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The Info Hub for Solid.Hunting.Gear

  • Darn Tough - Quality Socks - Made in the Heart of Vermont

    When it comes to footwear and choosing your gear for the upcoming season the single most overlooked pieces of gear is your socks. What the average person doesn't understand is that most hunting socks are built with a specific purpose. Some are made to be light and quick, some are meant to provide more cushion in your boot. One of the leading brands out there in our industry is Darn Tough, and they are the prime example of what makes a good sock. It's a story of survival, a story of hard work, a story of never giving up, and all of those things make their socks "DARN TOUGH".

    Below is a film that Darn Tough put together last year that dives into the history and what makes a good sock. Definitely give it a watch when you have some free time. With that being said let's dive into how and why to choose the right sock for you.

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  • BlackOvis Custom Arrow ID - Why and How?

    BlackOvis Custom Arrow ID Logo

    Let's face it you guys, factory fletchings is a thing of the past. Grabbing a dozen arrows off the shelf that are already pre-fletched is great and easy to grab last minute, but what if we told you that you could create a dozen custom arrows, see a preview of what they'd actually look like, and have them built and shipped within 48 hours...

    Welcome to the BlackOvis Arrow ID...

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  • ALPS Upland Game Vest X - Gear Review

    Alps Outdoors Logo

    The ALPS Upland Vest X (Pack) is one of the best designed upland packs in the industry today. It is a well thought out pack that was built by an upland hunter that understands the needs of upland hunters. My goal in this post is to go over the key features that really make this pack awesome.

    - Key Features of the ALPS Upland Game Pack -

     

    Bird Pocket: The biggest thing that differentiates an upland game pack from any other pack is going to be the bird pocket.  It’s designed to be able to easily slip a freshly retrieved bird into the large pocket from either side of the pack so you can get back to the hunt with little to no interference. In the ALPS Pack, the bird pocket is large and accessible from either side. One key feature that differentiates this from a traditional bird vest is that it has a zipper at the top so you can fully open the pocket to dump out your kill; rather than having to pull birds out one by one, or shake them out. You can also lock the zipper with a toggle to avoid it coming undone.

    Alps Upland Vest

     

    Hydration Sleeve: I almost missed this feature because it’s concealed so well, but the hydration pocket is right behind the back panel. You can access it from the top, and there are ports leading out both sides of the harness straps. This is definitely something you won’t find in a traditional bird vest, and is really nice to have for those longer days. Continue reading

  • Crispi Briksdal GTX - Product Gear Review

    Crispi Briksdal GTX Review Banner

    The Briksdal GTX was one of the new additions that Crispi US made to the lineup this year. Reason being is that they would give hunters the option of getting into a stiffer boot than the Nevada’s but not quite to the extreme as let's say..a Scarpa.  That way you maintain that comfort level that Crispi is well known for. This boot was really designed to fill the need for those hunting at extreme elevation where they need a bit of Insulation (200 g), a stiffer board last, and a boot that will take a beating in the extreme terrain without getting into a pure mountaineering pack boot.

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  • Crispi Nevada Legend GTX Insulated Hunting Boot Review

    One of the first things you learn as a mountain hunter is that if your feet aren’t happy, you aren’t happy. Your boots can literally make or break your whole hunt (or scouting trip, shed hunt, etc). A quality, durable, well-fitting and broken-in boot is an overlooked necessity that should be one of the most sought after items in your gear list. I refuse to let something like poor choice of footwear keep me out of the mountains!

    Comfortable feet at 9300'

    After wearing and really enjoying the Kennetrek Mountain Extreme 400’s for the last 3+ years, they were nearing the end of their useful life and needed to be replaced. As I’d been searching for my next pair of boots, I almost decided to go with the Mountain Extremes again: they’re tough boots, waterproof, have great ankle support and I really liked how stiff the soles were since that helped keep my foot locked in place when side-hilling across steep slopes – in other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! My biggest issue with them, though, was that they went 10” up my leg. This could make for some hot hiking in the summer and early fall, and this extra heat sometimes led to hot spots on rare occasions, but mostly it just resulted in extremely hot and sweaty feet. Also, it took me quite a while to get them broken in to my liking. Even though I was happy overall with the Mountain Extremes, I decided to branch out and give something else a try. I’d heard a lot of good things about Crispi boots, and when BlackOvis started offering them, I decided to jump on the opportunity to get some. I went with the Nevada Legend GTX Insulated Hunting boot because I wanted my boots to keep my feet warm and dry when it gets cold out, like during a late season hunt, hiking in the snow, or during creek crossings. I like my boots, and just about all my gear, to be functional in as many different environments and situations as possible.

