The Long Road To Africa

PART 2: Preparation.​

I have poured over safari packing videos and advice on this site. I found the “What to Pack” videos by Philip Glass and Craig Boddington to be especially helpful. On a side note, if you have not seen the documentary Trophy that features Philip Glass, I HIGHLY recommend it. That is one film that everyone should see- both hunters AND non-hunters. I do not know Mr. Glass, but like Boddington, I liked his cool-headed demeanor and common sense approach to hunting. It makes watching them hunt highly enjoyable for me-unlike many that make every hunt a major drama episode. The sequence of Mr. Glass's lion hunt was incredibly powerful and moving for me… and I think I am about to watch it again for the eight thousandth time.

I modeled my packing similarly to Craig Boddington for a couple reasons: first, I like his straight forward, no frills approach. Second, he uses some practical clothing and military gear that I already have readily available. The only thing that frustrates me about Boddington is that he doesn’t say what all his gear is, which left me searching for days on the internet until I found some of the items he was using. To save people some effort, below are photos as well as an itemized list of what I plan on taking to Africa, as well as their associated cost (rounded to the nearest dollar). Am I missing anything? Please let me know!

Packing List​

Rifle Case:

-I like Pelican cases. I’ve been using them for years for deployments and they have held up exceptionally well. Soldiers, Baggage Handlers, and toddlers are all the same when it comes to handling equipment, so the fact they have held up gives me a lot of confidence my rifles will make it safely to Africa.

-There are a lot of tripods, but I like the Bog-Pod because they are reasonably tough yet lightweight. The Wide Body Shooting Rest is perfect for double rifles.

-I have been using OTIS cleaning kits for some time now. They are nice and compact and have all you need to field clean your firearm.

-Broken Anvil is made by Charles Bridges who is an active duty Soldier I worked with a little time ago. He was featured on Forged in Fire. I really like his Damascus blades.

-Like Boddington, I like the Trader Keith Rifle Slings. They are classic and the two rows of impregnated rubber help keep the firearm on your shoulder. I think they are worth every penny.
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ITEM COST

Pelican 1750 Case $290

2x Generic padded rifle cases- Walmart brand $10 EACH

2x Trader Keith Rifle Slings $65 EACH

Bog-Pod RLD-3 (Red Legged Devil) $97

Bog-Pod Wide Body Shooting Rest $50

Trader Keith Backup Slide $65

Hunter Ammo Slide (10 rounds) $30

Hunter Ammo Slide (5 rounds) $20

Gerber Multi-Tool (issued) $85

Silicone Cleaning Cloth $5

Real Avid Bore Boss (7mm) $10

Otis #40 Ripcord $12

Custom Broken Anvil Hunting Knife $200

Hicape Neoprene Waterproof Scope Cover (set of 2) $13


Carry-On Bag:

The Blackhawk Titan was thankfully issued to me, as I doubt I would have spent that kind of money on a backpack. They are a bit heavy but incredibly tough. There are also a lot of pockets to hold various tools and doodads.

I came across Covert Threads Desert Socks when I preparing for my first deployment. I have been wearing them almost exclusively every day for the past 15 years. They are comfortable, well padded, and reinforced in hot spot areas. I probably have nearly 30 pairs at this point. I’ve heard a lot about merino Wool, but these socks have served me well in a myriad of climates so I will be packing them for my trip.

The Military Riggers Belt is the same belt Craig Boddington uses. Old habits die hard and I laughed a little when I saw him wearing it in nearly all his videos. The standard rigger belt is cheap but extremely durable. It held up in combat, so I see no reason it won’t do the same on a hunting trip.

The Army issued 3M earplugs are a great buy. If you know someone in the military, ask them to get you a set or 40. I keep two sets in my range bag, two sets in my truck, 8 sets in the garage….

I debated bringing the shemagh, as it can seem a bit “tacti-cool” or make you feel (and look) like an Arab Sheik, but bottom line is they are great. They are light weight, keep you warm, keep you cool, and especially good at keeping sand out of your face. It might even work as a COVID mask.

