Hunting Trip Packing

I leave for South Dakota next Thursday for a pheasant hunting trip.  To say that I’m excited would be an understatement.  We are headed up to the Turkey Creek area outside of Viborg, South Dakota.  Don’t worry, there will be plenty of content about the trip in the weeks following.

Let’s talk about packing for this trip.  Since I’ve never gone anywhere like this in the past, I’m in danger of overpacking.  I’m doing my best not to, and since I know they have a washer/dryer at our lodge, I know I’ll be able to re-wear as appropriate.  After accumulating a lot of hunting gear over the last year, and identifying some gaps in what I need for the trip, here’s where I am:

From top left:

1. Filson Blaze Logger Cap:  This Filson hat has been on every hunt I had in 2017.  May as well continue the trend, as it’s been a great year.
2. LL Bean Sportsman’s Chamois Shirt:  Chamois shirts are the best, and these Sportsman’s versions are going to be great up in South Dakota.  Whether for the field or bumming around the lodge, I expect this to get a lot of wear.
3. Orvis Deerskin Uplander Shooting Gloves:  Gloves are going to be a must.  In fact, I’ll probably keep hand warmers in my pockets.  I found these gloves on sale at Orvis for $29 a couple years ago.  No brainer.  I’ve hunted with them a couple times and really like them.  They are breaking in well.
4. Beretta Wind Barrier Sweater:  I actually got this from Five Mile back in 2012.  This thing is awesome.  The windbreaker inside makes this perfect for dry days.  This will be an essential layer.
5. Patagonia Capilene Midweight Base Layer Pants:  I was having a conversation about hunting gear with good buddy of mine.  He’s really experienced, so his opinion is good.  He said “Spend money on important stuff, like socks and long underwear.  You don’t want to go cheap because you’ll end up screwed”.  I’ve never had a bad experience with Patagonia, so I feel good about this.
6. Costa Del Mar Saltbreak Sunglasses:  I would buy these in every shade and lens available.  I absolutely love them.  I was told not to bring just any sunglasses, but some that are built for outdoor activities.  Polarized Copper Silver lenses remove all the glare.
7. Orvis Shotshell Belt:  Yeah, mine is over 20 years old, and has quite a few miles on it.  No reason not to add a few more.  This is one of the few normal belts I wear.
8. BraeVal ExVenturer Shirt:  Looking forward to putting these shirts to the test!  The wool blend will be great in near-freezing weather, and all the extra pockets and features will be put to good use.
9. Gamekeeper Divided Leather Shooting Pouch:  After seeing that image of the J.L. Hulme Shell Pouch and the awesome patina, I pulled the trigger on this one.  I’m not sure how many hunts I’ll have to take this on to get there, but I’m looking forward to it.
10. Fuji X100T Camera:  I’ve never been to that part of the country, and want to document accordingly.  I’m saving space in a big pocket so I can shoot quite a bit.  I’m really looking forward to documenting the trip.
11. Browning Upland Vest:  I found this at a Gander Mountain that was going out of business in Nashville for well under $50, so I pulled the trigger.  So far, I’m really impressed with all the pockets.  It’s pretty sturdy for the price.
12. LL Bean Gaiter:  This was on sale at LL Bean for $29; it’s a bit thicker than a lot of the gaiters that are floating around hunting camps.  Apparently it gets windy in SD…
13. Mountain Khakis Field Pants:  I found these on Amazon for $27 a pair (I got two).  Randomly, they were my size, and cheaper than any other upland pants that I had been researching.  I’ve worn Mountain Khakis for years, and am looking forward to taking these for a ride.
14. Smartwool PhD Hunt Socks:  See #5.  These may be expensive, but I’ll be using my feet more than anything else, so I need them to stay warm and dry.  If I have to wear socks, I’m a big over-the-calf guy, and these do it well.
15. LL Bean Kangaroo Upland Boots:  These seem to be perfect for my trip.  So far, they have broken in really well.  This is my first experience with Kangaroo leather, and so far, so good.  I’ll give you a full review after three days of chasing Pheasants.
16. Beretta Silver Pigeon:  I have never enjoyed shooting a shotgun so much.  I’m so glad I got my 20ga…I can’t wait to chase some birds up north.
17. Pelican 1750 Gun Case:  I mentioned to my Father in Law that I needed a case to bring my guns up to South Dakota (I’m bringing #16, but I’m also bring my Beretta 12ga Outlander).  The next time he came over he brought this in.  He’s a total Pelican guy, and I’m happy to borrow his…

