The Guide Lite Pant features 37.5 stretch nylon material that dries quickly in the field and provides excellent breathability for early season and warm weather pursuits. This lightweight, durable pant is built to move with an articulated, straight leg fit and a streamlined profile featuring minimal pockets. The rigid waistband is new for 2019, providing numerical waist sizing and allowing for a dialed fit on your new go-to early season and warm weather pant.
At 10.9 ounces, the Brooks Down Sweater is the definition of ultralight, highly packable backcountry insulation. Built with 100 grams of DWR-treated 800-fill power, 37.5-DownTek, the Brooks provides advanced, active insulation that fights off moisture to keep both you and your down insulation warm, dry, and comfortable. The Brooks was designed using 50% more down than its closest competitor to be the lightest weight possible while ensuring best-in-class warmth.
"For 2019, First Lite has a whole new line of products, and let me tell you, they do not disappoint. I have been wearing First Lite my entire tenure here at Huntin' Fool and have seen these products grow and advance. The new Guide Lite pant's lightweight build is perfect for those late summer into early fall hunts. It essentially combines my two favorite pants, the lightweight, breathable feel of the Obsidian with the stretch/flexibility of the Corrugate Guide pant. Early season is forever changed for me with the new First Lite Guide Lite pant.
Sticking with early season, the new Brooks Down sweater not only
is great as an insulating layer, but what I am growing accustomed
to is packing it in the cool weather. I have always been a fan of the
Uncompagre puffy, but the Brooks Down sweater cuts 6 oz. and is not quite as warm.
When you take off on a hike in those brisk mornings, you feel great, but once you get
that sweat built up and you sit down on a glassing knob, the Brooks Down sweater
has been the perfect piece to throw on until that sunlight hits and starts warming you
up. The Brooks also features a drop-tail hem, which is fantastic if you find yourself
glassing on a windy hillside. For the early season, the Uncompagre is going to have to
take a back seat because I'm not going anywhere without my Brooks Down sweater."
— Stanton Upson, Hunt Advisor
MSRP: Guide Lite Pant—$135 (solids), $145 (camo); Brooks Down Sweater—$265-$285
For more information, go to www.firstlite.com.
Redefining top-tier spotting scopes, the SX-5 Santiam HD delivers the relentless performance that diehard hunters and shooters demand. A generous eyepiece means premium edge-to-edge clarity and unmatched sharpness and definition, while fully-multicoated lens coatings eliminate color aberration and distortion throughout the entirety of the magnification range. A rugged, yet lightweight armor provides premium protection. The Twilight Max HD Light Management System delivers the perfect balance of image color and contrast, light transmission, and glare management so you'll get the best picture any time of day. A rugged, lightweight armor and Diamond-coat scratch-resistant lens coatings ensure the SX-5 Santiam HD spotter can handle anything you can throw at it. An ultrafine center focus wheel, adjustable eyecup, and indexed rotational tripod ring deliver the features elite hunters demand.
"Thanks to friends with extravagant taste in hunting optics and a career in the hunting industry that has now spanned nearly 20 years, I've been fortunate to test the best hunting optics on the market. The SX-5 Santiam HD spotting scope from Leupold had me excited for several reasons when I first studied the specs on the glass. Thankfully, I wasn't disappointed when the out-of-the-box specifications were confronted with real-world glassing needs. The 80mm objective lens on this scope promised to deliver tons of light gathering capability and it was on a body that was just over 16" long, which ensured that it fit nicely in my hunting packs.
In a wide range of temperatures and at the extreme edges of glassing light,
I found that the scope performed as well as any I'd sat behind. The ultrafine
center focus wheel was invaluable when dialing in the perfect focus without
disturbing the glass on the tripod. Furthermore, the edge-to-edge clarity made it a great glass
for sweeping hillsides while looking for late season mule deer in thick brush.
If you're looking for a new spotter this year, this glass deserves careful consideration and is
worthy to be viewed alongside the most expensive spotters on the market."
– Jerrod Lile, Huntin' Fool CEO and Hunt Advisor
For more information, go to www.leupold.com.
With even less noise and 20% less vibration than the award-winning TRIAX®, a completely redesigned grip interface, and our all-new, patent-pending SwitchWeight™ Technology, the 2019 VERTIX delivers an unmatched shooting experience. The new Engage™ Grip interface was designed to ensure consistent hand placement, reducing torque and increasing accuracy. The VERTIX features 3D Damping Technology that works to control the three perceived axes of vibration stemming from the grip. The patent-pending dovetail mounting system was designed to attach the all-new UltraRest Integrate MX™ by QAD. This compact, micro-adjust rest allows for quick and easy set up while providing precision tuning both horizontally and vertically.
"When you look at bow design over the last 20 years, it would be hard to argue that any brand has contributed more significant ideas to the marketplace than Mathews. SwitchWeight technology is the latest game changing idea from the minds behind Mathews Archery. Adjusting poundage up and down during the season is not a good idea, but my bow preferences change from early fall elk hunts to late season deer hunts. In the past, I've had to settle for a 70-pound elk bow that doubled as a deer bow in November.
With SwitchWeight technology, I can transform my elk bow into a
60-pound deer bow simply by swapping out some modules. Granted,
I'll need a new sight tape and I may need a slight tuning tweak as well,
but I definitely don't have to buy a new bow nor do I have to live with
the brace height difference and other compromises that happen when you
adjust your poundage with limb bolts. I'm in love with this idea, and after putting a pile
of arrows through this thing, I'm convinced it is the smoothest, quietest bow I've ever
shot. Also, in spite of the 6" brace height and 30" axle to axle, I feel like it aims as well as
the two much longer Halon X's that have been my pride and joy for years now. I'll gladly
welcome the extra 13 feet per second of speed, and with the new Engage Grip, I can't get
this thing to slap my wrist with any string contact when I deliberately try. If you haven't
shot this bow, get to your local dealer and give it a test run!"
– Jerrod Lile, Huntin' Fool CEO and Hunt Advisor
For more information, go to www.mathewsinc.com.
When our hunting boot customers kept asking us to build a wildland firefighting boot with the same lightweight comfort, durability, and support as our mountain boots, we realized the challenge involved. To pass the Independent Laboratory Testing for compliance, we had to build a boot that could pass rigorous heat and flame testing and then self-extinguish. After two years of a meticulous design process encompassing every component, our Wildland Fire Boot passed the test.
