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Gear you liked/disliked 2023

bigmike23

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2020
Messages
1,580
Location
NE PA
I asked last year and I'll ask again. What worked, what didn't, what do you need or want to change next year?

Liked:
1. My ebike I got this year is the greatest thing I ever bought for hunting. Full stop. It used to be a 1.5-2.5 hr walk in/out. I got burnt out extremely fast cause of that nonsense. Now it's an hr in and out from even my most remote locations. I cant emphasize how much more enjoyable hunting is because of it.

2. Bought the predator platform. I love the little thing. It's rock solid for me. Cams great. No wobble. Wish it was a tad bigger but it worked for lots of all day sits.

3. Fas pack. I got it for half of what it costs from my cousin. I love the thing. It carried everything I wanted including my heavy winter clothes with no problem. I didn't miss a waist belt.

4. IW single bevels 200gr buff head. First time trying SBs. They're 2 for 2. Not a lot to learn from just two kills, but they worked and resharpened right up and spun great. I love how easy the heads are to sharpen. I like the replacement blades because I use a dull head to sight in, then replace it with a sharp one and go hunting.

5. Tx5 gear minimalist tether. I freaking love this thing. So light and small.

6. One sticks. This was the first season of hard use. I love them. Had 1 stick get a loose step which tethrd replaced. I used the beast sticks twice and couldnt believe how bulky they were by comparison.

7. My 257 Roy I bought in January had its maiden kill the other day. Deer went 4 feet. Heart was completely vaporized. Me likely.

Disliked:

1. Tried the Proximity jacket again twice this year. Absolutely froze both times in just mid 30 degree weather. This thing blows. I don't care what anyone tells me. Wind comes through the sleeves and shoulders. The tight cuffs suck for layering. And it's the second jacket that tore on me in the same spot. Instead of them sending me another they gave me full store credit. Good riddance.

2. Fanatic bibs. They are extremely warm, and comfy. But they are just too bulky for my kind of hunting. No matter how cold it got this year I stuck it out in the Stratus bibs and made out okay. I'm gunna sell them and maybe pick up the Incinerator bibs that pack down so much better.

3. Tuff head SB 200 gr. I think these were pure garbage. I loved the idea of a Bishop like solid machined SB in s7. The machining on these heads was god AWFUL. Every head had a different bevel angle. For my kme sharpener I had to use both the normal and high bevel angle block because they varied so much. Then the ferrule on one was so fat that the diamond stone couldn't hit the bevel and just hit the ferrule.

I not sure what I want or need for next year. Pretty happy with everything. If the Vader platform doesn't kill anybody I may try it next year. I also need to start researching frame packs for packing out meat. I killed my buck on top of a remote Mtn, and my cart didn't work at all due to the sheep laurel. It was a nightmare getting him out. Packing out 100% moving forward.
 
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Black Ovis merino base layers! 125, 200 and 250 weights. Absolutely changed my layering process and warmth.

Big Bob one stick - the platform is great, bites the tree hard and is adjustable

Victory RIP arrows - not the TKOs, every bit as accurate/straight and substantially cheaper


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Sitka fanatic pack. It was free via eBay weirdness. I usually stick with US made packs, but this one is nice and quiet. Carries what I need (steps or rope).

Nomad dura wool. Got these on sale and was impressed for the price ($80 for set). Not sure about durability yet. Hopefully it’s better than their turkey vests.
 
I didn’t change much gear for whitetail this year. But what I did change and liked were…

Killdeer harness which replaced my hss. It’s not perfect and there’s a couple things I’d change on it but I much prefer it over the hss.

Wild line ropes linemans rope. It’s extremely light and compact, works well.

I like my beast sticks but they’re getting the boot next year. Gonna wait and see if anyone comes out with a competitor to the one sticks first before I pull the trigger on them.
 
Like:
Third season with the Easton 6.5mm arrows. The match-grade extrusion process makes for consistent arrow flight from shaft to shaft and really cuts down on nock tuning/fletching complications. I can slap a few blazers and a Montec on them and accuracy only improves. Just my experience with them so far. I’m an Easton guy for any carbon arrows now.

