Wild Alaskan Salmon Seafood

2015 Gear of the Year Awards

Josh Kuntz

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2013
Messages
182
I am a member of Backpacking Light and one of the things they do each year on their forum is have the "staff" pick their personal Gear of the Year. I thought it would be interesting and helpful if the Hunt Talk community did the same here. It's a simple idea, just list the gear YOU PERSONALLY USED that impressed you this year. It can be new stuff or something with many seasons of use that once again proved valuable. My list is below in no particular order. For the record, I am not sponsored by any company. Just trying to provide an avenue for gear feedback.

1. Seek Outside Unaweep 4800 - This pack can compress down so small and so quickly that I use it on short day hikes even though it is designed for heavy loads. I used it to pack 4 elk out of the mountains this year and had almost ZERO hip and shoulder pain with some loads in the 70-80 lb range for over 6 hours. Simply put, the Unaweep 4800 is incredibly versatile and tough enough to handle big weight. Oh, and it is waterproof!

2. First Lite Corrugate Guide Pant - These nylon pants have incredible stretch, very good DWR, fantastic durability, minimal "sag" when wet or worn for several days and a great pocket design. I was allowed to test a pair on one backpacking trip and upon returning home, I immediately purchased 2 pair and I wear them more than any other pants I own.

3. Mountain Hardwear Scree Gaiter - Light and tough as nails. Many seasons of abuse and they keep on keepin on.

4. Montbell Ex Light Down Anorak - Easily the warmest and most comfortable ultralight down jacket I have owned. And it looks stylish enough to wear to a restaurant.

5. Kuiu Kenai Hoody Jacket - The new Toray "full range" synthetic insulation provides an unbelievable combo of warmth and breathability. This is a fairly recent purchase, so it's long-term value is unknown. So far it has been super warm, has surprisingly good DWR, and it breathes better than any insulating piece I have ever owned and is really comfortable.

6. Backcountry Navigator Pro App - For $10, my android phone becomes a better GPS than 95% of GPS units available.

7. Honorable Mentions: Seek Outside Lil Bug Out Shelter (with vestibule), Tarptent Rainshadow 2, Havalon Piranta Knife, First Lite merino base layers. Each of these have seen many seasons and always been solid performers.
 
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thecrittergitter

New member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
2,424
Location
Bozeman, MT
I like the idea! Always good to hear about new gear and stuff that is easier/warmer/lighter, etc....

1. Stone Glacier Solo backpack. Best backpack I've worn, ultralight, ultra strong, as comfortable as any pack I have worn.

2. Outdoor Edge Razor Lite--I have used Havalon for a long time but tried the outdoor edge this year. the Replaceable blades are much stronger and far easier to change out. More than anything, much safer changing blades.


Glad to hear on the backcountry pro app, I've been considering using that instead of the gps.........
 

twsnow18

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 4, 2013
Messages
1,651
Location
Boise, Idaho
A fixed blade knife!

Forgot how nice it is to have a real knife, this ones a kershaw. I've been on the havalon train for the last few years.

TAG game bags. I've always used the cheap wal mart ones, but I won a set of the TAG bags over summer. In good shape after an antelope, 2 deer and an elk. The blood and dirt washed out very easily.
 

thecrittergitter

New member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
2,424
Location
Bozeman, MT
A fixed blade knife!

Forgot how nice it is to have a real knife, this ones a kershaw. I've been on the havalon train for the last few years.

TAG game bags. I've always used the cheap wal mart ones, but I won a set of the TAG bags over summer. In good shape after an antelope, 2 deer and an elk. The blood and dirt washed out very easily.

I would totally agree with you on the knife if I didn't suck so bad at sharpening them:)
 

Josh Kuntz

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2013
Messages
182
Agreed on the TAG bags. I should have included them in my first list. Great product.
 

MinnesotaHunter

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 15, 2010
Messages
3,701
Location
Gem Lake, Minnesota
1. Vortex Binocular Adapter: I dismissed this for a while, but after hearing so many people talk about how much they improved their glassing with binos I gave it a shot, and I was amazed how much more detail I could see with my 10x42s. This definitely bridges some of the gap between Binos and a spotter.

