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  • 1st Time Archery Elk Hunt | The Growth of Unsuccess

    1st Time Archery Elk Hunt | The Growth of Unsuccess

    By: Chris Neff


       A couple weeks back I had the chance to go on a fully guided archery elk hunt up in Colorado with our warehouse manager Jason Stein.  Jason actually had quite a bit of experience hunting elk and I was able to learn a lot by watching him on this hunt but the coolest part is that Jason is hearing impaired. Let me just start by saying that Jason is a hunting idol of mine now.  Picture hunting without being able to hear a single sound. How and where would you know where to hunt besides what you see?  Every year he gets it done and he can even bugle way better than I can.  Try making a sound that you have never heard before and can't even hear yourself producing... It's pretty insane.  At first I was a little worried about how we were going to communicate but luckily we had an eight and a half hour car ride and he was able to teach me a bit of ASL and let's face it, when you're hunting there is little talking anyways and a lot of hand signs.  I was taught countless tips and techniques for hunting elk from both Jason and our guide Kyle and quickly realized that it was a completely different ball park then hunting mule deer, which I knew but I decided to keep a journal and record the events every day to share that with all of you.  Pardon the novice writing skills but feel free to kill some time and dive into my experience and how our hunt unfolded in Taylor Park, Colorado!  **For the sake of the Outfitters Privacy and Respect, I have changed the names of all the areas that we hunted**

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  • Badlands Magnetic Binocular Pouch Review

    I take my binoculars anywhere and everywhere outdoors every time I go. It doesn’t matter if I’m scouting, hunting, shed hunting, driving through the canyon, or even on a walk with my family in the foothills, I’ve always got my binoculars handy because you never know what Mother Nature has in store for you! When I started out hunting, I used/borrowed a pair of $50 binoculars that my dad kept in his closet but seldom used. I did my best to take care of them, but looking back I think I was actually pretty careless. I’d carry them around my neck on a strap with nothing more to protect them than a set of flip-off covers for the objective lenses and nothing covering the ocular lenses. Those binoculars took a beating, bouncing around on my chest all day and suffering whatever the elements had in store from sun, wind and dust, to rain and snow.


    When I decided it was time to get serious about my optics and that I needed an upgrade in the binocular department, I knew that before I ever purchased a high end set of binoculars, I needed to figure out a good carry system for them. I had to have the carrying system selected and purchased before I purchased the new binoculars or else I’d be too tempted to take them out and use them just once or twice or maybe twenty times before I got around to purchasing the carrying system. I had made up my mind to not let that happen. One reason I was so adamant about having the carry system before buying the binoculars was that I’d had a friend who bought new binoculars and took them out into the field before getting a carrying case. Long story short, he ended up dropping them while coming down a wet hillside when he fell and actually cracked one of the lenses. I did not want to chance ending up in that situation!

    When I first began researching the options available for binocular carrying cases, I was a little naïve in my selection process. I knew I wanted 10x42 binoculars, a pouch that rode on my chest, and something that offered complete protection when shut. That was about the extent of my criteria. I looked up different options online and read about them, but what eventually helped sway my decision was some input from close friends to get the Badlands Magnetic Binocular Pouch.


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  • First Lite Kanab vs. First Lite Corrugate

    First Lite Kanab 2.0  vs.  First Lite Corrugate

    Kanab VS Corrugate

    Corrugate vs Kanab Chart

     How to pick the right pant for you?
    When it comes to picking the right pant for hunting season, a lot of properties come into the mix. You have weight, what materials, as well as fitting and overall hunting experience you're looking to get out of them. The best question isn't "What's the best one?" but "What's the best one for me?". To figure that out, I've gone ahead and compiled a list of major features and differences between both pants. This way you can pick with the confidence that you will get exactly what you want and expect out of the pair that fits your personal hunting needs. I personally own one of each and have used them for over the last couple of years and have been extremely impressed with both pants.

    Kanab Pants Overview
    The First Lite Kanab Pants were a game changer to the hunting industry. Nobody before had ever used Merino fabrics into a outwear hunting pant. This really defined how other manufactured viewed "Lightweight" pants and you could even say they were the pioneers for some of the technical pieces that are out now a days. Like every first timer, there is bound to be hiccups but last year they listened to their customer's feedback and redeveloped the Kanab pants which is now the Kanab 2.0. The major differences is on the older Kanab, the pant was made completely out of Merino Rip Stop which was awesome, besides in areas under sever stress. What was happening is that as people were stretching the fabric past it's limits, like lifting their legs over logs or hoping in the bed of a truck, the crotch had a tendency to rip open. Same with around the knees where that fabric was pulled tight on prone or kneeling positions. While I never had any issues with the original I was definitely a huge fan of the advancements they added to the Kanab 2.0. Now in those high stress areas you have a extremely durable nylon stretch material that not only holds up way better but allows complete freedom of movement to give you an overall better experience and feel when hunting in these pants.

