Category Archives: Staff Picks

The BlackOvis Guide to Outdoor Gifts

Gift Guide

If you have a person in your life who loves the outdoors, holiday gift giving can be a real chore. Hunters can be very opinionated about their gear choices. Was that a nice way to say that? You never know what size, color or camo pattern they want. Everyone wants to give a great gift but we don’t always have the information we need to pick exactly the right thing. We polled our Gear Guide Team and came up with a few ideas that should work for the outdoors person in your life. For this list we tried to pick items that are legitimately solid gear choices, but that also should be welcomed by any outdoorsman. We have also tried to give a few options of similar gear in different price ranges. After all Michael Scott said it best… A gift is a way of telling someone hey man I love you this many dollars worth. IF you have any questions, need a couple more gift ideas or would like help placing an order please feel free to call one of our Gear Guides at 801-559-7556.

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First Lite Uncompahgre Jacket Review


My first impression of the First Lite Uncompahgre Puffy Jacket when I pulled it out of the package it arrived in was, ‘this is it?!’ I was expecting something much bulkier and heavier than what I was holding. I’ve read a lot of reviews on puffy jackets, and some of the comparison type reviews led me to believe that the Uncompahgre was much bulkier and heavier than comparable top of the line puffy jackets designed for hunters and outdoorsmen. I was surprised at how light it felt, and how thin it seemed. I was excited to put it to the test!

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Badlands Magnetic Binocular Pouch Review

I take my binoculars anywhere and everywhere outdoors every time I go. It doesn’t matter if I’m scouting, hunting, shed hunting, driving through the canyon, or even on a walk with my family in the foothills, I’ve always got my binoculars handy because you never know what Mother Nature has in store for you! When I started out hunting, I used/borrowed a pair of $50 binoculars that my dad kept in his closet but seldom used. I did my best to take care of them, but looking back I think I was actually pretty careless. I’d carry them around my neck on a strap with nothing more to protect them than a set of flip-off covers for the objective lenses and nothing covering the ocular lenses. Those binoculars took a beating, bouncing around on my chest all day and suffering whatever the elements had in store from sun, wind and dust, to rain and snow.


When I decided it was time to get serious about my optics and that I needed an upgrade in the binocular department, I knew that before I ever purchased a high end set of binoculars, I needed to figure out a good carry system for them. I had to have the carrying system selected and purchased before I purchased the new binoculars or else I’d be too tempted to take them out and use them just once or twice or maybe twenty times before I got around to purchasing the carrying system. I had made up my mind to not let that happen. One reason I was so adamant about having the carry system before buying the binoculars was that I’d had a friend who bought new binoculars and took them out into the field before getting a carrying case. Long story short, he ended up dropping them while coming down a wet hillside when he fell and actually cracked one of the lenses. I did not want to chance ending up in that situation!

When I first began researching the options available for binocular carrying cases, I was a little naïve in my selection process. I knew I wanted 10×42 binoculars, a pouch that rode on my chest, and something that offered complete protection when shut. That was about the extent of my criteria. I looked up different options online and read about them, but what eventually helped sway my decision was some input from close friends to get the Badlands Magnetic Binocular Pouch.


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Black Ovis Ready-To-Hunt Kill Kit – Product Review

By Tyler McCluskey

The 2016 hunting season was rapidly approaching and I was in the market for some new game bags for the year. I looked into a bunch of different options and brands but had a hard time deciding on what I wanted to go with. I have had some bad experiences with some cheap bags in the past, either not holding meat well, bugs getting in, or bags ripping, so I definitely wanted to get some quality bags this time and save myself the headache.

Ovis Sack Kill Kit

After some solid searching, I found BlackOvis had started making their own high quality meat bags called “Ovis Sacks” and not only that, they put together a Ready-To-Hunt kill kit that included them. The Kill kit they put together was awesome, it comes in two different sizes and had all the essentials needed for when you get your animal down. The difference in size kits determines the size of the meat bags that it comes with, the options to chose from were large and extra large. Each Kit comes with 40′ of light weight flagging tape for marking your blood trails, a pair of latex rubber gloves, a 5’x3′ plastic sheet for laying out your meat and keeping it clean as you break your animal down, and they give you the option of three knives to choose from. I thought it was super cool they gave you the option of knives, you can choose from a Havalon, Outdoor Edge, and a Gerber Vital. I chose the Large kit and went with the Gerber Vital, the large bags sounded perfect for me, and I have used the Gerber Vital before and really like Gerber products.