Black Diamond Super 8 has been super fun use for rappelling. Also Trango auto-locking carabiners, light and strong.

I picked up a GameHide Broadside jacket last winter, and it’s been just awesome. GH is 2/2 on phenomenally warm, sturdy, quiet jackets in my hunting wardrobe. After 11/1 they’re pretty much all I wear over a Fanatic hoodie and maybe another thin wool layer.

Dislike:
Not a true dislike, but I’m switching my tether and LB. I have 11mm tether and 8mm LB now, but I’m swapping them. I don’t like how much space the 11mm takes in my dump pouch and I do like the thicker rope as a positioning lanyard more than the thinner 8mm which sometimes crunches my fingers and bites into my clothing around my neck a little more. Switching them will keep the thicker rope out of a pouch and take any sag out of the saddle when I’m walking in, plus make it much easier to pack tether away when switching to rappel rope (I generally prefer to hunt from a short tether).
 
Very useful thread here:

Worked killing eight deer:
  • Sevr broad heads worked pretty well, but not sharp enough out of the box. Will use them next year but will put my own edge on them.
  • Cruzr XC saddle very comfy.
  • My Hoyt VTM34 + Black Gold Rush sight + Gold Tip Airstrikes at about 520 grains.
  • Tethrd Predator platform + Trophyline Mission platform worked very well.
  • Fixed saddle sites: I have five saddle sites preselected on the property I hunt. Have a safety line hung from 28'high and ladder steps up to 20', and leave these up all year. Makes entry/exit fast and quiet. Often leave a platform there too.
  • Chippewa heavy boots give me the ruggedness I need for entry/exit and the stability I need while up on the platform.
 
Liked:
1) Mystery Ranch Pop Up 28- Packed out multiple deer with this thing this year and it worked perfectly. Carries all my saddle gear with ease. Couldn’t be happier.

2) Hunt Arsenal RZR Magnum- bites down solid, folds flat, very light weight. Only minor complaint is I wish it were about 1.5” deeper for easier weakside shots. Maybe the next version will have a slightly deeper model.

3) Sitka Timberline Pants- best pants for Appalachian mountain rifle hunting. Not too warm that I sweat but were comfortable down into the 30s with a base layer underneath. Durable and stretchy.

4) Tethrd One Sticks- made the switch from beast sticks and glad I did. Good bite to them, ultralight, attach to the tree in seconds. No complaints.


Disliked:
1) Latitude Method 2 Saddle- didn’t enjoy my time in it, though that maybe just be a 2 panel vs 1 panel comfort thing. Though the bridge on the Method would tend to slip some over the duration of my sit. Sold it and went back to my phantom.

2) Nockturnal Nocks. Used them for years but have had some durability issues when shot through deer. Going to try out Halo Nocks next season.
 
Very useful thread here:

Worked killing eight deer:
  • Sevr broad heads worked pretty well, but not sharp enough out of the box. Will use them next year but will put my own edge on them.
  • Cruzr XC saddle very comfy.
  • My Hoyt VTM34 + Black Gold Rush sight + Gold Tip Airstrikes at about 520 grains.
  • Tethrd Predator platform + Trophyline Mission platform worked very well.
  • Fixed saddle sites: I have five saddle sites preselected on the property I hunt. Have a safety line hung from 28'high and ladder steps up to 20', and leave these up all year. Makes entry/exit fast and quiet. Often leave a platform there too.
  • Chippewa heavy boots give me the ruggedness I need for entry/exit and the stability I need while up on the platform.
What are you using for safety lines? I have a bunch of Muddy Safelines that I’ve used for very similar setups but I get nervous leaving them out all year. Hasn’t stopped me yet, but I did take one out of the woods after two years of staying put. No signs of damage but it’s definitely gotten some UV attention.
 