2. Sitka Timberline Pants: I am guessing this isn't a big secret, but they are the perfect mix of waterproof and breathable for hiking and glassing in cold weather.

3. Worksharp Knife Sharpener: That's for you Critter.

4. Klymit Inertia X-frame sleeping pad: this is a great pad and it truly does pack down to the size of a 12oz can of beer. I had been using a z-lite for several years, but now I can keep this in my pack and it is still plenty light.

5. A Sub-7lb Rifle (with scope and a full magazine): Doesn't really matter the brand or caliber, but I just don't think many people realize that they are lugging a 10lb rifle around.
 

Beartooth83

Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2013
Messages
565
Location
Beartooths, Montana
A few things I've acquired and really love, although they've been around for a quite while:

Crazy Creek chair - I bring this on just about every backcountry venture. Nothing beats having something to sit on & lean back after putting on the miles.

Salomon Quest 4D GTX Boots - 2 full seasons on them, and still going strong. Best boots I've found for the money.

Sitka Jetstream Lite Jacket - Light, tough, windproof outer layer. Perfect addition to my day kit for early season.

Outdoor Research gators - Regardless of the brand, waterproof gators are a must have. I can pretty much can get away without bringing a pair of waterproof pants when using a set of good gators (probably not true for hunts up north).
 

Huntindog

New member
Joined
Dec 5, 2014
Messages
13
Kenetrek boots. Best piece of gear I own.

Has anyone tried the Nomad Gear?
 
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DirtyDan

Active member
Joined
Nov 15, 2014
Messages
297
Location
Ohio
Seek Outside 4 person tipi, sets up in ten minutes and withstood winds in excess of 30 mph.

Sitka Kelvin Lite jacket, great jacket for always having in my pack. Cuts the wind and is good under my woollies in a tree stand. Packs small and is super light.

Not hunting related but Duluth Firehose Flex pants. Tough wearing, look good enough to wear on business trips, and comfortable. No more blue jeans for me.
 

Randy11

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
6,109
1- Sitka Timberline Pants- I've always hunted in way lighter pants than these, but I hardly took these off this year from September-now. Very stout pant that retains heat but still isn't restrictive.

2- Outdoor edge Razor lite- Like Critter says, a big upgrade in design over the havalon, and a lot safer.

3- Caribou game bags- After stealing a couple from Fin last year I became very impressed and ordered a bunch more for our Alaska trip. They're incredibly tough for how lightweight they are, and are very easy to clean and reuse.

4- Gut shark- Completely changed the way I take apart an animal. Ingenious.

5- Leupold Gold Ring 12-40 HD spotter- I didn't realize how much strain I was getting on my other scopes due to eye relief before buying this scope. I can stare through this thing all day and it never gets uncomfortable. Highly recommended for other eyeglass wearers.

6- http://www.amazon.com/Fox-River-Dou...58&sr=1-1&keywords=fox+river+mens+wool+mitten - Warmest gloves I've ever worn by a long shot. My hands and feet are always cold, and I've tried dozens of pairs of more expensive gloves with worse results.

7- Sitka Kelvin Lite Hoody- Very lightweight, compressible insulation. I like it a lot more than the full puffy down coats because it fits under other jackets better, and It's not so warm I can't wear it when I'm moving. I compared it with the Uncompaghre from First Lite, and liked the Sitka quite a bit more.
 

BlakeA

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 13, 2012
Messages
1,882
Location
North Dakota
Great thread!

1.) Swarovski angled 20-60x65 spotter. Best Purchase I've made! Extremely lightweight and packable. Perfect for what I do! The quality is insane and I'm kicking myself for having waited so long to buy one...

2.) Outdoor Edge Razor lite. Fantastic knife with blades that are easy to replace

3.) Kuiu Kenai hooded jacket. For REALLY cold, windy hunts I have found that my Kenai jacket under my Kuiu Guide jack under my First Lite puffy is totally bombproof for sitting and glassing through the elements. When stalking I use the Kenai as my main outer layer as it super quiet and warm. It is an awesome layering jacket under a hard shell or puffy when sitting and is awesome as an outer jacket while active.

