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Backcountry hacks - preparing for the worst

Simple and effective backcountry hacks for hunting

A well known saying is it's better to have something and not need it, then need it and not have it. All photo credits: Brady Miller

Sometimes planning for the worst is the best way to plan for success. There are a ton of different “backcountry hacks” out there. Below are several things I’ve benefited from over the years. And sometimes, just having these items with me has helped others I’ve hunted with even more.

1. Electrical/Gorilla tape on trekking poles

Adding tape to trekking poles

One of the simplest ways to prepare for the worst on a hunt is to keep a small wrap of electrical tape on one trekking pole and then some Gorilla tape on the other pole. I can’t even begin to describe how many things we have repaired on the mountain by having these items handy. If you don't use trekking poles, you can wrap small sections of tape on your tripod legs or other random pieces of gear (just don't forget where you randomly put the strips of tape). Several years ago we used all my electrical tape to create a makeshift knee brace when a friend re-injured his knee on a high country archery deer hunt. The tape also comes in hand when you need to attach a punched-out tag to antlers too and even covering up your rifle barrel.

I've even used electrical tape to fix a severely cracked bow limb after I took a nasty fall. A few practice shots later and a little re-sighting in my bow, and two days later I killed what will definitely be the biggest Coues deer of my life. Packing tape saved my hunt!

2. Leukotape wrapped on various items

Leukotape for blisters while hunting

Even with broken-in boots, you just never know when you or someone you're hunting with might get a hot spot or blister on their foot. There are many different ways to pack Leukotape on a hunt. If you don't already have Leukotape as part of your gear list, you should! I prefer Leukotape over moleskin mainly for how much more bang for the buck you get with a roll, the longevity (apply it once and forget about it) and you can always use it for other things that somehow might break on a hunt.

Leukotape wrapped on charge pack

Now... you could take an entire roll, but I find that pretty excessive. So on a hunt, I'll take Leukotape and wrap it around a lighter and then I also keep some wrapped around the charging pack that I use for my phone and inReach Mini. Another method is to wrap it around a pen or marker.

3. Paracord has so many uses

Replacing broken boot laces with paracord

Paracord can be used for so many things on a hunt hunt. From hanging meat, to fixing tent guy lines and even setting up a glassing tarp; the list is pretty much endless. Also, don't forget that paracord can make great boot laces when you finally snap your laces and you're in the middle of nowhere (been there).

4. Glassing pad as a tent "welcome mat"

Glassing pad as tent doormat

That small folded up glassing pad you carried around all week, well its use doesn't end when you stop glassing. This little gem can be used for a multitude of options. One of my favorite uses besides for glassing is to use it as a small "welcome mat" in front of my tent. This really shines if it's muddy out, snow on the ground, etc. Just place this right in front of the opening of your tent, and each time you need to head outside your tent to put on your boots or your put your Crocs on, you will avoid getting your socks full of debris. This also means fewer sticks and dirt you will pack into your tent that collect on your socks.

There are a plethora of other backcountry hacks that can help save you/your gear on a hunt. Let's face it when you deal with uncertain situations, you will find so many different ways to fix something or even make life a little more comfortable on the mountain.

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