The new, recently added Goat Knives Capra Hunter TI. Photo credit: Brady Miller
The new, recently added Goat Knives Capra Hunter TI. Photo credit: Brady Miller
It’s full swing into the 2020 hunting season for many of us and, yet, some of the best weeks of hunting are still ahead of us. Currently, my 4Runner is packed and ready to go, and as soon as I hit enter on this article I’m heading east with anticipation and high expectations for my favorite ten days of the entire year:
Before I go, I wanted to highlight a few of the recently added items of gear that are some of my favorites and tell you why they are. If you still have a hunt coming up and some extra money to put towards a new piece of gear that can help you be more comfortable, functional or successful on your hunt, consider the items below.
You might not put a lot of thought into your lighting choices, but if you have ever made a shot on an animal just before legal shooting light faded, you know exactly how important a good headlamp is. Enter the Petzl Swift RL Headlamp with its 900 lumens. Yes, that’s what I said: 900 lumens! That is an incredible amount of light for a headlamp this size and weight, which is only 3.5 oz. In addition, this headlamp has what Petzl calls “reactive lighting,” which analyzes ambient light and automatically adjusts the brightness to the amount necessary for any given situation, meaning that if you are working along a blood trail on a very dark night, it will increase the brightness automatically. The battery is rechargeable via a micro USB with a clear power gauge located on the side so you know exactly how much juice you have left at any given time. At 900 lumens, maximum burn time is about 2.5 hours. At 300 lumens, burn time about 5.5 hours and, at 100 lumens, burn time is approximately 10.5 hours. This is a really solid, super bright headlamp.
Replaceable blade knives have been around for awhile and, personally, I have been a proponent of those types of knives for many years. It’s really nice to have a super sharp blade every time you need it and, if you are anything like me, sharpening a fixed blade knife is not your strong point. The new Goat Knives Carpa Hunter TI is not new in that it’s a replaceable blade knife, but it has brought some new features to the table that others have not. Primarily, the Capra Hunter TI comes with a set of allen wrench bits and the ability to store two of those in the handle itself. They are secured there by a series of heavy duty rubber bands that keep them in place. In addition, I’ve found that the rubber bands and the bits themselves actually give some shape and grip to the handle. I really like the way the knife feels in my hand. Located near the rear of the handle you have a bit receiver hole where you can insert either bit and then use the handle and the bit to tighten a loose bolt in your bow rest or the rings on a rifle scope. It also comes with a good portion of replacement D-loop cord. As indicated in the title, the TI stands for titanium. The knife is strong and only weighs in at .92 oz. The knife comes with three blades and a kydex sheath and any #60 or 60A replacement blades with fit. I really like this new little lightweight knife from Goat Knives. It made short work of an archery antelope for me already this season!
Darn Tough socks are well known and I’m a big fan of their socks. I have a robust collection of socks in general and they continue to be my go-to hunting socks. This summer, I purchased a pair of their 1933 Hiker Coolmax socks and we were able to bring them into our gear shop shortly after due to how much I have loved them. So, what’s the difference? This sock has 39% CoolMax Polyester, which is engineered to move moisture away from your skin and dry faster in warm conditions, which I can attest to. This sock also offers full cushioning from the heel to forefoot. It doesn't — in my experience — bunch or slip and I have had no blister issues with this sock. One of my favorite things about the sock is that it just feels really good. It feels great on my feet — even after wearing it multiple days in a row. This sock has increasingly become one of my favorites for long hikes and warm weather. I highly recommend the 1933 Coolmax sock.
This is by no means a new product on the market, but a new product to the goHUNT Gear Shop. The Whisperlite is legendary for offering durability and foolproof heating/cooking ability in any condition with almost any type of fuel. Most of us have an isobutane burning stove like the MSR reactor or a Jetboil Flash — and they work well — but what do you do when you are flying to a destination hunt like I was last year for moose in Alaska and could not fly with those canisters and had no options to buy one when I arrived? In those instances and also high altitudes, the Whisperlite International is the way to go. You can use the MSR fuel bottles or any type of fuel to use the stove, including isobutane, kerosene, white gas and, even, unleaded auto fuel, which is what we used. I still regularly use isobutane burning stoves because they are quick and easy to use, but I think everyone should consider adding a Whisperlite International to their gear assortment. It’s dependable, durable, extremely versatile and does an excellent job at cooking moose steaks!
Finally, a rangefinder that has incorporated Archer's Advantage Software to allow you to input your arrow weight, arrow velocity and peep height to give you an extremely accurate range/estimate for what distance to shoot on high angle shots. It’s also accurate to the half yard. Another feature that makes this perfect for the bowhunter is its flightpath technology, which gives you feedback to determine if your arrow will clear obstructions between you and your target. It also gives you 6x magnification with both a multi-coated clear and bright lens. The fit is great in your hand and it only weighs in at 7.5 oz. Maximum range distance is 1,200 yards, making it an excellent option for hunters who both archery and rifle hunt. This is an accurate, well-built rangefinder that is as good as it gets in taking the guesswork out of up or downhill archery shots.
Several years ago, I drew an elk tag in a remote unit in Wyoming. I archery hunted it with my brother and the bull I killed tipped over about 11 miles from the trailhead. Luckily, we had a packer with horses to help us out, but the backpacking in and out was all on foot. For that hunt, I used the original Wyoming GTX boots by Crispi and they performed flawlessly. I never had a hot spot or a blister. I never had sore feet and the boots offered me good traction, breathability and I liked the weight of them. Hence, I was excited to see that for this year they had revamped the Wyoming GTX for 2020 and I’ve been able to try those out for the past month. The new version is every bit as good as the first, but better. It’s a great blend of breathability, stability, traction and weight. It’s not a lightweight boot, but it’s also not as heavy as a full leather option either. One of the key upgrades was in the fabric of the uppers where Crispi used high resistant breathable PUtek Spider fabric. So far, it seems to be very durable and hard wearing. Likely, the thing I appreciate the most about this boot is that it’s extremely comfortable right out of the box. I would give the Wyoming GTX a Flex rating of 3 out of 4, which makes it an excellent option for multi-day hunts where you are covering ground in moderate to even steep terrain. The toe box is roomy, but not sloppy; the heel lock is good and I found them to fit “true to size” with a full cushion Darn Tough sock like the 2012 version. For reference, I have a medium width foot and wear an 11.5. In my opinion, it’s ideally suited for early to mid-season hunts like archery deer and elk hunting, antelope hunting and, even, into muzzleloader and October rifle season. I was a fan of the original Wyoming and I am impressed once again with version II.