BlackOvis MTN Journal

The info hub for Solid.Hunting.Gear

  1. Replaceable Blade Knife Comparison Review

    replaceableknife-logos Why the Hype? For those of you that have gutted a dear or field dressed an elk, you know that a sharp blade is really nice to have. Recently there has been an emergence of the 'Replaceable Blade Knife'. Havalon was the first to come out with the concept for the hunting and outdoor industry, but many other players have jumped into this arena to compete and bring their own flare to the concept. The other 2 designs that we have chosen to bring on so far are from Gerber and Outdoor Edge. We'll be reviewing the comparable knives from each of those brands. The concept of the 'Replaceable Blade Knife'  has really changed the way that people field dress their game. For centuries, hunters have used fixed and folding knives, or sometimes a series of knives to gut, skin, and bone out meat from animals. Almost always, the blade starts out sharp and gets more dull with each cut made. The idea of having a fresh blade throughout the process has hunters migrating towards this concept. Many people say it's a game changer and we're happy to take your feedback in the comments section below. Features & Differences In order to make an apples-to-apples comparison, we took the standard knife from each of the 3 brands, the Havalon Piranta Edge, the Gerber Vital, and the Outdoor Edge Razor Lite (Blaze). Each of these are really the standard edition from each brand. All three brands have other replaceable blade knives in different shapes, sizes and styles you can check out on our site, but for the purposes of this comparison, we would like to stick to the basics. All 3 knives are folders. The Havalon has a liner lock, whereas the other two are lockback folding knives. The Havalon and the gerber have 2-3/4" blades that are nearly identical. They are a #60 blade and both are made from 420HC Stainless Steel. The Outdoor Edge uses a proprietary blade that was specifically made for their knives, and made from 420J2 Stainless Steel at a longer 3-1/2 inches. The difference between the 420HC and the 420JC is the carbon content. The HC stands for 'High Carbon' and contains about .5% to .6% carbon, whereas the JC comes in around .3% to .4%. All that means is that the 420HC is going to ve a little bit more hard, a little more brittle, but will hold an edge and sharpen a bit better than the 420JC. All of these blades are crazy sharp. For the Piranta Edge and the Vital, they are literally a surgeons scalpel so be very careful when 'testing' how sharp they really are. Replaceable Blade Knife Comparison Continue reading →
  2. Swarovski 25-60x65mm Spotting Scope Review

    Swarovski Spotting ScopeSwarovski Optik Logo If you’re a serious big game hunter, then you know that a quality spotting scope is one of your most important tools. The phrase ‘let your eyes do the walking’ doesn’t mean you’re a lazy hunter, it means you’re a smart hunter. Sometimes we are confined by unit regulations to only harvest certain types of animals, be it unbranched bull elk in a spike only unit, full curl Dall Sheep (the ‘full curl’ requirement can actually be met in a few different ways, all of which a quality scope helps in determining!), a nanny-only mountain goat hunt, and the list goes on and on. Or maybe you just want to find the biggest, oldest buck that you can, but there’s hundreds of square miles to cover from your glassing spot where he could be hiding. If you can’t accurately make out what it is exactly that you’re looking at through your binos, or with your naked eye, then you’re stuck in between a rock and a hard spot not knowing if what you’re looking at is worth your time and energy to go after. This is where a quality spotting scope can really help you out. Now the word quality in terms of a spotting scope will mean different things to different people; some can’t or won’t spend as much on a scope as others, some people only like certain types or designs, and for some, size and weight play a big influence on their decision of what scope to get. But in the end, I think a quality spotting scope means that you are seeing as far as possible with the clearest possible image and maximum possible light transmission. In my opinion, the Swarovski ATX 25-60 x 65 mm spotting scope is the definition of a quality scope. The ATX 65 mm scope for me is the perfect blend of multiple elements: size taken up in and weight added to your pack, sleek ergonomics, and unrivaled optical clarity. I chose the ATX model over the STX model simply because I like an angled spotting scope. Since I do a lot of backpacking, a scope that doesn’t take up half the space in my pack, or add too much extra weight, is something I really put a lot of importance on. The ATX 65 mm is listed as weighing 55.9 ounces, or 3.49 pounds. That small weight penalty is something I’ll gladly take so that I can see how big a buck is that I’ve glassed up across the canyon over a mile away. And at just over 13 inches long, it doesn’t take up much room at all in my pack. Swaro silhouetteWhen you're 4+ miles back in like I was in this photo, every ounce counts Continue reading →
  3. 2016 Marmot Gear Overview