The military issued gloves and beanie isn’t anything special. I had them already on hand and they are neutral colors. Any light weight pair of gloves should work fine so long as they don’t prohibit free movement of your trigger finger.

Army Polypropylene Long Johns, called “PolyPro” are amazing. They are light weight, very warm, and hold up to being jumped on as you cram them into a duffel bag. No ironing required.

With the Olight, I broke my own rule. I despise anything that comes from China, which I realize is almost everything. I don’t like to support countries who are directly competing with the US its allies. But Olight flashlights are amazing. They are rechargeable and are BRIGHT at a fraction of the cost of SureFire. SureFire is assembled in the USA, but they use “foreign components” which I assume means China as well. I would gladly pay more for them but they have a BIG downside. They eat batteries at a ridiculous rate. I literally packed hundreds of batteries to fuel my SureFire on deployments and still had to order more before re-deploying home.

While the Gerber RECON flashlight isn’t anywhere near the brightness of SureFire or Olight, it is a solid little flashlight that makes a great backup to my primary light. It’s small and has red, green, blue, and white lenses that are changed just by rotating the head of the light.

I used GoPro but didn’t like that it lacked zoom capability. The Tactacam is light, has several firearm mounting options, is silent when it turns on, and takes great quality video. Hopefully, I will be able to get good video of shots on game, especially the dangerous variety.

I am nearly deaf, so I wear Etymotic GSP-15 earplugs every time I go hunting and shooting. Although a bit more bulky than the issued 3M earplugs, I want to be able to hear my PH whispering to me when we are on a stalk. The Etymotic earplugs are electronic and allow me to hear normal conversation, yet provide excellent protection from gunfire with its passive noise cancellation. They aren’t cheap, but I cannot afford to lose what little I is left of my hearing.
View attachment 451932

ITEM COST

Blackhawk Titan Hydration Pack (issued) $266

Carhartt Rugged Flex Pants $45

Tag Safari Trail Shirt (Short Sleeve) $62

Scala Felt Hat $32

Covert Threads Desert Socks $18

Military Riggers Belt (issued) $14

Military Earplugs (issued) $8

Shemagh $13

Leather Journal $40

Leupold RX1600i Range Finder $429

Zeiss Terra ED 10x42 Binoculars $500

Army Cold Weather Gloves (issued) $7

Army Fleece Beanie (issued) $11

Army Polypropylene Long John Top (issued) $14

Olight Odin Mini Flashlight $140

Gerber Recon LED Flashlight $24

Tactacam Action Camera $300

Pelican 1010 Micro Case $17

Pelican 1060 Micro Case $23

Tag Safari Leather Gaiters $80

Oakley Flak Sunglasses $165

Ray Ban Aviator Classic Sunglasses $150

Etymotic GSP-15 Electronic Earplugs $300


Checked Bag:

The Red Oxx PR6 Duffel bag is what Craig Boddington uses (I called them and even asked for the same size). He claims it has served him well for years and I believe it! This is one well-built bag! There aren’t many pockets and there is no padding, but this duffel can hold a lot. I wear a size 13 shoe and the end pockets are just large enough for me to cram my Crocs inside. The top opens via a center panel with zippers on each side. The top is secured with stainless steel twist lock fasteners. Plus, it’s made in Montana and has a lifetime warranty. My only concern is that there isn’t a way to lock the bag and secure the items inside.

I have worn Dubarry Wexford boots for about three years now. They are hands down the best thing I’ve ever put on my feet. They are water proof and Gore-Tex lined, but amazingly comfortable in both hot and cold weather. Plus, they have an awesome classic look!

Although I will be hunting during their winter, just to be safe, I am bringing After Bite, Permethrin spray, and Picaridin wipes.

