This year I’m going to be running a lot of new gear, almost a surprising amount really. Gear is something that can get out of hand quickly, there is always someone thinking the gear will determine the outcome of the hunt and that’s not exactly the reality. Someone with a Wal-Mart camo set up, a cabelas bow and an REI backpack is gonna punch their tag and they may do it every year with that set up.
However I’ve spent a good number of years hunting with whatever I could afford, this year I’ve sold off extra gear even to the point of trying to sell my AR to fund the gear I want. I’m not under the impression gear will make or break the hunt but I’ve decided on certain pieces I wanted to use and test. Some of it is well proven by others, some is gear I’ve been watching and wondering why others aren’t using it, and some is stuff I stumbled across and had to try. As I’ve been doing some testing this week I figure I’ll give just a quick run down of the new gear I’m running for this year and why I chose to run it.
First off is the prime rival. I’d tested two Mathews last year and though they were nice shooting bows I wasn’t loving them. The rival picked up the quivilizer from last year but is still a fairly new piece and a new black gold 4 pin ascent sight was added to top it out. So far I’m loving this set up though the let off is a little high for my taste.
The Easton FMJ dangerous games are completely new. New arrow, new weight class, new vanes and since I stepped up to 125 grain heads I’ll be shooting different broadheads as well. Think I’ve got my broadhead picked but still deciding for sure. A hint is Im going along the lines of a fixed blade that you sharpen instead of replace the blades.
The Stone glacier got some use last year but not for a full season. I picked it up for the simplicity that comes with it as well as the reviews people had of it. Along the lines of well reviewed gear is my core heavy weight and Kelvin active jackets from sitka and the kifaru slick bag. I’d wanted these for some time and finally purchased them this year to replace cheaper versions of each. I also may order Maven binos once the AR sells, lots of great reviews and I’ve been running older binos for a while.
This year I am switching to a steripen for my water purification as the Sawyer saw some cold freezing nights and I worry about it doing it’s job in those situations. I also replaced my spot messenger with a delorme inreach as having a two way communication is better for me with the two young boys being home with my wife. I also am phasing out my salomon boots with some full leather stiffer lowas and using lathrop and sons synergy foot beds. I needed something stiffer and more waterproof and hope these meet those requirements. My old vortex tripod was replaced with a vanguard tripod because it just couldn’t hold the weight of that big 82mm scope.
I picked up an exped down mat syn7 on some mixed reviews and I’m hoping it works out, the first one popped a baffle while testing it in a hammock. Hoping that was a fluke since I love how warm and comfortable it is and really want it to last. They warrantied it basically without question, first time testing the replacement out my dog bit it and poked two small holes in it. Both sealed up good and it’s holding air again thankfully.
I’ve picked up two pieces that remain fairly untested in the hunting circles I follow but I’m expecting big things from them. First is my tipi shelter, a luxe outdoors hexpeak tipi. Keep an eye out for a review on it probably after some shed hunts this spring. I’ve used it around the property multiple times in the last month, I really do love it so far though. Two people plus their gear fits inside, tons of guy line points to secure it for any wind, takes about 5 minutes to set up and you get way more room than in my ultralight 2p tent I was running. Two pounds for the tipi, stakes, guy line, and a ground sheet means it weighs the same as the tent and is just as easy to pack. I had to order some trekking poles to set it up (can use a highline between two trees to erect it but I don’t want to rely on that) and grabbed some cascade mountains off Amazon. I have been wanting to try poles for a while and finally had the motivation.
The other piece of gear that’s kind of untested is one I stumbled across online and fit what I’ve wanted to do with my cook system. The solo stove lite is a beer can alcohol stove on steroids that will burn sticks. The 9oz double walled titanium set up allows air flow to create a hot flame with less smoke and ash. I’ve been testing it for a few days with tinder around the house, the small size of it does require some planning to get a good fire lit but once it starts this thing puts out some heat. The solo 900 pot weighs 7.8 ounces and the lite stove fits right in it with a total cook system weight at roughly the same of an eight ounce fuel canister. I also plan to slide the stove inside the tipi once fuel has burned down and there are just hot coals in the bottom. Thus using the extra heat to help with condensation and some warmth inside the tipi.
Remeber when it comes to new gear you better know how it works before heading into the field. The tipi takes planning for a good pitch, the stove takes some set up or it just smolders, going into the field without knowing that could bite you…
So as epic as the smell of new gear is make sure that new smell is rubbed off before hitting the field!!!