    Training hike with 30+ pounds in the pack

    When I got the Nevada’s and tried them on for the first time, I was impressed by their comfort and support. One of the main things I noticed right out of the box, was that the sole wasn’t completely stiff like in the Mountain Extremes. I knew this would be the case though, since the Mountain Extremes have a steel shank in the sole that maintains complete sole stiffness. The Nevada’s were not far from feeling completely stiff though; the only part in the sole that had any flex at all was right under the balls of my forefoot. After having hiked in them, I like how they flex just slightly in that area as it has helped me with balance and gaining a good foothold as I’m going up steep hills. I also noticed, even while walking around my living room in them, that I really liked how they only went 8” up my leg versus the Mountain Extremes that went 10” up my calf. You may think 2” may not be a huge deal, but I could tell a noticeable difference in comfort even in my living room.

    One of the first things I did, as I do with every new pair of boots I get, is I laced them up tight and started walking up and down the basement stairs. I would highly suggest that you base your initial opinion of a new pair of boots off of how comfortable/uncomfortable the boot (and especially the heel) feels when you put the boots on right out of the box, lace them up, and walk up the stairs. If you feel extreme pressure or discomfort in the heel area, remember that this discomfort will not go away or break in and will always be there with you when you’re climbing the mountain.

    Evening at the archery range

    Before buying, I’d heard from the majority of Nevada owners that they ran very true to size, and the general consensus was to order them in whatever size of every day shoe you wear. For me, that would be a 10.5. But, being the skeptic that I am sometimes (since no two peoples opinion of gear is exactly the same), I ordered two pair (10.5 and 11) to try both and see which fit me best. After several hours of walking around the house and doing laps up and down the basement stairs, I decided that the general consensus had been true, that they ran very true to size, and I kept my 10.5s. Thanks to BlackOvis’s awesome return policy, I had my money back for the size 11 pair I’d returned within just a few days.

    I’d also read and heard that some people had worn the boots on a hunt right after buying them, with no break-in and surprisingly no problems they claimed, but I was not going to be one of those people. I’ve made it a habit to always break my boots in by wearing them to work and around town before ever wearing them on a mountainside, and I think this has saved me a lot of pain. I wore them around town for a few weeks, and I am a firm believer that this really does help with initial break-in.

    The Nevada Legend GTX are insulated with a Gore-Tex lining that Crispi claims is roughly equivalent to 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation, but they say that because of how they apply the insulation it allows the boot to breathe better than it would if it had Thinsulate. In my experience with the boots, I honestly didn’t notice any difference between the insulated Nevada’s and my old Mountain Extremes which have 400 grams of Thinsulate. This may be due to the fact that the Gore-Tex lining may retain heat a little differently than Thinsulate does, or it could be just me. Everyone’s body manages heat slightly differently, but I found the Nevada Legend GTX’s to be plenty warm, even when I was sitting on a windy mountainside and it was 40° F while waiting for some bucks to get out of their beds for the day.

    On a recent hike I went on in the Nevada’s, I was hiking up an incredibly steep hillside while on a scouting trip. I could feel my right heel starting to get a little hot when I got to the base of the last steep hill before camp. By time I made it to camp and took my boots off, I noticed I had a roughly dime-sized blister on the back of my heel that had burst. This is not the boots fault by any means, this was operator error as far as I’m concerned; first off, it was probably in the high 70s when I was hiking in at 4 pm, and I was going up some very steep inclines, so my feet were sweating more than normal, and I had a medium weight merino sock on – not a good combination to keep your feet from perspiring profusely.   Also, I came to the realization that I probably hadn’t broken them in by wearing them to work and around town as much as I thought I had.

    Most claim no blister problems with little to no break-in; I was not one of these people

    I’m not recounting my blister experience to deter anyone from getting these boots by any means, but simply to make the point that while some people may have been able to use the boots with no break in time at all and come out just fine, that won’t be the case for everyone (case in point: me) since no two sets of feet are exactly the same. This is merely meant to be a reminder to always break your boots in as best you can prior to field use in order to try and mitigate any potential problems. If you don’t, you may end up wishing you had.

    Waterproofness is also something that is very important in a mountain hunting boot. I was able to test the waterproofness of the Nevada’s while doing some stream crossings. I stood in water up to and over my ankles for a few minutes and never felt a drop of water hit my feet. I also took the boots off after one of the stream crossings and checked my socks for any damp spots, but didn’t find any.

    Dry feet

    The ankle support that the Nevada’s provide is excellent. Crispi’s A.B.S.S. (Ankle Bone Support System) is a support system comprised of a combination of materials that contour to your ankle when you lace the boots up. The ankle support system is designed to support your feet in steep terrain by limiting fatigue and providing excellent sprain protection. I can attest to the truth of these claims made by Crispi as I’ve taken the Nevada’s into some incredibly steep terrain and experienced no issues with my ankles, even with a fairly heavy pack on.