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  • Big Agnes Giveaway! (Contest Finished)

    Big Agnes Giveaway

    We gave one lucky winner an awesome Big Agnes Sleep setup, a retail value of $380! We want to give a huge shout out to our sponsor, Big Agnes for making this giveaway possible. They have some awesome quality gear that comes from years of outdoor experience. Anyway, let's get to the good stuff.

    Here's the Grand Prize:


    And this winner was: Jason K. from Jefferson Oregon!

    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 Sept 23rd through Sept 29th
    • By entering, you agree to receive the BlackOvis Gear Insider emails. You can unsubscribe anytime
    • If the notified winner has not responded within 48 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 Big Agnes. They are a great company to work with and they have some awesome gear. Being able to have a sleeping pad sleeve in your sleeping bag makes it so a good night's sleep can be had. The materials they use are all high quality and are made with great craftsmanship.

  • Replaceable Blade Knife Comparison Review


    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

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  • 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

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  • 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

  • Badlands Approach Camo Giveaway [Finished]

    ***AND THE WINNER IS................... Jordan Lee!!!*****************

    Jordan, we will be contacting you via email. Please get back to us in the next 48 hours. Else, we will need to re-assign the prize package to someone else. Thanks to all those who participated!


    It's that time again! We're giving one lucky winner an awesome setup in Badlands' new for 2016 Approach camo pattern, a retail value of over $900! We want to give a huge shout out to our sponsor Badlands for making this giveaway possible. They have some awesome quality gear that comes from years of hunting and outdoor experience. Anyway, let's get to the good stuff.

    Badlands Approach Camo


    Here's the Grand Prize:


    Badlands Approach Giveaway

    This Contest is now Over


    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 July 20th through August 3rd
    • By entering, you agree to receive BlackOvis Gear Insider and Badlands emails. You can unsubscribe anytime
    • If the notified winner has not responded within 48 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 Badlands. They are a great company to work with and they have some awesome gear. The New Approach camo pattern is really a refined concept that will change the way camouflage should be. Please check out our blog post on the Approach Camo Pattern, what it is and what technology they are using to break up and camouflage hunters around the globe. Also, be sure to check out the Badlands Brand Page, where we carry a huge selection of what Badlands has to offer.

    Good luck with the drawing and as always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out or comment below.

    Badlands Approach Field Image

  • 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, either not holding meat well, bugs getting in, or bags ripping, so I definitely wanted to get some quality bags this time and save myself the headache.

    Ovis Sack Kill Kit

    After some solid searching, I found BlackOvis had started making their own high quality meat bags called "Ovis Sacks" and not only that, they put together a Ready-To-Hunt kill kit that included them. The Kill kit they put together was awesome, it comes in two different sizes and had all the essentials needed for when you get your animal down. The difference in size kits determines the size of the meat bags that it comes with, the options to chose from were large and extra large. Each Kit comes with 40' of light weight flagging tape for marking your blood trails, a pair of latex rubber gloves, a 5'x3' plastic sheet for laying out your meat and keeping it clean as you break your animal down, and they give you the option of three knives to choose from. I thought it was super cool they gave you the option of knives, you can choose from a Havalon, Outdoor Edge, and a Gerber Vital. I chose the Large kit and went with the Gerber Vital, the large bags sounded perfect for me, and I have used the Gerber Vital before and really like Gerber products.

    Ovis Sack Game Bags

    As usual with BlackOvis orders, I received my package very fast. I opened up the kit, and checked out all the included items, I could not have been happier with every thing! The kit came with all the items described above and five meat bags, four 16"x24" quarter bags, and one 14"x18" meat parts bag for backstraps, tenderloins, and other bits you want to bring home. The meat bag construction was on point! They are made from Taslan nylon, so they are super strong and durable, they breath extremely well and are machine washable. They have a sewed on reflective strip around the entire bottom, great for spotting your bags hanging at night with your head lamp, and the draw string on the top is solid as a rock. Being the gear nerd that I am, first thing I did with the meat bags was a durability test and they passed with flying colors. I put a 50 lbs sand bag in them and did a hang and drop test, the bags handled the weight like a champ! The seems didn't even look stressed and they hold their shape with the weight which is crucial for when packing out, nothing worse then your meat balling up in the bottom of you pack on the pack out.

    Overall I feel BlackOvis knocked this Kill Kit out of the park, it has all the essential items you need for when the real work begins. the only thing I personally plan to add to the kit, is some 1.8mm reflective guyline for hanging my bags when the time comes. It is super light weight and small and fits perfect in kit. If you are in the market for some new game bags this season, I highly recommend the "Ovis Sacks" and spending a few extra bucks and getting the kill kit, you will not be disappointed.


  • 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:

    1. 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!).
    2. 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

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