4.) Starbucks coffee latte instant singles. Yum.

5.) First lite merino wool socks. Zero stench and extremely comfortable. Zero blisters this year and they dry very fast!

6.) ThermaRest NeoAir X-Lite sleeping pad. Insanely small, compact, and light. Very comfortable and warm. Excellent backpacking pad.

7.) Zamberlan Guide 960 boot. Put these boots through hell this year. Replaced the footbed (which I always do to any boot or shoe) and they were bombproof. Super comfortable and very tough. Zero blisters. They do take a while to break in but once broken in they feel great!
 

TheTone

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2002
Messages
3,580
Location
ID
I didn't upgrade much last year but what I did I was very happy with:

1)Swarovski 10x42 SLC's, awesome glass, really looking forward to using them in Arizona in a couple weeks. I do kinda miss the pile of sheds I sold to fund them...

2)FHF bino harness. I hated my old system, this thing is great.

3)first lite rain gear, it proved to be pretty awesome stuff on a late October deer hunt that saw more rain that sun. It got me out hunting instead of sitting in the tent
 

dcopas78

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 4, 2013
Messages
1,755
Location
Decatur, OH
Some of my favorites were;

1. Vortex Viper HD 10X50 binoculars. Great glass for the money.

2. Outdoor Edge Razor Lite. I love this knife and the sturdiness of the blade compared to the Havalon

3. First Lite Chama Hoody. I LOVE this. It works great just by itself in mild weather or as an under layer in colder conditions.

4. First Lite compression socks. This things work great for keeping your legs feeling great and reducing stress on the calve muscles.

5. Tenkara telescopic fly rod. Not really a necessity but at 2.2 ounces it is lightweight and a great way to fish remote streams or lakes when on your hunting trip.
 

npaden

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2011
Messages
3,775
Location
Lubbock, Texas
I'm really happy with my Seek Outside 6 man tipi that I purchased this year. Also happy with the lite outdoors titanium stove that I purchased.

Those were pretty much my only new purchases this year. Still happy with my Kuiu gear as well as my Stone Glacier Solo pack. I actually still like my havalon knife too as well as my Zen Ray prime HD binoculars and my Zen Ray ED2 82mm spotting scope and my outdoorsman tripod. I keep debating on buying some higher end glass, but still haven't convinced myself.

Looking into upgrading my rifle in 2016.
 

maginnis

Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2012
Messages
176
Location
Montana
Agree on the chama hoody from first lite/ My favorite shirt of all time. The hood is on my head all the time.

First lite north Branch Pants. These thing are perfect for the cold weather here in MT, yet breathable. With the built in gaiter and zips you cant go wrong.

Life straw water bottle was awesome on my backcountry sheep hunt where I was crossing creeks often. No need to haul water.

Stone Glacier 5100. Great comfortable pack. Hauls more gear than I can carry!

None of these are really new and I have used them for years now but still my favorite.
 

MTPUBLICLAND

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2013
Messages
202
1- Meopta 20x70 HD Spotter- What a great scope. Wish I would have bought it years ago. Amazing

2- Sitka Gear- Cold Weather Hoody, very comfortable wear as stand alone or put jetstream coat over in real cold weather. Jetstream jacket, best coat I've ever owned. Really like the pit zip feature and blocks the wind pretty well, the hood design is great in high winds. Timberline pants, wore these pants all rifle season. They are comfortable and move with you, just great. Ascent pants, wore these most of bow season and antelope hunting. Extremely lightweight and comfortable, breathe well. Very happy with Sitka clothing so far.

3- Darn Tough Socks- I've tried many different socks over the years, these are a great wool sock. Don't slip at all and have cushion in the right places. Quite warm and comfortable, dries quickly. Also carry a lifetime warranty they claim if you wear them out they will replace them.

4- Leupold 6x20 VX-3 scope- Got this for Kelsey's tikka this year. She has shot with a Leupold 3x9 the past few years, but after shooting my rifle a few times she decided she needed one on her gun. What an improvement in her shooting, really added confidence it seems. Really good glass and like the manual side focus option. I realize its a bigger heavier scope, but really like that extra power. Personal preference.
 

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