Northwoods Stalking Bag: A Pack Prepped For Chilly Hunts

Here in my dwelling state of Michigan we get our share of snow within the winter months — nevertheless, you might go to sleep to snow and get up to rain and dirt. If you wish to benefit from the open air, you’ll should be ready to play no matter hand nature offers you. Once I’m stepping off into wild areas or prowling for recreation animals, I prefer to maintain issues so simple as attainable, which suggests taking the identical gear with me whatever the length of the journey. The possibility of getting rotated on a hike or a stalk — as a lot as you may try and stalk in Michigan — means taking your gear with you whenever you’re in distant or unfamiliar territory. This Northwoods Stalking Bag was constructed to make sure all the things I want is with me and accessible.

Concerning the Bag

The bottom of my winter equipment is a 5.11 Tactical Rush 72-hour pack. Ripe with exterior pockets and many inner zippered group, its general dimension is sufficient to take all the things I want with additional house for a few of what I would like. I’m cautious to not purchase massive packs as a result of I are inclined to fill them with gear I don’t actually need. Having a sternum strap and a padded waist belt is really helpful for a pack this dimension, because it lets you shift weight from the shoulders to the hips to fend off fatigue.

Sleep System

Sleeping gear takes up the majority of the primary compartment. I’ve grown very specific about what I’ll use for sleep techniques. The gear should be straightforward to arrange or stow in darkness or low-light circumstances with chilly fingers or gloves. This usually steers me away from using a tent.

For my cash, nothing beats an insulated Klymit inflatable sleeping pad. You want one thing to insulate your self from the bottom to maintain from shedding warmth through thermal conductivity. It takes lower than a minute to totally inflate, it rolls up properly, and I discover it comfy sufficient to get a great evening’s sleep when paired with certainly one of Klymit’s inflatable pillows.

Enlightened Gear makes a wide range of wonderful sleeping luggage and quilts. I just like the APEX 20-degree quilt with an artificial fill. The tip is ready to be cinched off or opened up in case you want a bit of air stream. I’ve discovered 20-degree luggage to be a great chilly climate possibility for general consolation and packability. It’s essential to level out that the phrases “heat” and “comfy” are relative. What isn’t relative is hypothermia. It’s possible you’ll discover that you just’re chilly in a 20-degree bag, however you in all probability gained’t freeze to demise in it. Consolation is what I discover to be ok to permit me just a few hours of sleep at a time. I’m not getting Tempur-Pedic sleep within the woods.

Down is nice in the event you’re sleeping in a tent or a comfortable cabin, however as soon as down will get moist it has misplaced its capability to insulate and maintain you heat. You may suppose, “So don’t get it moist. Make a greater shelter.” Even within the chilly, typically it’s humid sufficient to kill the insulation high quality of down. I slip the sleeping pad and quilt right into a Snugpak bivy and place it below a tarp or a lean-to construction relying on the climate.

Above: An emergency sleep system can rework an emergency into an inconvenience.

Different Necessities

An additional watchman’s hat, clear Merino wool socks, and recent underwear saved in Ziploc gallon-size freezer luggage are on the backside of the primary compartment. They’ve all the time been a welcomed morale enhance on the finish of a protracted day to alter into earlier than to mattress.

A SOL Survive Outside Longer bivy simply in case I get dealt a really dangerous hand.

A Protection Mechanisms Hand Hotter waist-mounted pouch is ideal to maintain your fingers heat whenever you’re stationary or taking a break. The pocket within the entrance is nice to tuck a pair chemical hand heaters in to kick up the warmth.

Two or three contractor trash luggage. The thicker mil luggage are powerful as nails and have dozens of makes use of.

In a zipped internal compartment, I maintain a medical equipment. My medical pouch may be very fundamental. Retaining a stack of various sized bandages and blister covers, Tylenol or Advil, a roll of antacid tablets, anti-diarrheal tablets, and some Liquid IV packets has confirmed to be helpful on multiple event.

A BIC lighter in an Exotac protecting container wrapped in Gorilla Tape. The tape is nice for repairs and beginning fires. As a matter of reality, I maintain a BIC lighter wrapped in tape in each pocket of my pack and one in my Equipment Bag. They’re cheap and light-weight sufficient that it is smart.

Studio photos of gear brought on a stalk or hunt.

Above: I’ve by no means wanted all of this gear in a single state of affairs, nevertheless I’ve wanted each merchandise at one time or one other. After spending one chilly unplanned evening within the woods, you’ll be glad to have some additional provides.