Ovis Sack Game Bags

As usual with BlackOvis orders, I received my package very fast. I opened up the kit, and checked out all the included items, I could not have been happier with every thing! The kit came with all the items described above and five meat bags, four 16″x24″ quarter bags, and one 14″x18″ meat parts bag for backstraps, tenderloins, and other bits you want to bring home. The meat bag construction was on point! They are made from Taslan nylon, so they are super strong and durable, they breath extremely well and are machine washable. They have a sewed on reflective strip around the entire bottom, great for spotting your bags hanging at night with your head lamp, and the draw string on the top is solid as a rock. Being the gear nerd that I am, first thing I did with the meat bags was a durability test and they passed with flying colors. I put a 50 lbs sand bag in them and did a hang and drop test, the bags handled the weight like a champ! The seems didn’t even look stressed and they hold their shape with the weight which is crucial for when packing out, nothing worse then your meat balling up in the bottom of you pack on the pack out.

Overall I feel BlackOvis knocked this Kill Kit out of the park, it has all the essential items you need for when the real work begins. the only thing I personally plan to add to the kit, is some 1.8mm reflective guyline for hanging my bags when the time comes. It is super light weight and small and fits perfect in kit. If you are in the market for some new game bags this season, I highly recommend the “Ovis Sacks” and spending a few extra bucks and getting the kill kit, you will not be disappointed.


Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400 Hunting Boot – Product Review

Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400 Review

By Ben Blakeley

Kanetrek1The picture above was taken a few weeks ago right before I hiked up a fairly steep bush-covered hill to a water hole to set a trail camera.  The Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400’s have taken me many such places, and I’ve logged hundreds of miles in them, from hunting and scouting the high country, backpacking in to new areas to get the lay of the land and try to find a big buck, shed hunting in the snow and mud across several states, and everywhere in between.  I have worn these boots for any and all outdoor activities for over 2 years now, and while the wear and tear is starting to show, they’re definitely still going strong.

Instead of starting out by listing the manufacturer’s specs on the boots (you can find these pretty easy with a quick Google search), I’ll get right into my personal experiences with them.

Initial fit and break-in

These have been my first ‘high-end’ pair of hunting boots.  Prior to these, I had Asolo boots, and while they were pretty decent boots, I figured if I’m going to hunt/backpack/scout in all sorts of terrain and weather, I needed a pair of boots that can stand up to whatever I’m going to encounter.  The Asolo’s I’d been using had many of the qualities that I wanted, but they definitely weren’t water-proof, they weren’t insulated, and the sole wasn’t as stiff as I’d like and resulted in my foot shifting in the foot bed and getting sore while side-hilling or hiking in extremely uneven terrain.  I remember one general season deer hunt I used them on, it had snowed early, and while that is what most people long for so that the bucks will be moving more, I simply remember having cold feet for most of the hunt.  So after that season, I determined that my next gear upgrade had to be a better pair of boots.  There were two main reasons I selected the Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400’s:

  1. A local sporting goods store had them in stock so that I could try them on and see how they fit before buying (this is crucial!).
  2. A recommendation from a friend who’d used them for years and really liked them.

Now, I would highly recommend that when making such an important decision such as what new hunting boots to buy, that you put more into your research and selection of boots than I did at the time!  But, as luck would have it, I feel that I ended up with a definite winner with these boots.   I will say that for me personally, I’ve found over the years and through trying on many different pairs of shoes/boots for running, basketball, and hiking, that my feet aren’t very ‘picky’ for lack of a better term; I’ve never had a pair of shoes or boots that I can remember that I just couldn’t wear due to extreme fit or discomfort issues.  Call it luck or call it ignorance, but I feel I’ve been pretty lucky in that respect.

