Ten Things to Keep in Your Truck This Hunting Season

Keeping a few key items in your truck this hunting season can make for a safer—and more comfortable—hunt.

Hunters are often planners. We spend the months leading up to the season e-scouting; applying for tags in carefully-chosen units and then formulating a plan for the day we actually put boots on the ground, bow or rifle in hand. Planning for next hunting season often begins as soon as the current season ends, and we daydream of what next year might throw our way. We obsess over gear, perfecting our kits until we’re satisfied the best of the best is ready to help us put meat in the fridge each season.

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One thing, however, that’s easy to overlook is stocking our trucks (or whatever rig you favor) for the hunting season. Many outdoorsmen and women keep basic emergency and outdoor supplies in their trucks year-round, but it’s worth taking inventory and beefing up your supplies before hunting season rolls around. A good truck kit will vary with the region—a Montana elk hunter has far more need for cold-weather gear than an Alabama whitetail hunter. Regardless of your locale, here are a few basics you should think about keeping on hand this season.

  • Spare Water
    Keep a few jugs filled with water in your truck. If you live in a cold climate, leave a few inches at the top so the water can expand if it freezes (and not break your container). From rinsing hands off after quartering meat to simply having extra water in hand if you’re thirsty enough to have run through your main supply, extra water is a basic supply.
  • Energy Bars / High-Calorie Foods
    You never know when you’ll be spending more time out than originally anticipated. Hunts run long. Trucks slide off icy roads. Sometimes you just get hungry and simply didn’t bring enough food. Stock your rig with a handful of energy bars, a jar of nut butter, or other high-calorie foods. Dehydrated meals and a camp stove isn’t a bad combination to keep around, either. We recently outlined some of our favorite hunting snacks here.
  • Charged Spare Headlamp and / or Flashlight
    Many hunting seasons take place in the darkest times of the year, and when the sun sets at 5PM it’s imperative to have a quality light source close at hand—as well as a backup. Cold temperatures sap batteries quite quickly, so pack along an extra headlamp or flashlight, and ensure it’s charged and ready to go.
  • Vehicle Recovery Equipment
    We hunt in the mud. We hunt in the rain. We hunt in the snow. Hunts often take us far from nice, flat pavement, and we travel in all kinds of weather. Pack along the basics in case you get stuck (or need to help a friend whose rig is stuck) or wind up with a dead battery. Rope, tire chains, a shovel, and jumper cables should find a home in your hunting-season car kit.
  • Spare Boots, Socks, or Clothes
    Who’s made it back to the truck after a long, wet day in the woods and dreamed about pulling on something warm, fluffy, and dry? Pack along spare socks, pants, and a warm top for the drive home. Consider throwing in a pair of sneakers so you can shed your wet, mud-caked boots before climbing into the truck. Keeping a spare pair of boots in the rig is also a good idea… you never know when you’ll need them.
  • Hand and Foot Warmers
    Small but mighty. Anyone who hunts in cold-weather climates can attest to the power of these little beasts. Invest in some air-activated hand and toe warmers, then keep a few of them in your rig. They can be a day-saver during cold days sitting perched in a tree stand.
  • Medical Kit
    We keep a reasonably-stocked medical kit in our rigs year-round. You may never use it, and odds are that if you do, it’ll be for a minor scratch or scrape. But when you’re miles away from anywhere, it pays to cover your bases. Carry a small kit with you in the field, but also keep medical supplies in your truck. Read more about what to pack in a hunter’s first-aid kit on our blog.
  • Duct Tape, Zip Ties, and Bungee Cords
    The magical do-all tools. These three items can be MacGyvered to fix anything from boots to packs, and are worth keeping in the rig year-round as part of your “fit-it” kit. Add in a spare knife and you’re ready for most gear patching.
  • Permanent Marker or Pen
    Whether you’re filling out walk-in forms or manually taking notes on the back of that magazine in the beach seat pocket, you’re going to need something to write with. Toss a few permanent markers or quality pens into the truck, and never again search frantically for a writing tool.
  • Truck Binos and Spotter Window Mount
    Keep an extra pair of binoculars and a spotter window mount handy. (If you choose to keep a quality pair of binos in the car, consider bringing them inside after every hunt, as we discuss in the section below.) A spare pair of binoculars never goes amiss, and a spotter window mount makes using your spotting scope from the truck that much easier.

Bear in mind that trucks can always be broken into, and trucks parked at access points are a prime target for thieves. Consider purchasing locked storage for your truck, or be okay with possibly losing whatever you leave behind while hunting. During the hunting season, consider keeping your “truck kit” in totes or tubs and bringing it inside the house after each hunt. A truck full of expensive outdoor gear is tempting even if it’s parked at the grocery store or on the street in front of your house, and it’s worth the extra effort to shuffle gear back-and-forth. (As a bonus, totes will help you stay more organized.)

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Throughout the season—and certainly at the beginning and end of each season—take stock of inventory. What did you use and need to replace? Did those energy bars expire (or, more likely, all get eaten)? What about the medicines in your first aid kit; did they get used up or expire since you were last in the kit? Give your kit a look-through and see what needs to be refreshed or replaced.

And it seems obvious, but don’t forget to start the trip with a full tank of gas. Fuel up the night before those early morning starts so you’re ready to hit the road at zero-dark-thirty. We know more than one hunter who’s missed his shot at an animal because he got excited and forgot to fill up the truck before leaving home, leaving him short of his destination. A full tank of gas is your friend.


Jess McGlothlin

Before taking the role of onX Communications Writer, Jess McGlothlin worked as a freelance photographer and writer in the outdoor and fly-fishing industries. While on assignment in the past few years she’s learned how to throw spears at coconuts in French Polynesia, dodge saltwater crocodiles in Cuba, stand-up paddleboard down Peruvian Amazon tributaries and eat all manner of unidentifiable food.