"This year at the Shot Show, I had a chance to look at Kenetrek's new Wildland Fire boots. I knew that I wanted to try them, so I ordered a pair. Their weight of 2 pounds 8 ounces per boot is lightweight for a wildland boot that meets the NFPA firefighting safety requirement. Unable to test them in actual firefighting conditions, I did the next best thing and started wearing them every day, taking in as many hikes as possible.
Kenetrek took the best features from the Mountain Extreme boots and used that as the platform to build their new Wildland boot. They took their aggressive K-lug outsoles and made them fire resistant and increased the toe-to-heel taper for easy walking on any terrain. They also used hot zone Kevlar stitching and laces to ensure fireproof performance. The lace-to-toe construction provides great support and all-day comfort. I usually change out the foot beds on the boots I purchase with aftermarket foot beds, but I really liked the foot beds in this boot.
After fighting wildland fires for over 20 years, I can tell you that
keeping your feet in good shape is your best way of having a good
season. To put it into a hunter's perspective, just imagine being on a two or
three-month sheep hunt. The Wildland boot would also work well for an early season hunting
boot. Without having a Gore-Tex liner, the Wildland boot breathes really well and would be
a good choice for the hot early season hunts. If you are a wildland firefighter and you are in
the market for a new pair of boots, I would check out the new Kenetrek Wildland Fire boots."
– Robert Hanneman, Hunt Advisor
For more information, go to www.kenetrek.com.
The Bandit Quilt is our hybrid crossover quilt, replacing our best-selling Flight Jacket Quilt and providing many of the features from our high performance Renegade Quilt. Using construction methods from the Flight Jacket Quilt with the chamber layout of the Renegade Quilt, we've created a well-fitting, affordable performance quilt.
Building off of previously established chamber designs, we introduced the concept of isolated chambers on the torso and foot box. This baffle layout provides for zone filling of the quilt, allowing for additional down to be placed where it's most needed to achieve maximum comfort and function. Using a combination of vertical and horizontal chambers, the Bandit Quilt will fit you like a glove. This unique concept pioneered by the Renegade Quilt provides for exceptional drape and avoids the traditional bridging of the quilt common with traditional left to right chambers. The design, construction, ultralight fabrics, and UltimaDown 800/850/950 fill power downs all combine to make the Bandit Quilt a true performance value.
"Going into my 2018 hunting season, I was looking for a
quality quilt that was affordable and also performed to the
level that was advertised. UGQ met every qualification I had
and was something I could afford. I sleep cold, so I opted
for the 20 degree Bandit quilt, even though I only planned
on using it from July to September. I was able to shave
weight off of my backpack setup and stay warm even into my
September high country Colorado elk hunt when temps got down to
30 degrees at night."
— Garth Jenson, Hunt Advisor
For more information, go to www.ugqoutdoor.com.
Hilleberg is proud to introduce the new three-person Allak 3. Impressively strong, remarkably light, and fully freestanding (including two integrated vestibules), the Allak 3 can be pitched anywhere in most any conditions. The Allak 3 features 40.9 square feet of inner tent area and will easily accommodate three people and their gear. It is also an excellent choice for two people who want more room or have more gear.
With a minimum weight of 7 lbs. 1 oz., the Allak 3 features Hilleberg's Kerlon 1200 outer tent fabric, which is very lightweight, yet also boasts a minimum tear strength of 26 lbs. Its three high-strength aluminum DAC 9 mm poles cross each other in three places, providing a sturdy structure, and the easy-to-use pole system combines short pole sleeves with clips for quick and easy pitching.
As with all Hilleberg tents, the linked inner and outer tents allow quick and easy simultaneous pitching in any weather, ensuring the inner tent always stays dry. As with all Hilleberg all-season tents, the outer tent walls extend to the ground and the mesh areas are backed with adjustable fabric panels. The standard inner tent can be replaced with the optional Allak 3 Mesh Inner Tent, which can also be used on its own.
"I have a knack for stuffing more people and gear into tents than they are rated for. I can think of two trips that illustrate my ability to truly evaluate a tent's carrying capacity. One occurred during a freak October snowstorm in Montana where we sandwiched six people into one tent to preserve all of our body heat as temps plummeted way below anything we were prepared for. The smells coming from that tent still haunt me. The second was a three-day scouting trip where we squeezed my wife, our two boys, two dogs, and myself into a tent that was optimistically rated as a three-man. When it comes to size ratings on tents and the ability of the tent-mates to access and use the space, I've definitely had my share of experience.
It was that experience that caught my eye when I saw the soon to be released Allak 3 from Hilleberg. I really like three-man tents for car camping trips, hunts where I plan to utilize a tent for a basecamp, and backpacking trips with a friend or two where the weight can be shared across several backs. The comfort and space of a good three-man tent is a welcome relief in poor weather and for the longer nights as fall fades into winter. I've camped in a lot of tents in this category over the years, and the floor plan, vestibules, and overall layout are the most important factors to consider when purchasing one. The Allak 3 looked like a perfect fit from a layout point of view, and with Hilleberg's welldeserved reputation for building tents that last a lifetime, I wanted one bad. I knew it would be a perfect shelter for my wife's Montana mountain goat hunt.
Fortunately, I was able to acquire a sample, and before I knew it, my wife, a cameraman, and I were headed into mountain goat country to a location that would leave us perched in a saddle above 9,000 feet and hopefully staring eye-toeye with some white billy goats on a daily basis. My wife and the cameraman had never met prior to the trip, so once again, I was about to test the close quarters of a tent. The fact that we had seen a sow grizzly with two cubs the first evening probably helped because my wife's outlook changed from being hesitant to share a tent with a stranger in the backcountry to emphatically declaring that she was sleeping in the middle! As I suspected, I found attention to detail everywhere I looked on this tent and was very glad that we had the privilege of taking the Allak 3 on one of her maiden voyages.
Anyone familiar with mountain goats knows that finding a flat spot to pitch a tent is half the battle. The destination I had chosen required about 2,500 feet of elevation gain over a four-mile stretch. The last 1,000 vertical feet involved an off-trail scramble through downfall and rock gardens that frequently required the use of all fours to make it up the hill. The words my wife used to describe this part of the hike in are not fit for print. Given those conditions, weight and bulk were serious considerations. At about 8 pounds, the Allak 3 is not the lightest or smallest tent in this space, but I knew that a comfortable basecamp that would handle any type of weather we could encounter would be worth every ounce.
