A $100 doesn’t go far in the world of hunting, but there are still some great gear grabs you can get without shelling out a Benjamin. Here’s some great ones for the backcountry hunter.
by Josh Kirchner
Year in and year out, new gear items after new gear items are released. Some of it isn’t worth a damn, and some of it truly does make a difference and is a practical addition to a hunter’s kit. With how things seem to be getting more expensive, sifting through the garbage grows harder and harder. Therefore, I will run through a few items that I felt were helpful during the 2023 hunting season. Not only that, but all these gear items fall beneath a C-note from your bank account.
Flextail Tiny Pump 2X
If you’re a backpack hunter, you are all too familiar with the somewhat arduous task of blowing up sleeping pads, especially at higher elevations. It’s quite literally “breathtaking.” I’m happy to say that I’ll never be willingly caught lightheaded again behind a sleeping pad. The Flextail Tiny Pump X is a true game-changer in this regard. This is a 2.82 oz powerhouse of an electric pump. Use it to blow up sleeping pads and pillows, and it even serves as a lantern. Just charge it up before your trip via USB-C, and you’re good to go. The Tiny Pump X blows up my Nemo Tensor Alpine Pad to full capacity in about 45 seconds, and it only costs $29.99. Though I haven’t given it a run for its money yet, it looks like Flextail added the Tiny Pump 2X, which gives you all the advantages of the Tiny Pump X with an outdoor camping lamp. Best of all, Flextail only boosted the price of the Tiny Pump 2X by $10.
Hamskea Cord Clamp Lever Arm
I’ve been a massive fan of Hamskea Arrow Rests for years now. They’re built to last; for a backpack hunter, that is a non-negotiable feature of any gear. Something that I’ve had mixed experiences with, though, is their cord clamps. Sometimes, they’re rock solid; other times, they’d slip a bit on me, and I’d have to keep re-tightening. Their new Cord Clamp Lever Arm has seemed to solve all of that, and I am super excited about it. For one, installing the rest cord makes things so much simpler. It’s just a matter of loosening a screw, feeding the cord through a slot, and then tightening. And, two, I haven’t experienced any cord slippage so far. This is a no-brainer option if you’re shooting a Hamskea rest. Do yourself a favor and spend the $34.99. You won’t regret it.
Super Duty Nitrile Gloves – Diamond Texture
Wearing or not wearing gloves when processing an animal is a personal choice. I have heard of the rare case when someone might get sick from not wearing gloves, but it is just that. Rare. I will say that these Super Duty Nitrile Gloves with a Diamond Texture make life easier when hovering above an animal. They fit great, mitigate slipping between knife and animal, and keep your hands clean. No scraping out meat bits from your fingernails after the fact. These are with me on every hunt I go on. A 100-pack is going to set you back $13.99.
Princeton Tec Vizz 550 Headlamp
Every backcountry hunter needs a serious headlamp. It has to be durable, provide good illumination, and have good battery life. The Princeton Tec Vizz 550 hits on all fronts for me. I’ve used this 550-lumen headlamp for a few years, and it hasn’t failed me. The thing that sold me on it was the battery life. I ran it on a 12-day elk hunt in Arizona using the Two-white Ultrabright LED mode. On the last night, hiking back to the truck, my headlamp finally started to dim a little. It still got me back to the truck. I had to flip it over to the Spot-Beam mode, but in the end, it worked great. You can also “go red” when hiking to a glassing spot or treestand. I was impressed, and I’ve used one ever since. I run three rechargeable AAA batteries and recharge them after each trip. It is well worth the $51.99.
Wild Tech Game Grip
From the first animal I ever harvested and processed on my own, I have been wondering if there was something on the market to help the processor remove hair from the meat. I’m not a fan of hair when eating tasty game meat. I have used packing tape and duct tape with very minimal success. So, when I saw these food-safe Wild Tech Game Grip adhesive strips, I was intrigued. Throughout the fall, I was pleasantly surprised and used these on several different animals. They are an adhesive strip on steroids. Whether animal hair or just debris from the field, these proved to be super handy. They’re also packable, so keep them in your pack for field use. And one of the best things is that they continue to work even when wet. I will say that they might not get every single hair off of the meat, but they sure do cut down a ton of work doing so without them. This is $19.99, well spent.
In a world where ads are thrown at us left and right with every scroll and tap of our finger, experience is the true teller of value regarding gear. Each one of the gear items listed above are items that I have personally had a positive experience with. Whether in the field or at home, this stuff has made my life easier, and it’ll do the same for you. I’m excited to see what is over the next ridge for 2024. Good luck out there.