EOY ‘23 - What Worked, What Didn’t?

Worked:

1. Kudu broadheads I've always shot a fixed 3 blade and switching to these really helped my broadheads group better. It's all due to a quality manufacturing process vs. Mass produce.

2. A quality set of 15x56’s from Maven was huge. I'm not entirely on love with the B4s but the glass is supreme. Helped tremendously with glassing throughout the day vs. picking up a spotter.

3. WTF have I been doing without an outdoorsman Bino adapter. Complete with a VA-5 fluid head.

4. Last but not least. We picked up a camper this summer. It's been a complete blast and my kids are absolutely loving it. I have never camped in a camper once in my 35 years of living on this spinning rock. I've always tent camped either in a backpack tent or wall tent. This year I hunted outta my camper and let me tell you...... THAT takes things to a whole new level. I'm probably ruined forever now.

Things that didn't work great or knock my socks off.

1. I'll get slammed for this but, I came into a sweet deal on 2 outdoorsman tripods. Used but great condition..... While I do think they're very nice and are constructed extremely well. I can't fathom dropping 800 bucks on one of those let alone the gen2 for 1400 or whatever they are. Compared to the slik and sirui I have I didn't see the benefit of the outdoorsman tripods over them.

2. Worksharp sharpeners, they take out every knife point I have. I'm sure there's a fix I just haven't looked into it.

3. Expensive game bags can suck it. I'm going back to the Costco ones from Alaska Game bags company.

4. I really need to buy some quality fixed blade knives and there's a certain individual on here that sells some sexy lookin steel. I gotta quit buying cheap knives. I really want to get a nice setup skinning and boning knife. I've been using replaceable blades with the havalon and other fixed blade gerbers but I need to do something different.


Things I'm looking into for next year.

Packable sharpening stone setup
Different game bags
New knives (fixed) quality
4 season backpack tent
I'm sure there's more but that's it for now.....

Always enjoy these threads.
Might look at the Kuiu Stormstar for the tent, on sale right now. https://www.kuiu.com/products/storm-star-2-person-tent-set-major-brown?variant=42758293782686
 
Worked:
- Tenacious tape singles, sealed up a hole in my BeFree water filter bottle on day 1.
- Peax sissy sticks, worked great.
- Mystery ranch Nalgene waist belt holder, why didn't I have this sooner!
- Gastro Gnome meals
- Talking one of @Gerald Martin boys into carrying 4lb Costco container of Peanut M&M's to spike camp.
- Mid week @Gerald Martin doing a beer run to the TH and catching some trout for dinner.
- Camp fires & great friends.

Didn't work:
- The elk, it was an uneventful trip this year.
 
I have that problem primarily out on the sagebrush flats. Those light Wyoming breezes come up and slap you in the face with the flap while the binos are in hand glassing. It’s the main reason I’m not upset that my FHF harness went missing since the last time I used it. I’m looking forward to trying the Marsupial gear over the next year.
Love my marsupial
 
Worked:

Durston X -Mid 1 this year and was quite happy with it over the SG Sky Ult I had been using for several years. Bigger foot print but so much more livable!

XLR element 4 chassis with folding stock. Really liked having the full length arca and it packed around so nice with the folding stock.

High arch insoles - would always get foot pain eventually with enough miles no matter the shoe- but pairing a high arch insole with a flexible and cushy shoot and I could hit other limits while my feet felt great. (Stiff boots still cause issues on trail eventually and I have yet to find the do it all foot wear).

Didn’t/wanna change:

Not satisfied with my spartan bi-pod/ball head/arca plate set up. Gonna try something different in the off season.