I’ve never tried it before, but I decided to use Red Oxx Packing Cubes to help me stay organized. We’ll see how it goes.
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ITEM COST

Red Oxx PR6 Duffel Bag $245

Dubarry Wexford Boots $569

Military Riggers Belt $14

Shemagh $13

Dorfman Pacific Boonie Hat $22

RIG Universal Gun Grease $12

Schmidt Bender Lens Cleaning Kit $50

Sawyer Permethrin Spray $19

Bag of large tip ties $2

Sawyer Picaridin Wipes $14

After Bite (Pack of 2) $14

Magellan Outdoors Men's Back Country Zipoff Nylon Pant $25

Carhartt Men's Rugged Work Khaki Pants $40

Magellan Outdoors Men's Laguna Madre Pant $30

2x Power Plug Adapter $13 each

TAG Safari Jacket $98

Columbia Sportswear Men's PFG Permit III Shorts $35

Magellan Outdoors Men's Lost Pines Cargo Shorts $20

2x Orvis Shor Sleeve Linen Bush Shirt $89 each

Orvis Short Sleeve Bush Shirt $79

Orvis Short Sleeve Safari Polo Shirt $69

David Archy Men’s Short Leg Boxer Briefs (Set of 3) $38

3x Covert Threads Desert Socks $18 each

MTM Survivor Dry Box $12

The Perfect Shot: Mini Edition for Africa 2 (not pictured) $17

2x Red Oxx Packing Cube Set $135 each


Ammo Box:

The MTM Survivor Dry Box is also an item used by Craig Boddington. Unfortunately, we can only carry 11 pounds of ammunition and nitro express rounds add weight quickly. The box has nice depth, locks on three sides, and is lockable. I was able to fit 20 rounds of 450/400 soft nose, 10 rounds of 450/400 solid nose, and 60 rounds of 275 Rigby inside. I also have to give a shout out to Hendershot’s here as well. I ran out of Hornady 450/400 to practice with and started to get worried about finding more. I had some unfired Hornady 450/400 cases and Woodleigh Weldcore bullets on hand, both softs and solids. I contacted Hendershot’s, sent in my components, and they loaded the ammo for me at a reasonable price.
View attachment 451936


Medical:

The Blue Force Gear Micro Trauma Kit is an item I carry on my battle belt but have fortunately never used. I figured clogging a bullet hole or clogging a hole made from the horn of an animal will be about the same. The Micro Trauma Kit is compact, lightweight, and can easily be carried at the small of my back on my hunting belt. Our Combat Medics set me up with medical supplies so I only bought the pouch itself. Blue Force Gear does sell pre-packaged units at prices from $114 to over $200 depending on what medical supplies you order. The Tourniquet NOW holder threads through the bottom of the Micro Trauma Kit NOW. It has an elastic sleeve that can hold a tourniquet, spare magazine, banana, beer can, or whatever else you can stuff in it.
View attachment 451937
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ITEM COST

Blue Force Gear Micro Trauma Kit NOW (empty) $89

Eye Patch

S-Rolled Gauze

Combat Gauze

Nasal Farangeal

Emergency Bandage

HyFin Chest Seal

CAT Tourniquet

1 Pair latex gloves

Decompression Needle

Small Bottle of aspirin (not pictured)

Blue Force Gear Tourniquet NOW holder $12


Thanks for reading! I will post Part 3 here when I return from my hunt. In the meantime your, comments, recommendations, and shared experience would be greatly appreciated!

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Thank you for your service to our country. I am really enjoying your report. It is a great resource for all of us, all in one place. I have been on three safaris and hope to go on more. I will benefit from your great work. Thank you. Your friend, Brian
 
Thanks for posting this and sharing your enthusiasm! It's infectious.
 
Thanks for your kind words and I am glad you have enjoyed Trophy the film.
I would add Rem Oil wipes to your cleaning kit. They are all I usually need. You may need to double check the regs as JNB has not been allowing duffel bags through their airport. (I am assuming you are going through JNB) They say the baggage handling equipment gets clogged by them. I would say you are being thorough but maybe getting close to over packing a bit.
Thanks for the report on your packing.
 
