The recent Archery Trade Association show in Indianapolis was a huge display highlighting the latest and greatest in the archery and hunting world. I was fortunate enough to attend and spend an intense 10 hours combing the exhibits looking for the best that this year’s innovations had to offer.
There was so much to look at that it was difficult to pick a starting point! Most of my efforts were spent looking at a few products that I felt would resonate with you as readers. The crazy thing that you’ll notice is that I didn’t even get around to looking at or shooting any bows. That’s how much gear and equipment was there!
I will tell you that I intentionally left the bows to another time since I believe it would be in your best benefit to travel to your local archery shop and shoot several bows before landing on a decision. Even in my small piece of rural heaven we have an archery shop where you can go and sample various bows to make sure you get the one that best meets your individual needs. As a matter of fact, of all the people that were in attendance, I managed to run into the owner of my local shop and discussed coming in and shooting a few so hopefully I’ll be able to follow up with some good bow comparisons for you.
Getting back to the show, you can see in the pics there is no way I could possibly cover everything. However, I was able to spend some time with a couple companies and was thoroughly impressed with what they are bringing to the table this year.
I actually had a chance to spend some time with the team from Sitka while at the show. Let me tell you these guys really mean business when they set their minds to designing something. Just take a look at the newly released Gore Optifade Subalpine pattern. With the passion they displayed when explaining and describing what they went through during the process I couldn’t help but impressed. The Subalpine pattern is meant to be conceal you when your target is inside 50 yards (think bowhunting elk) but I’ve got to be honest in my opinion I’d be in it this Spring chasing turkeys and during the early whitetail season.
To coincide with the new pattern the guys at Sitka are also soon to release it in their Ascent System. The Ascent system is made to go fast and go light. The new Ascent vest they came out with is also something you’ll want to check out. It basically gives you everything you need at the moment of truth right where you need.
Another thing I really enjoyed hearing from Sitka is their focus on a their women’s line. It’s not men’s clothing simply made smaller. They really put a significant amount of thought into what a women really needs. A team of women was gathered and simply asked what they wanted? That’s exactly what they got, clothing fitted for a woman’s body and needs. Not a man’s. Listening to the women in the room explain their involvement and input into the system really resonated with me. As a father of two girls I expect them to have everything opportunity that the boys have, including wearing quality hunting clothing.
Lastly, I couldn’t resist looking a little further into the Fanatic Series. I’m currently writing a review on the pants and bibs and have been nothing but impressed. All my other late season whitetail gear is heading to the closet maybe never to be seen again.
After reading my review of the AeroHead Sports you probably figured out that Lacrosse boots are my go to during deer season. So when I found out at the show that Lacrosse had partnered with Sitka to offer the Alphaburly Pro in Gore Optifade I was very excited. I have an older model of the Alphaburly’s but after seeing and trying on the latest efforts from Lacrosse I’m pretty sure it’s time to upgrade.
The Alphaburly’s will be offered in a non-insulated model, 800 g, and 1600g Thinsulate insulated versions. The addition of neoprene at the top of the boot is a change from my current model but gives an added degree of comfort that I haven’t found in an all rubber boot. The cushion, support, and stability of the boot all felt well designed during the short duration I was able to wear the boots.
I have been wearing Danner boots for many years. The first pair being the Elk Hunter they came out with for Cabelas followed by a pair of their hiking boots. I had to stop by their booth to see what they’ve been up to since my last purchase. It looks like they have been pretty busy by what I saw.
The first pair I was able to look at was the Powderhorn. This boot just looks like an elk hunting boot. Having a full leather upper, Gore-Tex liner, and a new outsole designed to give you a more secure ride up and down the mountain it looks like they’ve got a viable back country boot. Don’t quote me but I believe this is a 10” boot so it will have ample support especially when coupled with multi-density foam strategically placed in the ankle area. It will be offered in non-insulated, 400g, and 1000g Thinsulate insulated versions.
For those who prefer to maybe be a little lighter on their feet I got a good look at the brand new Vital hunting boot as well. The upper is mixed with both leather and a canvas type material both featuring the Danner Dry waterproof protection. The mesh lining is designed for wicking moisture and circulating air in warm conditions and midsole is meant for movement. I didn’t get to slip these on but I’m guessing they fit much more like a hiking boot than a more rigid hunting boot. They will come in insulated models but at this time I do not have the specifics available.
If you haven’t heard of YETI coolers by now I’m not sure what rock you have been living under. They are absolutely amazing at keeping things cold or frozen. At the show I was able to get a firsthand look at their entire product line along with a couple items that were just launched.
First was the Hooper Flip 12 which was built as a smaller companion to their popular Hopper 20, 30, and 40. If you read my review of the Hopper 30 then you know I was extremely impressed so I fully expect the Flip 12 to perform just as well only be a little easier to carry around.
Another new product from YETI is the Rambler Half Gallon Jug. I’ve seen their 20oz Tumbler in action…once. Since then I can’t keep it away from my wife as she either has coffee in it in the AM and then ice water in it in the PM, both either piping hot or ice cold, respectively. The half gallon jug will allow you to carry more of whatever it is you want with you. I see it is a being a huge asset when planting food plots this Spring or Late summer or at the range improving my accuracy. Rather than use a bunch of plastic bottles I can fill this bad boy up and be good to go. The uses are endless as far as taking it with you wherever you go and having either a hot or cold drink at your fingertips.
YETI is also going to be powdercoating some of their stainless steel products in a multitude of colors as well. I couldn’t help but drool over their Tundra Series coolers while I was there too. I am seriously looking into getting one to take to CO with me this fall to hopefully (fingers crossed) bring back some elk meat.
Two other booths where I was able to spend a little time was with Thermacell and Scent Kapture. The Team at Scent Kapture has really come on strong in the last couple years with their scent controlling products. Without getting into all the science behind it, they do not claim to eliminate human scent (which we know is impossible) but rather contain it to a limited area. I used their products all this year in all types of varying situation and liked the outcome.
If you’ve never used a Thermacell product then you either haven’t been around a blood thirsty pack of mosquitos or you’re tougher than I am. I have to say that I wasn’t a believer until two year ago when I went turkey hunting with an Uncle smack dab in the middle of a Michigan swamp. I can tell you without a doubt the hike from the truck to the blind was absolutely the worst experience I have ever had with mosquitos. When we got into the blind I was thinking there is no way I’m sitting here regardless of whether he turned his Thermacell on or not. It wasn’t minutes later there wasn’t a bug in that blind. I won’t claim to know how it works but I’m sure glad it does. This year they updated the design on their handheld model adding a few features that you as customer had asked for. Totally new this year is the Backpacker model designed to fit right on to your fuel canister. If you’re heading into the deepwoods you’ll likely already have the fuel canisters for your stoves so all you have to do is bring the small Thermacell attachment and you’ll be bug free in no time!
I have highlighted some of products I feel will be of value to you all and also that I was able to get an in depth look at. I made many contacts and found several other products and gear that I hope to get more info on and pass along to you. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me. If I don’t know the answers I bet I know some people who do.