Showing posts with label Gear Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gear Review. Show all posts

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Don't Laugh, But Crocs are the Best!

I love my Crocs so much that they deserve their own post.  I'm not going to lie and claim that I came up with Crocs as being a critical piece of hunting gear.  No, that honour belongs to the Rookie Hunter Podcast.  Fuck! They were right!

Not only do I use my crocs around the house for taking out the trash or doing home renovation, but they are part of my critical kit whenever I am camping or hunting.

After a long day in hunting boots, it is great to take off the boots and pad around camp in a pair of Crocs.  They let your feet and boots air out, reducing moisture and the chance of blisters, and give you space to let your toes wiggle while you're sitting around the fire.  With a pair of wool socks, they are plenty warm for even sub-zero nights sitting around a fire, and as a bonus, they are quick to slip on for a midnight pee.  I've even used them to wade through a river crossing.  They weigh nothing and make no noise so you can strap them to the outside of your pack on backpack hunts.

There is one downside of bringing Crocs hunting.  You might get teased relentlessly.  Trust me, they are just jealous.  You won't be disappointed with having a pair of Crocs, and before you know it, others will be wanting their own too. 

Saturday 20 July 2019

Gear I Can and Can't Live Without

Everyone has gear that they love and gear that didn't live up to expectation.  Sometimes it can be quite costly to figure out what gear works for you.  Over the last 5 years I've tried to build my kit with a budget in mind and there are certainly some great scores and some things which have been disappointing.

Can't Live Without

Obviously my boots and rifle are critical, so here are some of the unsung heroes that I can't live without.

Under Armour UA Enduro Pants

These pants are semi-waterproof and incredibly durable.  I struggled a lot in the beginning with finding pants which didn't limit flexibility in the crotch and knees.  These pants are quite good for the price ($90).  I do plan to upgrade one more time and spend whatever money I need to get durable and flexible pants when I find the right ones, but for now these are definitely an 8.5/10 and way better than any other paint I have tried.

Saxx Long Leg Underwear
If you have muscular or thick thighs like I have, chafing is a serious concern.  Saxx long leg underwear are a life saver, and best of all, they are Canadian.

Wet Ones


No question, the best thing to ever happen to shitting in the woods.  Honestly, I might be cleaner when I am hunting.

Can Live Without


ALPS Outdoorz Crossfire 


This is really hard because I like ALPS Outdoorz products, but this pack has been disappointing if I'm honest. First, the top corners of the pack wore through within one season where the wire of the frame pushes them out.   I wish I could say I used it hard, but it happened from being put down on the grown and picked up a few times.   Second, this pack is just too small.  The frame pushes the bag so far off your back and that really eats up all of the internal space of the bag.  This bag can barely fit a sweater in addition to some essentials like TP and Wet Ones.  If I have to take a layer off I am almost always strapping it to the outside of this pack, where it can get wet.  In the store, this pack looked good and had so many features I liked.  It's too bad, but I'll be replacing it for sure.

Currently I am struggling with two options.  Option 1 is to get the Cabela's  2500 cubic inch bow and rifle pack to use for my day pack.  Option 2 is buying a top end backpack hunting pack and using it for both backpack hunts and as a day pack. 

Cabelas MT50 Pants

When I bought these pants I wanted Gore-Tex pants but didn't want to spend a ton of money.  These pants seemed like a good compromise.  They aren't terrible, but they have poor flexibility in the knees and crotch and I just find myself getting tired whenever I am hiking in these pants.  The worst part about these pants is the lack of fly.  It is such a hassle whenever you have to take a leak.  Definitely replacing these with better, more flexible, pants which have a fly.

Primos Trigger Sticks Tall

The concept is great, but they are lacking some key features and quality.  I bought the bipod version and it became clear in the field that the collapsed length is too long.  If you strap them to your pack they are either hitting branches above your head or clattering on your legs as you walk.

Next, the leg spread doesn't lock.  I have had it several times when the handle suddenly starts to tilt over and almost lets my rifle fall off.  You have to steady these too much for them to be good for steadying a shot.  Lastly, they seized up after a few years.  I took them apart and found that they had rusted inside where the mechanism allows the legs to telescope.  I ended up just taking off the yoke and adapting it to use with my much more compact spotting scope tripod so that I could use it as a shooting rest when I am not glassing.

When I looked at the new generation the overall weight is much heavier than a lightweight spotting scope tripod and the length of the bipod version is still just as long.

Wednesday 4 July 2018

Gear Review: Delorme inReach SE

Delorme inReach SE
One of the best things about being out in the woods is being unplugged.  The last time I went camping it took me several hours to slow down, relax, and adapt to being disconnected again.  It was fantastic once I could unwind.  However, being disconnected and out of cell phone range has its risks.

A few years ago, a tree fell and crushed by car, landing next to my tent while I slept inside, nearly killing me.  I was lucky enough to be in cell phone range and got help from my wife, father in law, and BCAA.  If that had happened way in the bush, or if my father in law had been chewed up by a grizzly back in 2015 during his encounter, being out of range of calling for help would have really increased the safety risk.

I decided to look into the various options for satellite communication for emergencies and checking in.  It was between the Spot and the Delorme inReach SE.  The Spot was $150 for the unit at the time and the InReach was $300.  I chose the InReach when I realized that with spot you have to sign up for a full year of coverage for $150 USD (Now its $175USD) vs. the inReach which you can activate one month at a time for about $25/month.  After one year, the inReach is cheaper than the Spot, and as a bonus, it has a lot more functionality.

One cool feature is the Garmin Earthmate app which allows you to connect to the inReach via Bluetooth with your phone.  Using the app or the inReach itself, you can send texts or preset messages.  You can also have it send tracking points automatically to any phone or email address. I set it to send my wife my location every few hours.  That way, in case something happens and I stop moving, or if I were unable to call for help myself, she would be able to notify rescuers of my location.

Garmin Earthmate Icon

Overall, I have to say I love the app and the device. It works pretty well most of the time.  I have had two experiences were it didn't send a message for long periods of time.  Once I was at the Coquihalla summit and tried sending a message and it didn't send for a few hours until I was back near Chilliwack. The next time I tried it I was camping near Harrison lake and it took about 30 minutes before it sent, but then I could send and receive regularly.  I submitted tickets to their customer service, but nothing became of those.  Since then I have tried it several more times without incident, so that's more reassuring.

As a friend of mine at work said, this device can turn a life threatening situation into a good story at the bar.  It has a handy SOS button which you can arm with a switch and then send with the SOS button.  I hope to never need to use it, but having it around gives real peace of mind.

I see that it has some cool mapping and way-point features.  I'll see if I can get those working and post an update when I figure those out.

All in all I would give the Delorme inReach SE a 4 out of 5 because of the connection issues.