Hunting has always been popular, but it is seeing a resurgence as increasing numbers of people are seeing the appeal of getting back to the land. While there’s plenty of discussion about the right type of weapon and sights, many people forget about some of the other essentials that can make or break a hunting trip. Some of these items may not even be necessary on every expedition, but when you need them, they become absolutely critical. If you’re organizing a hunting trip, here are three important items to always bring along.

Navigation Equipment

Carrying a map and compass sometimes seems like useless extra weight, especially if you’re hunting on familiar land or in a small tract of land. However, every year search and rescue teams see a surge in rescue calls during the start of the season. It’s easy to misjudge the size of the terrain, get turned around due to changes since your last trip or simply get disoriented when you step off the trail for a few minutes. A good compass and a decent topographic map are a great way to ensure you can always find your way back. If you’re not sure how to use them, many outdoor stores and hiking clubs offer classes.

A GPS is also handy to have, and can be a little more user-friendly than old-fashioned navigation with a paper map. However, remember that batteries can run out and devices can break, so still carry your map and compass as a backup.

The Right Clothing

Many things in this section come down to personal preference, but the main guideline is that your clothing and shoes should be comfortable, suitable for the season and a good fit. Choose high-tech fabrics that wick sweat away from your body, or stick with classics, such as wool and silk, that keep you warm even when wet. Stay away from cotton, however, as it is notorious among outdoors enthusiasts for staying wet without warming you up.

When choosing footwear, look at high quality brands for the best hunting boots, as well as a style that is suitable for the season. Thermal lining and water resistance are essential features for winter boots, but breathable materials are also a good idea. Be sure to wear your boots around your house or while running errands to break them in before you head out for a hunt, as there are few things that can ruin a trip faster than blistered feet. While you’re thinking about your feet, it’s always a good idea to bring along an extra pair of socks in a plastic bag so you can change out your wet socks for dry ones.

Paracord And A Good Knife To Cut It With

When expert hunters were asked to name their top three essentials, the majority of them included a knife, paracord or both in their lists. Havalon knives were specified by many, but others preferred the classic Swiss army knife or other personal favorites. Be sure to sharpen the knife before you go, as a dull knife won’t be much good in the field.

Paracord or a similar type of rope is lightweight and strong, so it can be useful for everything from packing up meat after a successful hunt to rigging up an emergency shelter if you get caught in a sudden storm. A bundle of 30 to 50 feet should be plenty for most applications and is small enough to fit in a side pocket of your pack.

When you’re planning a trip, you need to pack your gear wisely. It’s always tempting to cut corners to minimize weight or keep the costs down, but that can be a big mistake. Nature can be unpredictable, so it’s hard to know what to expect. Next time you’re heading out into the field, make sure you have these essential items along for your safety and comfort.