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Do we carry too much stuff?

Talking with a mate today about maybe getting a thermal imager or nv, got me thinking about how much stuff I now carry even for a couple of hours walk.
20 years ago rifle, nzfs style pouch with ammo and snacks, knife, maybe a compass and map and binos if the terrain warranted plus water if the terrain didn’t provide it was all I felt I needed.
Now my std kit seems to be plb, knife, cellphone (which doubles as a camera and gps), rangefinder, pouch for ammo, snacks, thermal blanket, water, and a small med kit.
Am I the only one who seems to be carrying everything but the kitchen sink all the time now.
So what do you really need.


Good topic.

Like you, in my early years, I carried just the bare minimum when hunting and looking back was probably quite lucky I never had an incident. From about 16yrs old, I would do week long missions on my into the Kaimanawas with just the basic gear - no PLB either…

In the last ten years I certainly carry more gear than I used too but pretty much exactly what you have Mark. I purchased a PLB when my wife got pregnant with our first. I did my first tahr hunt up Bush Stream in the Rangiatata River and quickly realised that if I have an accident/fall in this terrain, it could get nasty real quick.

I don’t really do day hunts and will try and always make it an overnight so I can get the evening and morning hunt. That means taking a tent, sleeping bag and pad.

yeah im terrible for taking too much crap, ive been trying to make a few youtube videos too so that means more junk goes into the pack, recently ive been trying to buy “lighter” items to bring the pack weight down, but that isn’t cheap unfortunally

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You are not the only one, Mark. I have an old, smelly samba jacket and its main attribute is the many water resistant pockets. GPS. is beyond me but to use one would require glasses in a hard case. Having gone past my use by date and having Parkinson’s I take drugs 5 times a day, for this reason I carry my phone used as an alarm for the drugs, The bloody thing did go off once while I was watching a deer. I got the biggest fright. I also wear hearing aids which compensate for a bad left ear and shut out blast [highly recommended]. Also spare batteries. My ancient Huntec bum bag carries a rolled up canvas pack plus the essential bum blotter and a headlight. Hows that?

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Funny you should mention coat pockets, going south 2 years ago for a wallaby shoot my mates and i stopped in Amberley, there was a small sports goods place on the left. We all brought something as their prices were ultra sharp. I got a Ridgeline coat that amused us for the entire trip as I was constantly discovering new pockets, there are pocket inside pockets 10 in all but there might be some as yet undiscovered.
It can carry a truckload of stuff and unlike a pack you don’t notice the weight youve added till you take it off.

How come less costs more :grin:

Ha ha in the old days I was fitter, stronger and carried some heavy packs! Nowadays I’m older and wiser, I may carry more gadgets now, but my whole setup probably weights 10kg less :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Older yes, wiser, arguable!

Yeh I have my pack down to about 18kgs for a 4-5 day hunt.

@Mark_Wheeler Good question, and one I can’t answer! :sweat_smile:

“So what do you really need?”

I think hunters have been asking this question since the invention of the atlatl.

For me personally I’ve stopped worrying about it and instead focus on what I’m using. If I’m constantly taking out kit that’s not being used and isn’t potentially lifesaving then I ditch it. We are so lucky nowadays to have so much capability so accessible. It wasn’t that long ago you would have to carry three devices, now your phone can do the job of all of them plus more.

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When I was younger I had no money, so I did with less. However it was all old and heavy stuff- canvas tent, trapper nelson pack, etc.
Now im heading back to less but yes, the less costs more variety. Some of the stuff on the market now is fantastic! Its not stupid to think of spending 5 days in the mountains with a starting weight of 16kg… Now if only my knees hold out.

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Yep, made do with what you had at the time.

I try and keep the weight down these days as while I am reasonably fit, I’m not very good under load!

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I too try to get the weight down as much as possible. I’m finding sea to summit amazing for this. Though I’m still trying to figure out how to make food and water weight less :joy:

Do you eat dehy meals bro?!

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Yea i do, but I have mixed emotions about them because you have to carry the water to cook them. Assuming you don’t have a river near by anyway. Those GoNative’s or Army rat packs seem slightly more convenient, chuck the bag in water while it boils then make your brew with the water afterwards :coffee:
Those back country meals also seem to take up a heap of space, they could Definitely improve by vac sealing them first. I find myself opening them before I go to let all the air out of them so they fit better.

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Yeh water can be an issue aye and they could definitely be vac sealed better haha!

I pretty much have a standard menu for my 4 day missions, bit boring but does the job.

Salted Cashews
Salami x2
OSM bars
Dehy x3


Last fly camp trip we done I really put some time into packing what I needed.
Was surprised when picking up pack how light it was.
Turned to mate and said this is not bad.
3 nights out and never wanted for anything.
Only thing we could have taken was a bit more mutton cloth to hang deer in ,but second deer was shot on last morning.
Mate an I are both getting getting near 50 so knees and joints are worn.
I will admit we both could have pulled trigger on second deer each but let them go.
One lot of meat each was enough to carry.
I have spent money each year to upgrade to light stuff and it’s well worth it


Good to see you here @Zamkiwi!

Yeh it is surprising how much weight you can shed.

couple of knives,steel,string,gps,epirb/plb,antihistamine,waps killing powder,few spare rounds,binos,bumfreezer waterproof jacket,crawford/gloves/hat…thats my day pack and goes with me no matter how long the trip…5 pocket bumbag carries all but the clothing and it goes into my pikau,untill I shoot something,then the bumbag goes around waist and meat goes into pikau.
rifle and ammo is still heavy…untill I loose the oversize puku Im not going to complain about weight elsewhere.

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Yep, that’ll work!

I’m the same as you mate, pretty much carry everything I’ll need every time.

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When I head into the hills I can quite comfortably do 5 days from a 17kg pack and I believe I could refine that more. (lighter pack, lighter jacket, smaller camera, lighter tent etc).
I carry pretty much everything as per above posts but try to avoid freeze dried as i try to camp up high alot of the time so I can hear roaring stags or utilise my time glassing right until dark.

For myself I find I would rather carry freshish :crazy_face: food I enjoy up high then extra water for freeze dry that don’t enjoy.

In regard to your initial question, yes we carry alot of stuff. But it nearly all has a purpose otherwise we wouldn’t bother. I guess it’s all about assessing your own situation and working out what works for you. For example, I carry a heavy camera around the hills as I get alot out of photography while others could ditch the camera and just use a phone saving them 500grams.