Fall Product Review

Browning Phantom X Blind

MSRP: $299.99

http://www.browningcamping.com/products/blinds/phantom-x-hunting-blind

Browning’s Phantom X Blind is so loaded with features you may just want to stay in it after the hunt. The Phantom X features a 180-degree curtain-style window with panoramic view, shoot-through mesh openings, blacked-out interior backing, a built-in bow hanger, gear pockets and more. Brush hoops on the blind’s exterior allow you to add natural concealment, and it’s easier than ever to haul your gear in with an improved carry bag that includes padded shoulder straps, compression straps for holding a bow or rifle and an extra pocket for carrying your blind chair. ALPS OutdoorZ’s NWTF Striker chair is an ideal complement to the Phantom X. Adjustable window flaps make it simple to get into position for your next shot and the Phantom X’s durable 600-denier polyester fabric, fiberglass poles and aluminum hubs allow it to stand up to almost any storm. Comes with a lifetime warranty on all workmanship and material defects and measures out at 70" H x 59" W x 59" D. Weighs 19½ pounds. — Matt Stewart

ALPS Striker Chair

MSRP: $59.99

http://www.alpsoutdoorz.com/products/nwtf/turkey-chairs/striker

The ALPS OutdoorZ Striker Chair weighs just 9 pounds but supports up to 400. It folds out easily, comes with a carrying bag and includes a compact turkey call/gear pocket, making it the ultimate companion in the deer/turkey blind. Also acceptable for tailgating, weddings and long waiting lines at the grocery store. — M.S.

ALPS Crossfire X Extreme Pack

MSRP: $179.99

http://www.alpsoutdoorz.com/products/extreme/crossfire-x

The Alps OutdoorZ Crossfire X Extreme Pack features a large main pocket, large organizational pocket and detachable front pocket that doubles as a belt pack. I used this pack in several different applications, for cross-country travel, day-to-day office transportation and fishing. The weight distribution on the pack was great, whether I was carrying outdoor equipment or my laptop. There’s lots of organizational structure built into the pack, but the main compartment is a little tight, and takes some maneuvering to load up; however, I’m sure it’ll loosen up over time. The pack includes a slot for a hydration bladder and straw, as well as a built-in rain cover. A few features really set this pack apart for me. The detachable belt pack was super convenient for stashing a few key items like my phone and identification. The vented back kept me cool and dry in the woods and running through airports. The strap pulls were set up well, and I could easily adjust the pack to fit my small frame while wearing it. With looped, plastic zipper pulls, accessing my gear was a breeze. The padded waist belt with pockets are the perfect spot to store calls or any other equipment you need to quickly access. This pack is the perfect multi-function bag for hunting, fishing or traveling. — Catelyn Folkert

ALPS Monarch X Extreme Pack

MSRP: $199.99

http://www.alpsoutdoorz.com/products/extreme/monarch-x

The coyote brown ALPS Monarch X Extreme Pack, designed just for women, is a new hunter’s dream. The pack has pockets and compartments to keep everything organized and within reach. From the spotting scope’s lined pockets to the rain cover, the Monarch X does not disappoint. Not only does the pack look sharp, it also handles weight, even over long distances, well. The contoured shoulder straps, molded form suspension, waist belt and the shorter torso length all work together to keep those heavy pack-outs comfortable. The Monarch X comes with a bow or rifle drop-down pocket and a wing pocket lashing system to comfortably and securely hold your bow through open fields, crowded hardwoods and planted pines. It also comes with a pouch for your hydration bladder, front pockets on the waist straps to keep things handy on the prowl and a built- in meat shelf. Hypalon and ballistic fabrics guarantee the pack can handle whatever you throw at it. — Susan Delk

Flambeau Double Wall Safe Shot Compound Bow Case

MSRP: $161.99

https://www.flambeauoutdoors.com/double-wall-safe-shot-trade-compound-bow-case.aspx

Bow care is of the utmost importance for all bowhunters, and Flambeau’s new Double Wall Safe Shot Compound Bow Case — made in the U.S. — fits the bill. There was no lack of storage options in this case, as I was able to fit my Bowtech Reign 7 and quiver on the removable tray, and no straps are provided or needed to hold things in place. The second tier storage compartment held 10 arrows (half with field points and half with broadheads), two releases, a 10-inch Bee Stinger stabilizer, broadhead case and my bow string wax. A snug fitting kept all items in place no matter how much I tossed the case around, and the inclusion of Flambeau’s rust-stopping Zerust technology promises to keep my bow’s metal components in good shape while in storage. — Pete Muller

Flambeau Master Series Grazing Doe Decoy

MSRP: $167.02

https://www.flambeauoutdoors.com/Hunting/Big-Game/Big-Game-Decoys/grazing-doe

A feeder doe decoy may seem a little bit out of place for a turkey hunting product review, but I have read a few articles over the years about using turkey decoys for confidence decoys while hunting deer. So, why couldn’t you use a deer decoy in the spring? It wouldn’t make sense to use a buck, because their antlers would have dropped months earlier (the turkeys probably wouldn’t know the difference), but a feeder doe would work if anything would. I am not sure if it could work, but there is no harm in trying, assuming local game laws allow for it. And, if it turns out that turkeys aren’t too keen on the idea, the truth still remains that a significant majority of turkey hunters also hunt deer, so at least the decoy can still get some use! — P.M.