Anyway, trying on the Kenetreks was really important to me.  My general rule back then and still to this day is that if I put a boot on straight out of the box, lace it up and walk around in it and feel any immediate discomfort, this is not the boot for me.  Now, I have since modified this test to take it even a step further in order to mimic a real life situation on the mountain: the first thing I would do after buying a new pair of boots is lace them up and walk up some stairs.  If you feel painful amounts of pressure on your heels, take them back, because these are not the right boots for you.  That pressure and pain you feel on your heels will not go away even after a long break in period and will always be there when you climb. Continue reading

Jason – Staff Picks

Check out the Solid.HUNTING.Gear that the staff here at BlackOvis uses and are familiar with. Thinking of buying a product but not sure how it performs? Check out if any of us use it and give us a call!



Hunting Style: Archery
Favorite Species: Mule Deer
Dream Hunt: Red Stag
Next Gear Purchase: Exo 3500 Pack
Other Pursuits: Fly Fishing

Weapon Setup

Bow: Prime Alloy/Open Country 28″ Draw, 70 lbs
Sight: Black Gold Ascent 3 Pin
Rest: Blue QAD HDX Drop Away Rest
Release: Scott Samurai
Stabilizer: Bee-Stinger 8″ Sport Hunter
Arrows (and weight): Carbon Express Blue Streak 350 Spine
Quiver: Tight Spot 5 Arrow
Broadhead: Trophy Taker Ulmer Edge Mechanical, and Grim Reaper Razortip Mechanical

Clothing Setup

Body Type: Short and Stocky
Height: 5’7″
Weight: 260 lbs

Jacket: Sitka Jetstream 2XL, Core4Element Element Jacket 2xL
Pant (summer): Sitka Ascent Pant 42R, Core4Element Highline Pant 40R
Pant (winter): Sitka Timberline Pant 42R, Core4Element Element Pant 40R
Base Layer Top(s): Sitka Core Crew 3XL, Core4Element Pivot 2XL
2nd Layer Shirt(s): Sitka Traverse Hoodie 3XL, Core4Element Assault 2XL
Base Layer Bottom: Core4Element 190 Merino Bottom 2XL
Gloves: Core4Element Assault Glove L, Sitka Jetstream Glove L
Rain Jacket: Core4Element Torrent Rain Jacket 2XL
Rain Pant: Core4Element Torrent Rain Pant XL
Footwear: Lowa Renegade Size 10
Socks: Darn Tough Micro Crew, Lorpen T3 Light Hiker
Other: Any neutral color trucker hat

Essential Gear

Binos: Zeiss Terra ED 10×42
Spotting Scope: Vortex Razor HD 16-48×65 Angled
Knife: Havalon Piranta
Game Bag: Caribou Gear Muley Meat on the Bone
Pack: Easton Pickup Pack Max1
Trekking Poles: Easton Carbon CTR 70
Tent: Big Agnes Copper Spur 3P Mountain Glow Tent
Sleeping Bag: Big Agnes Lost Ranger
Stove: Jetboil flash
Rangefinder: Vortex Ranger 1000
Bino Harness: Badlands Bino Case
Headlamp: Princeton Tec Remix Pro

Chris – Staff Picks

Check out the Solid.HUNTING.Gear that the staff here at BlackOvis uses and are familiar with. Thinking of buying a product but not sure how it performs? Check out if any of us use it and give us a call!



Hunting Style: Archery
Favorite Species: Mule Deer
Dream Hunt: Desert Bighorn
Next Gear Purchase: Big Agnes Sleep System
Other Pursuits: Bow Technician, Hiking/Camping, Backpacking, Family

Weapon Setup

Bow: Xpedition Xcentric SD, Draw Length: 26.5″, Poundage: 68 lbs
Strings: Pro-Line Bowstrings
Sight: Spot Hogg Fast Eddie XL Adjustable Sight
Rest: Hamskea Archery Hybrid Hunter Pro Rest
Release: Scott Backspin (Levi Edition), Scott Sigma Thumb Release
Stabilizer: Stokerized Stasis 15″ (w/Quick Disconnect)
Arrows (and weight): GoldTip Kinetic Kaos (400)
Quiver: Tight Spot 3 Arrow
Broadhead: Kudu Point, Epek Headhunter, Wac’em 4 Blade

Clothing Setup

Body Type: Slim, average
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 175 lbs

