Carry on luggage only

Tanks

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You can easily do this with a backpack and a roller bag. You are, IMO, missing out on a big part of safari. That is getting your rifle and yourself ready for the epic adventure. I understand the idea but from my experience it is worth the trouble to take your gun and a checked bag. I’ve been all over the world with my rifle and sure there are concerns along the way but having all my gear is worth it! Get a travel agent, your gun, and go on safari!

^^^ This.

For me part of the process is using my own rifles with my own ammunition. You are travelling around the world extra few minutes dealing with checked luggage is nothing compared to the total travel time.
 

rookhawk

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Has anyone attempted an African hunting Safari with only a carry on piece of luggage? I am thinking I may want to attempt this. Am I crazy? Any advice would be appreciated. I would use my PH’s gun and travel light knowing laundry would be done daily. Clothes would be placed in space bags and all the air sucked out to reduce size. Here is my packing list, all of which must fit in 22 x 14 x 9 inch carry on (or worn):
  • Hunting boots – good ankle support lace-up boots
  • Boot bag
  • Camp shoes.
  • 3 Pair of hunting socks.
  • 3 Pair of camp socks.
  • 3 Pair of hunting pants (khaki, green, brown or camo).
  • 3 Pair of underwear.
  • 3 Hunting shirts (khaki, green, brown or camo).
  • 3 T-shirts.
  • 1 Light weight coat.
  • 1 Heavy coat.
  • 1 Hunting cap (safari).
  • 1 Stocking cap.
  • 1 Pair of leather gloves.
  • Rain gear.
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, lip balm.
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, tissues, etc).
  • Electrical adaptor and converter.
  • Ziplock space bags
  • Hand wipes
  • Bandaids
  • Neosporin
  • Eye drops,
  • Allergies medicine
  • General purpose antibiotic - cipro
  • Journal
  • Pencils
  • Black pens
  • USB cable
  • Charger phone
  • Shaver
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Binoculars
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Camera, cell phone
  • Local money, cash

Yes. I do this every time...sorta. I have a carry-on duffel. I then bring two other checked bags to max weight full of things that PHs and their families need for Africa. I return home with those bags full of curios.

What goes in the oversized SOFT shoulder duffel are as follows from your list:

  • Hunting boots – good ankle support lace-up boots (one pair on you, one spare in the bag you rotate)

  • 3 Pair of hunting socks. (and one pair on you)
  • 1 Pair of hunting pants (khaki, green, brown or camo). You wear this traveling
  • 3 Pair of underwear. (and one on you)
  • 1 Hunting shirt (on you when traveling)
  • 3 T-shirts. (and one under the hunting shirt when traveling)
  • 2 Hunting cap (safari). one on you when traveling
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, lip balm.
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, tissues, etc).
  • Electrical adaptor and converter.
  • Ziplock space bags
  • Hand wipes
  • Bandaids
  • Neosporin
  • Eye drops,
  • Allergies medicine
  • General purpose antibiotic - cipro
  • Journal
  • Pencils
  • Black pens
  • USB cable
  • Charger phone
  • Don't bring a shaver. You need the SPF protection. You also dont want to cut yourself and rinse with non-potable water...infection risk. Go savage.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Binoculars
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Camera, cell phone (I recommend just cell phone. A really good cell is just about sufficient now)
  • US dollars. Everything in the world works with US money.
In addition, I buy two Shemaghs (middle eastern / special forces scarves) on Amazon for $6 each. They are a sun protector. They are a mask to cover your face in a blind. They are emergency toilet paper. They are a tourniquet. They can be dipped in water to cure heatstroke. They can mop up a bloody wound. I also use them to roll up and pad my camera, scopes, or other valuables to prevent damage in route.

Everything I need to conduct a hunt except my rifles are on my person or in my duffel when I board a plane. I've never been stopped regarding my 50lb duffel even though the airlines say 8lb or 12lb limit on carry on. Since its soft sided, i can always unload it, put every clothing item on me, then squeeze it in the luggage measurer at the airport and say "See, it fits as carry on" and then refill it. I've never been asked to do that.

One other thing to buy. A military duffel (a huge one) folds flat as a pancake and costs $20 on amazon. I'd bring one in your carry on duffel never opened, ultra compact, for your trip over. If you see neat curios you want to bring home you can literally fill an African Village into that and check that bag for the return trip home. They don't last long, 1-2 air trips, but for $20 they are brilliant and you don't need to use it if you don't buy anything. It takes up ZERO room in your carry on bag.
 