When it came time to load our packs, there were a couple of options for sharing the weight of this tent. The Allak 3 is comprised of an inner tent and an outer tent. They are relatively easy to separate, and if you choose to separate them, the weight of the tent could be shared in almost equal thirds with one person carrying the inner tent, one carrying the outer tent, and the third party carrying the poles and stakes. In our case, I left the inner and outer tents attached and carried them while our cameraman carried the poles and stakes. I ditched the stuff sack for the tent and stuffed all of the loose fabric in the bottom of my pack, a tactic that I prefer for larger tents. By loading my pack this way, I didn't notice any difference in packing this tent versus a much smaller and lighter tent that would not have been near as comfortable for our six-day backpacking trip.
I never recommend backpacking miles into the backcountry with a tent you've never set up, especially when it's a prototype that won't be released for six months. However, that's exactly what I did. Not surprisingly, I was a little nervous as we laid the tent out on the ground to pitch it. Fortunately, all three of the included poles are the same length and they are color coded for their corresponding pole sleeves. As a result, set up was so intuitive that we had the tent up in less than 10 minutes without consulting the instruction manual. The included Y-pegs were perfect for the rocky soil we had to pitch the tent in, and as I suspected, they were up to the test of us beating most of them into position with a rock.
When the tent was set, we felt like we had a basecamp that would survive anything Mother Nature might throw at it over the next week. That is a good feeling to have, especially if you've ever returned to your tent to find it rolled up in a ball a hundred yards down the hill like I have.
The Allak 3 has a large door and a large vestibule on each side of the tent, which makes it feel way larger than it is. On nice days, we rolled the vestibule doors open on each side for ventilation during a few much needed naps. Every night, all of our gear was easily stored in the vestibules so that we had the peace of mind of knowing that everything would be dry for the morning hunt. The interior of the tent was very adequate for three people to sleep comfortably without feeling like we had to spoon each other to make it through the night. I definitely feel like this tent lives up to the three-man rating, unlike some other tents I've used in the past.
Hilleberg categorizes their tents as Black Label, Red Label, Yellow Label, and Blue Label for the spectrum of conditions they are designed for. Black Label tents are designed for mountaineering and surviving in the absolute harshest conditions in the world. Red Label tents are lighter weight than Black Label but are still designed for all season use.
Yellow Label tents are designed to be the lightest tents in the Hilleberg family and are rated as three season. Finally, Blue Label tents are specialty shelters designed for very specific purposes.
The Allak 3 is a Red Label tent that utilizes lightweight shell fabric on a bomb-proof chassis. If you live in a Hilleberg tent for several days, it becomes clear why they simply call themselves ‘The Tentmakers.' The zippers for the vestibules feature large pull-tabs with holes in the ends of them that are big enough to use a trekking pole to close and open the zipper. This is a really nice feature when the vestibule has a lot of condensation on the inside of it and you'd be forced to get your back and arms wet trying to open or close it. Also, like many of their tents, the Allak 3 is designed with rain gutters that direct water away from critical access areas of the tent, drastically improving the quality of life for campers in miserable weather. Additional features that I liked were dual guy lines, ideally located vents, adequate internal gear storage pockets, and a lot of headroom when we were sitting upright in the tent.
My favorite feature of all was how quiet the tent was even in high winds. We were sleeping in grizzly country and saw a total of eight different black and grizzly bears on our trip. Too much noise from the tent at night keeps me awake wondering if something is prowling through camp. In spite of some very windy nights, I slept like a baby in a tent that is built to take a beating from the wind without so much as a wiggle!
The Allak 3 will hands down be my go-to for future three-man trips. I believe that Hilleberg perfectly straddled the line between weight and comfort on this tent, and the layout was as good as it can get for two to three campers sharing a tent."
For more information, go to www.hilleberg.com.
The most comfortable camping pad on the market just got lighter and more backpacker friendly. The Static V2 uses new high-end fabrics to lighten the load. Modeled after its namesake, it features dynamic side rails, unmatched stability, and a body mapped V shape that hugs the body like no other camping pad. At 1 pound, a tiny pack size, and an oversized sleeping area, the Static V2 is truly an evolved camping pad with unmatched comfort, size, weight, and ease of use.
A large, quilted pillow for those who crave extra comfort, the Luxe is an allaround crowd pleaser for casual campers, travelers, and backpackers willing to carry an extra ounce or two in the name of better sleep. The generouslysized air bladder is wrapped in a quilted, soft-touch fabric sleeve for next-toskin comfort, and the best part is that you can remove the quilted cover and toss it in the washer/dryer.
"When you spend multiple nights in a sleeping bag each season, it is
critical that you have a comfortable option that stays inflated
through the night. Over the years, I've tried everything from
ultralight options to heavy, bulky pads that you'd never
want to have to carry and have found that these products
from Klymit have a perfect balance of weight, comfort,
and durability. When you have room for an extra piece of
gear, the new Luxe pillow has an outer lining that is nearly
as soft and comfortable as my pillow at home! At an extremely
reasonable price, you need to add a Klymit pad and pillow to your
arsenal this year."
– Austin Atkinson, Hunt Advisor
MSRP: Static V2 – $64.95, Pillow Luxe – $39.95
For more information, go to www.klymit.com.
Enhance your back patio cookout with the revolutionary new SmokePro SG pellet grill featuring slide and grill technology. Switch seamlessly between Indirect and Direct Flame mode to achieve two delicious flavor profiles all on one grill. Slow cook your favorite cut of beef or slide the grill knob and toss a few burgers on for some direct wood-fired grilling. The new SmokePro SG features a taller cook chamber with additional rack space as well as a large capacity hopper. The SmokePro SG comes with Camp Chef's patented Ash Cleanout System, stable temperature regulation, and dual meat probes, making it the only pellet grill you need to achieve wood-fired flavor.
