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Boasting unmatched durability, versatility, and stealth at a price well below expectations, this all-season ground blind is the “sleeper” of the hunting world.
by the HuntDaily staff
When I set up my blinds for the 2014 hunting season, I knew they were on their last legs. Stitching along the roof panels threatened to give way, and a couple support poles had already worn through their pockets. Although my tire camo huts made it to the end of December, both were destined for “ghosts of hunting seasons past” status.
Then last summer a family member suggested a Rhino Blind.
“Never heard of ’em,” I said.
Historically, the company has sold its blinds factory direct via its website and at consumer outdoor sports shows; however, when we caught up with Rhino Blinds at this year’s Archery Trade Show, the Rhino crew was in full-throttle mode to expand their national dealer network. Moreover, while their advertising footprint is quite small, they do get the word out through several outdoor magazines, and Rhino is the title sponsor of the Pursuit Channel’s Main Beam Monday lineup.
Family recommendations can be a sketchy proposition, but after some online research, I decided to take the bait and ordered the Rhino Blinds XP-101 ground blind in the Predator All-Purpose Deception pattern.
A couple of days later, my Rhino Blind arrived at the house. That evening, I set it up in the back yard to see what $279.99 got me. I expected a high-quality unit. What I did not expect was the level of quality not only in construction (triple-stitched and heavily reinforced corners) and materials (rugged 600 denier rip-stop polyester with a thick, waterproof blackout interior coating), but also in the blind’s intelligent design (more on that in a moment). I got the impression that this was more of a hunting bunker than a typical hidey blind. Rhino bills their blinds as “Rhino Tuff.” Believe it.
Rhino Blinds – By The Numbers
Rhino offers four different ground blind models. They are identical in terms of construction and design, yet distinct in their camo patterns. There is the Predator All-Purpose Deception, Mossy Oak Break-Up Country, Mossy Oak Brush, and Mossy Oak Obsession (a blind pattern application exclusive to Rhino Blinds). The Mossy Oak models are new for 2016, and are priced at $299.99.
On a special note for you turkey hunters, the Rhino Blinds Mossy Oak Obsession model is a newly licensed product of the National Wild Turkey Federation. That is fitting, since the NWTF has just named Mossy Oak Obsession as the organization’s official camo pattern.
Rhino Blinds are built with a conventional five-hub tension rod construction. When deployed, the blind measures 77 inches from hub to hub, with floor space measuring 60×60 inches. The ground-to-center height is 71 inches, so sub-six-footers like me have plenty of headroom to stand and stretch during those long days in the bush. Total weight is around 31 pounds. That’s a bit more heft than I’m used to hauling when compared to the lighter material blinds I’ve used in the past, but thanks to the robust storage bag (made from the same material as the blind) and its sturdy and adjustable padded shoulder straps, field transportation is no problem.
A True Hunter’s Design
Many ground blinds seem like the best thing since sliced bread until you get them in the field. That’s when the “I wish they would have…” and the “Why did they do that?” features start to reveal themselves. Having used my Predator model this past season, I can report no such issues. On the contrary, everything about the Rhino Blind addresses those niggling quirks that have irritated all of us who use ground blinds.
Quiet – Take, for example, the door. Most blinds use heavy-duty zippered doors. Opening one to answer nature’s call (I don’t do the empty soda bottle thing) creates more of a ruckus than a little splashing in the leaves. The Rhino Blind, on the other hand, uses elastic loops and clips that snap onto the support poles to keep the door flap secured. You can open and re-secure the door without making a sound.
Similarly, all of the windows open and close by way of “S” hooks and elastic loops. Unlike typical blinds, which use noisy hook-and-loop (Velcro™-type) strips, you can open and close the Rhino Blind windows without making a peep. The only full-perimeter hook-and-loop screens are the two rear mesh windows. You don’t have to open these because they are made of a shoot-through mesh that works with most broadheads. With the hook-and-loop strips, you can replace the windows when necessary.
Weather-Tight – Another Rhino Blind feature I really appreciate is the weather guard flaps along the bottom of the blind. These wide flaps extend out beyond the exterior walls to help prevent water from entering the blind. They also do wonders for keeping the wind from sweeping underneath. Combine the weather guards with the supplied ground stakes and tethers, and the Rhino Blind stands firm in the ugliest weather conditions.
Diverse – Here’s something you don’t see every day—a zippered roof panel. You can open this panel and use the blind for your waterfowl or dove hunting set-ups. That’s great because if you like to hunt birds, you’ve just amortized your investment across another hunting season.
Infinitely Variable View – The Rhino Blind offers diverse viewing angles to match your hunting terrain and shooting requirements (vertical bow, crossbow, shotgun, or centerfire rifle). With all of the windows open, the Rhino Blind provides a 360-degree viewing angle. If that’s too much exposure for you, simply close the rear windows and enjoy full 180-degree viewing through the front.
What’s interesting about the front windows (one per side) and the front screens (also one per side) is that you can adjust how much exposure you want. Since the front windows fit between the tension rods and the mesh windows, you can raise or lower them exactly where you need them. In other words, they don’t have to be all open or all closed, as is the case with some blinds. Moreover, like the rear mesh windows, you can shoot through and replace the front mesh windows.
More Up-Level Details – I mentioned earlier that the material used in the Rhino Blind is a robust 600 denier rip-stop polyester with a waterproof blackout interior coating. That isn’t the entire story. The fabric itself is enhanced in the name of longevity and function with a water-repellent and antimicrobial treatment that resists mold and mildew. A UV blocker is added to eliminate the printing dyes’ UV “glow” that can be seen by game animals. Lastly, UV protection is incorporated into the printing process (as opposed to a topical application) to prevent color fading.
Blending In – Finally, Rhino Blinds come with two rows of brush-in loops—one across the top half of the blind and another across the bottom half. These, too, are made of the same sturdy material as the blind, and provide ample loops to add a wide range of vegetation.
I’ve invested in many ground blinds over the years for both deer and turkey hunting. Some barely lasted a year, others hung in there for a while. The long-term evaluation of the Rhino Blind is several seasons away, but if my experience with Season 1 is any indication, this is undoubtedly the best blind I’ve seen for the money. Heck, I’ll probably need a new bow or turkey gun before it needs to be replaced.
Where To Buy
You can purchase Rhino Blinds direct from the factory by going to their website. You can also call the company at 888-507-2021 for more information or to order by phone.
Rhino Blinds are also used and endorsed by the folks at The Outdoor Option TV show. Watch here as Dan runs through the features…
Article copyright 2016 by HuntDaily.com; promoted by Outdoor Product Innovations, Inc.