Liked:
Swaro NL Pures
Exo K4
Hoyt RX7
Goldtip AirStrike
Dislike:
Marmot Super Alloy tent
Sheepfeet-Great company I just could not get them comfortable.
Not liking Oplux for durability issues.
MKC knife. Not worth it for what it is.
Losing my job and having to sell the stuff I like. LMK.
 
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Forgot to add:

Darn tough socks. Got the “hunter” sock for birthday. No sign of heel wear. The Amazon merino always fails in the heel after a winter it seems. With a lifetime guarantee it seems like a no brainer. Just picked up two more that aren’t as thick as the hunter.
 
Things i liked:

RZR platform...Wow this thing is light, thin, packable and bites hard to the tree.

Tethrd ones....Super light, packable and just the best sticks I've ever used.

Orion....never sat in a more comfortable saddle. I would change a couple things but overall amazing.

Things I didn't like:

Skeletors....to heavy and moving steps. They aren't bad but not for me.
 
Things I liked:

1) JX3 stick with Wide Top Platform as a 1-stick. Pairs perfectly with the Hybrid in pack mode, and to hunt off of, and easy to climb with. In my opinion anyone why tried the Hybrid with only a ROS and bailed never really got the Hybrid experience at its full potential.

2) JX3 Hybrid. I'm one weekend away from completing my first exclusive season in any saddle, and it's been an extremely comfortable and rewarding season. I like lots of styles of hunting, especially elevated, but this is the closest I've felt to "contentment".

3) Innovating the Outdoors Amsteel pull down rope. 1000% better than Dynaglide or paracord. My only issue is that it is only 30 feet. Not sure why. I've "outkicked my coverage" a couple times with it. I might need to make my own 40 foot version or see if they'll make a longer one.

No dislikes, but things I'm unsure about:

Sterling f4 descender. It works. I like that it is certified for 8mm. Ilike that I can't drop it. I like that there are company videos referencing drop tests and hands free operation. I don't love the "single use" language in the directions. I don't love sliding it back up the rope after a rappel.

New category that seems germane:

Things I'm interested in:

1) Sladder. Can't help but feel like sooner or later I'll be climbing with this, and that it might be the last thing I ever use to climb trees.

2) Kildeer. I always hated that there was no lightweight rock climbing harness with lineman loops. If I ever scratch my itch to be back in my Assault hangon (that itch never fades)...grabbing this, the aforementioned Sladder and a rappel rope seems like an early season dream.

3) Waldrop Pac seat. I love hunting elevated, and I don't buy the arguments that I could be just as successful from the ground (at least in my area and style). During rifle in the northeast however the loads get heavier with outerwear and the walks get longer and the terrain steeper to avoid competition. I can't help but wonder if I'd hunt gun seasons better without the load of elevated gear.

Sent from my SM-S901U using Tapatalk
 
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Things I liked:
1. Grigri descender- much smoother descents than the madrock
2. Sitka hunting clothes- after last year I upgraded all my clothes to Sitka. I’ve been much more comfortable, been able to stay out longer and without a doubt the Timberline pants are amazing saddle hunting pants
3. Latitude climbing sticks- light, bite the tree amazingly well, and packable. I love these sticks.
4. Nock 2 It release- after only 8 months of use my Carter wise choice broke. I was scrambling and the nock 2 it is basically a smaller version. I love it.
5. Pursuit platform- small, light, bites the tree, and doesn’t get cold in Michigan winters.

Things I disliked:
1. Evolution Outdoors dangerous game broadheads. Bought em cause I thought they looked cool. Just didn’t pan out. Finally got sick of them and switched back to G5 Montec Strikers.
 
I started bringing a kindle on all day sits. Never really read before. I found the end of the internet a few times, I'm very much over that. Zen is good but brain doesn't always want to go there. Reading worked out, time goes much faster with a good book. I only use it when the leaves are crunchy.

Actually regressed back to my old Helium(s) from my Tthrd ONE. That's pretty much a tossup for me I love how light the titanium is, but man I really do just love the Helium design. Always have. The folding steps and flat beam just pack nicer and climb better. Very ergonomic stick, a shame the quality took a dump as is reputed.

