What’s in your pack?

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Well hunting season is here again and with it all the joy and wonder that it brings.  Getting geared up and in the field, is as important to us hunters as is high school football in Texas.
 
Gearing up for the season is one of the most important chores there is.  Being safe and comfortable is paramount to enjoyment afield.  What do you carry in your pack is about as often asked question of me as what is the best rifle or bow.
 
Comfort in the stand is essential. I carry soft snacks in quiet pouches such as a leather bag.  No noise opening or closing.  Beef jerky is a must but be careful because the extra salt makes you consume more liquids and that leads to needing way more bathroom breaks. I love taking my 64-ounce stainless vacuum insulated container filled with either water or in the cooler months, coffee.  These things are worth their weight in gold almost.  Liquids stay warm or cold for days if necessary so a few hours on stand is no task.  The drawback is the shiny stainless of the container.  I use a textured spray paint and give mine a good dark brown coating and problem solved.  This serves two purposes.  First it gets rid of the shiny reflective surface that would catch the eye of even the most near sighted of deer.  Second it gives the smooth slick sides of the bottle a good rough surface to grip on to.  Things are hard enough 20 feet up in a tree without trying to maneuver a slippery drink container.  Lastly it just looks cool. You can customize your growler in any way you want as long as the colors are in some way Earth tones.
 
The next piece of my kit is a bit embarrassing to speak of but everyone must heed the call of nature at some point.  There are lots of readymade commercial items that allow you to relieve yourself while in the stand but I go back to when we had to devise our own.  I like to use a gallon size freezer bag with zipper closure.  I place a large baby diaper turned inside out into it.  It absorbs quite a bit of liquid and you don’t need to worry about anything spilling or seeping out in your pack when getting in or out of the stand.
 
Next, I never go anywhere in Texas without a Thermacell in my pack and plenty of spare fuel and scent cartridges.  The fuel is the easy part because there is only one type but there are several choices in the repellents.  I personally like the fresh Earth scented repellent pads.  They repel insects as good as the others and add a slight bit of cover scent.  It sure beats all the sprays and lotions I have tried and doesn’t leave you feeling greasy or set your skin on fire as other types of insect repellents do.
 
I guess the last key ingredient to my pack is a waterproof cell phone case of some kind.  Even if just a zip type sandwich bag.  A dry phone and wallet can be a great comfort on cold wet days afield.
Now These few things are by no means all I carry in my day pack but they are essential parts of it.  I figure there is no need to cover certain items that we all carry any how.  Customize your pack your way but these few ideas may help you be a bit more comfortable.
Jeff Stewart

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