Still been getting by with a lower end vortex range finder - fine for archery but I am wanting to get into something with internal ballistics and environmentals - maybe the Revic Br4 though the EL Ranges would be nice too I expect.
 
this isn't new, but i've been too cheap to fix it.

the time has come.

nikon aculon range finder i bought in 2017 before my first big game hunt has failed me too many times in less than ideal conditions, particularly snowy conditions.

it failed me in wyoming in january and it failed me last night hunting in a snow storm. many range finders will fail in a snow storm, but it wasn't snowing that hard. my buddy had to range my cow for me in wyoming and i think he had a leupold that was doing great out to 600 yards no problem while mine couldn't range anything past 100 yards.

recommendations? my family keeps yelling at me to put a christmas list together...
 
this isn't new, but i've been too cheap to fix it.

the time has come.

nikon aculon range finder i bought in 2017 before my first big game hunt has failed me too many times in less than ideal conditions, particularly snowy conditions.

it failed me in wyoming in january and it failed me last night hunting in a snow storm. many range finders will fail in a snow storm, but it wasn't snowing that hard. my buddy had to range my cow for me in wyoming and i think he had a leupold that was doing great out to 600 yards no problem while mine couldn't range anything past 100 yards.

recommendations? my family keeps yelling at me to put a christmas list together...
I just upgraded from vortex to a Leica rf2400, has been great so far, fast easy ranges out to 1200 in the snow so far, been very happy with it. Got a used one on ebay.
 
I am a big fan of polarfleece...lightweight, wicks moisture, dries quickly and warm
Amazon Essentials line of polarfleece shirts have held up for me,I wear them every day from Oct thru April
I bought mine for $16 on sale a few years ago, they are now $25-$30 but well worth the price

I also like Grundens commerical grade Full Share rain paints...I wore mine now for over 100 days of sloshing through Montana cattails and they are still holding strong. $99 at the Grundens website.
I don't wear gaiters, but I do wear these rain pants on about half my hunts.

Another item I like for warm weather hunting is soda pop bottles.
Free, lightweight, in a variety of sizes.
I keep 2-liter bottles in a milk crate in my boat and usually
pack a couple 16 ounce bottles in my day pack.

I don't get sore feet. I do have Superfeet Green insoles in all my boots.
For warm weather hunts, I love my Crispi Thor boots
and for colder hunts Crispi Colorado boots.

I also love my made in the USA DarnTough socks...lifetime guarantee if ever worn out.

I also like my Simms Rain Jacket which I bought on sale years ago for $199.
Simms is primarily a wader company and their raingear is sometimes overlooked by hunters.

I used LeukoTape on 2 different trips to fix rips in down sleeping bags and that worked well.

The only thing that did not work that I can remember is the meat pole,
which crashed in the middle of the night after hanging moose bags.
meatpole.jpg

I did retire some gear after 30 years of hard use and no complaints:
My Dana Design arcflex backpack (in my avatar)
A Eureka Summit tent (survived many Alaska windstorms, but heavy by modern standards...10lbs!)
My MSR Whisperlite and SVEA stoves.

I also upgraded from my ancient InReach Explorer to an InReach Mini.
The InReach Explorer was purchased back when DeLorme was the company and I used it year round in Alaska for over decade.
 
any problems? is the holster/harness adjustable enought to sit below your bino harness?
I don’t think it would work very well below your bino pouch. It would constantly want to ride up. It’s designed to sit center chest, right where your bino harness is. But it might depend on the harness and the person. If you want it below your harness I would think there are better options out there.
 
Kenetrek mountain guide uninsulated, first hunt with them, stayed dry for 5 days in 8-15” snow.
UB tech stretchy pants from costco, $38 this summer, love them.
Merino tech 250 base layer.
Darn tough socks.
Gorilla tape and a blow dryer patched where the mice found my kenetrek gaiters, stayed on the whole trip.
NL Pure 10x42, spotted antlers clearly, that my buddies vortex viper’s couldn’t begin to.

Didn’t: Me, unable to find a legal bull.
 