"Pellet grills/smokers have been the latest craze, especially when
prepping wild game. The smoke flavor that gets infused into your
veggies and meat takes the flavors to the next level. The Camp Chef
SmokePro pellet grill is a user-friendly, efficient way to increase
your abilities on the back patio. One of the biggest benefits
to me is that I can smoke and grill on the same unit. This
thing flat gets hot! You can also remove the tray to get a
direct flame charbroiled flavor. I'm a huge fan of reverse
searing meat, so the ability to start at a low temp then turn
it up super hot and sear until it is finished is a huge plus. Camp
Chef thought of everything when they set the SmokePro up from
the easiest way to clean ash to two very responsive and efficient meat
probes to monitor internal temps. If you have never had smoked meat,
you are missing out. I'd recommend getting yourself a Camp Chef pellet
grill so you can take the first step in taking your cookouts to the next
– Stanton Upson, Hunt Advisor
For more information, go to www.campchef.com.
TRACT Optics has introduced a new generation of 10x42 binoculars to its award-winning TORIC product line. This enhanced offering features superior image quality and precision components that give hunters and outdoor enthusiasts a world-class 10x42 binocular for clear, efficient, and unobstructed glassing of fields and targets.
The newest model adds industry-leading SCHOTT HT (High Transmission) glass for improved image quality and superior light transmission values, especially in the blue and violet spectrum, with outstanding color brilliance. Combined with standard features like a magnesium alloy body, waterproof and fogproof construction, and multistep eyecups with rounded edges, these enhancements deliver incredibly sharp and bright images. The large ocular diameter enhances the ability to see detail, while the ultra-high-definition ED glass and oil-phobic/scratch-proof/smudge-proof coating provides first-rate performance.
"When I received the TRACT binos in-house, the first thing I had to do was plop
them on a tripod and get them outside. I was amazed at the quality of glass,
especially at their price point. The SCHOTT HT glass provides a
great level of light, especially in low light situations. I ran these
binos on multiple hunts in 2018, everything from early season
archery elk in Utah to Desert sheep in Nevada, and they did
not disappoint. I have a tendency to be tough on binos, and
with TRACT's fully rubber armor system, durability was not
an issue. Another exciting feature is a locking diopter that
allows you to focus and secure your adjustment with ease. I
have used many different brands, and these definitely hold their
own and have a special place in my bino harness for years to come!"
– Stanton Upson, Hunt Advisor
For more information, go to www.tractoptics.com.
Walker's Silencer BT high-performance digital ear buds are integrated with Bluetooth technology, including smartphone app control. The modern sound enhancement features are taken to the next level with four selectable modes. Universal mode is tuned for overall amplification, while Speech Clarity mode is specifically tuned to reduce ambient noise and focus on enhancing vocal frequencies, providing a valuable tool where clear communication is critical. Hi Frequency and Power Boost modes provide additional options for tuning the Silencer BT to hear exactly what you need to. Navigating the various modes is effortless thanks to programmed voice prompts, taking the guesswork out of knowing which mode you are in.
The Silencer BT incorporates the next generation of SAC (Sound-Activated Compression) by utilizing Variable Dynamic Sound Suppression that automatically adjusts the compression time based on the power level of the potentially damaging noise. This helps to deliver the optimum hearing protection in any situation.
"If you're like me, it is unlikely that you'll choose to carry bulky headphones
in your backpack when on a hunt and relying on your ability to find the two
small foam earplugs you put in your pocket right before you shoot is almost
impossible. These new Silencer Ear Buds from Walker's fit the bill for the hunter
who is on the move and ensures you are ready to take the shot when the
time comes. While in Tanzania this past season pursuing Cape buffalo,
I chose to utilize the features of these ear buds. It was critical that
I would be able to hear sounds around me, especially the voices
of the trackers and PH as we followed tracks of large bulls. The
rechargeable batteries made it so I could turn them on at the
beginning of the stalk and keep them in for a few hours without any
discomfort. The crack of the large caliber rifles was no problem with
the suppression features of these ear buds. After the intense moments of
shooting a buffalo bull, I kicked on the Bluetooth feature, which allowed me to
enjoy some tunes from my phone while on the drive back to camp."
– Austin Atkinson, Hunt Advisor
For more information, go to www.walkersgameear.com.
Protect your gear in the field with the ultimate in waterproof water protection. Long enough to fit most rifles, this case is designed for protection and ease of use.
"This past season, I took the Aegean Rifle Slip up to the Last
Frontier to put it to the test. While on Kodiak Island hunting
Sitka blacktail and sea ducks, I kept my most important
piece of equipment dry and protected from the harmful
saltwater spray. As we had to get in and out of a small
skiff each day in the surf, most days under the cover of
heavy rain, this waterproof case kept my gun protected
and dry. If you're headed into wet country, you need this
new product from Kryptek!"
– Austin Atkinson, Hunt Advisor
For more information, go to www.kryptek.com.
The 2018 TRIAX is highly maneuverable, deadly accurate, and the quietest, most vibration-free bow Mathews has ever built. It operates off of a 28" ATA platform with a 6" brace height and is powered by the award-winning, highly efficient, and extremely accurate Crosscentric™ Cam system, producing speeds up to 343 fps. The TRIAX features new 3D Damping Technology that works to control the three perceived axes of vibration stemming from the point of contact. The design and location of the new Enhanced Harmonic Stabilizer (EHS) diminishes all three paths of that residual vibration, drastically reducing post-shot noise and virtually eliminating felt recoil. This new location also transfers weight in front of and below the grip for a lower center of gravity, resulting in increased stability and easier aiming.
"I'm often skeptical about how much better a new bow can be as it
replaces the previous year's technology. However, the TRIAX
totally changed my opinion on annual new bow releases.
Shooting this bow for the first time feels like you are
shooting a totally different weapon type. The ultra low
vibration in my hand was the most impressive feature
to me as it allowed me to stay focused on my target and
actually watch my arrow's flight path after release. Even
though I have a 30.5" draw length, the compact size of
the bow felt great in the woods. I look forward to their
improvements on the TRIAX technology now available in the
2019 bows. Just when you thought you had a smooth shooting
bow, you try the TRIAX and your world changes!"
- Austin Atkinson, Hunt Advisor
MSRP: TRIAX – $1,099
For more information, go to www.mathewsinc.com.
The Apex Series is built for the uncompromising big game hunter who demands everything from their gear.
The Apex Hoody combines the benefits of merino wool and nylon in a specialized design purpose-built for big game pursuits. The merino-nylon blend offers natural moisture and odor management as well as comfort and noise reduction while retaining great stretch for navigating technical terrain. Reinforcement in the shoulders, arms, and elbows will withstand years of abuse, and removable elbow pads buffer long stalks and glassing sessions on unforgiving vantages.
