Posts Tagged ‘gear’

In April, I ordered a Etekcity backpacker sized stove with self-ignition in the hopes that I could use it to make a hot beverage or heat water to use with a dehydrated meal on the trail sometime during the year.  I didn’t end up hiking as much as I wanted to (my work schedule was changed multiple times, making it difficult to tie in with my wife’s days off, so when our days off coincided we would use the time to catch up on housework etc.) so I hadn’t used it.


Etekcity Ultralight Portable stove with piezo ignition – this image is from

Recently, I watched quite a few bushcraft videos, mostly Joe Robinet and McQ Bushcraft, and remembered that I’d bought this tiny stove, but hadn’t used or tested it yet.

The stove takes butane-propane mix canisters, so on a recent shopping trip, I picked one up at REI for under $5 to test the stove out.  Be careful when buying this kind of stuff, my first stop for most gear is Amazon, but always, always double check prices with other sites and/or physical stores.  REI doesn’t even list this item on their website, and Amazon has it listed for $18.99, but it was $4.95 at the REI near Kennesaw, GA.  (In the past, I’ve found quite a few items listed by third party sellers that was outrageously priced.  One item was $8 per can at Academy Sports, and $49.00 from a third party seller on Amazon.)


To test this, I used a tin cup I picked up in Afghanistan about ten years ago, two cups of cold tap water, and put the stove on the railing of my back porch.  I wanted to see how long it would take to bring the water to a rolling boil.  According to our outdoor thermometer, it was 34′ outside,  and shows a 10-15 mph NW wind.  I don’t have a lid for the cup, and for the first seven minutes of the test, I didn’t block the wind.

The little stove heated the water very quickly, but it wouldn’t come to a boil until I stood blocking the wind, at which point roughly one minute later I had a rolling boil.  If I had a lid for the cup, and had blocked the wind from the beginning, I have no doubt that this tiny stove would have had the water boiling quite fast.


The water started to steam in the cold air in under a minute

I really like it – the package lists the output as 6,666 BTU, which I think is really good for something under $12 that can fit in a shirt pocket.  I don’t know if I would rely on this kind of thing for long-term survival, but as a short term, light weight option for camping trips and backpacking trips, it would certainly be much faster than cutting firewood and starting a full campfire when all you want is to re-hydrate a meal and have a cup of tea before moving on. It cools down very quickly, by the time you have the meal ready to eat, it should be cool enough to put back in the carrying case.

The stove comes with an orange plastic two piece carrying case.


This shows the stove when out of the case, in the case, and when the case is closed – Image is from



Article by Slaton L. White. Uploaded on November 27, 2013

Click to go to the reviews

Click to go to the reviews

Photos by Cliff Gardiner and John Keller (Blinds). Illustrations by Jason Lee

Portable ground blinds are more popular than ever—for good reason. They appeal to older hunters who no longer want to climb trees and to parents looking to share the outdoors with a child while keeping everyone’s feet on terra firma. Ground blinds have utterly transformed turkey hunting for bowhunters, and for the rest of us they simply go where treestands can’t. Hub-style blinds—which stuff into a bag and have an integrated frame for fast setup and takedown—are the favorites in this category. We had four hunters test four models during turkey and deer seasons to see which offered the best portability, concealment, and utility.

Alex Buecking, 26
• Home Hunting Area: Montana
• Days Hunted Per Year: 15

Eric D. Greene, 40
• Home Hunting Area: Texas
• Days Hunted Per Year: 10

Tim James, 35
• Home Hunting Area: Indiana
• Days Hunted Per Year: 10

Bill Kramer, 40
• Home Hunting Area: Pennsylvania
• Days Hunted Per Year: 40

★ Piece of Sheet
★ ★ Plastic Tarp
★ ★ ★ Hunt House
★ ★ ★ ★ Secret Lair
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Invisibility Cloak

Red the four reviews at Field & Stream





by Tony J. Peterson   |  February 4th, 2014

Proper bow function requires a litany of parts to do exactly what they are supposed to do during every shot cycle. When one piece of the puzzle falls out of place, the entire process is compromised.

We often focus on major tuning issues and perfect bow setup when discussing how to get our hunting rigs into shape and how to keep them there. This is fine for the minority of bow owners who possess a pro shop-grade press and the knowledge to use it.

However, for most bowhunters this is out of reach, and quite frankly, not something they’re interested in. Shelling out a grand or more for a quality press and then devoting serious time to learning how to use it is simply too much for most of us, but that doesn’t mean that all aspects of bow tuning and setup are out of your grasp.

Every year I encounter fellow bowhunters who have no idea how to tie a string loop, serve in a peep sight, or even replace a nock set. It’s not that these folks are incapable. It’s that they don’t have the simple bow tools necessary and the knowledge to put them to use.

