Guide Trainees, Pack for Camp!

Guide Trainees Pack for CampA young Trainee plops his butt down with a sigh, looks at me and asks, “What do I pack to head to camp?”

Huh. Why didn’t I think of that?!

So, I sent him off with ideas of how to sort his gear and a promise I would have a list for him by the next afternoon. My side-kick rolled her eyes at me and just shrugged (she was still wearing my gear at that point and wasn’t worried as we are the same size).

The next morning, we headed over the the cabin I keep all my hunting gear in along with all the stuff waiting to be moved into our new home, the Castle. As I started to sort, she kept notes.


Guide Trainees Pack for Camp*Binos (I love my Nikon’s)
*Flagging tape
*2-3 energy bars
*Nylon rope
*fire starter- magnesium, cotton balls with vaseline on them and a lighter (ziplocked)
*Head light (with new batteries)
*1 set spare batteries for head light- ziplocked
*Lens wipes (ziplocked)
*small package of wipes
*Small roll of tissues or tp
*Small first aid kit
*2-3 hand warmer packets

Saddle bags:
NOTE: EVERYTHING should be in ziplocks…. or your stuff will get wet, by weather or river.

Guide Trainees Pack for Camp*Spotting scope (if you have one, yet, either here or your backpack)
*Flagging tape
*Nylon rope
*Leather punch
*Spare Head light (with new batteries)
*1 set spare batteries for head light- ziplocked
*4- big black trash bags (ziplocked)
*4- empty, folded feed bags
*4- bungies (coiled and ziplocked so they don’t get tangled)
*Spare knife and stone
*First aid kit
*Spare warm hat and warm gloves or mittens with hand warmer packets inside (packed in a ziplock)
*Hand saw (I like my Wyoming Saw)
*Back-up hand-held radio with spare set of batteries (ziplocked)
*Small roll of tissues, small roll of tp (ziplocked)

*Bug Dope- I always keep some in my saddle bags!



*Extra light coat – to tie on
*Extra heavy coat – to tie on
*Rain gear – can be your long-rider coat

*Rifle, if you chose to bring one.

Tent (bag):

Guide Trainees Pack for Camp**Extra gloves. Leather, lined leather and warm, wool mittens.

*Extra beanie. (That is a total of 3 beanies and a warm hat)

*Head light (with new batteries)
*1 set spare batteries for head light- ziplocked
*First Aid kit
*Small sewing / repair kit
*Knives, stone, oil
*Sleeping bag (I only recommend the Cabelas -40* Guide Bag.)
*Sleeping pad
*Camp clothes, PJ’s
*Toiletries….(Ladies, do I really need to tell you to bring your girl stuff? No, I didn’t think so…)
*Socks (The number depends on how long you intend to be in the field. I would recommend 1.5 to 2 pairs a day.)
*Foot powder (If you use or need it. For you or your boots.)
*4 – 6 Sets of long underwear.
*2-3 Pairs of jeans or pants.
*1-2 Hooded sweatshirts.
*2-3 Long sleeve shirts
*1-2 Sweaters

*Camp shoes (or sneakers)
*Spare pair of boots.

Guide Trainees Pack for CampIt’s Alaska! Even on warm days, it can get chilly at any time.

Ok, let’s talk about some of the things above.

When I am speaking of my horse and more often my saddle and saddle bags, I refer to the “on-side” and “off-side.” What I mean by this is, “on-side is the side I mount and dismount from. Our horses don’t care. Sometimes, dismounting or even mounting on the “proper” side is dangerous at best, stupid at the worst. But the phrasing and placement helps keep track of what is where…in the dark, when you are tired, wet or worse.

Guide Trainees Pack for CampFirst, my Wyoming saw, I fasten onto my saddle bag, on the “off side” with the belt to the outside and the pouch actually on top of the rest- connected to the saddle bag cover. This makes it easy to simply grab without digging.

My “on side” saddle bag typically has my spotting scope within reach, lunch and an extra hat and leather gloves.

My saddle bags and my back pack tend to be a little heavier than some. The reason behind it is a saying I’m sure you know, “Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice shame on me.” I generally don’t need something, I don’t have, twice!