The Apex Pant is equipped to meet the dynamic demands of big game hunting. A soft micro-grid fleece interior balances warmth and breathability during varying levels of activity while a bonded polyester face provides weather resistance and noise reduction. Removable kneepads and internally divided cargo pockets add function and stealth to an adaptable pant ready to hunt from early season well into the fall.
"The most critical features I need while archery hunting are found
in the new Apex line from Sitka. On my Arizona elk hunt this year,
I found the Apex Hoody and Pant to be the hot ticket to eliminate
bulk and the need to carry extra pieces of gear. From chilly morning
temps to hot sunny afternoons, I was comfortable and dry while
stalking when there was very little time to make gear adjustments.
Comfortable kneepads, ultra-quiet outer material, and the proper
balance of warmth and breathability made it my pant of choice for
my hunts in the early season. The Apex Hoody will make you rethink
all of your previous shirt selections. This shirt has so many features
that allow it to function more like a piece of advanced gear than just
a long-sleeve shirt. It is one of the most comfortable shirts I have ever
worn, and it is ready to go with the integrated hood, facemask, and
– Austin Atkinson, Professional Hunt Advisor
MSRP: Apex Hoody – $219, Apex Pant – $209
For more information, go to www.sitkagear.com.
TRACT Optics has released two new 30mm long-range riflescopes in its flagship TORIC line. These offerings feature precision components and give consumers a world-class 30mm scope suitable for competitive or hunting-specific extreme longrange shooting. These riflescopes stand out with superior light transmission values, especially in the blue and violet spectrum. The ED lens minimizes color fringing and provides ultra-sharp images in low light at higher magnifications. A locking turret with multi-rotation zero stop features 20 MOA/10 MRAD per rotation. The scopes are waterproof, fogproof, and purged with Argon gas. Each option features an FFP illuminated reticle with 11 intensity settings with on/off positions between each level.
The new scopes are compatible with TRACT's custom turret system and allow the user to have turrets engraved to match specific cartridges or handloads. Matching loads to the new reticles is also easy as they are included in TRACT's Impact Ballistic Resource Web Program. Each scope is a matte graphite color with Type III anodizing, recoil tested to 1,000 g, offers side focus parallax adjustment focuses from 25 yards to infinity, and includes a 3" sunshade.
"As a self-proclaimed 'long-range hunter,' I've had the opportunity to shoot
many different brands and calibers of rifles coupled with almost every optic
brand in the marketplace. Without a doubt, most riflescopes seem to come
with great spec sheets but lack a few key features that I feel are needed to
have the perfect scope. Since we received the Toric, we have come to say
in the office, this scope has it all! With a first focal plane reticle, locking
elevation and windage turrets, 0.25 MOA click adjustments, a true zero
stop, an adjustable illuminated reticle, an easy-to-turn magnification ring,
and clear HD glass, this scope is poised to be a new favorite for longrange
hunters. I chose this scope for my new 28 Nosler rifle, and I couldn't
be happier with it!"
– Austin Atkinson, Professional Hunt Advisor
4-20x50 MRAD/MOA MSRP: $1,154
For more information, go to www.tractoptics.com.
As improvements in technology have become available, we've made updates to numerous styles in our product line, but we've been apprehensive to apply updates in material and design to our most popular pant offerings. Instead, we've taken Toray's latest technologies and created the Pro Pant as a new addition. This versatile pant can be worn in a wide range of conditions, from early season to late season with proper layering, and it is ideal for rough terrain and harsh conditions where added durability is crucial. A new, very durable Primeflex polyester fabric was developed by Toray, which is more abrasive and pick resistant, yet it has the same fit, feel, and stretch that have made our pants popular among mountain hunters. Also included are the all-new, very quiet ULTRASUEDE foam-lined kneepads for increased comfort while kneeling or crawling. This pant is finished with coatings of Toray MAKSPEC and Toray DWR to reduce bacterial odor and repel outside moisture.
"My favorite hunting pant for 80% of hunting conditions has always
been the KUIU Attack pant, that is until KUIU introduced the Pro Pant.
I have been wearing the Pro Pant this year, and after getting an Alaska
Dall sheep and Colorado elk/deer hunt under my belt with them, I can
honestly say these are my go-to pants! The fabric seems to be slightly
more durable than the Attack pant, and the kneepads are thick enough
to provide protection but are not super bulky like in other brands to make
them inconvenient to have on the garment. The fact that the kneepads
add less than an ounce to the overall weight comparing them to the
Attack pant makes them a must-have in my backcountry clothing lineup."
– Garth Jenson, Professional Hunt Advisor
For more information, go to www.kuiu.com.
SIG SAUER'S all-new Ballistic Data Xchange (BDX) rangefinders and riflescopes are equipped with integrated Applied Ballistics® and wireless Bluetooth® technology. This groundbreaking BDX technology enables interoperability and key ballistic holdover information to be exchanged wirelessly between SIG SAUER BDX Electro-Optics products.
The BDX family of rangefinders includes: KILO1400BDX, KILO1800BDX, KILO2200BDX, KILO2400BDX, and KILO3000BDX rangefinder binocular. Available in 3.5-10x42mm, 4.5-14x44mm, 4.5-14x50mm, and 6.5-20x52mm, the SIERRA3BDX riflescopes have the look, feel, weight, and size of traditional riflescopes. Rounding out these superior features is SIG SAUER's kinetic energy transfer indicator KinETHIC™. It provides assistance in assuring an ethical hunt by indicating when energy on target drops below a threshold that can be set by the hunter using the BDX app.
"Over the past few years, I have put SIG riflescopes on all of my rifles and have had great results. When Sig Optics rolled out the new BDX system this year, I knew one of my guns would be getting the scope switched out with the Sierra3 4.5-14x44 BDX that pairs with the KILOBDX rangefinder.
The Bluetooth setup for this is pretty easy and straightforward. Once you download the SIG app on your phone, you input your load data and sync it to the rangefinder. The rangefinder then talks to the scope and illuminates a dot on where you need to hold out to 800 yards. It works super quick and is deadly accurate. I first tested it at the range from 100 to 500 yards with flawless results and impacted the target on every shot. I felt confident with the results and was ready for my Montana antelope hunt.
The results on the hunt were just as I had experienced at the range.
