gear review

GEAR REVIEW: Lathrop & Sons Custom Boot Systems And 3D Mapping

By Johnny Mack

Boots and my feet have a love hate relationship. For the longest time, I steered clear of stiff leather boots because of the blisters and hot spots they created on my feet. Being a former collegiate athlete, I was more comfortable in a pair of Nike Air Max 90’s for hiking than true “hiking” boots. At the beginning of my hunting career I tried quite a few different boots. All of them either left me with very little support and would blow out on the sides when getting into steep terrain or they were too stiff leaving me with blisters similar to what you see on the picture below. I finally settled on a pair of boots that worked, but to fit properly I was told to size down a half size which ended up causing my toes to jam into the front of the boots and leaving me with a sensation on my toes that lasted longer than the adrenaline from the hunt.

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GEAR REVIEW: Wiser Precision PH-170 Nighthawk Pan Head

By Johnny Mack

When it comes to backpack hunting, ounces always matter. Period. Having solid and reliable gear can also be the difference between a notched tag and a trip cut short. In this review we are diving into the Wiser Precision PH-170 Nighthawk Ultralight Pan Head. This is the first pan head that marks all the boxes that you might have when looking for a sturdy and ultralight pan head.

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GEAR REVIEW: Grayboe Phoenix Gun Stock

By Jeff Winslow

Instagram: @sendit110

For the last seven years I have been using my long-range competition rifles to hunt with. While the comfortability and accuracy were unparalleled, carrying a twenty-pound rifle around on all my hunts was becoming too much. I knew at some point I would have to build a specific hunting rifle to meet my needs.

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GEAR REVIEW: Vortex Radian Carbon Tripod

By Johnny Mack

A year ago I night hunted for coyotes standing upright for the very first time off of a tripod. What I found is shooting off a tripod is an absolute game changer unless your tripod falls short in stability or height. The tripod I was using at the time was a perfect mix of lightweight and sturdiness but only from the sitting position. Shortly after that hunt, Vortex Optics released the new Vortex Radian Carbon Tripod and I knew that I needed to get my hands on one to see how it would handle afield.

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GEAR REVIEW: Pulsar Thermal Optics

By Johnny Mack

If you are a fan of predator hunting, there is no better way to do it than going out at night and leveling the playing field by using thermal optics. If you want to do it right, have a higher chance of success and be able relive your hunt for later enjoyment, then look no further than Pulsar Thermal Optics.

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GEAR REVIEW: Tag Wallet by The Crazy Elk Company

By Johnny Mack

Sometimes in life you don’t realize what you have been missing out on until you experience it first hand and understand the need for it. This was my initial reaction when I came across the Tag Wallet by The Crazy Elk Company. As a newer hunter I was always concerned with how much electrical tape or zip ties I needed to carry with me on a hunt in order to attach my notched tag.

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GEAR REVIEW: Initial Ascent IA4K Backpack

By Johnny Mack

When it comes to hunting gear, people often talk about a good pair of boots and a comfortable backpack as being the most essential gear to make or break a hunt (besides your weapon of course). After spending several seasons hunting and packing out animals, I was always left with a excruciating pain between my shoulder blades that would eventually beat me down and made me despise the pack I was wearing.

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GEAR REVIEW: Vortex Razor UHD 12×50 Binoculars

By Johnny Mack

In the spring of 2020 I had the privilege of using Vortex Razor UHD 12×50 binoculars on my bear hunt. I was beyond elated to be able to use them while hunting after looking through them at the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo. The first time I looked through them I was blown away with the quality of glass. Previously I was using Vortex Razor HD binos and even though those were very good, the UHD’s are hands far better and in a class of their own.

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GEAR REVIEW: Vortex Razor HD 4000 Rangefinder

By Johnny Mack

This past spring, I had the pleasure of using the Vortex Razor HD 4000 rangefinder on my Washington state spring bear hunt. I was super excited to finally have a rangefinder that matched my binoculars and rifle scope in optical clarity and sharpness. I have used multiple rangefinders in the past only to feel disappointed when trying to range an animal in low light and then not be able to find it.

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GEAR REVIEW: Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener

By Johnny Mack

This last year I decided to try out a fixed blade knife for processing game instead of constantly having to remember to refill my replaceable blades. Once I settled on the Benchmade Altitude, I knew that a fixed blade is only as good as how sharp you keep it. With that in mind, I set off to find a small, lightweight and convenient sharpener that I could trust and rely upon while hunting.

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Mountain Hunter Box

If you are a hunter and active on social media these days, there is a good chance that you might be familiar with subscription boxes focused on providing items specifically tailored to the outdoorsman. Being someone that is very picky when selecting gear for my adventures, I was hesitant to dive in and see what the hype was all about.

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GEAR REVIEW: MAVEN B.2 11×45 BINOCULARS

By Johnny Mack

If you are in the market for binoculars, spotting scope, or a rifle scope and have not heard of Maven optics, listen up.  Maven jumped into the optics market in 2014, and is based out of Lander Wyoming. The company is built upon the idea that optics can be developed without compromise in quality or performance, all without the big box store markup.

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GEAR REVIEW: Hunter’s Blend Coffee

Do you smell it?  The beautiful aroma of delicious fresh coffee being made in the morning.  That wonderful sound of coffee dripping down into a pot, or percolating on the stove.  These are the sounds that remind us that it is time to focus.  That it is time to prepare.

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GEAR REVIEW: Crispi Lapponia

By Johnny Mack

I have spent most of my life in the woods starting with backpacking when I was 7 years old.  That first trip was a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail in northern Washington.  Growing up I hiked in any pair of available athletic shoes that my mother wouldn’t kill me for ruining.  Year after year, hike after hike, were spent stomping around the wilderness with some type of everyday rubber soled average athletic shoe.  Although hiking in those shoes proved to be comfortable for the way they fit, they were by no means waterproof, durable or had enough support.

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GEAR REVIEW: Vortex Viper PST Gen II

By Johnny Mack

There is an abundance of optics companies these day all competing for your dollar and loyalty.  Vortex Optics is one of those companies and they have developed quite the cult following in recent years.  That following was built upon their “VIP” warranty.  It states that no matter what happens, your Vortex product will either be fixed or replaced. In the world of hunting, if your optics fail, you are going to have a slim chance of success.  Hopefully you will never have to test their warranty, but it is nice to know it is there.

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