Not pictured: my Filson medium duffle bag.  That’s what I’ll use as my suitcase for all these goodies…no one makes bags like Filson.

What did I miss?  Anything specific that I should think about?



  1. Randy
    10/25/2017 / 7:25 AM

    Chap Stick will save your life up there.

  2. RH
    10/25/2017 / 8:38 AM

    Soft sided cooler to bring home your frozen birds. Don’t forget to bring home some tail feathers for Mrs. to decorate the Christmas tree.

    • JRS
      10/27/2017 / 8:47 AM

      Yep – my traveling companion is bringing a cooler for the bounty…and I’m getting as many tail feathers I can…

  3. Rusty Moody
    10/25/2017 / 9:16 AM

    Chaps- Filson Waxed Tin Cloth or equal, it can be damp to really wet. Fend off the moisture

  4. Jeff
    10/25/2017 / 10:18 AM

    I have hunted in Oral, SD and you will be surprised at how muddy it can get if it has snowed at all there yet.  I would suggest a boot bag to bring your boots back in so you don’t get your other stuff muddy.  I highly recommend dressing in layers.  I have hunted mostly in late January and you will be surprised how warm it can feel because of the dry air.  I always end up hunting at least one afternoon in only a shooting shirt and shedding the long underwear at lunch.  The 50’s feel warm when you are walking constantly.  Lip balm has been mentioned which I agree with in addition to a quality hand moisturizer.  Kiehl’s Ultimate Hand Salve does the trick on saving your hands from getting chapped in that dry air.

  5. Garrett
    10/26/2017 / 4:29 AM

    Liquid reinforcement?

    • JRS
      10/27/2017 / 8:45 AM

      There will be plenty of that at the lodge.

    • JRS
      10/27/2017 / 8:45 AM

      You are the second person to recommend those…

  6. Nem
    10/26/2017 / 9:45 PM

    I second the vote on Filson chaps over the briar pants.  The reasons are obvious.  Also, please, for the love of all that is holy please avoid the Orvis shot shell belt with the fake shot shell brass (it has ORVIS stamped on it).  Go to Tory leather belt company and get the real thing for easily half the cost.  Ther’s has a real Federal 12 GA Gold Medal cap on it and the leather is perfect.

    • JRS
      10/27/2017 / 8:45 AM

      I’m going to have to look into chaps.  It’s a little too late now, as I’ll be in the field this time next week(!).  And yes – my shotshell belt is ~25 years old with the ‘Federal’ shell.  I get it.  I also pulled the trigger on the quail version from Kevin’s.  

  7. Jared
    10/30/2017 / 2:52 PM

    Neither Chaps or Briar pants were really necessary in the area of SoDak I’ve been to.  Mostly cornfields and basically zero briars.  Might be different where you’ll be.  I tend to like briar pants over chaps to save on bulk.  Make sure the gaiter will cover your face and ears. Wind is the killer.  And definitely take chap stick and possibly sunscreen.  Check the weather and see about rain. Might want a pair of Mucks to go with the Beans.  Or maybe just some duck boots. Lastly, get yourself a good strap vest (Orvis for me.) Makes layering much easier.  
    I wore UA cold gear base layers, a thin cotton shirt, amd a North Face WindWall fleece amd was toasty in 20 degree, 25 mph wind, sleety weather.  With all the walking, you’re probably more likely to get hot than cold.

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