Thanks for your kind words and I am glad you have enjoyed Trophy the film.
I would add Rem Oil wipes to your cleaning kit. They are all I usually need. You may need to double check the regs as JNB has not been allowing duffel bags through their airport. (I am assuming you are going through JNB) They say the baggage handling equipment gets clogged by them. I would say you are being thorough but maybe getting close to over packing a bit.
Thanks for the report on your packing.
Thank you! I’ll look into the duffel regulations. You say I am getting close to overpacking. What items would you leave out?
 
gcbailey you are really being thorough with your preparation , it is being planned like a military operation , typical of an army officer I suppose . As an ex army officer I can relate to that .
Two small items that I did not see on your list ( maybe I missed them ) that can really make your life a little easier depending on how you are hunting , especially if you are going to do a lot of walking will be lip ice and lozenge type sweets such as Halls for when your mouth gets dry . Items you can obviously buy in SA .
Don't forget a bit of toilet paper for obvious reasons , one never knows when that might come in handy . Problem is in the African bush there are not many types of foliage you can use in place of toilet paper as most have thorns on them .
Thank you! Yes, I meant to include toilet paper in my list and forgot. Adding it now!
 
If you have not started, no more shooting off the bench, get some shooting sticks ( or make some) and only practice on sticks, using a tree branch etc. practice, practice, practice, even a 22 lr makes good practice. USMC here, I know you can shoot , but my first recommendation to anyone going to S Africa to hunt, is to shoot a lot at home. Another recommendation is to lay off a week or two prior to going, to keep from being beat up by a gun .
Dont do all your practice shooting the last 10 days ,
Enjoy, trip of a lifetime for sure.
 
Thank you for your service. Would recommend that you also include some antifungal cream, benadryl, and tums.
Practice your reloads with the double using a couple sets of snap caps to get the order of arms down pat. I am sure you will cover they physical conditioning, but like any operation the better shape you are in is always a benefit. You list of animals to be taken with classic rifles is solid. You might want to also consider a few of the small night predators. The african bush at night is a magical place. Look forward to reading the rest of the story as Paul Harvey would say.
 
@gcbailey, very thorough preparation. Thanks for your service. I believe Red Oxx duffles are allowed as have flat sides and bottom, I certainly hope so as I too have bought these (Veteran Owned, US made).
 
+1 on the Red Oxx. I've had a small and medium duffle as well as two c-rucks for 11 years. My brother's has had a duffle for 15 plus years and still using it. They wear like iron. Ann came up with using 1 gallon hefty plastic bags (with the slider) to compress clothing (mostly underwear and socks) and keep it organized vs. spending on the packing cubes. You can see what's in each one too.
 
Our Red Oxx duffles were fine in 2016. Not sure now. As I remember it, we had to remove the shoulder strap and put it inside one of the compartments. We also used the wire locks to hold the zipper pulls together. Yes, someone could have opened them or cut through them, but why hassle when they can go to the next bag that doesn't have anything.
 
Thank you! I’ll look into the duffel regulations. You say I am getting close to overpacking. What items would you leave out?
My understanding is to use any type of duffle through JHB they must be plastic wrapped. Before my first Safari I too had bought one only to find out to Phillips point they are now very frowned upon there so I just went to a hard case checked bag and have enjoyed two Safaris with zero problems
 
I used a 42” roller duffel last year to Johannesburg. I found some cardboard and cut it to fit the bottom of the duffel. Presto changeo it had a Hard bottom in the duffle. Worked great. Nobody said a word about it.
 
I used a 42” roller duffel last year to Johannesburg. I found some cardboard and cut it to fit the bottom of the duffel. Presto changeo it had a Hard bottom in the duffle. Worked great. Nobody said a word about it.
I pulled the plastic liner out of a destroyed roller bag- Thanks DIA guys! Figured I might use it the same way to convert a duffel to a hard bottom. Didn't know it was going to be required, just planned on it to protect the bag from hard edged things inside the bag, like an Americase ammo box.
 