The buck I harvested was moving quite a bit, and adjusting a turret
would have been a little difficult. The KILO1800BDX gives very quick
readouts and made it very easy to make a one-shot kill on him. The
BDX system would be a great scope option for anyone."
— Isaiah Joner, Outfitter Specialist and Professional Hunt Advisor
MSRP: KILOBDX Rangefinders start at $299.99; SIERRA3BDX Riflescopes start at $599.99
For more information, go to www.sigsauer.com.
Selkirk Endurance is a highly technical, uniquely designed hunting jacket and pant that will perform on every hunt no matter the season and no matter the weather. It's the new, lightweight version of the industry-leading Selkirk Hunting System. When it's too warm for a suit, stuff Endurance in your pack in case temperatures unexpectedly drop, the wind starts to blow, you stop to glass, you're pinned down, or rain comes your way.
The cut of Endurance is athletic but offers ample room and comfort for all the layers you'll need. No matter how cold it gets, the Porelle Extreme waterproof, breathable membrane will stay quiet and flexible. No matter the weather, you'll hunt in stealth, you'll hunt dry, and you'll hunt with freedom to move. That's the performance you get when you hunt in Endurance.
"I really like the versatility the lightweight Selkirk jacket provides. This is the perfect jacket for a September elk hunt when weather can change at the drop of a hat. Its waterproof capabilities allow you to keep hunting through those afternoon monsoons, and its Micro Brushed Tricot exterior allows for stealth when you are closing the distance on the bull-of-a-lifetime. This is a great allaround lightweight hunting jacket that is a must in your early season hunting pack!" – Garth Jenson, Research Specialist and Hunt Advisor
For more information, go to www.pnumaoutdoors.com.
With the Tipton Ultra Gun Vise, different modules can be quickly moved, rearranged, or removed anywhere along the rail. Over-molded rubber contact pads throughout the device prevent damage to the firearm. Ball and socket articulating clamp pads allow for the pads to adapt to any surface. The tube frame structure allows for complete access to your rifle. Dual Clamp Technology rigidly holds any gun shape in place. Leveling feet on all corners makes scope leveling easier. The modular system allows you to clamp components like AR Upper assemblies without needing to have them attached to the lowers. Engineered glass-filled nylon construction provides a high level of rigidity while preventing damage to your firearm.
"The first time I saw the Tipton Ultra Gun Vise from BTI, I knew I needed to get
my hands on one. I've used gun vises in the past, but no one vise was able to span
my wide variety of weapons. The Ultra Gun Vise has me covered from bolt action
to AR-style rifles to muzzleloaders and even doing minor work on my bow. The
adjustability of the footings allows me to have a solid base while working. That
combined with the articulating clamps makes for the most secure desktop vise I
have ever used."
– Stanton Upson, Hunt Advisor
For more information, go to www.btibrands.com.
Simple, yet elegant, this riflescope is built to exceed expectations, no matter the person or the extreme hunts they take it on. HD (High Density), extra-low dispersion glass, an APO apochromatic lens system, XR Plus premium fully multi-coated lenses, and ArmorTek® on exterior lenses combine to deliver stunning image quality. Tacksharp resolution from edge to edge, coupled with its ultra-forgiving eyebox, serves up a sight picture nothing short of impressive.
The new HSR-4 BDC and G4-BDC reticles are super clean, yet highly versatile, for optimal target acquisition and pinpoint accuracy. The body of the scope features a one-inch tube diameter and is machined from a single, solid block of aircraft-grade aluminum. O-ring seals prevent moisture, dust, and debris from penetrating the riflescope for reliable performance in all environments. Argon gas purging prevents internal fogging over a wide range of temperatures.
"When I first looked through the Razor HD LH model, I immediately knew it would
be a keeper. The ease of finding an edge-to-edge clear view behind the scope is
unparalleled in the riflescope world. It has a minimalist profile that keeps it light and
sleek on your gun. I chose to mount the 3-15 model on my T/C muzzleloader last year
to clear up my view and extend my effective range. With the reticle, it made it easy to
holdover my target with the option to remove the top cap and dial in my elevation.
When the moment comes, your target will be clear and your scope solid. With almost
no opportunity for a follow-up shot, having the Razor HD LH on my muzzleloader
was the best choice I could make. If you're looking for a simple, effective solution
for your gun, just look through one of these Razor models. You'll be hooked."
– Austin Atkinson, Professional Hunt Advisor
1.5-8x32 – $949.99
2-10x40 – $999.99
3-15x42 – $1,099.99
For more information, go to www.vortexoptics.com.
Designed specifically for ultralight hunters and guides, the Mountain Caper knife is a lightweight caping knife that weighs a mere 22 grams. Peeling the lips, ears, and nose is a breeze with the nimble blade and skeletonized handle. The ultra-premium S90V stainless steel makes sharpening something you do after the hunt, not during. The Mountain Caper is perfect for those who weigh their gear in grams, and it is destined to become a staple in any hunter's pack.
Designed as an all-purpose mountain hunting knife, the Skeleton Ovis Hunter gets the job done fast and efficiently. Its upswept blade and fine point make it extremely versatile and ready for any task you may throw its way.
"I first handled a Kestrel knife in 2016 when a buddy received one as a tip from his client on a guided hunt. We used it that very same day to skin a cow elk, and from that moment on, I knew I would be purchasing one. A few weeks later, one arrived in the mail and was ready for use. After using it to skin, quarter, and debone a whole elk without having to sharpen it, I knew I had found the knife that would never leave my pack. I now own the whole set of Kestrel knives, and their performance always exceeds my expectations.
My favorite model is the Mountain Caper. It is extremely light and is the best knife
I have ever used to cape an animal. The point of the blade is small enough to work
around all the tight spots and is strong enough that you don't have to
worry about the blade breaking. Last year, I caped three elk and two deer
with it and only had to sharpen it twice."
– Isaiah Joner, Hunt Advisor and Outfitter Specialist
Mountain Caper Specs:
Skeleton Ovis Hunter Specs:
MSRP: Mountain Caper – $129.99; Skeleton Ovis Hunter – $159.99
For more information, go to www.kestrelknives.com.
The Halon X crossover bow is built to perform in the field or on the range. Measuring 35" axle to axle, the Halon X features a perimeter weighted minicrosscentric cam system that generates speeds up to 330 fps.