Guide Trainees Pack for Camp
…THIS is not MY gear! LOL

I also tend to bring more clothing than most guys (Ok, ok, all guys!) (Oh, all right. I bring more “Shit” ~ as I have heard my gear referred to as, than anyone else I have ever met!) Believe me, I bring a whole lot less than I did 20 years ago! LOL

  • Camp clothes: These are my PJ’s, and things I can be decent and comfy in camp in, to get the layers off, and be soft and warm in. Example, I’ll come in from the day’s hunt, strip my gear, put sweats, a tee or tank, a sweatshirt or sweater, a different beanie, clean soft socks and sneakers or camp boots on. Then I’ll start dinner! This one may only be girls, I dunno, but it sure makes a difference to my state of mind and relaxation.
  • Guide Trainees Pack for CampSocks. Ok. Cotton Kills. We know this to be true. Bad stuff, those cotton socks out in the field. You need to take care of your feet. They need to be warm and dry. The reason I recommend 1.5 to 2 pairs a day is back up. You may need to change them when you come in for the night, you may get especially and unexpectedly wet and want to change them, even if it isn’t a normal change for you. I like to put clean socks on with a different pair of shoes or boots to give my feet a break. Lastly, I don’t want to put sweaty or sticky-dirty socks in my sleeping bag! LOL
  • Long johns, long underwear, base layer; whatever you might call them, I personally love Under Armour. I usually wear mine at least two days, but I have also worn two sets during the later hunts, at a time.
  • Guide Trainees Pack for CampI say “jeans” in reference to whatever kind of pants you prefer to wear in the field. I generally wear jeans over my base layer during the early hunts, because they don’t slip down my hips while I climb for sheep. I only have the one pair of hunting pants that L.L. Bean’s Bill Gorman gave me, as part of a set of jacket and pants, years ago when I guided him the first time. They are warm, mostly waterproof and great for sitting and glassing in. I recommend the number of 2 to 3 pair because of this; You have the pair on you leave for camp in, they’ll last a few days, get dirty and so on. That way I’m not afraid they’ll run off without me or freak me out standing on their own in the corner, crusted with Lord only knows what!
  • Guide Trainees Pack for CampBoots. This is probably the most asked about piece of gear. “What kind of boots should I bring?” Sigh. It is a tough question. You need to have boots you can walk, climb and ride in. They need to be warm boots. Warm boots tend to stay wet after they get wet and leather that is lined is hard to dry out. You don’t want new boots, that you have never worn or broke in, they may hurt you.

If you are looking at brands, and don’t have a clue or experience choosing them, I can give you my favorite choice. I like my Lowa Boots. My first pair were hand-me-downs and I have never loved any others as much.

Guide Trainees Pack for CampUntil I discovered how comfortable and warm my first pair of Arctic Mucks were. (Although they are totally not the boot to climb in!) Besides, they are pink! Seriously though, the Muck boots are rubber, and your feet will sweat, they will get wet from the inside. I wore mine for 4 days before they were creepy-wet.

What to do? One of Terry old guides taught me years ago the magic of newspaper wadded up inside my boots. It works! It draws the moisture out of leather and the Muck Boots, alike. I scrunch it up and shove it in my boots, kinda tight, but not too tight, and in the morning the newspaper is wet and my boots are noticeably dryer, if not completely dry. (See? Magic.)

So! There you have it! I am sure I may have left something out… I hope you will remind me what that may be… Oh! Don’t forget your gun oil to keep the rust off… There is so much to pack, I keep my gear ready to go, in Rubbermaid boxes so that it doesn’t get absorbed into day-to-day or (gasp!) someone else’s gear.

Did I forget anything? Be sure to let us all know!

Related posts:

Monday Motivation: Hear Me Roar
What It Takes To Be Fearless
The SPECIAL Part of Being a Professional Guide

3 Responses to Guide Trainees, Pack for Camp!

  1. Ann….I KNOW! Kaleb looked at me when I told him to count 1.5 pr. socks per day like I was stoned! LOL, Seriously though, if I tell them to bring two pr. a day, they (M.E.N.)gasp (!) and say “oh, that’s too many!!) Yadda, yadda, so this is best!

  2. LOL..You telling me they can figure out 1.5 and it’s OK, but 2 is to many? Oh funny! I was thinking only one foot got wet..well it happens!!!

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