After another stint in the friendly skies to visit Alberta for black bear hunting I’ve got to commend myself. I’m getting this airline packing down to a science.
I hit the ticket counter with two bags and both were under the 50-pound limit. Even the ticket agent was surprised because my bags looked large enough to harbor a troupe of circus little-people. Usually, with a load like that, one of the bags is overweight and someone’s underwear ends up on the floor during the swap fest to make weight. (Just in case you didn’t know, other travelers love to wait in line as you jam a hunting boot into your carry-on to make weight.)
If you’re planning to go on a hunting trip yet this spring or later this summer, or fall, consider these tips to get the most out of your baggage.
1. Bring a large duffel and a large, lightweight case that holds either two firearms or two bows. Why two if you only take one weapon? You can use the remaining space for your binocular, rangefinder, shooting sticks, clothes and so on. My double bow case is a Strong Case, and I was able to fit my bow, daypack, arrows, rangefinder, raingear and all sorts of odds and ends in it. My Cabela’s duffel is durable and stretchy for all my layers.
2. Make a list of everything you absolutely need and everything you hope to bring if the planets and stars align. Can the outfitter supply any items? Can you borrow something from a friend? Can you purchase anything once you land? I bought a pillow when we hit Alberta because it was on the list of camp needs and needlessly took up travel space.
3. Wear some of your items or pack some in a carry-on. You’re still allowed two carry-on items. Mine are a laptop computer and my camera bag, but I stuff other items in both bags; plus, I always wear a hoodie and light hiking boots that can come in handy at camp.
4. Make sure your bags have wheels. Toting nearly 100 pounds plus your carry-on luggage isn’t exactly a walk in the park, and it’s doubtful O.J. Simpson will run by to help. Wheels help keep the sweating to a minimum, along with the body odor that is guaranteed during the airport hustle.
5. Lastly, weigh your bags at home. A bathroom scale or a heavy-duty hanging scale can give you an idea if you’re under weight or in need of another round of whittling down your gear to the bare necessities. Weigh yourself at the same time. Fall hunting season isn’t far away and it never hurts to shape up early.
Traveling via the airlines isn’t what it used to be, but it is a necessary evil for business, pleasure and the serious side of hunting. Now sit back and enjoy your flight!