"I've been completely immersed in the archery industry for the better part of the last two decades. The innovation in bow design during that period has been unprecedented in terms of increasing speed, accuracy, and shootability while decreasing hand shock, noise, and overall size of the weapon. It's a great time to be an archer whether you are brand new to the sport or a 35+ year participant like myself.
After shooting the Halon X from Mathews for nearly a year, I couldn't help but tell all of my archery friends about how well it balanced, aimed, and shot in my hands. It shot so well that I wasn't sure I should even trust my own results with the bow, so I enlisted the opinion of my shooting mentor and elk hunting Guru, Dan Evans, for an opinion that was more qualified than my own. After cycling a ton of arrows through it, he and I agreed that it is an incredible balance of forgiveness and precision that is wrapped up in a package that is still ideal to carry as a hunting bow.
The Halon X is the best bow I've ever pointed at fur or foam. Give this thing a test
drive at your local dealer and it's likely that you'll have a hard time not leaving with
one in your hands. I loved mine so much, I bought a second one this year so I could
have two. I've only had identical bows twice in my archery career, and the last time
I did it was over 10 years ago. In short, I'm a believer!"
– Jerrod Lile, Huntin' Fool CEO and Hunt Advisor
For more information, go to www.mathewsinc.com.
The Huskemaw Advantage is best described as the most precise, quick, and userfriendly system pre-validated in a known environment. The Huskemaw scope is built to withstand years of use and provide reliable functionality in all field conditions. The "Heart" of the Huskemaw Advantage is the turret, which is now available in a patented dual stack interlocking configuration.
Eliminate the Guess: The HO ballistic compensation technology is the first to use proven drop data specific to your rifle and ammunition. Additionally, Huskemaw's patented windage-enabled technology is engraved above corresponding distances in yards. These turrets, used in conjunction with the Huskemaw Hunt Smart Reticle, make an unbeatable combination. Dual stack turrets can be utilized on both the Huskemaw Blue Diamond and Tactical scope models.
Endless Combinations: The interlocking turret design provides a multitude of options. Outer turrets can be calibrated for local shooting, while the inner turrets can be built for hunts far away from home. They can be engraved for different elevations and temperatures. There is valid data 2,000 feet above and below each set elevation and 20 degrees Fahrenheit above and below each set temperature. Dual stacked turrets can also be engraved for different bullets/loads, continuous revolutions for extremely long-range shooting, MOA, meters, or a blend of the above. Essentially, one dual stack turret can handle shooting environments from 4,000 to 12,000 feet and temperatures from 10 to 70 degrees. Determining a correct firing solution is the most important factor to an accurate "one shot," long-range hit, and the Huskemaw Advantage can provide precision accuracy quickly and easily.
"As a western hunter, you have undoubtedly found yourself in a unit that is home to
a wide range of elevations and temperatures. This Dual Stack turret from Huskemaw
allows you to have two quick options at the data you need to make a calculated
shot. For those who want even more flexibility, you can run an MOA turret on
one turret and a quick-dial yardage turret on the other. It's the ideal solution for a
western hunter, and I've had great luck using it on my rifle and muzzleloader hunts
over the past few years!"
– Austin Atkinson, Huntin' Fool Professional Hunt Advisor
Huskemaw Blue Diamond Dual Stack Interlocking Turret – $124.99
Huskemaw 5-30x56 Tactical Dual Stack Interlocking Turret – $149.99
For more information, go to www.huskemawoptics.com.
The Thor GTX was designed exclusively for the North American market and was tested in the rugged mountains of the West. This boot has a minimalistic feel but is capable of conquering any mountain. The Thor GTX is the perfect option for those looking for an early season, ultra lightweight boot with a stiffer flex of climbing any grade of terrain. The exclusive Crispi sole is designed to handle any type of grade thrown at it.
The Thor GTX is a non-insulated, super-breathable boot, but it is still waterproof thanks to the Gore-Tex® lining.
"I first handled the Crispi Thor boots at the Salt Lake Expo in 2017 and immediately
knew it was a pair of boots I had to add to my collection. They arrived just in
time to use for spring bear season. I was amazed at how comfortable they were
straight out of the box. The softer rubber soles made them great for stalking
conditions, but they were still stiff and 'grippy' enough to allow me to motor
up steep slopes. Only a week after unboxing them, I put them to the test on a
14-mile round-trip scouting trip with about a 45 lb. pack and a couple thousand
feet in elevation gain and loss. Even on steep sidehills, they provided enough
ankle support to keep me from rolling my ankle. A boot with a build like the Thor
that can handle various types of terrain with little to no break-in period should be
in every hunter's arsenal. The look of this boot does not disappoint, much like its
comfort. I would rank this as a very ideal boot for early to mid-season hunts with
warmer temperatures. Crispi has done a great job of releasing multiple new styles
of boots that are geared for hunters."
– Isaiah Joner, Huntin' Fool Hunt Advisor
For more information, go to www.crispius.com.
When you're already the boot guides swear by, you continue to work on making it even better. That's why we've added our new rock solid, one-piece, vulcanized rubber K-73 outsole to the boot that already keeps sheep up at night. Tough hunts mean traversing glaciers and navigating scree fields with ridiculous weight on your back and just enough air to catch your breath. That's when staying upright becomes everything. These boots are made in Italy.
MSRP: 400 gram insulate – $525; non-insulated – $480
For more information, go to www.kenetrek.com.
The Hilleberg Akto has become the go-to choice for hunters who need an allseason, tough but light solo tent. It has proven itself on hunts in Alaska, all over the western U.S. and Canada, and in Asia and in weather conditions from fair to full-on storm. Although not much heavier than a bivy bag, the Akto offers spacious, all-season shelter for the solo hunter (or the hunter who just wants his own room). It is easy to pitch (the inner and outer tents are connected for quick, simultaneous set up), has Hilleberg's Kerlon 1200 outer tent fabric with an impressive 26.5 lb. tear strength, 9 mm DAC poles, and a packed size small enough to fit into a side pocket on many packs. That is all at a packed weight of 3 lbs. 12 oz.