I embody a HellFire Bushcraft stainless-steel grill, as a result of typically Mountain Home or MREs aren’t thrilling to me, or I’ve efficiently hunted one thing.

Facet storage pockets maintain a titanium 20-ounce Snow Peak cup and lid, a handful of prompt espresso packs, a Jet Boil with additional can of gasoline, and an additional damaged down MRE primary meal.

The small higher pocket has gallon-size freezer luggage and examination gloves for cleansing wild recreation.

The pack’s Shove-It Compartment between the physique and rear-facing flap — initially designed to hold a helmet — is often reserved for hauling one thing I’ve hunted or discovered alongside the best way.

Entrance Pocket Instruments

There’s is an additional knife, foldable Silky Noticed, LifeStraw water filter, ebook, a number of lengths of 550 wire, additional chilly climate gloves and examination gloves, and a Petzl headlamp with excessive, medium, low, and pink gentle settings.

Studio photo of the inside of a chest rig loaded with gear.

Above: A chest rig is nice for protecting very important instruments shut and accessible.

Outdoors the Bag

I’ve all the time acquired a Thyrm CellVault-5M mounted to the webbing of the entrance pocket. Make sure that any batteries you’re taking into the chilly are lithium ion as they’ll face up to the chilly higher than alkaline. If it’s actually chilly, put them inside a coat pocket so your physique warmth will assist defend them.

On the underside of my shoulder strap, I maintain a Darkish Angel Medical direct motion response equipment (D.A.R.Ok.), to not be confused with a fundamental medical equipment. Given the pace blood can go away the physique, a trauma equipment must be all the time on the prepared. Trauma equipment naked minimal necessities are a tourniquet, hemostatic gauze, chest seal, a roll of ordinary gauze, and an emergency blanket.

Alongside the bottom of the pack, I stash 30 ft of 1-inch nylon tubular webbing daisy chained with two climbing grade rings. In case you’ve ever pulled a deer up a hill, you’ll perceive.

Two Nalgene water storage containers are housed in Spiritus Methods pouches. One in every of my bottles is the standard plastic improbable with 4 to six ft of Gorilla tape wrapped round it, the opposite is single-walled stainless-steel. Ought to the water freeze, the metal container might be set close to a hearth to soften. Take into account that single walled metal — not twin walled/vacuum insulated — is the one possibility for direct heating over fireplace.

Ranger beads are tied to my shoulder strap for monitoring distance traveled whereas navigating.

It might not be the best place for a knife, however whereas carrying a padded waist belt from the pack, I like my Bradshaw Blades mounted blade knife mounted to my shoulder strap ’80s fashion for simple entry.

Camp axes and tomahawks have confirmed to be an indispensable piece of substances each for shelter constructing and processing firewood. The Wenger Blades Loki has been an amazing addition to my searching pack.

Studio photo of a chest rig.

Above: I by no means go into the woods with out a Hill Individuals Gear Equipment Bag. This little chest rig retains my pants and coat pockets accessible for warming my fingers, and ensures high-usage objects are available.

Equipment Bag from Hill Individuals Gear

Carried throughout my chest, this pouch permits me to shortly entry small, continuously used objects. It may additionally function an emergency sustainment equipment ought to I turn into separated from my primary pack. It incorporates my space maps and map instruments, compass, ham radio and further battery, 25 ft of 550 wire, a Gerber multi-tool, small tape measure, travel-size dental floss, Chapstick, a sleeve of Compawipes, IR beacon and 9-volt battery, additional ammunition for my rifle or shotgun, pink electrical tape, BIC lighter wrapped with tape, SOL emergency blanket, Streamlight ProTac 2L-X flashlight, CAT 7 tourniquet, and a ferro rod from SouthPaw Knots.

Pack It In

Through the years I’ve discovered this to be a great arrange for me. Ensure you take a look at all of your gear earlier than you wager your life on it. Any time you’re heading into the woods or wild elements, let somebody accountable know the place you’re going. Present them on a map and circle the realm. Arrange common communication home windows with them as properly. Do not forget that consolation is relative. Have an journey with campfires, chilly nights, and delightful snowy days, then come dwelling to actually admire your furnace.

Northwoods Stalking Bag Information

  • Make & Mannequin: 5.11 Tactical – Rush 72
  • Capability: 55 Liters
  • MSRP: $185
  • URL:

Studio photo of the 5.11 Tactical Rush 72 hour pack used as a northwoods stalking bag.

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Editor’s Notice: This text has been modified for the net from its authentic print model.

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