in the middle of a hunt. Surprisingly, I can’t count the number of times a guy I have hunted with didn’t know when he replaced the battery, and also didn’t have a spare in his pack. Most of the common rangefinders that are typical take a CR2 battery, and this two pack will get you a fresh one for install, and a spare to put in your pack for later use.
Starting a fire isn’t always easy, even when it’s a commodity and not a necessity to get you through a situation. The reality is usually that when you need a fire the worst, it will be the most difficult time to start one. Trioxane is the perfect and most foolproof tinder you can store in your pack. It lights easily, burns hot, and burns long. It will also burn when wet and allow you to dry some small tinder on top of it until it takes off. Having one or two of these in your pack for an emergency is a great idea, and they will allow you to get a fire going even when your hands are numb.
Stormproof Matches- $8
To go along with the trioxane from above, a foolproof way to light a fire is also a must. If you haven’t used these type of storm matches before I would recommend that you buy some. When lit they produce a massive flame like a mini road flare, and they will burn through any amount of wind or rain for several seconds. One match will easily get a trioxane tablet lit on the first try, every time. I use a lighter for that task, but when things goes south a lighter often gets wet and doesn’t work. This pack includes the waterproof carrying case and an extra striker. I don’t use these for camp or daily use, but for your fire starting kit they’re a must.
If you don’t have Benadryl or another antihistamine in your pack, I think its a must. An allergic reaction can be scary and at times deadly, and is something I have seen happen to someone first hand before from a bee sting. The time I witnessed it the individual had never had a reaction to a bee sting before. If you have a known allergy then an epi pen is probably already something you have, but I think it would be in everyone’s best interest to put a couple Benadryl in their pack in case you or someone you are with ends up needing one. There really isn’t a lot else you can do in terms of fieldcraft to deal with an allergic reaction if you don’t have this or a similar medication.
Antibiotic Ointment Packet- $5
For minor cuts I typically don’t carry band aids, but rather use some tape to cover the wound. However, I think for hunters it is smart to carry one or two of these little packets of antibiotic ointment in case you cut yourself while dealing with a knife that has been exposed to blood or guts. These are the small, individual packs which weigh almost nothing and can keep a minor cut from getting infected until you get out of the woods and clean it more thoroughly.
I carry these no matter what primary form of water purification I am using, and I carry them even when I am not backpacking. Dehydration is a serious issue if you are out water, and in a pinch a chemical treatment can get you something drinkable to put in your body. They weigh virtually nothing, and are a great backup to have in your pack for an emergency or a water filter failure.
Leukotape has caught on recently and for good reason. It is the best blister care you can possibly find, and will stay on your skin for days in a row. It can also make a fantastic band aid for minor knife cuts that need sealed up. It is also a great tape for preventing blisters in newer boots by taping hot spots before they become an issue. Banged up feet is the most debilitating thing that I have seen on a hunt. Take care of your feet before they get bad and you’ll be much happier.
Body Glide- $8
Not everyone will need this one, but if you do have chaffing issues with your legs you know that it can be as much of a problem as torn up feet. If you have had issues like this in the past, plan for it up front and use some body glide. Your trip will be much more enjoyable.
D-Loop Material- $7
Last but not least, every archery hunter should learn to tie a d-loop and have some extra material to do so. This 5′ section will give you enough to replace a rest cord as well if needed. For a couple grams of weight, I can’t see a reason not to carry a spare piece in the field incase a loop or cord was to break.