I tried a lot of new things this year that worked great.
- Swarovski ats. I saved for a year to afford this and it is just amazing. I could see things better in low light than my binos.
- Western mountaineering antelope 5 degree sleeping bag. I am very cold blooded and never once got cold. It packs to the same size as my 20 synthetic bag. Game changer for me.
- Fierce titanium edge rifle. My previous rifle i have been struggling with. Picked this one up and no longer doubt my shooting capability. If I missed it was my fault. It's light weight and everything shoots to the same point of impact.
- Schnees beartooths. Works great in the mountains. No problems after 35 days in the field this year. I won't ever go back to cheaper boots.
- Mystery Ranch Metcalf. Got this one last year. Yes it's heavy but I have packed out two elk quarters twice with no problem. Friends sg ripped a load lifter with a lesser load. Just enough room to backpack with.
- Thermarest xtherm. It's a little heavy but warm and comfortable. I would rather carry the weight than be cold.I
- Fhf rifle sling. I have tried conventional slings and a kifaru gun bearer last year. I didn't mind the gun bearer but didn't like the muzzle in my view. The fhf secured firmly to my pack with absolutely no movement and in was able to quickly release on my elk.

The no go's
- Schnees Kestrals. Not a mountain boot! I know they aren't one but tried anyways. Ended coming out a day early from a backpack trip. Just slide around and had no top support in the steep stuff. Works much better in the prairie.
- Mule deer draw tag. I knew it was going to be a tough hunt but never saw a shooter in 35 days in the unit. it was fun to hunt close to home though.
- Gloves. I never found a pair that will keep my hands warm , even with hand warmers.
- Old thermarest. Died right before hunting season. It old and has seen its days
- Fhf fob chest bino rig. Just didn't like the top flap or closure. It was ok during bow season. It's smaller and fits tight to your chest. Also straps are a little thin. It dug into my sides more than my Alaskan gear.
 
Worked:

1. Kudu broadheads I've always shot a fixed 3 blade and switching to these really helped my broadheads group better. It's all due to a quality manufacturing process vs. Mass produce.

2. A quality set of 15x56’s from Maven was huge. I'm not entirely on love with the B4s but the glass is supreme. Helped tremendously with glassing throughout the day vs. picking up a spotter.

3. WTF have I been doing without an outdoorsman Bino adapter. Complete with a VA-5 fluid head.

4. Last but not least. We picked up a camper this summer. It's been a complete blast and my kids are absolutely loving it. I have never camped in a camper once in my 35 years of living on this spinning rock. I've always tent camped either in a backpack tent or wall tent. This year I hunted outta my camper and let me tell you...... THAT takes things to a whole new level. I'm probably ruined forever now.

Things that didn't work great or knock my socks off.

1. I'll get slammed for this but, I came into a sweet deal on 2 outdoorsman tripods. Used but great condition..... While I do think they're very nice and are constructed extremely well. I can't fathom dropping 800 bucks on one of those let alone the gen2 for 1400 or whatever they are. Compared to the slik and sirui I have I didn't see the benefit of the outdoorsman tripods over them.

2. Worksharp sharpeners, they take out every knife point I have. I'm sure there's a fix I just haven't looked into it.

3. Expensive game bags can suck it. I'm going back to the Costco ones from Alaska Game bags company.

4. I really need to buy some quality fixed blade knives and there's a certain individual on here that sells some sexy lookin steel. I gotta quit buying cheap knives. I really want to get a nice setup skinning and boning knife. I've been using replaceable blades with the havalon and other fixed blade gerbers but I need to do something different.


Things I'm looking into for next year.

Packable sharpening stone setup
Different game bags
New knives (fixed) quality
4 season backpack tent
I'm sure there's more but that's it for now.....

Always enjoy these threads.
For what you do the Hille Nallo GT or Slingfin Crossbow would be on the top of my list. Follow me for more great ideas on how to spend your hard earned money.
 
Kenai you can adjust to sit below bino harness. Works great.
thanks. that is what didn't work for me. looking for a new setup. I always carried a revolver with the thinking
thatit would not jam. Last year in a snowstorm it got snow/iced over enough that it took a while to loosen it up
to get the cylinder to move. now looking at the new 10mm and a chest rig
 
thanks. that is what didn't work for me. looking for a new setup. I always carried a revolver with the thinking
thatit would not jam. Last year in a snowstorm it got snow/iced over enough that it took a while to loosen it up
to get the cylinder to move. now looking at the new 10mm and a chest rig
I have been worried about that too but am trying a small back pack cover to go over my piece while hiking. Hopefully not too cumbersome to remove as I am not willing to step away from a revolver personally.
 

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