Here’s the scenario: You just passed your hunter education course and posted your success to Twitter, Facebook and — let’s not forget — Instagram. You’re finally done, but what’s next? You’re not about to just stroll out to your lease or public land with a rifle or shotgun, are you? No way, man! Now you need to do the second-best thing about hunting, which is the first-best thing besides actually hunting — collecting the right gear! After all, Wal-Mart and Bass Pro Shops will be a long way away if you find yourself out in the field unprepared.

There are some basic items you should just have, like a first aid kit, a GPS device or cellphone, and plenty of blaze orange for public land hunts. However, walking into an outdoor retail store can be a bit overwhelming because you’re going to see more choices of camo, boots, knives, tree stands, and every other piece of hunting equipment than you ever imagined. So, we asked a few friends — highly-qualified and experienced friends — to recommend gear that they thought new hunters should pick up.

1. KUIU GearKUIU

Recommended by Will at “The Will to Hunt”

What he says: “Buy the best clothing and boots you can afford. I use KUIU, but there are several great companies out there. You can kill an animal with a budget weapon, bow or gun, but you can’t kill them if you’re not out there. Being comfortable is the best thing you can do to help your odds of being successful. The more comfortable you are the longer you can stay out, and thus you’re more likely to be there when the opportunity arises!”

Check out other gear recommended by Will.

2. LaCrosse Boots

Recommended by Mitch Strobl of Kalkomey

What he says: “GOOD BOOTS! Don’t skimp on boots. If your feet aren’t comfy, then your hunt simply won’t be as enjoyable as it should be. There’s nothing worse than cold and/or wet feet! Consider your environment and get good boots that fit not only your feet, but the conditions in which you are hunting. I’ve worn the LaCrosse Hunt Pac Extreme boots for some time now and have been very happy with them.

“I’d also recommend a great backpack.

It’s amazing how much gear you will accrue over the years. Get a good backpack that’s waterproof, quiet, and comfortable. There are many brands to choose from, but Tenzing is the first one that comes to mind. As with any hunting gear, it’s worth spending your hard-earned cash on something that is durable and comfortable. The type of pack you buy will depend greatly on the type of game you pursue.”

3. Zeiss Sports Optics

Recommended by Mia Anstine

What she says: “Gear is an important part of the hunt. A reliable firearm is important, but the quality of the optics on top is more important. Don’t skimp on your scope. Remember to take care of your scope. Practice acquiring your target at the range, and remember to look at the target in and out of the ocular. This will help you to see what is around and beyond your target when you are on the hunt. Good luck and happy hunting!” Mia’s favorite gun accessory is the Zeiss Conquest variable scope.

 

And something a bit extra…

4. SlideBelts Survival Belts

Recommended by Gear Junkie

“Why poke holes in a perfectly good piece of leather?”

We didn’t have a great answer for that question, but we stumbled upon this gear item on Kickstarter. If you’re not familiar with the site, it’s a platform where businesses and individuals can raise funds and build awareness for their products or ideas. SlideBelts has been around since 2007, but this year they’ve unveiled plans to add a new line of survival belts.

There are three types of belts: original, wild side, and survival – each equipped with a different level of features. We won’t lie – we have our eyes on the hunter and explorer belts.  Just think how convenient it would be to have a GPS within your belt buckle. Watch the video for more ways the belt can be used.