I keep resisting the ebike. I don't have a lot of urge to get one, but it would save me some massive hikes. Maybe even open up some spots I may not have the option to hunt otherwise if I need to hurry back to town for dad duties. I need to sell myself on that one I think to cross into the darkside. I think my barrier is logistics, just another thing to charge, maintain, pack, unpack, worry about getting stolen is a big one. And I couldn't use it half the places I hunt. And I don't really want to be associated with the huntbro crowd that I see using them primarily.
 
Liked:
Lite Boots - this was not intentional, but I reached for them every hunt, from northern Ohio river bottoms to southern Ohio hills. Thus far have been down to 29 degrees with Arctic Shield covers and been fine.

ScentLok - Went full in on it this year and I may be a convert, at least until I see some evidence to the contrary. I hunt a swirly river valley that often gets the best of me. I’ve had deer absolutely dead down wind this year several times and they did not spook. Maybe JE’s right we will see.

Tethed One sticks: great so far in my first season with em.

Sevr 1.7s - full disclosure have not shot a deer yet, but I have confidence in them and practice config is real helpful.

Thick fleece fishing / wading pants - great layer to add sub 40 degrees.

In betweener:
Hickory Creek Mini - did about 40% of my hunts with it. Don’t get me wrong I like it but thus far, for whatever reason, I’m still more accurate with my compound. And seems I’m always tweaking the red dot dials. I’ve shot the HC through paper and my arrow is straight, I just gotta keep shooting it next year and see if I can tighten up.

Didn’t like:
Steps on OCB - once they’re set I love em but man I’m still clumsy in getting them wrapped and secured.

My processes, the sum total of all gear - I’ve had good hunts, a few great hunts. But overall I’m slow in my packing, climbing, and setting up, and not that dialed in honestly.
 
Things I liked:

1) JX3 stick with Wide Top Platform as a 1-stick. Pairs perfectly with the Hybrid in pack mode, and to hunt off of, and easy to climb with. In my opinion anyone why tried the Hybrid with only a ROS and bailed never really got the Hybrid experience at its full potential.

2) JX3 Hybrid. I'm one weekend away from completing my first exclusive season in any saddle, and it's been an extremely comfortable and rewarding season. I like lots of styles of hunting, especially elevated, but this is the closest I've felt to "contentment".

3) Innovating the Outdoors Amsteel pull down rope. 1000% better than Dynaglide or paracord. My only issue is that it is only 30 feet. Not sure why. I've "outkicked my coverage" a couple times with it. I might need to make my own 40 foot version or see if they'll make a longer one.

No dislikes, but things I'm unsure about:

Sterling f4 descender. It works. I like that it is certified for 8mm. Ilike that I can't drop it. I like that there are company videos referencing drop tests and hands free operation. I don't love the "single use" language in the directions. I don't love sliding it back up the rope after a rappel.

New category that seems germane:

Things I'm interested in:

1) Sladder. Can't help but feel like sooner or later I'll be climbing with this, and that it might be the last thing I ever use to climb trees.

2) Kildeer. I always hated that there was no lightweight rock climbing harness with lineman loops. If I ever scratch my itch to be back in my Assault hangon (that itch never fades)...grabbing this, the aforementioned Sladder and a rappel rope seems like an early season dream.

3) Waldrop Pac seat. I love hunting elevated, and I don't buy the arguments that I could be just as successful from the ground (at least in my area and style). During rifle in the northeast however the loads get heavier with outerwear and the walks get longer and the terrain steeper to avoid competition. I can't help but wonder if I'd hunt gun seasons better without the load of elevated gear.

Sent from my SM-S901U using Tapatalk
I had the Killdeer on every hunt this year, including many later season sits as secondary in a JX3. It and the Drey are great. Can I recommend it for rappel, I’m not sure…. It absolutely may just be me but I developed a bit of a side effect (all better now): https://saddlehunter.com/community/...s-leg-straps-and-man-parts.54911/#post-780737
 
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