Recent comments

2020 ATA best of new products: Trail’s picks - posted 3 weeks ago

@Gregory H...based on your comment I tried to check out nuFletch, but their website won't load. Tried multiple times this morning. Hopefully they see this and get it stable. Looked interesting.

Guidelines for a successful backpack hunt - posted 1 year ago

With airlines it depends on what animal I'm going for. For deer, I'll bring a cheap plastic (aka light weight) 55 liter cooler. On my way there I pack it full of gear, especially things that can break or my backpack food for the trip, etc. Use the space. Throw a couple locking straps to ensure it stays together. Check it as baggage. (FYI - no fuel or bear spray allowed)

On the way back I find that cooler will often hold a single de-boned deer most of the time and it comes in right at 50lbs. I cut and freeze the meat ahead of time (chucks in ziplocks). No ice, it's not allowed. But frozen meat will last forever packed together. If you have room in the cooler (I usually don't but sometimes we split a deer among us) then I throw clothes in there to fill space and add insulation. If there's extra meat that won't fit or I'm over weight, I throw the excess meat in my carry-on. Often figuring that out right at the ticket desk weigh-in. As long as meat is frozen, you can carry it on a plane. Doesn't need to be in a cooler, but they do want it in plastic bag. They won't let unfrozen meat on a plane. You'll get stopped at the security scanner if not frozen. I stuff the frozen meat in a duffle with clothes around it, maybe a paper bag around it for insulation and to contain cold air coming off the frozen meat. I think the last time I did it I had 30-40lbs in my carry-on (bigger deer that year). It always stays frozen solid, even after multiple flight connects etc. My door to door travel time might end up being 12 hrs when you factor everything in. Everything in the carry-on is still frozen. Might have a little frost on it, but that's about it. Just insulate it with what you have. Planes are pretty cold.

Elk...whole different story. I have always driven when I shot an elk, but assumed I would just go to a processor and have them ship it frozen. Gets expensive.

Weapons.....if archery, I have my bow in an SKB case. Not the super expensive ones. This one costs like $125. The heavy duty ones are expensive and heavy. So they take up 8-10lbs more of your checked bag weight allocation, which is valuable weight I want to use. I never needed a bomb proof case, just a decent one well packed, which I could do with the lighter SKB. I put the bow in the case and usually all my hunting clothes and more around it. Pack is solid. Roll up your clothes so they are tight and solid. The case will end up solid as a brick. I then take that case and place it in a huge, yet lighter weight duffle. Again, not bomb proof. If I'm still under the 50lbs weight limit (I usually am) I throw other stuff in the duffle around the bow case (boots, jackets, etc). This helps protect the bow case and it looks less valuable. Sometimes I throw a locking strap around the whole thing, just to make it solid and in case there's a zipper failure. I've taken probably 20 flights with this setup. Never had an issue yet. TSA will inspect it after you check the bag. So be smart about fragile items or sharp items (broadheads, knives, etc). You don't lock it. If you do, they will cut it off. They need to inspect it, usually after you check the bag. You can request them to inspect it in front of you and then they put a zip-tie where a padlock goes. I've tried TSA locks, but they cut them off too. I often do bring extra zip ties, figure why not, they're cheap.

Gun...different story. Check and double check with TSA and your airline. You would be surprised how many people don't know the rules and think it's something else. I often get conflicting information, even at check-in. You will need to have your gun in a hard, locking case, with at least two locking points. You should NOT be able to pry it open on one end. You can store ammo in the case, but confirm that. You will need to have a lock for it, a NON-TSA lock. They don't want anyone having access to a gun, including TSA. When you get to the airport you declare it's a firearm. After ticketing they often walk me to a TSA office. Sometimes it's close and 2 seconds, other times (SFO) they walked me to another floor. At that one I waited 15 minutes before getting to my inspection. They will inspect the gun and case, tag it as inspected, allow you to put the lock on it and they take the bag. I usually do the same as I described with my bow case. I place the hard case with the gun inside a duffle. The lock(s) are on the hard case, not on the duffle. TSA will indicate the case and duffle have been inspected. Usually a sticker and often red zip ties. No one can open it after that. Once I had TSA state they will inspect it without me and I requested to be present. You just never know how they will put it back to gather (i.e. you want to ensure your rifle scope is property padded.

