By Bill Miller
When the hunting is slow; when every piece of clothing you have is wet and dirty; when your boots squish as you walk; when you’re facing another night sleeping on the ground in spike camp, the luxury of pulling on a pair of dry, clean socks can buoy your spirits like no other. Even for stand hunters in cold climes, deer hunting veterans have long recommended keeping a spare pare of wool socks in the daypack to change out at midday. They provide amazing warmth and comfort to cold feet, and will keep you hunting longer – any we all know, the more time we spend in the stand, the higher the odds of bagging a big buck. In Quebec, some moose hunters practically live in the stand for the whole season!
Now think about what a luxury it would be to have a complete set of clean, dry clothing stashed securely in the bottom of your pack everywhere you go — especially at the end of a remote, arduous hunting or fishing adventure when you’re about to board a plane for the long flight home. It would probably be highly appreciated by the airline passengers seated next to you, too.
Always having those dry socks or that end-of-the-trip set of clean clothes is so easy.
Since you’re a hunter and/or angler, it’s likely you already own one of those countertop vacuum-sealing systems like the FoodSaver. These nifty gadgets do a great job of extending the storage life of that delicious game and fish you bring home for your family. Well, they also work great for preserving the dryness and cleanliness of clothes during your outback your travel.
Simply take one of the bags, insert a pair of wool socks or a complete set of clothing and vacuum-pack and seal it just like you would your venison steaks or a smoked salmon filet. Then when it’s time for dry socks, you simply cut open the bag and you’ve got PERFECTLY clean and dry pampering for your feet.
Another great advantage of packing clothes this way is that it pulls all the air out of the package, greatly reducing the space it takes up in your pack or suitcase. In the case of those end-of-the-trip clothes, I usually stow them in my hard-side gun case until they are needed. Many times, I’ll pull them out at the airport and change into them in the restroom before checking in … being clean and dry gives me greater patience to deal with the hassles of air travel!
On the clothing, here’s one more tip: If you’re worried about “looks,” select clothing that’s sold as “crushable” or “packable.” These items can take vacuum-packing and will come out with fewer wrinkles, and they will smooth out nicely with just a bit of wear. For some reason, that’s important to my wife even when she’s not with me!
With a little thought, the vacuum packer may become an essential piece of gear for preparing for your trips as well as packaging your harvest! It works great to create a sealed survival kit including matches and fire starters that are guaranteed to be 100% dry when you need them — and should you need them, you’ll really need them!