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Preparing for the worst: Late season safety gear to keep in your truck

Adjusting tire chains while hunting late season

Late season hunts mean extra attention on gear items you keep in your truck. Photo credit: Brady Miller

Late season hunting brings lots of excitement and, undoubtedly, a lot of challenges as well. On one hand, you wish for the snow and cold temperatures, but, on the other hand, you hope it doesn’t snow so much that it makes it unsafe to get around in the mountains.

To make things a little safer there should be several pieces of gear that never leave your truck during a late-season hunt. While you might never use all of these items on one hunt, trust me when I say that you will be glad you thought ahead of time to bring some safety items. 

Here are a few items that I never leave home without on a late-season hunt:

Mr Heater big buddy for hunting

Photo credit: Chris Neville

If you have a diesel truck, you might want some other items, too. When I had a diesel truck, I used to carry around a small Big Buddy propane heater and had to use that and some tarps to get my truck started in Montana after I left it in the cold for three days.

Notes on a few items

Tire chains

Truck tire chains on tailgate

Make sure you get the right size for your vehicle and that you know how to use them. There is nothing worse than trying to put on chains for the first time in a bunch of snow when your fingers are frozen.

Hi-Lift Jack

Before using a Hi-Lift jack…know how to properly use one! This jack system can be a little dangerous. In a pinch, the Hi-Lift jack is a lifesaver. I’ve used it before to lift a tire up to place logs and pine tree branches when I got my truck stuck in Montana.

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Jumper cables

Jump starting atv while hunting late season

Jumper cables are essential! Photo credit: Chris Neville

Double and triple check you have them! In Wyoming, when hunting with the Born and Raised Outdoors crew for their Land Of The Free 2.0 film series, somehow my truck battery died after sitting for three days and we wanted to move locations. I searched in my truck and couldn’t find my jumper cables. Then, I remembered that I loaned them to a friend and forgot to get them back.

I instantly thought all was well since we had two other vehicles…wrong! In a case of bad luck, Trent had a new vehicle and didn’t have jumper cables and somehow Zack didn’t have his jumper cables in his truck either. 

So we resorted to driving the other vehicles around the mountains until we came across a great guy driving a Forest Service truck who offered to help.

Snow shovel

Morning after giant snowstorm

If you think you need a shovel…bring two. Trust me! A simple snow shovel is a lifesaver when you get buried. A standard snow shovel from home will work. I now also take along a foldable snow shovel from MSR. It packs up to nothing and I’ve even taken it on a backcountry hunt in Wyoming to shovel snow out of the way for our tipi shelter. Luckily, we rented llamas so they carried the shovel.

In conclusion

While I now carry more late-season safety items than ever before, keep in mind that these items add up fast—not only in money, but also space in your truck. Also, this list could get really long if you really try to prepare for everything, so think of the items you really need if space is an issue. This list has helped me a multitude of times when the temperatures dropped to get out of some scary situations. For a different take on this subject, check out Brandon Evans' past article here.

Best of luck and stay safe this late season!

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Joe H. - posted 4 months ago on 11-04-2019 05:30:06 pm

Not really safety gear but like to carry an extra set of keys preferably put in a place which is different from your primary set.

Bill D. - posted 4 months ago on 11-03-2019 09:14:27 am

I’d second some kind of saw that you can use to clear a downed tree or limb. I don’t ever want to be stuck after having timber come down on a road I need to use to get out of the forest.

Gary H. - posted 4 months ago on 11-01-2019 06:04:05 am

Chainsaw I Always have one with me. Even on the 4 wheeler I make room for it. You can get trapped easily without one.

Taylor M. - posted 4 months ago on 11-01-2019 05:58:52 am

Here in Colorado a chainsaw has become a very necessary piece of equipment for the truck. Beetle Kill is ravaging the forest. This year after a windy night we had to cut a tree out of the road to move spots. Seems like it happens every year now.

Brady J. Miller
Brady M. - posted 4 months ago on 10-31-2019 03:38:57 pm
Las Vegas, NV
goHUNT Team

Great additions, Gary!

@David - Well said! I actually just showed my Hi Lift strap accessory to Lorenzo the other day and he placed an order for it. I haven't had the chance to use the strap accessory yet, but it is going to be great! Funny you mentioned solid lift points... even on some beefy steel side steps, we've bent both sides of Lorenzo's hunting truck step rails (another reason I'm excited about the strap accessory). I should go an add that accessory to this article, also the off-road base plate for the Hi Lift is another item I just picked up.

David B. - posted 4 months ago on 10-31-2019 03:22:04 pm

Regarding the Hilift- note that this is only usable on sold lift points on your truck such as steel bumpers, sliders or your receiver hitch. It'll crumple aluminum bumpers like paper. There is a lift strap attachment that you can run through the rim of the tire to lift.

I would add a snatch strap and a couple of shackles to yank out another stuck vehicle (or get pulled out yourself).

Gary H. - posted 4 months ago on 10-31-2019 06:08:07 am

- 12V Air compressor
-Honda Generator - Plug your diesel truck up for a couple hours to get it to start. First person back fire the generator up and get that block warmed back up.
-BIG jump box. Dont get the cheap one from walmart.