Camping Tips

Day Hiking Backpack Checklist

If you plan on day hiking on your next camping trip, having the right gear is important. Today, we are going to go over what items you want to make sure to have with you, even if only out for a few hours. You don’t want to get caught in the middle of nowhere not being prepared. So let’s get started!


If you will be hiking for the day, you will need the right type of backpack. I mean, you need to have a place to store everything we will be going over below. Taking the right kind of backpack is important as well. You want something that is laid out in a way that everything has a place to be.

Hiking backpack with plenty of room for all your gear. Bright colors help people find you if lost.

Backpack tips

A bright colored backpack can help you be seen if you are in trouble and people are searching for you. Using a dark colored or camouflage backpack will work if you also use it for hunting but if not, go with a bright color. If you do go dark, make sure to pack a bright (hunter orange) color rag just in case.

You want to get a backpack that has a lot of room but comfortable to carry around all day. Pictured above is a large outdoor hiking backpack that has plenty of room and pockets for everything you may need.

Things to think about when buying a hiking backpack are: will you even hike camp (do you need room for a tent like above)? Does it have room for everything you need? Is it too big (how much can you carry)?


Heading out in unfamiliar land without anything to help you get around is just kinda dumb. How many news reports have you seen about hikers getting lost with search parties being sent out to find them? You cannot depend on having phone service when in the woods or underpopulated areas. It is important to know where you are and how to get back.


Taking a map that has local landmarks is a good idea. You can usually find these at local tourist stations. Make a note of landmarks on the map as you head out so you can look for them if lost on your way back.


Compass to help you read a map if you get lost.

Compasses are not used nearly as much as they should be. Having a compass will help when trying to read a map. Knowing which way is what can help you confirm landmarks in a specific direction. A compass app can be found on most (if not all) smart phones. One thing to remember is that if your phone dies, you will not have a compass. A small pocket compass is cheap and well worth the little space it will take in your backpack.


A real GPS is always a smart idea and can replace your map and compass. You can not rely on your phone GPS, you would want a dedicated device strictly for this. Just make sure it has a personal GPS locator function built into it.

Sun Protection

Even if you plan on hiking in the woods, sun lotion is a smart thing to pack. Have you ever got sun burned on a cloudy day? Being hidden under trees will protect you but if you will be in open areas, you will wish you had it. It is smart to pack a small tube of sun lotion that doesn’t take much room and will not add unneeded weight to your pack.

It is recommended not to use spray lotion for a couple reasons. One, you will be taking arousal into nature. Second, more and more people are having chemical reactions to them. You do not want to be too far out if you have one. This happened to me nephew and it was BAD!

Extra Clothes

You may not think of something like an extra pair of clothes as something you will need, but it is. Weather changes, it could be cool when you leave but become very hot. Or, it could be a nice day and the sun goes down quicker than you thought. Preparing for the weather can ave you from suffering weather changes.

What if you run into the perfect swimming creek or pond? I bet you will be kicking yourself that you didn’t bring an extra pair of your skimmies (bra/undies)!

What if it rains? Do you have a poncho? They are light and easy to pack.

Lastly, pack a pair of work gloves. You can thank me later.

Emergency/Survivor Gear

Starting a fire with flint as part of your emergency survival gear while hiking.

Even if you are going out for a few hours, having some basic survivor gear can save your life. Just a few simple things can be the difference between life and death in case of an emergency. Here is what I carry:

  • Knife (both pocket and larger K-Bar type for cutting wood)
  • Flashlight with fresh batteries
  • Flint or small box of waterproof matches
  • Small radio with crank power (for weather if you get stuck)
  • Multi-tool like a Leatherman or Gerber
  • First-aid kit with extra tape that can be used in making a splent
  • Whistle
  • A few MRE’s (meals ready to eat) in case you are stuck overnight or two
  • Water sanitize tablets
  • Small tarp to make shelter if needed
  • Rappelling rope
  • Pistol (if laws allow and you have your CCW) since you never know what you will run into

Water and Protein

Getting water out of a creek to drink using a filtered water bottle or using sanitize tablets.

You will of course take water on your hike, but make sure to take enough to last. You need plenty of water to stay hydrated but water is heavy! A gallon of water weighs over 8 pounds, and that’s a lot of weight to add to your pack.

Using a water bottle that has a built in filter not only make hiking fun by refilling from lakes and streams, it also cuts real pounds from your back. The technology of today is awesome! Here is one from Amazon that gets great reviews.

Besides water, protein is just as important. Staying hydrated and fueled will keep you energetic and keep you feeling good. packing things like jerky, protein bars or a jar of peanut butter will make sure you will have the power throughout the day.


So, above we covered a checklist of things to take on a day hike. You may think of your hike as harmless fun but all you have to do is watch the news to see what type of things that can happen while out. The above may sound like overkill but being prepared is being responsible. Your friends and family want you to come back!

