Special gear for Slam quests

Pursuing Slams often requires air travel, which limits your gear. Here’s how Jeff Budz pares down his equipment for long trips.

As much as I love driving to many states, it makes more sense to fly to several. Then, instead of throwing everything I can fit into my F-150, I must think about what I need to get the job done and stay as comfortable as possible — while keeping each of my checked bags and carry-ons at less than 50 pounds.

I’ve been soaking wet, freezing cold and sleep-deprived while sitting in one spot with a root poking my rump all day in hopes of punching a tag. Most times, it worked, but a few times, it didn’t. I’ve learned a few travel-gear adjustments to make things much more comfortable.

The best item I’ve ever purchased is a hard double bow case with which to travel. It lets me take one or two guns and a bow, if needed, plus a bunch of clothes before reaching my weight limit. The bow case is hard, so it protects contents within. Plus, it locks.

The only “luxury” item that’s difficult to justify is my turkey lounger chair. It’s bulky but worthwhile if you have to sit in one place. It’s especially handy because you don’t need a tree to lean against.

Hot-hand pockets are cheap, easy items that require little space. They really take the edge off when spring storms roll in and temps suddenly drop. Lightweight boots and a good waterproof jacket and pants are also musts. I’ve survived all temps with multiple layers, finished with my waterproof top and bottom. If you really want to nail it, insulated Muck Boots are the bomb for keeping your feet dry and warm.

I always have my Havalon knife, some single bills for tipping, a few rolls of quarters for the car wash and rental truck, and a tripod for my phone to help with pictures. When I get a rental and begin driving, a stop at the nearest Walmart is a must. I ask for several cardboard boxes so I can line the floors of the rental. That step will save you aggravation and possibly money by keeping mud off the carpet.

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