MrCreedmoor

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You can easily do this with a backpack and a roller bag. You are, IMO, missing out on a big part of safari. That is getting your rifle and yourself ready for the epic adventure. I understand the idea but from my experience it is worth the trouble to take your gun and a checked bag. I’ve been all over the world with my rifle and sure there are concerns along the way but having all my gear is worth it! Get a travel agent, your gun, and go on safari!
My second Safari may include travel with rifle, after I experience my simplified lower stress 1st Safari.
 

MrCreedmoor

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Sounds great, but have you tried packing all of those things into your carry - on? What about a day pack or bag? Are you planning to purchase a multi -purpose knife i.e. Leatherman or similar upon arrival then leave it? Depending on where and when you are hunting, mornings can be kind of chilly. Make sure you are covered. Consider wearing a good hunting vest on the plane. That will give you some pocket space afield. Take a look at some of the packing lists others have posted. Yours is a good start but don't compromise a good hunt for the lack of a checked bag.
I will try a dry run pack it all in the carry on when COVID is over and I am closer to travel time...now I am making my packing list...awesome advice I am getting here. I may need to forgo the knife. Is a knife an essential tool? Perhaps the PH will have one, or take me to a local source to buy one.
 

Wheels

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You have a big list for a carry on.


Overtime I have transitioned away from checked luggage.

I have hunted with just a 40L carryon backpack. Gone to Tanzania for a month with just that backpack. No checked luggage.

I carry much less than your list. I only carry one change of clothes in the backpack, giving me two sets with what I am wearing. Your laundry will be cleaned every day in camp.

In a tented camp I will take a pair of Teva sandals, possibly tennis shoes. Generally no extra shoes if in a lodge. Boots are worn on the plane. Usually a fleece or softshell depending on weather.

First time I did this I bought a cheap knife before getting to camp. Never used it. Never needed it. If I needed to cut something, everyone in camp had a knife I could borrow.

Using PH's rifles and going minimalist makes life simpler for me. Don't have to worry about 4457's, checking ammo, luggage getting lost, using travel agents who handle firearms, can get discounted tickets from the internet, etc.

Minimalism isn't for everyone but it does provide freedom and easy of travel.

All the best if you decide to go this way.
 

Kevin Peacocke

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I would far rather check in a modest bag than lug it around through several airports on the way. Putting a carry-on through security scanners at every airport along the way is a real pain. Also, as others have said, having your own rifle to hunt with is all part of the fun, and the clearing procedure even at ORT Johannesburg it is soon over. Small price to pay for the pleasure it will bring.
 

Zambezi

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Firstly, roll your clothes don't fold them. I know it sounds counter-intuitive but it really does save spave and they come out just as wrinkle free on the other side.

Secondly, try and use multi purpose clothing (i.e. zip off pant legs that leave just shorts.) One of those special forces scarves is handy for keeping warm / head covering / cushioning.

Thirdly, don't pack anything that you can buy on arrival. This includes adaptors / razors / batteries / etc... South Africa has almost everything you want / need.

Wear your bulky and / or heavy clothing. As mentioned a multi pocket vest is great for keeping all your paperwork and tech on your person. For that matter cargo pants add a few pockets too.

I won't go into the "bring your own gun or checked bags etc"... each to their own...
 

CBH Australia

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I have done it. My first international trip and I wanted to keep it simple. It worked for me.
I am thinking Eastern Cape, during the kudu rut (month of April or May). Electrical adapter is for the cell phone charger. I never ware shorts (no one wants to see my chicken legs). I would prefer comfortable pants for some protection from thorns, the sun, and bugs. I love the feedback so far, this seams doable if I pair down to only the necessities...
I never wear shorts, maybe at the river. I did make an exception to hunt African style I don’t think the black tracker had ever seen legs so white.

I would do the same again if it suited me, there was nothing I wanted for and you won’t need a knife,

I did ask for tin spaghetti to go on the side with Bacon and eggs. The simple things. The cook was surprised but they just ordered it in. He’ll most mornings I was happy eating Rusk’s with my coffee.

I would consider travelling with a rifle sometime if it suited using a meet and greet service.

But carry on only is totally do-able

 

WAB

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I’ve spent months in Africa on humanitarian work after my first retirement. I could easily go three weeks with a carry on. Quick dry shirts washed in a sink and shorts that could stand in a corner after a week or so. One extra pair of shoes, one jacket, 3 pairs of underwear and socks (again sink washed) and toiletries. Kelty makes a backpack that is the perfect size for a carry on. Where I was flying the last place you wanted to go was baggage claim. A checked bag just made you a target.
 

