What to carry


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Mar 14, 2023
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Abingdon, MD USA
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US. Maryland. Kentucky. West Virginia. Ohio. Illinois. Pennsylvania. Delaware.
Absolute newbie here. Making plans to go on my first African hunting trip ever and looking for advice from those that are more seasoned than I. I know the PH typically carries binos/range finder. Should I? I see the advantage of having my own binos, but I also see the advantage of having my hands free. Is there anything that should be on my person that I might not think about?
Thanks to everybody for their help. I am very grateful for this open and sharing community!
I go with a round in each pocket, so as not to rattle. More rounds in a belt carrier. A bottle of water. That’s it. Everything else stays in the rig. That said, the little woman takes care of the photos, so I don’t even worry about that.
Some hard candy, also. Forgot about that. Usually forget there, too, and leave it in the truck.
Take your own binos. You will use them more than you think. Sight seeing as well as hunting
At least take your range finder over and on the first day or when you talk to your PH. My last PH didn't carry one.

You will also very seldom be very far from the vehicle. But if we were going to be a ways off my PH told me and I took my day pack. In it I had extra shells, small first aid kit, knife, candy, water, and TP. Africa is a lot like the southern US, you can't find a good substitute for TP. Wet wipes are also nice to have. I'll take a few sandwich bags where I can keep some TP and wet wipes in them and just throw them into a pants pocket.
Another plug for having your own binos. Frankly I feel naked without them, and there were times I spotted stuff he before him; I suspect that was more about where I was standing and angle, but still. I took a rangefinder and eventually gave up carrying it. Extra rounds were on a buttstock carrier I favor. I had a few other items on me - such as my Leatherman, because I feel naked without it. Light is better. You never know how many miles you're going to cover when you set out.
Definitely want binos. You will use them a lot, not just when you are stalking.
Last trip I had mine in a Badlands chest carrier. My upcoming trip I will carry them cross body.
My bino‘s are my rangefinders. Keep it simple keep it light. When you are stopped and the PH is glassing what are you going to do? I glassed every chance I got. When the PH said look over there, I was not grabbing for his bino‘s. We walk through how would would approach a stalk looking through glass.
Quality binocs- something like 8x42 are plenty. Whatever preference is for carrying. Some use and like harnesses. I use a simple sling. I'm right handed and sling binocs over right shoulder and carry under left arm. I use a fairly slick sling and simply rotate binocs up to eyes. Digital camera or phone with good camera with good battery. Charger for camp and/or vehicle. A way to carry a few extra cartridges. Don't overthink it. You can thow basic stuff in day pack and leave in vehicle. Trackers usually carry extra water/ snacks. Depend on if you will be tracking or just jumping off vehicle to shoot or whatever, could be walking about still hunting looking for opportunity or spot and stalk glassing, etc..... in other words depends on how far from vehicle the plan might be for tracking.
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Binos are a definite. I’ve used both 10x25s and 8x30s. It’s always bright so no need for a large objective. My Leatherman goes everywhere with me. They are an indispensable tool. A minimum of 10 rounds of ammunition to include what’s in the magazine. Hydrate well before starting or bring a canteen or bottle of water with you.
As little as possible but Binos and extra rounds are the minimum.
Check with you PH if they carry a rangefinder.
Bring a small backpack with what you want for the day and leave it in the bakkie
I'm a gear head so I carry lots of stuff, my last PH started calling me "Inspector Gagget" because whenever we needed something in the field I pulled it out of a pocket on my safari vest.

So my #1 item is a safari vest, not only does it carry all of your gear in the field, it carries you gear in the airport. All of those pockets can carry lots of small items thru the airport and because your wearing it, it never gets weighed, so long as the items can pass thru security your golden.

Item #2 - A good Multi Tool w/pliers. SAKs are great but they can't pull thorns out of your boots.
Item #3 - A personal first aid kit (Bandaids, moleskin, tape, pain killers, etc.)
Item #4 - Wet Wipes or TP (I prefer wet wipes they have more uses)
Item #5 - Handkerchief / Bandana
Item #6 - 10ft of paracord
Item #7 - Bic Lighter
Item #8 - Cell Phone (It will become your primary picture taking device)
Item #9 - Pocket Knife (If I'm wearing pants I'm carrying a pocket knife)

Item #10 - Power Bank w/cable (to recharge your cell phone)
Item #11 - Water (I like the nalgene flask, it fits nicely in a pocket)
Item #12 - Fixed Blade Knife (If you have a multi tool and a pocket knife you don't really need one)
Item #13 - Range Finder (Site your rifle in for 200 yards and leave the range finder in the truck)

I always carry items 1 thru 12 plus a few more things I have never used, like I said I'm a gear head.

I intentionally didn't mention extra ammo because its like saying take your rifle, it's just understood you have it with you.

Don't rely on your PH to carry very much, in SA a PH's packing list is very small
- Binos
- cigarettes
- Lighter
- radio (Maybe)
- Multi tool (Maybe)
- Pocket Knife (Maybe)

Good luck on your trip and happy packing.
I carry my binoculars slung under my non dominant arm, spare ammo (either in a 6 round carrier on my belt or in a pocket), a good knife on my belt, and sunglasses
:):) When the time comes and that 60" kudu is staring you down at the end of a narrow 100 yard lane and the tracker has the sticks set up and the PH whispers "shoot!", I wouldn't be fumble frogging around with range finders, power settings on the scope or thinking or doing anything but getting the rifle on sticks, crosshairs on the spot and squeezing the trigger.
A knife.

Neither my PH or tracker carried one on the day that they needed one.

I left me Leatherman with my tracker
I take a day pack and leave it in the truck, which has - Binos, light jacket, Wet wipes, bug spray, extra ammo, snacks and a couple bottles of water.
on my person I carry a spyderco knife, ammo in my belt cartridge holder and my rifle.
My PH had nice Lieca binos with inbuilt rangefinder.
If you have good binos you might want them.
Honestly my wife and I only took what we could fit in a backpack we used as a carry-on because we knew they did daily laundry.
The PH had loaner binos and I hired the rifle.
Take as little or as much as what suits you.
I used to hunt with just a headlamp to get home by when I was doing close afternoon hunts where I worked.
I have all the gear but don't always carry it.
This thread may answer some of your questions.
I carried binos the first couple days but did not after that. Whatever you are comfortable with. I did have a bino harness that worked very well for me and was comfortable. I think Rick Young bino harness?

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