There is a lot of interest in the concept of home is where you “park it” with regards to vans, campers, etc. and the idea of being mobile and wherever you find yourself at the end of a day road-tripping or traveling, you put the rig in park, and you are, effectively, “home”.
For backcountry hunters, this concept is more personal, as we typically carry our “home” on our backs; this may be tents, tarps or bivis, but the shelter and assorted gear we carry had to arrive via our own horsepower, some serious effort, and all of it stowed away in our backpacks. I for one, put considerable thought into what I will carry based on the season, weather and conditions, but regardless of what I am carrying, and where I will eventually stop for the day and call a flat spot in the timber or near a ridge “home”, my backpack is one of the most critical pieces of gear I own. It stores my food, water and warm layers. It keeps all of it clean and dry, and if everything goes right, it will help me carry out an elk or deer, the heavy quarters and rack loaded securely in my pack for the long haul out.
After the season has come to a close, and I clean and organize the gear used and abused, take stock of what needs to be fixed or replaced, I always make sure the pack gets a good dose of scrutiny; that thing needs to be clean and dry, and ready to roll for next season. It is interesting how I can look at it and recall certain hunts because of a specific blood stain or bit of pine sap or smudges of charred timber from a decade old burn. I put my pack through a fair bit of abuse, and whenever I pull it out for a scouting day or training with some sandbags, it gets my excited for the excursions ahead. I know that thing will be with me every step of the way, as important as my binoculars or bow, boots or rain gear. The pack evokes travel, effort and adventure. It is safety and efficiency, and a way for me to be prepared and fully mobile. At the end of the day, it is just a pack. And that pack has allowed me to experience some amazing country, soul-crushing loads and adventures.