"I tried numerous backpacking tents out there before purchasing my Hilleberg
Akto almost 10 years ago. I have used and abused this tent on every backpack
hunt I've been on, and I almost always have it in my truck for the just-in-case
moment. Because of the performance I have experienced with my Akto, Hilleberg
is the only brand of lightweight backpacking tent I have purchased since that
time. The last place you'll want problems is 6+ miles in with a limited amount of
gear to change out. It's for this reason that I consider the Akto the best bang for
my buck when it comes to strength versus weight ratio. I never head into the
backcountry without it!"
– Garth Jenson, Professional Hunt Advisor
For more information, go to www.hilleberg.com.
Even though I enjoy hunting with a bow and arrow and consider the more primitive methods of hunting to be very rewarding, I also consider myself an opportunist and jump at the chance to take advantage of new products that will help me have the best chance at success. Many states have recently adopted regulations allowing the use of magnifying scopes mounted atop muzzleloaders during muzzleloader seasons. Coupled with the technology behind the new black powder substitutes and projectiles, the long-range craze is reaching the muzzleloader market and it's worth taking a closer look at.
Knowing that New Mexico has very few restrictions on muzzleloader specifications, I applied for and drew a late season muzzleloader-only elk permit last year. I knew the rugged, steep terrain would warrant the use of a long-range firearm that would be capable of a cross-canyon shot. While there are many choices for muzzleloaders in today's market, I was intrigued by the new .45 caliber muzzleloader produced by Best of the West in Cody, Wyoming and decided that would be my setup for my New Mexico hunt.
This muzzleloader uses a custom ballistictipped bullet with a high BC and does not use a sabot to eliminate the inaccuracies associated with conventional plastic sabots. The priming system is one of the most convenient and easy-to-use setups I've ever seen. Large rifle primers are held by the patent-pending Express Priming System using brass cartridge holders. You can carry up to five primers in the magazine, much like you would with a centerfire rifle. The side discharge muzzle brake helps reduce most of the recoil from the the heavy load of Blackhorn 209 powder, and it weighs in at under 10.5 lbs., scope included.
After battling unusually warm temps and turning up very few mature bulls, I glassed up a small group of bulls on the last day of my New Mexico hunt and tried to close the distance and get on the same hillside as the 6-point in the group. It became next to impossible to pick out his body in the brush once I got within shooting distance. I knew my only clear shot I would have on him would be from behind me and across the first draw. I dropped down the hill and picked my way through the brush to get a clear view of the bull and watched him bed down in the shade. The angle-compensated range read 603 yards on my rangefinder and there was no crosswind to speak of, so I knew this was my opportunity. I dialed the scope up 19.6 MOA to the printed yardage on the turret and took a few practice squeezes, holding level on the bedded bull. After working the bolt and letting the primer and powder do their job, I was overjoyed to see my first New Mexico bull topple over down the hill. The 327 grain bullet had passed through the bull's chest completely, and my hunt was over.
The standard system includes the muzzleloader, 4-16x42 Huskemaw Optics scope, short starter, custom turret, 24 bullets, priming inserts, powder tubes, reprimer tool, hard case, and more.
MSRP: $5,495 (Standard System)
For more information, go to www.thebestofthewest.net.
Introducing the Schnee's Timberline mountain boot for your next light and fast adventure. Schnee's has taken the core features of their legendary Beartooth™ collection and dialed back the rigidity for a smoother and more flexible ride. This boot has a new Vibram Circuma outsole with open and opposing height lugs for maximum traction on a lighter weight outsole. The boot is also 100% waterproof with OutDry technology.
Made in northern Italy, Schnee's boots are handcrafted with care and precision using only the finest materials and based upon state-of-theart engineering. We have a very simple mission – to provide the world's most discerning customers with only the very best. For us, that means the highest quality, longest lasting, best value, best fitting, and best performing boots available anywhere in the world.
"I bought my first pair of Schnee's Pac boots for winter logging nearly 30
years ago. Few occupations are harder on boots than what I was doing at
that time, and I was extremely pleased with the comfort and durability of
the boot and the customer service of the brand. In light of that, I knew
their new Timberline boot would be an excellent choice for my hunts that
start early and run through mid-October. After spending a good portion of
my fall in them, I couldn't be happier. My first reaction when I slipped the
Timberline on was that it felt incredibly lightweight and nimble while still
feeling like a very legit hunting boot that was capable of handling any hunt
you wanted to throw at it. I found the softer, more flexible sole to be quiet
enough for archery stalks, and those attributes in a boot cause less foot
fatigue for me. I'd highly recommend the Timberline to anyone looking for
an uninsulated, lightweight, yet rugged boot that makes your feet happy
every time you slip them on for your next adventure."
– Jerrod Lile, Huntin' Fool CEO and Professional Hunt Advisor
For more information, go to www.schnees.com.
The F1 Mainframe will haul any man-portable load with the same alacrity and a lot more comfort (and it's quieter) than a giant freighter frame. However, unlike any other pack system, from this load-bearing workhorse, you can build a true ultra-light pack simply by adding one of our bags, such as the F2 Transformer, F65 Little Big Top, or A6SB Batwing Pouch.
The Mainframe can function as a freight pack or a daypack and can transform to a meat hauler within seconds. With our solid NT7 or 1000-denier nylon fabric, depending on your color choice, coupled with our ultra-light Intex II aluminum frame, the Mainframe shaves off pounds while maintaining superior strength and comfort.
Mainframe Pack Features:
"External frame packs have been around for decades, but the Mainframe by
Eberlestock is a reinvention of the classic design that has proved it is worth its weight
in gold for me on several hunts this year. The ergonomic shape and extremely comfy
hip belt and shoulder straps make the pack feel as if it is not there when you are
traveling light to go pack out heavy loads. For heavy loads of bone-in and boned-out
meat, I used the J-Type zip-on dry bag on the frame. The J-Type bag, like many other
bags in the Eberlestock line, zips onto the Mainframe with two long vertical zippers.
The combined weight of this system was less than five pounds, but I feel it would
easily handle loads in excess of 100 pounds (if you're able to do so). I packed out one
of my bull elk solo with this pack and assisted a friend packing out a big, mature mule
deer that we skinned for a life-size cape. In addition to the J-Type bag, I used the Spike
Camp Duffel and the F2 Transformer. In each case, I simply chose the best companion
for the Mainframe pack for the particular application I needed. This is truly the first
modular system I've found that allows for quick and easy transformations from one
pack style to the next."
— Jerrod Lile
MSRP: F1 Mainframe - $189
For more information, go to www.eberlestock.com.