Essential Gear - Initial Ascent

Essential Gear

By Ethan Patement

            Everyone has a piece of gear or an accessory that they won’t leave the house without. For most its boots, packs, bows, scopes, etc.  These pieces are vital to almost every hunt or outdoor adventure but, my personal must-have is one of the smallest pieces I carry, a hip belt pouch.

        Initial Ascent has just added a larger size to their offerings. The large comes in at 5.5”w x  7.5” t x 3” deep. The IA small is 5”w x 7”t x 2” deep and is the perfect thing to carry spare bear spray rounds (I’m partial to the 44-mag flavor), snacks and my emergency first aid kit.  This kit isn’t anything fancy, it’s duct tape and electrical tape wrapped around a sharpie, packs of gauze, athletic tape, some pain pills and a Spot satellite communicator. But it is enough to stop bleeding.

         For those of us that follow Corey Jacobsen and the Destination Elk series, you will recall an Oregon elk episode where they are hunting in thick brush and an arrow slipped from a member of their party’s quiver. The broad head embeds itself into the gentleman’s calf. They were able to get him safely out and to the hospital, but this moment hit home for me. I bow hunt solo. If this happened to me, would I be able to make it to help?

          For a while I packed a larger kit in my bag. Over a few seasons, I narrowed the items I would need down to what will get me back to the truck with what I have on my hip belt. Why would I carry this on my hip? Why not carry it in the top pouch of my pack where there’s more space? The answer is simple. Access. I am 6’3” and 250 pounds without gear on. If I have an injury requiring pressure, I may not be able to take my pack off to get to the other pouches. My hip belt pouch is easily accessible. I can open it with one hand, and it has what I need in it.  It’s a piece of gear that is so often under looked, and I hope I never have to use what’s in it, but I will always have a hip pouch in the woods. It can be a life saver.


Ethan and his wife live in Missoula, Montana where he works as a construction manager and is co-owner of Red Patch Outdoors. he is passionate about big game hunting and brining new hunter sun to the sport. With the demands on his time, Ethan lives the weekend warrior lifestyle during season to provide meat for his family and friends.
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