Archive for the ‘gear’ Category

Getting ready for hunting season – it’s never too early!

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

There are 140 days left until my first big game hunting season begins!  I count down to opening day like some count down to Christmas day. I haven’t heard back yet on which licenses that I got in the state drawings – and I am still waiting to apply for some.  But it is never too early to start preparing for the upcoming season!

At the end of every season, I make a list of things that I need to repair and new equipment that I want to buy. For example I would like a new water heater to attach to our big wall tent stove.

As spring rolls around I start to go through my lists and prioritize.  My first list is usually things that I need to bring or things that I own that would be handy to bring. My second list is usually those items that need to be repaired. Things like holes in a tent, new soles on my favorite hunting boots, carpet strips for the floor and the like. My third list is usually makes up things that I need to buy. I usually place things on this list in the order of importance, because being a budget minded hunter I need to make sure that the things that are on top of my list are things that are a must have for the upcoming season. By doing this early on, I am able to budget the must have purchases out over the remaining months before the season starts.  That way, I can get things one at a time and not end up short of cash when the hunting season finally begins. Also, during the off-season, most hunting equipment is on sale.   Sometimes things on the list of items to be repaired end up on the list of things to be bought.   

What’s on your list? What do you do to keep track of those things that you need to add or subtract to your gear to make your outing more enjoyable? Let me know.

What’s the best backpack for hunting?

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

A good backpack is a necessity for hunting in Colorado.  Up until a few years ago I always used the typical blue-light special backpack. You know the kind. The flimsy nylon kind with the shoulder straps that barely fit and they only hold about 1000 cubic inches of gear. At the end of the day it would feel like your arms were going to fall off because the straps had cut off almost all of the blood that was flowing through them. So last summer after reading reviews and fit testing a number of packs, I bit the bullet and spent the big money on a day pack. I am not necessarily trying to plug a particular brand.  I am really telling you what a great pack I show you that a quality pack can make a huge difference in your day in the field.  I had several “must have” qualities that my pack had to have before I would even consider looking at it:

  1. At least 2200 cubic inches. Size is important because I am a fairly big guy -  6’1” and 260 lbs.  I need something that I can wear over a fleece and a sweatshirt.
  2. Water bladder compatible (meaning it had a water bladder or I could add my own.)  Water bladders have become a necessity for me.   I was introduced to them back when I used a rudimentary homemade kind in the SFAS class in the service. There we just took some surgical tubing and stuck it through the top of our 2qt. canteen and then used a golf tee for a stopper. It worked fairly well, but after using the ones that are on the market today there is no comparison.
  3. Comfortable shoulder straps, a hip belt and a chest strap. I can not say enough good things about having these. I can wear my pack all day, with or without a load and my shoulders still feel fresh at the end of the day.
  4. Lots of exterior pockets. This is a must. I can’t speak for everyone else but I am constantly needing a place of easy access to put extra shells, compass, food, knives, and the ever important TP!
  5. Built to haul a load of meat out of the back country. Load bearing. If I am a few miles back in from camp, I need a pack that I can haul a load of meat out on the first trip.

After much research and budget minded searching I bought the Badlands 2200. It is 2200 cubic inches and it fits a 96oz. water bladder.  The shoulder straps and hip belt are molded to fit the contour of your body.  It has 5 exterior pockets.  I have used it now on 12 hunts and carried it more miles than I care to think with no problems.  If I got to talk to the designers, I would ask them to make the two exterior wing pockets full size instead of tapered.   Other than that, it is perfect for me.

I know that there are several other great brands out there such as Eberstock and Kifaru to name a couple.  I would enjoy hearing your views about them.

How to shop for outdoor gear on eBay

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Today I was reading a post by Kristine over at Hunt Smart, Think Safety about shopping on eBay for outdoor gear. Speaking from experience, shopping on eBay for outdoor gear is a great idea. I have found good deals on all types of gear from backpacks and knives to insulated underwear and even hunting blinds. I think that it is a great way for people to unload equipment they don’t want, outgrew, or never needed to begin with. For outdoorsmen and women that are budget minded, eBay provides a great shopping opportunity.

When I need something like a backpack, I research it online on stores like Cabelas, Sportsmans Wearhouse and blogs.  When I bought my last backpack, I found the best rated items online.  When I had narrowed my list down to three, and I went to local stores that sold them to check them out. I felt them, tried them on and then narrowed my list down to one.  Back home, I went to eBay and ended up buying the backpack that I had wanted for $75 less than I would have spent at the store. Now you say that “Wow, that took a lot of time.” Well it did take some time and granted my time is worth money, but I felt like I found a good deal. I had a heck of a lot of fun doing the research and I was able to purchase a very good product that had everything that I was looking for.

I am very particular in the hunting gear that I purchase. If you do not believe me ask anyone that has every tried to buy me a Christmas or birthday present! Do I spend what I can afford to get the best equipment that I want? You bet. Do I mind saving a couple of green backs in the process? Of course not! So far, shopping and price matching online has been the best way I have found to save money on outdoor gear.

Let me hear your experiences, good and bad.