+1 on the Red Oxx. I've had a small and medium duffle as well as two c-rucks for 11 years. My brother's has had a duffle for 15 plus years and still using it. They wear like iron. Ann came up with using 1 gallon hefty plastic bags (with the slider) to compress clothing (mostly underwear and socks) and keep it organized vs. spending on the packing cubes. You can see what's in each one too.
Daaaannng. That's a great idea!
 
Thank you for your service. Would recommend that you also include some antifungal cream, benadryl, and tums.
Practice your reloads with the double using a couple sets of snap caps to get the order of arms down pat. I am sure you will cover they physical conditioning, but like any operation the better shape you are in is always a benefit. You list of animals to be taken with classic rifles is solid. You might want to also consider a few of the small night predators. The african bush at night is a magical place. Look forward to reading the rest of the story as Paul Harvey would say.
Thank you for the advice. I do have a set of snap caps and practice with them when I watch various African hunting shows. I prefer double trigger shotguns, so that transition was an instantaneous one. I haven't thought of the night predators, so I will certainly ask!
 
This is the only thing I don't understand: Dubarry Wexford Boots $569. I would think something designed for the English countryside (cold and wet) would suck someplace hot and humid.

I served for 20 years in the Navy mostly in aviation and intel. Spent a lot of time in Afghanistan, Iraq, Djibouti, Kosovo and quite a bit of time in Florida wearing boots that were designed for cold weather. The worst was in Turkey wearing gore-tex Danner flight boots April-October flying missions in Iraq. In the aircraft they were awesome at 30,000 feet. On the ground I had foot rot to deal with the entire summer.

I would bring a pair of comfortable broken in desert combat boots. I wore Blackhawk desert boots on two or three deployments and Danner desert marine boots.

I got to Namibia for my last safari in 2005 and ended up buying a pair of Courtneys in Windhoek before we went to the farm. It took me a long time to get them broken in but they are good. I honestly think there are better options. Stuff like this: Non-insulated and non-waterproof. Breaths like a barn door.


Boots make or break any trip.
 

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I would bring a pair of comfortable broken in desert combat boots. I wore Blackhawk desert boots on two or three deployments and Danner desert marine boots.
...

Boots make or break any trip.
+1 on Danners if one does not want to get Russell's. On this one trip depending on the terrain I switched between the Russell's and Danner's.

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This is the only thing I don't understand: Dubarry Wexford Boots $569. I would think something designed for the English countryside (cold and wet) would suck someplace hot and humid.

I served for 20 years in the Navy mostly in aviation and intel. Spent a lot of time in Afghanistan, Iraq, Djibouti, Kosovo and quite a bit of time in Florida wearing boots that were designed for cold weather. The worst was in Turkey wearing gore-tex Danner flight boots April-October flying missions in Iraq. In the aircraft they were awesome at 30,000 feet. On the ground I had foot rot to deal with the entire summer.

I would bring a pair of comfortable broken in desert combat boots. I wore Blackhawk desert boots on two or three deployments and Danner desert marine boots.

I got to Namibia for my last safari in 2005 and ended up buying a pair of Courtneys in Windhoek before we went to the farm. It took me a long time to get them broken in but they are good. I honestly think there are better options. Stuff like this: Non-insulated and non-waterproof. Breaths like a barn door.


Boots make or break any trip.
I understand your thinking, but Southeast Georgia is hot as hades- almost all the time. And it’s wet. The Dubarry boots are still incredibly comfortable. It’s a matter of personal preference, but I hate combat boots. I will be wearing a pair of Rocky hiking boots on the flight and will most likely wear those a good portion of the hunt as well. They are sturdy like combat boots, without the 8 foot laces and tactical look.
 
I always have a large ziplock bag with to put my shoes/boots in over night at the camping area. No funny surprises the next morning like a scorpion in your shoe. You can always punch a couple of small holes in the bag with a fork so that the shoes/boots can breathe
 

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