Expensive items (optics, range finder, etc) I always carry-on both ways. You're allowed two bags, so you have a lot to play with. Packs and duffles are better for carry-ons because you can squish them into overheads and less likely to be gate checked. Hard bags not so much and you risk the chance of them wanting to send it below for a gate check, which I won't do if my valuables are in there.

Primary backpack....I've often made it a carry-on. If checking it, make sure you put it in another duffle or at least a plastic bag (like they do with car seats for kids). You'll lose straps and get burn marks from conveyer belts if you don't. I prefer a light weight duffle, this way if I need an extra bag on the way back because I shot something I have another bag to play with.

This year I'm hunting 5 days archery in one state and 5 days of gun in another. I figure I'll put the gun and bow in hard cases, strap together and in that big duffle. If I have extra weight, put more clothes in there. Should be interesting. It's the first time I'll do both.

Trekking Pole Break Point — The goHUNT Stress Test - posted 2 years ago

I like the testing, but I don't feel this reflected real life, in field stresses. I would be curious to see how these trekking poles compare with a vertical stress test (not perpendicular). i.e. if wearing a heavy pack, you step down two feet from a rock and you place the pole in front of you for stability. As you step down the pole takes a lot of weight. As a test, how does it handle that vertical weight pushing down and at what point does it fail?

For perpendicular testing, I would be more curious about the tip. I've broken a few trekking poles, but never in the middle of the pole. Most are within the first 5 inches of tip.

Three options for making coffee in the backcountry - posted 2 years ago

I'll check some of these out, but this year I've been testing the Primula Single Serve coffee brew buddy and like it so far ($6 on Amazon). Lightweight, small, etc. It's a nylon mesh that sits on your cup, but I guess you could combine with a single serve filter for easier cleanup, but I haven't. I really like that I can adjust how much coffee I put into make it stronger or to change the volume of coffee I want to make.

THE OFFSEASON — Episode 1 - posted 3 years ago

Not knowing the details behind your plans, it's hard to judge how e-commerce can be an area of growth. It's very challenging to differentiate and stay unique. e-commerce is often a game of margins and can be a race to the bottom in my opinion. Plus you then deal with physical inventory mgmt, forecasts, returns, etc. (headaches). I would stick with digital products...better scale, organic growth potential, more unique, bigger "moat" with higher switching costs for customers....the list goes on. Video could be interesting and has it's benefits (valuable in perpetuity if produced right), but can be expensive to produce....and it takes a lot of time. There's a lot of video coming online as decent video equipment is available to everyone. Maybe consider aggregating what's out there, becoming the digital gateway for hunting content. Hence, you avoid all the costs and still own the audience....much like you did with draw data.

If I was you...I would go after OnxMaps. They're killing it. That subscription business is a goldmine. Like goHunt.. it's all publicly available data aggregated in one place and packaged for the audience. Test one State with the right attributes (i.e. lots of non-resident hunters, checkerboard land ownership, etc) and see what happens (i.e. Colorado).

Or focus on community....what does web 4.0 look like for hunters looking for their "community". I say this in a sense of people finding other people like themselves with similar interests and passions. User Generated Content is powerful stuff...the organic marketplace of content. That's where all the knowledge and experience sits. i.e. you do a detailed search on info and more often than not you end up on a personal review or more likely a web 1.0 message board. There's a big opportunity there to re-define it.

The Yelp equivalent of outfitters and guides would be super interesting. A whole ecosystem could be built around that. A SaaS platform for guides and how they manage their business could be interesting as well. Their process is manual and super inefficient today (communications, booking, info, marketing, crm, etc).