We’ve field-tested a lot of new gear this year, but these five products have had the biggest impact on our hunting success.
by the HuntDaily staff
The year may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean we’re through hunting for the year. There are still a few weeks of prime big-game action left throughout the country, and even more if you live in the South. So, if you’re still looking to gain an edge, or if you need to work up a personal Christmas gift wish list to give Santa, check out these items we’ve tested and approved…
ThermaCELL Heated Insoles
As you will see from our inclusion of two heated product from ThermaCELL in our Top 5 roundup, keeping warm is a big thing for us. That is because when you’re warm, you can hunt longer and more effectively. In addition, it’s a lot easier to enjoy our time afield when our teeth aren’t chattering.
ThermaCELL makes two versions of their lithium-ion battery powered Heated Insoles: ProFLEX and Original. Both have three heat settings that you can adjust by a small remote control, allowing you to select the level of warmth you need without taking your boots off.
“Warm” is the operative word with the Heated Insoles. Unlike the uncontrollable and uncomfortable old-school disposable iron-oxide packs, the Heated Insoles will keep your feet warm, but not so warm that they sweat. That is key, because once your socks get moist from sweat, it’s game over. With the Heated Insoles, you can adjust for the right amount of heat you need to keep your feet warm in any temperature and not sweat. Like the Heat Packs, the Heated Insoles have three heat settings, and the battery charge will last for up to five hours, depending on the heat setting you are using.
The ProFLEX insoles have removable battery packs that you can take out and recharge with the USB wall-charger or the optional DC car charger. As their name implies, the ProFLEX insoles offer increased flexibility. Furthermore, you can buy an extra set of batteries and take them with you in the field. On long days, you can quickly swap batteries to extend your comfort.
The Original insoles have their battery integrated inside the heel. To recharge, simply remove the insoles from your boots and plug them in.
ThermaCELL Heat Packs
The number one nemesis of hunters (aside from barking squirrels, raucous jays, and rain) is bitter cold. Sitting quietly on your stand for hours in 20-30 degree temperatures is a challenge once the cold seeps into your bones, but thanks to ThermaCELL’s newly released Heat Packs, we made it through those frosty mornings with ease.
The Pocket Warmer and Hand Warmer Heat Packs are rechargeable units that provide a steady and manageable heat source that you can place practically anywhere on your body—in your pants or shirt pockets, your hand muffs, or even under your hat. Powered by an integrated lithium-ion battery with three heat settings, the Pocket and Hand Warmers are no bigger than a cell phone or credit card, respectively. You can recharge them via a supplied USB wall-charger, and the charge will last up to six hours, depending on the setting. Compared to conventional and disposable iron-oxide hand warmers that offer inconsistent and uncontrollable heat, the ThermaCELL Heat Packs give you just the right amount of heat, where you need it, and will last for years.
Although our purpose for acquiring both the Heated Insoles and Heat Packs was to stay warm on the stand, these are products we will be using well after hunting season is over, such as when cutting firewood, shoveling snow, and on our winter fishing excursions.
Viking Solutions Rack-Jack
Most of us hunt by ourselves, which is fine and dandy until we down a big one and then throw out our back or strain a kidney trying to haul the beast into the back of our truck. A relatively new product from Viking Solutions cured that problem for us. It’s called the Rack-Jack, and it makes loading a large game animal into your vehicle an absolute cinch.
The Rack-Jack comes in three pieces: a receiver tube assembly that fits into your truck’s receiver hitch, a pivoting mast, and a winch boom. It assembles in seconds, and allows you to load up to 300 pounds securely into your cargo box with ease. We used it to load three deer into our truck this year, plus load and unload the camp generator. Best of all, we never pulled a muscle or pinched a nerve in the process.
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binoculars
Many folks think binoculars are for hunting wide-open country, where distances are measured in miles, not acres; however, ask anyone who hunts with binos in woodland terrain and they will tell you they would feel completely naked if they were pursuing deer or turkey without some kind glass around their necks.
We feel the same way. The thing is, woodland hunting doesn’t require the same kind of glass that, say, western hunters need. Smaller, more compact binos are what we want in the whitetail woods, and the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD binoculars hit that sweet spot.
The Legend Ultra HDs are 8x36mm binos, which have all the magnification we need in whitetail country, but the generous 426-ft. field of view (at 1,000 yards) lets us scope a lot of territory with ease. Weighing 20.7 ounces, these mid-size units are just right for stalking through the brush or scanning from a blind or treestand.
The Legend Ultra HDs feature multi-coated lenses designed to provide maximum light transmission. Coupled with the extra-low dispersion Prime Glass, these binos deliver exceptional clarity, resolution, and performance in low-light conditions. Furthermore, the Legend Ultra HD binos are water- and fog-proof, and come with Bushnell’s permanent water-repellant coating. Pick the Realtree AP version and you’re ready for action.
Wildlife Research Center Scent Killer Gold
Successful hunters know that scent control is a major factor in penetrating a game animal’s security zone. There are many products on the market that are designed to help you do just that, but most come with serious limitations, high cost, or some other caveat. Recently, though, the folks at Wildlife Research Center changed the game with their Scent Killer Gold with Hunt Dry technology.
Traditionally speaking, spray-on scent eliminators lose their effectiveness once dry, and do little or nothing to kill new odors after application. Not so with Scent Killer Gold. This new formula not only kills odors on contact, it continues to fight odors and prevent new odors from forming long after the application has dried. In fact, testing has shown Scent Killer Gold to continue its assault on odor up to ten days after drying. In other words, by using Scent Killer Gold, we no longer have to hose down our clothing and equipment prior to every hunt. That saves us time and money.
Article copyright 2015 by HuntDaily.com; promoted by Schawbel Technologies, LLC