Sika98k

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I have done it, but wasn’t my choice, my bag didn’t arrive until end of hunt. I always pack enough to hunt for 2 days in my carry on. My hunt went good still just the same.
On your list, as others have said, a lot of the items are just as easily available in South Africa as they are at home, get them there or borrow them there. Items like sunscreen, flashlight, batteries for example. Just let your outfitter know your plan in advance. For your cell phone you don’t need a converter only an adapter to their power outlet. Here are photos of a grocery store in eastern cape, South Africa on March 15th this year, they still had toilet paper when there was none in the USA lol

View attachment 374512View attachment 374513
That is a superb choice of toilet paper ! There’s sure to be something there to cater for all bottoms
 

thriller

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Has anyone attempted an African hunting Safari with only a carry on piece of luggage? I am thinking I may want to attempt this. Am I crazy? Any advice would be appreciated. I would use my PH’s gun and travel light knowing laundry would be done daily. Clothes would be placed in space bags and all the air sucked out to reduce size. Here is my packing list, all of which must fit in 22 x 14 x 9 inch carry on (or worn):
  • Hunting boots – good ankle support lace-up boots
  • Boot bag
  • Camp shoes.
  • 3 Pair of hunting socks.
  • 3 Pair of camp socks.
  • 3 Pair of hunting pants (khaki, green, brown or camo).
  • 3 Pair of underwear.
  • 3 Hunting shirts (khaki, green, brown or camo).
  • 3 T-shirts.
  • 1 Light weight coat.
  • 1 Heavy coat.
  • 1 Hunting cap (safari).
  • 1 Stocking cap.
  • 1 Pair of leather gloves.
  • Rain gear.
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, lip balm.
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, tissues, etc).
  • Electrical adaptor and converter.
  • Ziplock space bags
  • Hand wipes
  • Bandaids
  • Neosporin
  • Eye drops,
  • Allergies medicine
  • General purpose antibiotic - cipro
  • Journal
  • Pencils
  • Black pens
  • USB cable
  • Charger phone
  • Shaver
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Binoculars
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Camera, cell phone
  • Local money, cash
I did it with the exclusion of ammo and rifle in my fathers check bags a couple a few years ago. Don’t forget you get a carry on plus a personal item for which a backpack is acceptable. Those things were packed to the gills.
 

Tanks

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I’ve spent months in Africa on humanitarian work after my first retirement. ...Where I was flying the last place you wanted to go was baggage claim. A checked bag just made you a target.

I also have done multiple overseas trips with just a carry-on and a garment bag. Very doable. However, we are talking about a hunting trip.

If no rifle and ammo, it becomes just a regular trip and with laundry service one can definitely go minimalist.

For cheapie RSA hunts a camp firearm might be fine. However, I'd hate to depend on ammo that might have been left by a client a few years ago and a rifle that has been lying around for a bit more pricey DG hunts in places other than RSA.
 

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My second Safari may include travel with rifle, after I experience my simplified lower stress 1st Safari.
I think everyone worries too much on their first Safari. I didn’t but I was in my 20’s and had few worries! In fact many just won’t go overseas hunting due to fear. I’ve been a resource to encourage guys to go on their first Safari. My experience and advice gives them confidence to go and sharing my passion with them is so rewarding.
You’ll have a great time either way but IMO you’ll miss out on quite a bit not taking your own gun.
Happy planning and as always feel free to reach out with questions.
Philip
 

Philip Glass

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^^^ This.

For me part of the process is using my own rifles with my own ammunition. You are travelling around the world extra few minutes dealing with checked luggage is nothing compared to the total travel time.
So true. There is travel stress no matter what!
 

JimP

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Pick the correct airlines and try to keep transfers to a minimum along with a preapproved rifle permit with a meet and greet and getting a rifle there is a cake walk.

I was able to check with the gate agents to make sure that my two bags were were loaded onto the next plane. Then I was met at the gate and whisked through customs and to my rifle case and duffel. We had zero problems on a first trip for four of us.

But then all the planning was complete four months ahead of departure.
 

One Day...

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Don't we all do this - a carry-on hunt - anyway ... sort of?

What I mean is that the typical packing SOP is:
  1. Rifle case.
  2. Carry-on backpack with everything you cannot live without in case the checked luggage does not show up.
  3. Checked luggage with ammo box, plus everything nice to have but not absolutely necessary.
--- If you do not bring your rifle, take out #1 and a good chunk of #3 (ammo box).

--- If you do not go during African winter in the Northern or Eastern Cape and are not hunting the higher altitude Karoo or various Bergs along the Great Escarpment, take out another good chunk of #3, such as ankle boots, heavy coat, rain gear, gloves, etc.

