Checking the weather a week before a trip is a good idea if you want to pack the essential items. But checking the weather two months out is about as useful as not checking it at all.
Unlike many people, we have to plan for 4 or 5 back-to-back trips at a time. We schedule everything perfectly so that when one hunt is ending we can drive to the next location and begin filming for the next episode. Packing all of the gear that we need, as well as items that we need for different types of hunting, is crucial. Different types of camo, alternative boots for different terrain, every size of backpack known to man, and of course our monstrous hat collection must all find their way into our production trailer.
And I haven’t even started talking about the production gear. Cameras (usually 5 or 6 main cameras), tripods, sliders, jibs, drones, batteries, charging stations, and lenses must all be cleaned and organized at all times. We don’t just bring one tripod, we bring every size of tripod that Vanguard makes!
So, how do we do it? The secret is that we live it every day, even when we’re not on the road. My dining room table has a minimum of 3 cameras on it at all times. They are constantly being used, cleaned, and charged. Because they are always in plain sight, we won’t forget them when we’re packing. We have a system that works. Every piece of gear has it’s place. We check and double check that everything is clean, accessible, and in working order before we hit the road to film. That, in itself, is a full time job.
Our camo stays organized in different bags. One bag for lightweight clothing, one for base layers, and one for the heavy stuff. All of the bags have to go along with us on each trip. Going from the warm west to the freezing north wouldn’t be much fun if I only brought one of those bags. I usually put the really heavy camo in a big plastic tub for scent control, and that also makes it easier to pack other heavy items on top of it while we’re traveling.
Boots? All boots must also accompany us on these adventures. Sure, we have our favorites, but my muck boots need to be there if we get 5 inches of rain. My hiking boots better be there when we’re hiking the mountains, and we wouldn’t want to mix that up and only have one or the other when we’ve got extreme hunting conditions at every turn.
When we are on the road for weeks or months we stay in our 5th wheel toy hauler trailer. It’s 44ft long, and provides us with some of the comforts of home. I bring our Keurig coffee maker and I fill the freezer with wild game. We bring our Camp Chef oven and a bunch of cast iron pieces for cooking at campgrounds. When we say we’re “camping out” around the country, it’s really not that rough!
When we are at our actual home in Tennessee I try to keep things neat and organized. Unfortunately, that’s nearly impossible when we live this life. Camo everywhere, cameras everywhere, and months of backed up laundry is typical. It’s chaos at it’s very best. And I don’t mind if my dining room looks like Campbell’s Cameras just had an open house. We’ve chosen this hectic life, and that’s the key to success in a job like ours. You live it every day. Even when you could potentially take the day off, you choose not to.