I recently returned home from a 5 day archery elk hunt in Colorado. While I never put my tag on an elk, I did get to try out a lot of new gear. Several items performed extremely well; therefore, I wanted to do a quick blog post on these items offering my thoughts in case anyone is in the process of trying to decide whether to purchase these items or not.
As we all know, your footwear selection can literally mean the difference between having a great hunt, or a disastrous hunt. This year, in my search to find the most comfortable boots for the type of hunting I do, I partnered with Zamberlan. This was an easy choice. Over the past few years I had been struggling with blisters because of my boots and finally decided I couldn't do that any more. After trying my first pair of Zamberlan's, I was sold.
I chose the Zamberlan 960 Guide's for this trip. I had already put on over 100 miles on them prior to the trip so I knew they would perform well.....and they did! I was climbing/descending several thousand vertical feet most days, and had no heel slip. The boots lock my heel in place which resulted in no hot spots or blisters. In addition, we received a fair amount of rain resulting in muddy/slippery trails and the out-soles provided great traction. All around great boot for early season hunting in the most rugged of terrain.
[caption id="attachment_824" align="aligncenter" width="672"]
The Zamberlan 960 Guide's have a superb fit and are a great choice for steep, rugged backcountry hunts.[/caption]
Next up is the Stone Glacier Sky Archer 6200 backpack. Although I went in light, and came out even lighter, I came to love this pack on this trip. This came as no surprise though given the fact that I spent countless hours researching packs before I decided to go with Stone Glacier out of Bozeman, Montana. Their packs are designed with the lightweight backcountry hunter in mind. Kurt Racicot, who founded Stone Glacier and has been designing packs for over 15 years, is a backpack hunter himself, and understands the importance of designing packs that have the perfect compromise between weight and comfort.
First and foremost, Stone Glacier packs are 100% made in the USA. The packs utilize the Krux suspension which has a carbon/composite, four stay design that transfers loads very well to the hip belt. It also utilizes a hook and loop system that allows the user to adjust the shoulder harness to the exact height needed. All the bags are constructed of Cordura 500 and X-pac fabrics and 1” webbing and military grade buckles. In other words, they are lightweight packs that do not use lightweight materials.
[caption id="attachment_825" align="aligncenter" width="672"]
I run one of the pack's bottom straps through the bow riser to secure at the bottom and the use the two larger front straps to firmly secure the bow: one near the bow sight and the other across the bow grip.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_826" align="aligncenter" width="672"]
I utilize the bottom pocket and side compression straps to secure my arrows an tent pole to the left side of the pack.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_827" align="aligncenter" width="672"]
I utilize the bottom pocket and side compression straps to secure my tripod to the right side of the pack.[/caption]
For this particular trip I chose the Stone Glacier Sky Archer 6200. At full capacity, it is a 6200 ci pack and has a built-in load shelf for hauling meat. My bow straps nicely to the pack and the small side pocket on the left side of the pack in conjunction with side straps holds arrows and tent pole perfectly. On the opposite side, I insert the tripod legs into the pocket and secure with the compression straps. All other items are organized within the pack. I will be doing a more detailed writeup on this pack in the future for both The Mule Deer Hunter and Altitude Outdoors.
Next blog post.....my new sleep system: Hilleberg Enan, Katabatic Palisade quilt and Thermarest NeoAir XLite sleeping pad. A sleep system that weighs in at an incredibly light 4 lbs 4.6 oz.