    If there’s one thing that surprised me about the Nevada’s, it’s that the toe box was on the big side compared to what I’m used to. This hasn’t been an issue at all for me, just more of an observation. So if you prefer a small or tight toe box, you’ll want to make sure to try the Nevada’s on first to make sure it’s not too big for your liking.

    I’m happy I decided to try the Crispi Nevada Legend GTX Insulated Hunting boots, and I would highly recommend them. If you’re in need of new boots, you can’t go wrong with these. They offer excellent support, waterproofness and protection from the elements, and they’re extremely comfortable. They will definitely help keep your feet happy so that you can continue to enjoy the mountains!

    Photo credit: Skyler Arent

  • AccuBow | Pre - During - Post Archery Training

    What is it?

    AccuBow has been purging the world of social media since around late 2015 and has been peaking the interest of every and any bowhunter ever since.  What it is, is an Archery Training Device that is simple, easy and extremely effective if used right.  It really is a revolution in archery training because it can be used virtually anywhere!  We were fortunate to get our hands on one to play with for a couple days thanks to Matt over there at AccuBow and being the Archery Expert/Bow Tech here at BlackOvis, I had to see if this was worth it and what all the fuss was about.  Before I dive into my experience with using the AccuBow let me just explain my situation since it will obliviously differ from most.

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  • Vanguard Prize Package Giveaway! [Contest Over]

    Vanguard Giveaway

    We've teamed up with Vanguard to put together an awesome giveaway where 1 lucky winner will score the new VEO AM-234TU Monopod, the VEO235AP and the Vanguard Pioneer 1600RT Backpack! That's a grand prize worth $350!

    *** Thanks to everyone who participated. We have randomly selected a winner, congratulations to Daryl from Hall Summit LA! Make sure to check back for future giveaways we have planned. ***

    And yes, because it's a contest, we do need to set a few ground rules:

    1 submission per email address.

    Must enter using the form above
    Contest is open from April 20th through April 25th, winner announced April 26th.
    By entering, you agree to receive the BlackOvis Gear Insider emails. You can unsubscribe anytime
    If the notified winner has not responded within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected
    Your information will not be shared or sold to anyone else

    Again, a huge shout out to our sponsor Vanguard. They have been a long time partner of BlackOvis and are for sure a leader in the hunting and outdoor industries when it comes to quality made and functional tripods. Even if you don't win the contest, pick up some Vanguard this season so you can rest assured that your optics can rest on a solid, yet lightweight tripod this year.

  • First Lite - New for 2017

    First Lite - 2017 NEW Pieces

    2017 First Lite Gear

    With the launch of First Lite's 2017 lineup just around the corner, there is a bunch of new pieces that they've introduced and we decided to help you all out by explaining the benefits of each and every one! This year First Lite also introduced an addition to their color options with a new Cipher pattern.  For an in depth look of what and why Cipher is check out our Write Up Here.

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  • Stealth Cam – Brand Overview

    Stealth Cam Logo

    Ask any serious big game hunter what brand of trail cameras they use to keep track of the big game animals they’re after and Stealth Cam will definitely come up in the conversation. Stealth Cam is not new to the scene, either; they’ve been around since 2000. Prior to Stealth Cam’s launch, the trail camera market was not what it is today. There were options available, but not nearly like the selection we have at our fingertips now, and they were built differently and not near as functional or user-friendly as what’s currently available. The creators of Stealth Cam decided to change that. They saw a niche that needed to be filled. Their goal was to create a functional wildlife monitoring system using the latest technology that would be affordable to the average sportsman.

    Over the years, Stealth Cam has refined their product. They’ve had setbacks just like any new company can and usually does, but through increased effort into the engineering process they’ve been able to overcome those setbacks and in turn create even more highly functioning products. The drive to become the best in the industry has ultimately benefited the customer by far the most as their technology and products have improved, from the looks and ergonomics down to the components and circuitry. For example, until just recently, Stealth Cam had been found to have one of the slower trigger speeds as well as recovery speed times. But, thanks to their engineers they were able to fix that, and now they boast some of the fastest cameras on the market. Just goes to show that when companies compete the real benefactor is the customer!

    Below is a quick overview of a few of the top-of-the-line models currently offered from Stealth Cam and sold on BlackOvis.com

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  • Sitka SUBALPINE - New for 2017

     

    WHAT IS OPTIFADE?

    GORE OPTIFADE Concealment incorporates the micro and macro patterns of the animal kingdom to help make hunters unrecognizable as predators, even when detected. Stalking predators, like tigers, have a macro-pattern of stripes that break up their body symmetry as they chase prey.  OPTIFADE takes these same concepts and uses a pattern that was designed for what ungulates see not how WE see making it an extremely effective pattern.

    SUBALPINE VS. OPEN COUNTRY

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