Before the trip started, I’d read articles on what gear was recommended and other interesting facts about the trip. I took it upon myself to do further research in preparation. However, when I did this research, I noticed that there were hardly any articles from women and what I did find wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted someone with experience to share with me what they thought about the trip, and the equipment they’d recommend. As I didn’t see this, I just went with the lodge’s recommendations. So below I’ve listed the 3 Items I could have left home, keep in mind that every lodge is a little different, and they may have different recommendations.
- Shell pouch/vest - This took up a lot of space in my carry on (I didn’t check a bag) and that’s where it stayed the entire trip. The bird boys have their own shell pouches and they do all of your reloading for you. I honestly never even touched a shell.
- Snake boots or any hunting boot really -They take up a ton of space and you could get away with sneakers. (Even the bird boys wear sneakers).
- Most of my summer clothes – This one depends on the season you’re traveling. It was just getting to be their summer and it was still kind of chilly some days. I definitely didn’t need the multiple pairs of shorts and tank tops I did pack. The lodge we were at, Posta del Norte, did our laundry every night, so you can really pack light. It’s a hunting trip, no one is going to care if you wear the same outfit multiple times.
Now that I’ve covered the 3 things I wouldn’t take, here are 3 that I would recommend:
- Sunscreen – I know for most this is obvious, but when I left my house it was winter weather. I definitely wasn’t thinking about summer at that point.
- Sneakers – Like stated before, you can wear them hunting and around the lodge. Why take up valuable space in your carry on if you can get away with one pair of shoes?
- A big appetite – the food is nothing short of AMAZING. You definitely don’t want to miss any of it. Every lunch and every dinner we ate was a 3-course meal.
Another word of advice:
When I was preparing for this trip, I read that most people go through 1,000 rounds of ammunition a day. When I heard that, I thought they were crazy. There was no way I’d shoot that many rounds in a single day. Or so I thought. It wasn’t until I was actually in the field, that I actually understood how easy it is to go through it all. Before I went, I set a budget for ammo and didn’t want to pass it, and for the most part I didn’t, but I definitely would have liked to.
So my advice, when you’re preparing for this trip of a lifetime, go all out. Don’t try to cut back on Ammo, just have fun. If you shoot through 250 rounds a day, great! And if you shoot through 1,000, that’s great too. Having fun and making some awesome memories are really all that matter. Yes, I’d like to go again and be able to shoot more rounds. However, I did budget ahead of time and stuck with it. I knew my limits, and even though everyone else was blowing through their 1000 rounds daily, I still had just as much fun with the ammo I did budget for.
Don’t listen to all the naysayers telling you it’s not worth it, or it’s just a waste of money, because I guarantee any of them who say that, have never done something like this. How can you put a price on spending time with friends and loved ones in the great outdoors? You can’t. Yes, I paid a lot for this trip, but in the process, I made new friends and we bonded over our love of adventure and the great outdoors. I learned more about myself. I did something I’ve never done before, I gained experience. Best of all, I spent quality time with my Grandpa. All of that is priceless.
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About the writer:
Heather Reed is a Wyoming native, living just 30 minutes away from the best the Mountains can offer. She fell in love with hunting and the outdoor lifestyle at a young age, when she'd watch numerous family members bring back their harvested animals and share their animated hunting stories. While other kids wanted to play dolls or other games, Heather created hunting games and imagined shooting trophy animals. Now that she's grown, she still dreams of hunting these animals. If she's not hunting, or even thinking about it, she's out fishing, shooting or cheering on the Detroit Red Wings.