I love camp stoves. For me, it isn’t difficult to explain why they continually draw my attention to that section of the website over and over again. I like shopping for stoves because of what they represent. When I’m confined to the valley floors, slugging it out in the concrete jungle, I need hope. I need to see light at the end of the tunnel. I need to know that I’ll be back on the mountain again soon. When I see a camp stove, my mind drifts off to dark mornings and hot coffee. I can almost smell the pre-dawn air. In my minds eye, I’m watching the sun creep down the hillside on its way down to the valley below. The birds are in full chorus. Mule deer are hastily grabbing every last bite of food as they disappear into the shadows. My world is coming alive and for that brief moment, as I shop for camp stoves, the business of life is put on hold and I am free. That’s why I love camp stoves!
Have you ever noticed how certain smells, images or a song can instantly transport you back to a former place and time? When I look at stoves, I remember the days spent sitting in the snow with a stove boiling water between my feet. I see my stoves and I remember melting snow on a scouting trip. I remember hiking with my son in the summer until we reached snow line. My mind drifts off to backpack camping with my daughter through the Jewel Basin. I can shop for stoves and reminisce for hours!
When it comes time to choose a camp stove or a cooking system, there really is “a tool for every job”. So let’s begin by asking the most basic of all questions, “what is the task that we need our stove to accomplish”? Essentially, we’re looking for a heat source. Preferably a heat source that is a smidge smaller than my barbeque grill and a lot more efficient than my smoker.
I’m a bit of a brute. My friends & family call it “The Howard Syndrome”. If there’s a weakness or a design flaw in anything that I use, that item simply will not survive. This is important for you to know, because it affects the way I approach my gear choices. I am really, really rough on my gear. It isn’t intentional. I pay good money for my gear & I would never ruin my stuff on purpose. Destruction just sort of happens…
Additionally, I primarily hunt the mountains of Montana. This requires a lot of effort including large swings in elevation everytime I go into the woods. So, when it came time to choose a knife, I had three main criterion:
Spring is slowly fading into summer. Many of us have already been out on the mountain after turkeys, bear, or shed horns. Draw results have been announced in most states with a couple states set to release results in the next few weeks. We have had all winter to think back on the past season and consider what gear worked, what didn’t and what we need to upgrade. This is the time of year for us to start researching and making decisions on what new gear we are going to add to our kit for the upcoming season. With that in mind I wanted to do a quick review on Marmot sleeping bags. Whether you are an experienced backcountry hunter or someone fairly new, Marmot has a bag with specific features and a price point that will work for you. In this write up I will cover a few Marmot specific features and then give a quick example of a Good, Better, and Best option.
Marmot has been making outdoor gear since 1974 and was the first to use Gore-Tex fabrics in sleeping bags. Because of this long history they have been able to fine tune their sleeping bag line with a few specific features not found in other bags.
The Badlands XR Bino Harness is a serious game changer. If you’re looking for a way to comfortably and easily carry your binos and rangefinder in one, then look no further, the XR bino harness will be your new favorite piece of hunting gear.
The setup has a separate compartment for your binos as well as your rangefinder, so you won’t have to worry about your lens’s getting scratched from rubbing together. The bino compartment fits most 10×50 and smaller binos. If you do have a smaller pair of binos, this harness has an adjustable shelf that lies between the bino compartment and the rangefinder compartment. So, whether your binos or rangefinder need more (or less) room, it is completely adjustable to fit your gear.
One of the greatest things about this harness is the fact that there are no zippers. Zippers create unwanted noise and frustration when you’re trying to get your gear out in a hurry and a zipper gets caught up. They instead use magnets, you may be wondering if these magnets don’t hold very good and fall open constantly, the answer to that is they hold a lot better than you’d expect. The magnets are strong enough to hold the flap on tight to the compartment, even if you bump the flaps or get hung up on something, they still will hold tight. I’ve taken my harness on a lot of hunting trips and I’ve never had either compartment come loose, allowing my gear to fall out.
For years Sitka’s 90% series ruled the game in terms of comfortable and quiet technical hunting apparel. However, with advancements in textile development and consumer demand, the 90% series was overshadowed over the course of a time and consequently discontinued. Many fans of 90% were very sad to see it go and wondered what could possibly replace it.
For 2018 Sitka answered that question with their new APEX series. Designed for the spot and stalk hunter who demands silence and performance out of their gear no matter what.
The APEX series features the APEX Hoody, APEX Pant, and APEX Pack. All are purpose built to be extremely quiet, comfortable, and practical for hunters that prefer to sneak up on their intended quarry. I was lucky enough to put these pieces to the test on an OTC Arizona Mule Deer hunt in January of this year and I was very impressed.
Getting familiar with your bow is the number one most important step when you’re getting ready for your hunt. From learning to make adjustments on your bow to knowing what components work best with your set up.
When you’re learning to make adjustments to your bow, some great things to know how to do include: changing the draw weight, adjusting the draw length, and adjusting your sight and rest. If you are out hunting and an accident happens that moves your sight or rest loose, knowing how to adjust both is going to save your whole hunt.
Another part of getting to know your bow would be knowing what arrows and broadheads work the best with your set up. A great option for finding the perfect arrows is the BlackOvis.com Custom Arrow ID. This allows you to completely build your arrows from top to bottom making them the perfect match for you and your bow.
If you love spending time outdoors, I’m sure you’ve come to realize how vital your base layers are to the quality of your overall experience. Base layers provide warmth and comfort, and a good base layer is probably one of the most underrated pieces of equipment we have at our disposal as outdoorsmen. When the guys at BlackOvis mentioned to me that they were interested in comparing their BlackOvis brand of base layer with one of the industry leaders in merino base layers – First Lite – I was all over the idea. I don’t think you can have enough base layers, because as the temps drop you can just throw one on over top of the other and layer to keep warm. From late October on, if I’m out in the field, I almost always have at least 2 light to midweight base layers on.
We know that keeping up with gear can be a little cumbersome and finding out what’s the latest and greatest year over year can be a little tricky. Today I wanted to go over everything Mystery Ranch for 2018 including the additions, what’s going away, and why you need to pack out with a Mystery Ranch this season!
Let’s start with what’s discontinued. Starting as of this year (2018) Mystery Ranch is going away from the Multicam pattern. While it might be an awesome pattern, Mystery Ranch is eliminating it from the Hunting lineup and is keeping the pattern focused on the Military side. They are also going to be fading out some of their small day packs like the Crest.
When it comes to footwear and choosing your gear for the upcoming season the single most overlooked pieces of gear is your socks. What the average person doesn’t understand is that most hunting socks are built with a specific purpose. Some are made to be light and quick, some are meant to provide more cushion in your boot. One of the leading brands out there in our industry is Darn Tough, and they are the prime example of what makes a good sock. It’s a story of survival, a story of hard work, a story of never giving up, and all of those things make their socks “DARN TOUGH”.
Below is a film that Darn Tough put together last year that dives into the history and what makes a good sock. Definitely give it a watch when you have some free time. With that being said let’s dive into how and why to choose the right sock for you.
Let’s face it you guys, factory fletchings is a thing of the past. Grabbing a dozen arrows off the shelf that are already pre-fletched is great and easy to grab last minute, but what if we told you that you could create a dozen custom arrows, see a preview of what they’d actually look like, and have them built and shipped within 48 hours…