Jacket: First Lite Halstead (M),Under Armour Early Season 03 Jacket (M) Kryptek Borealis (M)
Insulation: Kryptek Kratos II Jacket (M) First Lite Cirrus Puffy Jacket (M)
Pant(s): First Lite Kanab 2.0 Pants (M), Kryptek Valhalla Pant (M) Under Armour Early Season  03 Pants (M)
Base Layer Top: First Lite Minaret Long Sleeve (M) Kryptek Merino QZ (M)
Base Layer Bottom: First Lite Allegheny Bottoms (M) Kryptek Merino Bottom (M)
Gloves: 46Rail Precision Gloves (M), First Lite Merino Glove (M), Kryptek Gunslinger (M) Under Armour Infrared Speed Freek Glove (M)
Rain Jacket: First Lite Boundary Stormtight Jacket
Rain Pant: Coming Soon
Footwear: Solomon Speedcross CS (8), Under Armour Fat Tire Low GTX  (8) Crispi Nevada GTX Hunting Boot (8.5)
Socks: Darn Tough Micro Crew
Other: BlackOvis Anchor Point Belt (M)

Essential Gear

Binos: Vortex Talon HD 10X42
Spotting Scope: [NEW] Vortex Razor HD 85mm – Angled
Knife: Outdoor Edge Razor-Lite
Game Bag: Caribou Gear, Ovis Sacks
Pack: Badlands Diablo, Easton Bowhunter, Slumberjack Snare Pack
Trekking Poles: Easton Hike Carbon 3
Tent: Coming Soon
Sleeping Bag: Coming Soon
Stove: jetboil Flash Lite Stove
Rangefinder: Vortex Ranger 1000
Bino Harness: Alaska Guide Creations C.U.B. Bino Harness

Kendall – Staff Picks

Check out the Solid.HUNTING.Gear that the staff here at BlackOvis uses and are familiar with. Thinking of buying a product but not sure how it performs? Check out if any of us use it and give us a call!



Hunting Style: Archery
Favorite Species: Elk
Dream Hunt: Dall Sheep Hunt
Next Gear Purchase:
Other Pursuits: Trail running, family, backcountry skiing

Weapon Setup

Bow: Hoyt Spyder 34, Draw Length: 30.5″, Poundage: 70 lbs
Sight: Black Gold Pure 75, 4 pin slider
Rest: Trophy Taker Smackdown Pro
Release: Scott Sabertooth
Stabilizer: Hoyt Fuse 10″
Arrows (and weight): Easton Injection FMJ – 491 grains
Quiver: Tight Spot 5 Arrow
Broadhead: Grim Reaper Fatal Steel Deep 6 100 grain, Strickland’s Helix Deep 6 100 grain

Clothing Setup

Body Type: Slim, tall
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 200 lbs

Jacket: Sitka Jetstream XL
Pant(s): Sitka Mountain Pant 34T, Sitka Timberline Pant 36T, Core4Element Switchback 34T
Shirt(s): Sitka Core Hoody Large, Traverse Zip T Large, Core4Element Pivot 1/4 Zip Large
Base Layer Top: Core4Element 190 Merino 1/4 Zip
Base Layer Bottom: Core4Element 190 Merino Bottom
Gloves: Sitka Shooter Gloves L, Core4Element Assault Glove L, Sitka Jetstream Glove L
Rain Jacket: Sitka Dewpoint Jacket XL
Rain Pant: Sitka Cloudburst Pant, LT
Footwear: Crispi Nevada 11.5 (46), Danner Pronghorn 200 gram insulated 12
Socks: Darn Tough Micro Crew, Lorpen T3 Light Hiker
Other: Sitka Cap, Sitka Kelvin Lite Vest

Essential Gear

Binos: Vortex Razor HD 10×42
Spotting Scope: Zeiss Diascope 65 Angled
Knife: Havalon Piranta, Kershaw Skinner
Game Bag: Caribou Gear
Pack: Mystery Ranch Metcalf, Sitka Alpine Ruck
Trekking Poles: Easton Carbon 5
Tent: Easton Kilo 2P
Sleeping Bag: Big Agnes Zirkle 20
Stove: Primus Eta Lite
Rangefinder: Vortex Ranger 1000
Bino Harness: Sitka Bino Bivy