--- If you are like 95% of people going on a standardly pampered safari with tracker and skinner, you will never use your knife, your first aid kit, your field 'possible bag', your backpack, etc. That finishes to take out #3.

--- If you are reasonably casual, your travel clothes are in fact one set of hunting clothes: kaki or dark green or brown pants, shirt and fleece jacket (they keep these planes really cold at night!) with light comfortable safari boots (Courtney Selous , Russell Safari PH, etc.).

A rental rifle spring/summer/fall hunt in most of Africa is indeed a carry-on hunt with binoculars, 2 sets of light hunting clothes & underwear, toiletry, phone-camera & charger, and pocket flashlight.

Personally, I am with Kevin, Tanks, Philip, Red Leg, and so many others: using my own rifle is half the pleasure, therefore this is by necessity a 3 luggage affair for me, and in addition to my ammo, I might as well bring along in the checked luggage stuffs that go beyond the bare minimum...

For example, I have been in too many far away places where the only 'possible bag', rifle cleaning kit, optics cleaning kit, basic rifle/scope tool kit, first aid & medical kit, etc. were mine, to not bring them along... I generally do not need them, but I prefer being the prepared one who gives or loans, rather than being the unprepared or "best-case scenario minimalist" one who begs and borrows...

I have also hunted enough miserably cold early mornings and late afternoons, to appreciate a heavy jacket, fleece beanie, fleece gloves, etc. Keep in mind that South Africa Central Plateau atop the Great Escarpment lies between 3,000 and 7,000 feet and that July, August and September is winter there. I have seen white frost and even the occasional snow on the Winterberg, Drakensberg, and even on Huntershill's mountain... Keep also in mind that nights are uncomfortably cold (40F) in the Kalahari desert, and that missing a heavy fleece of puffer jacket in the morning or evening is a grand classic with first time safari clients, even in May or June...

Admittedly, I generally use about half of what I bring, but I have NEVER missed anything I ever needed. To each their own philosophy :)
 
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CBH Australia

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I think everyone worries too much on their first Safari. I didn’t but I was in my 20’s and had few worries! In fact many just won’t go overseas hunting due to fear. I’ve been a resource to encourage guys to go on their first Safari. My experience and advice gives them confidence to go and sharing my passion with them is so rewarding.
You’ll have a great time either way but IMO you’ll miss out on quite a bit not taking your own gun.
Happy planning and as always feel free to reach out with questions.
Philip
You might be to blame for me spending all that money, here I was saying the website made me do it!

It’s been an interesting time here and my only overseas trip in South Africa.
If anyone is worried then a hire rifle and a carry on is a way Tom test the water. I was worried, I hear of bribes, fees etc.
The only thing I go at caught with was a porter offering to show the way, then asking for a tip, that was his job. I don’t think he was an finial porter so we kind of avoided unrequited help from there.

Another Aussie, let’s call him Bob, he went to Namibia with his own rifles. He said it was a breeze. Live and learn. I would consider taking a rifle if I went again but pending on the game and location, a bit of touring would be ok too.
 

BeeMaa

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Your clothing list could be paired down even more.
Most places do daily laundry.
Little need for 3 of anything.
And most things can be worn multiple days.

However, I agree with the others that you are missing out.
Taking an animal with YOUR OWN rifle has meaning.
At least it does to me.
IMO - Checking and fetching luggage isn't that big a deal.
 

curtism1234

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Living out a carry on for a week, now that's funny. I can barely get by with a personal item, carry on, rifle, and 2 full size bags at 40 pounds a piece. :A Whacky: :E Peace:
 

CBH Australia

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Your clothing list could be paired down even more.
Most places do daily laundry.
Little need for 3 of anything.
And most things can be worn multiple days.

However, I agree with the others that you are missing out.
Taking an animal with YOUR OWN rifle has meaning.
At least it does to me.
IMO - Checking and fetching luggage isn't that big a deal.
That's because you have a Blaser, I saw pics of an engraved Blaser with what I would say was a driven Boar hunt scene, dam it looked good in his hunting pics.
I left my Tikka at home and hired a Sako, with a suppressor.
I agree that using your own rifle is part of the experience and lives on in the photos.
First time I did not know what to expect so we travelled light and it worked out fine.
I would consider taking my rifle if I go again but I might go over the ditch to New Zealand sometime with my own rifle. Hunting is hunting and even if it's shooting pigs i would be happy for a different experience and scenery.
I would like to bag a Bear. So the US might be in my sights one-day.
 

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