The Things You Carry

width=500 There it is. The perfect way to end a round of backyard foam-target hunting. I’m tuned up and ready to go. But I have to admit, zeroing in on those five black spots from 30 yards is just the confidence booster I need before heading out. (Before anyone asks, yes, I’m counting that center shot as a hit. C’mon, it broke the edge of the bullseye!) I might not be able to carry a tune in a bucket when it comes to calling game, but at least I’ll be able to put the pointy end of an arrow where it’s supposed to go when the moment of truth arrives. I’m heading a few hours out of town to do some solo backcountry archery hunting for a few days. I’ve got my freeze-dried meals, bivy sack, and other necessities strapped to my pack frame waiting for me to shuttle them to a distant ridgeline. I’m not going to lie, it’s heavy and carrying it is a lot of work, but I’ve been eating my Wheaties. The reward for enduring such a trek is simple—the chance to glass and stalk elk miles off the beaten path. I’ve reviewed my pack list time and time again, but it’s hard to escape that feeling I’ve forgotten something. If you were heading into the hills alone, what one or two items would you be sure not to leave home without? At the risk of adding more weight to my pack, is there something you think can make or break my trip? A first-aid kit? Matches? Hit me with it! —Ben