    Marmot is a great brand that we have always been able to trust in providing good quality gear at a reasonable price. In this post, I wanted to share with you all some of the things that we covered in our employee gear training clinic that our Marmot Rep put on for us. They covered a lot of things including the new 2016 Sleeping Bags and Tents,  the Universal Temp Rating System that they use for testing Sleeping Bags, Goose Down Specs, and Lifetime Warranty. To briefly go over who they are, Marmot began as a sleeping bag company, but have evolved into a company that covers a lot of essential camping gear. They continue to pioneer new concepts in camping gear, and have a great role in building value and insulation standards in the outdoor industry. Marmot Down & Synthetic Hybrid Sleeping Bags (Quark & Ion) Marmot has added a new insulation concept to their 2016 lineup. They have created a new set of down/synthetic composite bags, including the Quark and Ion. This combines the lightweight warming and insulating power of goose down, and combining it with the durable and moisture wicking ability of a synthetic insulation. It's a great new concept and may very well become a new standard in sleeping bag insulation.   Marmot Hybrid Sleeping Bags Marmot Goose Down Sleeping Bags Down is the cornerstone of Marmot as a company.  Down sleeping bags were the first Marmot products produced.  No synthetic surpasses the lightweight, compactability and longevity of down. Marmot has cornered the market in Eastern Europe on some really high quality geese. These geese are much older than the geese normally raised for market.  Older geese produce mature down with larger, stronger and longer lasting down clusters and this is the down they use in their 800, 850 & 875 fill power bags. Goose Down Geese Fill power:  The number of cubic inches an ounce of down occupies. Down rated 800 fill power is loftier, which means warmer per ounce, than 600 fill power down. Continue reading →
  4. Black Ovis Ready-To-Hunt Kill Kit - Product Review

    By Tyler McCluskey The 2016 hunting season was rapidly approaching and I was in the market for some new game bags for the year. I looked into a bunch of different options and brands but had a hard time deciding on what I wanted to go with. I have had some bad experiences with some cheap bags in the past...
  5. Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400 Hunting Boot - Product Review

    Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400 Review By Ben Blakeley Kanetrek1The picture above was taken a few weeks ago right before I hiked up a fairly steep bush-covered hill to a water hole to set a trail camera.  The Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400’s have taken me many such places, and I’ve logged hundreds of miles in them, from hunting and scouting the high country, backpacking in to new areas to get the lay of the land and try to find a big buck, shed hunting in the snow and mud across several states, and everywhere in between.  I have worn these boots for any and all outdoor activities for over 2 years now, and while the wear and tear is starting to show, they’re definitely still going strong. Instead of starting out by listing the manufacturer’s specs on the boots (you can find these pretty easy with a quick Google search), I’ll get right into my personal experiences with them. Initial fit and break-in These have been my first ‘high-end’ pair of hunting boots.  Prior to these, I had Asolo boots, and while they were pretty decent boots, I figured if I’m going to hunt/backpack/scout in all sorts of terrain and weather, I needed a pair of boots that can stand up to whatever I’m going to encounter.  The Asolo’s I’d been using had many of the qualities that I wanted, but they definitely weren’t water-proof, they weren’t insulated, and the sole wasn’t as stiff as I’d like and resulted in my foot shifting in the foot bed and getting sore while side-hilling or hiking in extremely uneven terrain.  I remember one general season deer hunt I used them on, it had snowed early, and while that is what most people long for so that the bucks will be moving more, I simply remember having cold feet for most of the hunt.  So after that season, I determined that my next gear upgrade had to be a better pair of boots.  There were two main reasons I selected the Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400’s: A local sporting goods store had them in stock so that I could try them on and see how they fit before buying (this is crucial!). A recommendation from a friend who’d used them for years and really liked them. Now, I would highly recommend that when making such an important decision such as what new hunting boots to buy, that you put more into your research and selection of boots than I did at the time!  But, as luck would have it, I feel that I ended up with a definite winner with these boots.   I will say that for me personally, I’ve found over the years and through trying on many different pairs of shoes/boots for running, basketball, and hiking, that my feet aren’t very ‘picky’ for lack of a better term; I’ve never had a pair of shoes or boots that I can remember that I just couldn’t wear due to extreme fit or discomfort issues.  Call it luck or call it ignorance, but I feel I’ve been pretty lucky in that respect. Anyway, trying on the Kenetreks was really important to me.  My general rule back then and still to this day is that if I put a boot on straight out of the box, lace it up and walk around in it and feel any immediate discomfort, this is not the boot for me.  Now, I have since modified this test to take it even a step further in order to mimic a real life situation on the mountain: the first thing I would do after buying a new pair of boots is lace them up and walk up some stairs.  If you feel painful amounts of pressure on your heels, take them back, because these are not the right boots for you.  That pressure and pain you feel on your heels will not go away even after a long break in period and will always be there when you climb. Continue reading →
  6. Crispi Hunting Boots - Product Review and Overview

    There's a lot of hype nowadays about the new Crispi Hunting Boot lineup, and there are a lot of them to choose from. With this post, I wanted to do a side by side comparison so that you can see which one might be the best choice for you. I split them into insulated and un-insulated boots because within those families, there are a lot of similarities. There are advantages and disadvantages to each and there are places that you would use some, and not others. Crispi Hunting Logo Insulated Crispi Boots The Insulated boots are: Nevada, Guide, Hunter, and Wild Rock. All but the Wild Rock use the Gore(tex) insulated booty which provides insulation and breath-ability, and the wild rock uses a Primaloft. One thing about the Crispi/Gore-Tex insulation is that they do NOT use a Thinsulate insulation. Rather, they use a proprietary Gore Insulation which is a premium insulation that is much more breathable and efficient than Thinsulate, and all can compare to about a 200 - 250 Gram Thinsulate insulation. It's going to be a lot more breathable than Thinsulate because of the adhesive they use. It's not as thick and allows both the insulation and the Gore membrane to remain breathable. Crispi Gore-Tex Insulated Hunting Boots Continue reading →
  7. Counter Assault Bear Spray Review

    So we have been seeing a lot more of our customers getting bear spray to take with them on their outdoor adventures so I thought I would weigh on the subject and see if I can add any value. I am fortunately someone that has never had to use bear spray, but it is something that I have carried with me for years while in the outdoors. In this post I want to cover why it's important to have bear spray with you whenever you are in bear country and answer some of the more asked questions we get about bear spray. Then I want to cover some of the accessories that Counter Assault has come up with in order to make it easier to carry it. Why it's a good idea to carry Bear Spray... Bear spray quickly becoming a necessity for anyone that ever ventures out into bear country. Whether you're camping, hiking, hunting, or just out for a drive in the mountains, bear spray is a great way to be prepared in the event you need to have a method of defense against all large predators or potentially dangerous animals like wolves, cougars, moose, and obviously bears. The nice thing about bear spray is that you don't really need to aim. If you're on an early morning hike to your blind and not able to aim a handgun or a rifle, you just need to point it in the general direction and let the spray work from there. Another nice thing is that it doesn't do any lasting harm to the animals. Especially with limited animals like moose, they have been known to be aggressive, but they are definitely animals that we want to see more of so we need to do what we can to keep them around. For me, carrying bear spray is really all just about the peace of mind of knowing that I would be able to defend myself and those that I am with in case I need to. Counter Assault Bear Spray Here are some answers to some of the more common questions. Continue reading →
  8. Alaska Guide Creations (AGC) Bino Bivys Explained