So a quick overview of things you need:

  • good backpack with plenty of room
  • map and compass
  • sun protection
  • extra clothes or at least socks
  • poncho
  • emergency and survival gear including: knife, flashlight, fire starter, radio, multi-tool, whistle, MRE, water tablets, small tarp, rope and firearm (if allowed, have CCW and in a area with predators)
  • water bottle with filter
  • protein snacks like jerky

Stay safe and enjoy Mother Nature!

New 2018 Crossbows: Get Ready to Pay

Crossbows have been available for years. With more and more states allowing the use of these tools during hunting seasons, they are becoming very in-demand by many hunters. It was just a short time ago where many states didn’t allow crossbows to be used or had a very short crossbow season. This is changing, every year more states are allowing them to be used throughout bow season. If you currently use a compound bow, or think a crossbow is more like a firearm, I suggest reading up on the differences. If your not sure of your local laws on using a crossbow, I recommend checking out our post called Crossbow vs Compound Bow. We list every state’s law as of 2/26/2018.

Today, we are going to take a look at some noteworthy additions of the newest crossbows of 2018.  As you might imagine, you can expect to drop some large bills on the newest crossbows with not many budget friendly options.

Parker Crossbows

Parker Crossbows Concorde

The 2018 Parker Concorde is one of the more top of the line crossbows. It is created for the hunter not worried about dropping some real cash on quality. Expecting to pay around $1,100, you get the mackdaddy of crossbows.

With that money, you get many perks with the Concorde. Having a C02 powered cocking system, it would make a great options for someone who doesn’t have the strength to draw and cock/uncock a powerful crossbow.

With over 300 fps (feet per second) bolt speed, your game will feel that hit. Makes for longer/stronger shots.

The Parker Concorde come with:

  • The crossbow of course
  • Nine once CO2 bottle (empty) which is good for 50 cock/uncocks when full
  • Premium scope: Red Hot
  • quick-detach quiver
  • 4 bolts (with field/practice points)

Parker Thunder Hawk IR PS

Another new option from Parker is the 2018 Thunder Hawk. You can expect to pay less than the Concorde but not budget friendly by no means, you can expect to pay around $850 for this bundle.

Just because it is cheaper doesn’t mean it is lacking in quality, just options. You will be lacking the CO2 cocking action on the Thunder Hawk but you also save $300! This crossbow makes it up with power, firing bolts off at a rate of 325 fps. It also featured the G2 Bull-Pup trigger for a very consistent pull every time.

The Parker Hawk IR PS bundle comes with:

  • crossbow
  • Red Hot Illuminated optic
  • Quick-detach quiver
  • Hog velocity bolts by Red Hot
  • Red Hot Roller Rope
  • Red Hot CrosssPro 100 Broadheads
  • Sling
  • Hot wax and lube kit
  • Crossbow case

2018 Parker Ambusher IR

The next 2018 Crossbow released from Parker is called the Ambusher. Don’t let the name fool you, the Ambusher IR has a bolt seed of 325 fts, a draw weight of 135-160 and is well balanced for easy shooting. You will find the  Ambusher IR as one of the better deals from Parker crossbows. However, it is lacking some “toys” as the more highly priced above.

The Parker Ambusher comes with:

  •  Crossbow
  • Red Dot Illuminated MR Scope
  • Quiver
  • 4 bolts with field tips

Reference: Parker Crossbows

2018 PSE Crossbows

Being one of the oldest names in the bow industry, PSE has one 2018 crossbow release worth mentioning which happends to be budget friendly.

PSE Insight

The PSE Insight is a budget friendly crossbow geared towards newbies wanting to start shooting a crossbow but doesn’t want to drop a crap load of money. I need to mention that this crossbow is not a choice for hunter, but to shot at targets. It would be a good purchase for kids wanting to shoot but will not be hunting.

Shooters will be throwing bolts off the PSE Insight crossbow at 160 fps, you can see why this is not made for hunting. Designed for young beginners, the PSE Insight only weighs about 4.5 pounds. Set up in a way to teach young shooters their way around a crossbow and how to handle them safely.

The PSE Insight comes with:

  • Bow
  • Cocking rope
  • Wax
  • Four bolts
  • Quiver

Reference: PSE


If you have not been using crossbows, you may not know the name TenPoint but they make some quality stuff.

TenPoint Renegade

The TenPoint Renegade has a supersonic arrow speed of 355 feet per second. Made with weight in mind, it weighs in at 7 pounds. Good for younger hunters along with veterans to the hobby. Costing around half of the Concorde, it makes for a semi-budget friendly kit.

The TenPoint Renegade comes with:

  • Bow
  • Pro-view 2 Scope
  • Three Carbon bolts
  • Quiver

Reference: TenPoint

My Thoughts

Above are some of the most popular new bows for 2018. To check out the list and compare released bows, check out comparison of crossbows.

As you already know, someone can spend some big money on 2018 crossbows. 2018 releases are geared more towards the higher end equipment and there is not much out there for someone looking for a budget friendly packages. If you are looking for something to start out with and will not drain your wallet, I suggest checking out some 2016-2017 models. If you are looking for the latest technology to give you that edge, 2018 offers some pretty big upgrades.