If you’re in this category, consider taking a step in the right direction by investing a minimal amount of money into the basics, and then spend some quality time on the Internet watching tutorials on how to perform these simple tasks.

This is a good idea for hunters who never hunt anywhere other than their favorite close-to-home whitetail haunts, and it is crucial for those who hit the road in search of hunting adventure.

It’s just common sense that if you’re in elk camp and notice your string loop is frayed, that the fix is up to you and only you. I’ve been in hunting camps with friends who didn’t even bother to bring along a set of Allen wrenches. Of course, those homebody hunters who figure they will just take their bow into the shop if something goes wrong can be in for a rude awakening.

Read the rest, and see the slideshow, at

(One of the items on the list is the Real Avid Bowsmith.  Here is a video of the Bowsmith tool.)

As I said a few days ago, I ordered new Hips Archery Targets after being selected to be on their pro-staff this year.  They arrived this afternoon, and I have to say they are fantastic!  The targets are MUCH lighter that I expected them to be, there won’t be any problems putting these where I want, when I want, other than my backyard range isn’t level, so my arrows tend to knock the targets left or right a bit, making it look like I’m shooting from three different angles.  I’ll probably put together a few sandbags to make a mini ‘bunker’ to hold them in place and all will be well.  (My back yard slopes off sharply at the woodline, giving me 30 yards from my back door, exactly.)

Hips_arrivedHips_Big_Game_shotSadly, after five arrows (four into the Hips target above, one into my River Bottom Buck) I had an equipment malfunction that actually requires some work at the shop before I can shoot that setup again, hopefully tomorrow. The arrows you see there were shot from 20 yards, one after the other, and though I’m not displeased with my accuracy, since it was my arrow rest that failed, I have to wonder if I might not have done a little better if it wasn’t falling apart to begin with.  The arrows pulled out easily, much easier than any 3D target I’ve shot, and easier than most bag targets.

The last few months have been busy, between work, working out, trying to squeeze some practice time in with the bow, writing, a funeral, etc. etc. but I do have a few things to share at this point.

After speaking to the company president for a bit, my application to be pro-staff for Hips Archery Targets has been accepted, I’m now eagerly waiting for the first two targets to arrive so I can start shooting at them.  I ordered the X2-Big Game and the X2-Muley targets (below) and I look forward to writing reviews as well as dragging both targets to our archery shoots to get other people’s opinions of the targets’ performance.

hips_muley_jumbo hips_big_game_jumbo

Badlands Superday pack

Badlands Superday pack

I have been in contact with Badlands Packs regarding their pro-staff program as well, however their program is much different than a traditional application-and-acceptance program.   I will be ordering several items from their catalog and writing about performance in the field very soon.

I have VERY high hopes for the Badlands product line: my last pack was… not so durable, since it lasted half of the 2011 season, half of the 2012 season, and now it has two zippers broken and looks as though I invented a time machine to go back and survive World War II and Vietnam with the pack. (I may write a review of it later, it depends on how the company I purchased it from responds to my THIRD EMAIL complaining about the shoddy product. So far, emails #1 and 2 have had ZERO RESPONSE, which leads me to believe that the company subscribes to the Comcast Cable school of customer service.)

The Badlands Packs I saw at the ATA Show were VERY impressive – I’ve also heard from several people who own the packs and are very satisfied.  Finding gear that is worth the price, durable, usable, and clearly built by folks who have an idea of what the gear will have to endure has been difficult.

bexperience500I am still considering a new Bowtech Experience – I want one (no surprise there, name a bow on the market today, and my eyes light up, I want one of EVERYTHING, and would happily write review after review of the various bows and/or equipment, even if I have to send it back when I’m done.  Which leads to images of my wife trying to pry some piece of equipment out of my hands as I lay on the floor screaming “NOOO! MINE!”  I may be in my 40’s, that doesn’t mean I’ve grown up.  And you can’t make me, either…) but I’m fairly certain my budget won’t allow for a new bow this year.  It isn’t just the bow, as anyone who shoots archery can tell you, it’s the bow, a new sight, a new rest, etc. etc. etc…  I really like the Experience, particularly after our 2012 Cohutta bowhunting trip, where Danny and I carried our bows all day Saturday just scouting.  By the time noon rolled around, we were seriously considering longbows, since ‘stick and string’ bows are MUCH lighter than machined aluminum…

So, to summarize this winding post, I’m now officially a member of Hips Archery Target’s pro-staff, I’ll be writing reviews of Hips targets, Badlands packs, and anything else I can get my mitts on, and I want companies to send me everything they make so I can review it, and possibly send it back, if my wife can pry the gear out of my hands…. 🙂