After using the feathered Friends Swallow UL 20 for over 2 months this fall, I have really come to love it’s ...Read More
These 9 items fall into that category for me that get put off and often forgot about. You could purchase this entire list for $70, and yet it could have more impact on your hunts this fall than almost any other gear if the situation arises. I have found all of these items incredibly useful in the past, and I hope that you find this list helpful as we head into the fall hunting seasons.Read More
The ever popular "Bino Harness" seems to have taken the industry by storm over the last couple years, and at this point it seems that everybody is making one. So, with as popular as it is, I thought I would share what I like, and what I carry in it.With so many options, this is obviously a thing of personal preference, and for me, the FHF gear harness has worked out about perfectly. It has just enough space to carry exactly what I want on it, but while still maintaining a low profile on my body. It also needs cleaned in a bad sort of way by now...So for starters, my binoculars obviously go inside the main compartment of the pack. I carry a pair of razor 10x42s with an outdoorsman's stud mounted to them to adapt to my tripod. I have played around with keeping the outdoorsman's adapter post in my bino pack, but honestly I haven't found the need to. Anytime I am using a tripod then I need to be packing my tripod around which involves my backpack. Simply put, I like keeping the post in the hip pocket of my pack where I can get to it easily any time I break out the tripod. A knock against the FHF harness I sometimes hear is that it doesn't have full closure to protect your glass from dirt. I leave the lens covers on my binos all the time so that negates that issue and keeps the eyepiece end free of dirt and dust.Next off I'll mention game calls. You wont see any in the photos basically because it's not elk season right now. One of the things that originally appealed to me about the FHF harness though was the two slotted pockets on the lid for diaphragms. I like these so much that I would wear this harness for calling even if I never needed my binos. They're always at my fingertips, and it allows them to still dry out after I take them out of my mouth. I also always keep an open reed cow call in the mesh side pocket on my ride side, which I tether off with a short piece of cord. I like it on my right so that I can drop it and let it hang if I need to draw my bow in a hurry, and I don't have to worry about it ever coming in contact with my bowstring on that side of my body.In the long vertical pocket in the front I keep my pocket knife which is currently a benchmade bug out. Its a great EDC blade made from S30v, and this is a place where I can always get to it quickly for any time I need it around camp at night or throughout the day.In the left side pocket I keep my flashlight/ headlamp. This one is a zebralight H32 and it runs off of a cr123 battery. I like the cr123 for a couple reasons. Mostly, a single cr123 contains more power than 2 AA batteries, yet it weighs less than one. It also is a more compact battery which allows for a small light. This lamp fits into a great head strap that makes it a phenomenal headlamp. I keep the head strap in my pack for when I want it, but I carry the light on my chest in case I need it in a pinch if it gets dark on a stalk and I have to find my way back to my pack. This lamp puts out up to 480 lumens, yet I can still get 11 hours out of it on medium output which is what I typically hike with, or up to 8 days on the brighter of the two low settings which I use in camp.Next, in the zippered front pocket I keep a spare cr123 battery, and a mini bic lighter. These are pretty self explanatory. I have other means of starting a fire in my pack, but I like having a lighter on me at all times just in case, and this one in my harness is the one I use on a daily basis to light a stove, start a fire, ect.In the flat pocket on the back of the harness I keep my license and tags, a tyto 1.1, and some replacement blades for the tyto. I'm a big fan of scalpel blades for breaking down game, and I've never had an issue with breaking them. They're razor sharp and I can carry the handle and 5 blades for well under 2 ounces (yes I know there are no blades in the container in the picture.) The tyto and blades are flat enough that I can't tell a difference in the feel of the harness against my chest whether they're in it or not. I also like the plastic blade case from havalon so that I have somewhere to put the dull blades, as well as somewhere to put a blade that is still sharp when I am done using the knife.Carrying this stuff on my chest allows me quick access to the things I use frequently, and it's also just enough to get me by and get me back to my pack after a stalk, even if that is in the dark. I will most likely add a rangefinder pouch back onto the right side of the harness for bow season this year, but lately while I had been rifle hunting for bears I preferred to keep it in the hipbelt of my pack since its a little less critical to have at my fingers.I fully subscribe to the theory of having your gear organized and in the same place 100% of the time so that when things happen quickly, you're organized, prepared, and don't need to make any more movement in close than is necessary.
To start off, I'm going to stay away from the word ultralight. I've spent enough time around and with the backpacking crowd to know that ultralight base weights would be under 10lbs. While for hunting this list is pretty lightweight, its not as light as it could possibly be, but rather its as lightweight as I need it while still being functional and durable for my use.Secondly, this is just for informational purposes. I'm not trying to convince anyone to go out and buy stuff on this list. I honestly don't care what gear someone uses, but for those who always have questions as to how I hunt with a certain weight of pack, maybe this will answer some of that.I have set up my gear over the past 10-15 years so that I am more easily able to hunt with everything I need on my back for the full duration of the day. I find that for me, this gives me more freedom to hunt effectively, and to use the entire time of the day more wisely as I don't have a need to return to base camp for lunch, or to sleep at night. My goal for this has always been sub 30lbs with a week of food, and with a spotting scope and tripod. Also, I own a lot of other gear than what is on this list, and it gets substituted in when appropriate based on temperatures and weather forecast. I wrote this list up as what I tend to use most often in the shoulder seasons of Spring and early Fall.When temperatures drop significantly, or when the weather turns bad things like a bigger shelter or raingear are something I often add in my pack. Game calls would be another thing that comes along when appropriate. However, this list should give a general idea of what type of gear I have found useful over time. I have paid for all of this myself as of now, although I did get a few things at a discounted prices through friends or contacts that I know. That being said, I'm not taking a check to support any of the companies listed, and I want to make that known upfront.Over time, I have researched every single item on this list from the smallest of things to the biggest, and have usually tried 3-10 of one item in the field before I have found the one most suited to my use. This list wasn't thrown together. Rather it was researched for thousands of hours and field tested for hundreds of days.If anyone has questions about a product and my experience with it, or as to why I chose it over something else, please don't hesitate to comment below or email me.