In My Backpack – Jaco Maartens

Last August it has been six years that I’ve been bow hunting in Africa and with every experience you learn something else. The one thing that I’ve learned early on is to prepare properly for the hunt. True to my character, I sometimes over prepare and have also learned what is essential and what is nice to have’s. That said I tend to go for what is practical and what I already have as appose to the latest gimmick out there. But in my K-Way hiking backpack there is always some familiar items.

The Basics
Always always always pack the following items. One roll of “White gold” (also known as toilet paper), a small first aid kit with the essentials only (plasters, Dettol, bandages, anti septic balm, space blanket, tweezers) inside, hunting knife – in my case the large Rambo like knife my parents gave me in my teens. (This needs to be be replaced with the modern day culling knifes out there) and my multitool, Leather Man Wingman to bail me out in those many unforeseen circumstance. Not always in my backpack but part of my basic equipment is my 24×8 Bushnell Binoculars – but I start out by packing it in the backpack. Oh yes, and don’t forget the camo duck tape.

In the Hide
Depending on the game farm and habitat the following additional items will also be packed. If the environment will allow hunting out of a hide the following will be stack on top of the previous items in my backpack. Self tapping hook to hang my Bowtech Insanity CPX, an additional phone for video and pictures, the last two hunts also by GoPro, gorilla claws or other mounting equipment to get the cameras in position, Nikon range finder and then very possibly the latest addition of my favourite hunting magazine.

If the farm is more suitable for Walk-and-Stalk then we approach things differently. The basics a will be in but everything possible to lighten the load will be left at camp. The GoPro will be mounted to my bow stabiliser. Range finder will be around my neck and the extra camera equipment will also be left at camp.

Normally I start the day with coffee and rusks in the camp. Everything for consumption in the field or hide will be small quantities and easy to open and consume with limited noise and if possible as little as possible wrappers and papers that could pollute nature. Biltong (similar to but better than Beef jerky), peanuts and raisins, small five pack SuperC, wine gums. For hydration I stick to water as energy drinks simple goes to quick through my congestion resulting in too many  “Nature calls”.

What else…
During my last hunt on the second day I snapped my Hi-Tec hiking boots shoelaces out in the field. The story on the how is for another day but that left me stranded. I highly recommend a extra pair of the right length, shoelaces. Back up battery for your smartphone in case you get lost might be helpful – or better yet, just turn your phone’s Wi-Fi off so that the battery last a tad longer.

In Conclusion
Yes, one could go on and say what about a good old traditional compass, or a map of the game farm you are on but the size and type of farms I have been hunting on combined with the knowledge I have gained about nature during my life time that is just extra items to carry. Most smart phones has a compass app on it… that is if you really can not tell by yourself where is north and the odd map of the area, well I just take a snap shot with my smartphone and off we go.

All of that said and done, this list should cover you in Southern Africa! Or else comment with what you would add…

Backpack Checklist

K-Way backpack Binoculars Gorilla claws Water
Toilet paper Duct tape Range finder Shoelaces
Small First Aid kit Bow hook Hunting magazine Compass
Hunting knife Extra phone Snacks Game farm Map
Leatherman multitool


About Jaco Maartens 2 Articles
Jaco Maartens has been hunting since 2010. With a passion to develop the sport of archery and bowhunting under the youngsters. Normally hunting from a hide or walk and stalk, would love to try a tree stand. Animals taken: springbuck, impala, bushpig, blue wildebeest, kudu, red hartebeest, eland. Equipment: Bowtech Insanity CPX, Mutiny350 with 125gr Rage Hypodermic mechanical points, Trophy ridge sight, Limbsaver fall away arrow rest, Zero Bowstring, and very critical waterproof boots.