    Alaska Guide Creations binocular harnesses are possibly the most sought after binocular carrying systems on the planet.  There are a million and one reasons why the Alaska Guide Creations is the top dog in the industry and we strongly believe the biggest reason why is that there are different options for your own hunting style and that each and every...
  9. Brand Highlight - Kryptek

    The unique thing about Kryptek is unlike other camo companies, their concepts and ideas were all forged overseas in the mountains of Afghanistan to the scorching deserts in Iraq.  The Combat Forces that tested and beat this gear into a pulp are the foundation that churned the brand in to the hunting company that it is today.  If there is...
  10. Badlands Approach Camo Pattern - Gear Review

    The idea behind the pattern Badlands Packs has been a fun company to follow. They have really done some great things with a lot of their designs, and are coming up with innovative concepts to their line of hunting gear on a regular basis. Take for example their 2200 pack. That is a pack that really changed the way people think about a...
  11. Tightspot Quiver - Product Review

    Today, I wanted to cover some of the features of the TightSpot quivers because we have had a lot of customers wondering about some of the features/designs, and whether it's worth the extra investment. That's definitely a valid question, and hopefully this info can help answer some of those. Tight & Modular Fit One of the main things that TightSpot wanted to do in their design is manufacture a quiver that sits tight to your bow. Adding any bulk to the bow adds inconvenience and can throw off balance and stability. The TightSpot quiver mounts to the bow where it is located very close the bow frame, and mounts in a modular fashion so you can adjust the quiver to almost any angle you would want. The quiver also mounts to the rear which sets it closer to the shooter, and makes it so there is less of your quiver sticking out to get caught. Tightspot Arrow Quivers Balance and Shock Reduction Continue reading →
  12. Understanding the Hilleberg Tent Label System

    We get a lot of gear questions about what the different labels mean for Hilleberg Tents. I'll go through it in a bit more detail below, but Hilleberg created the labels to separate the tent according to their purpose. Here's a Hilleberg Comparison Chart to cover some of the basics:   Black Label Red Label Yellow Label Purpose Extreme Versatile Lightweight...
  13. Choosing a Bino Case

    What's important to you when selecting a bino pack? We've come a long way in how we carry our binoculars. Hopefully you've moved on from grandpa's antique heavy leather single pocket design. With such a wide selection these days you can be pretty picky on what features are most important. Do you go for new technology like the Badlands Magnetic closure system, keep it simple and...
  14. Jason - Staff Picks

    Check out the Solid.HUNTING.Gear that the staff here at BlackOvis uses and are familiar with. Thinking of buying a product but not sure how it performs? Check out if any of us use it and give us a call! Details Hunting Style: Archery Favorite Species: Mule Deer Dream Hunt: Red Stag Next Gear Purchase: Swarovski 95mm Objective Other Pursuits: Fly...
  15. Sitka Elevated II Pattern

    Building on the science of the old Elevated Forest pattern, Elevated II has been optimized with less foliage and more sky which will lengthen the engagement range and extend seasonal effectiveness to redefine the way people hunt whitetail deer. Not only has Sitka re-engineered the whitetail line to be more resilient, insulated, and quiet, they’ve also improved in the area...
  16. NEW - Stokerized Stabilizers

    There are so many different brands of stabilizers out there in the market today, so what makes Stokerized so different? For starters the company is 100% Made in the USA with its facility based in Annville, PA, not only is it made here on our shores but every single stabilizer is hand-made and looked over multiple time for quality and...

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