There are several essential gear items that a hunter should always have in their pack. In addition to those essentials, other gear items will change based on the time of year, the location, the species being hunted, or several other variables.
Over the years, we have used a simple gear list template to plan all of our hunts. This template has become a vital tool as we plan, prepare, and pack for the adventure.
Whether you are headed out on a weeklong backcountry archery elk hunt in September, a late-season mule deer hunt for the weekend, or a once-in-a-lifetime expedition to Alaska, you can use this gear list template to plan for your hunt and ensure that the gear you need gets packed into your pack.
Your Free Template
We have posted our Gear List Template as a Google Spreadsheet, which you can access here...
Once you open the spreadsheet, you can create a copy to modify for your needs...
- Computer & Web Browser: Select File, then "Make a copy" or "Download" from the menu
- Mobile Device & Google Sheets App: Open the Menu by selecting the three dots in the upper-right corner of the screen, then select "Options > Share & Export"
- If the spreadsheet opens in the web browser on your mobile device and you don't see either of the previously mentioned options, try installing the free Google Sheets app on your device.
Once you have your copy of the spreadsheet, modify each item as needed to build your customized gear list.
How To Use The Spreadsheet
At the top of the spreadsheet, you will see there are areas for your Base Pack Weight and Total Pack Weight. There are also weights per category of items, such as the Pack & Accessories category. These numbers are calculated for you, and we will explain that below. The Base Pack Weight does not account for food, fuel, and water. Once you enter how much food, fuel, and water you will be carrying, those numbers will be added to The Base Pack Weight to provide you with The Total Pack Weight.
For each item on the gear list, you will notice two columns of checkboxes — "INCLUDE" and "PACKED"...
When you check "INCLUDE" next to any item, that item will be calculated into your base pack weight and total pack weight. This is a very helpful feature, so that you can compare how your pack weight will change based on the specific items you pack. If we are hunting archery elk in a mostly timbered area, we will not pack a tripod and spotting scope, but those items will be in our pack for a high country mule deer hunt. By changing the "INCLUDE" status of those items, we can see how our pack weight changes accordingly.
Once we have all of the items included for a specific hunt, we will often print off a paper copy of the gear list to use as we pack our gear before leaving home. That's where the second checkbox column — "PACKED" — is used. You can also mark items as packed via the digital spreadsheet if you don't want to or need to print a hard copy of your gear list. Keep in mind, the PACKED column does not change the pack weight numbers; only the INCLUDE column is considered into the pack weight.
About the Gear
The gear listed in the example spreadsheet is what Mark uses for archery elk. You will see additional gear listed that is not marked as INCLUDE, and that is his gear for other seasons and species. For your convenience, we have included links to the specific gear items listed. To hear more about the gear included in this spreadsheet, listen to Episode 292 of the Hunt Backcountry Podcast...
In addition to this free template, we have numerous gear lists and What's In My Pack videos, as well as dozens of podcasts on hunting and backpacking gear.
While we love the simplicity and hunting-specific categories of this gear list template, we know that everyone has their preferences. Feel free to modify this spreadsheet to your needs or consider using other gear list tools such as Lighter Pack, Packfire, Trailpost, or Packstack.
Have any questions? Feel free to shoot us an email...