Wicked Hand Pruners

MSRP: $29.99

https://www.wickedtreegear.com/product/wicked-hand-pruner/

The Wicked series cutters are easily portable and lightweight. They do not ratchet but easily cut through quarter-inch branches with one-hand operation. While the cutters are a good size to keep in a vest or backpack and clip branches on the hunt, I did have issues with the blade-locking mechanism. It could be a simple case of needing to be broken in, but it’s important to proceed with a little caution when stashing these cutters in your pocket. — C.F.

Glacier IceBox Series 35-Quart Softside Cooler

MSRP: $149.95

https://www.glaciercoolers.com/product/iceberg-105-2/

Glacier Coolers’ IceBox Softside Cooler is an outdoorsman or woman’s new best friend. It’s lightweight, easy to carry and insulated to the hilt. The 35-quart cooler has about 1¼ inches of polyurethane foam insulation in its walls and with a welded inside liner, which is mold and mildew resistant, the cooler keeps frigid temperatures locked in. Even a longbeard’s spurs can’t puncture the 1680D nylon double polyurethane-coated outer shell. Glacier’s no-slip shoulder strap makes toting your drinks to the blind, beach or tailgate a breeze, and the included detachable bottle opener is a nice touch. Just stick to root beer or old-school Coke bottles until the hunt is done. — M.S.

Primos Bow Vest Gen 2

MSRP: $75.95

https://www.primos.com/products/vests-packs/bowhunter-vest-gen-2/

The Primos Bow Vest Gen 2, available in Mossy Oak Bottomland, is loaded with features, such as the adjustable fit system which allows a customized fit. The easy-to-reach adjusting straps allow you to loosen the system easily as you relax in your stand, or you can tighten the straps on the fly as you move positions. The vest comes with holes so tucking a backpack waistband into the vest is simple and keeps the vest snug while reaching. The vented back allows airflow, which helps keep you cool. There are also hand-warmer pockets built into the vest for those chilly hunting days. So no matter your climate this season, the Primos Bow Vest Gen 2 has you covered. — S.D.

Bushnell Engage 10x42 Binoculars

MSRP: $369.99

http://bushnell.com/hunting/binoculars/engage

We drop binoculars from elevated stands. We get mud and gunk on them in the woods. We use them in extreme temperatures throughout the year. Bushnell built the Engage Binocular to withstand the punishment with its EXO Barrier lens coating, designed to repel dirt, debris, oil and moisture. These binos weigh nearly 1½ pounds, but the Engage’s magnesium chassis is built like a tank. If you’re tough on your optics, Bushnell’s Engage line is as sturdy as they come – available in 8x42, 10x42, 10x50 and 12x50 configurations. The multi-coated lenses deliver brightness and clarity that rank near the top of the mid-tier binocular class. The Engage line, which is also available in a riflescope series from Bushnell, comes with a limited lifetime warranty. — M.S.

Primos Trigger Stick Gen 3 - Jim Shockey Tall Tripod

MSRP: $193.45

https://www.primos.com/products/trigger-sticks/trigger-stick-gen-3-series-jim-shockey-tall-tripod/

This tri-pod shooting stick’s claim to fame is the easy “trigger” action height adjustment. With locking legs, you can easily tackle any terrain, and stay firm for hours in the turkey woods. It provides a good range of motion, as well as smooth transitions that made a big difference for me as a small-framed shooter. This shooting stick features a solid Y-shaped yoke that supports your gun but also came with an adapter to convert it to an optics tripod. The Trigger Stick is lightweight and easily portable thanks to leg restraining straps that keep things in place. This versatile piece is great for hunters, shooters and wildlife enthusiasts alike. — C.F.

YETI Rambler Gallon

MSRP: $129.99

http://yeti.com/rambler-one-gallon-jug

Whether you’re hunting turkey in the spring or deer in the fall, the Rambler Gallon has your entire hunting party covered. It’ll keep your water cold, your coffee hot and even serve up a warm bowl of soup for lunch without returning to camp in between a morning and afternoon sit. The wide mouth makes filling and cleaning this jug an absolute breeze. And, the magnetized cap (MagCap) is virtually impossible to lose due to its unique docking design on the lid. — P.M.

Thermacell Backpacker

MSRP: $57.98

https://www.thermacell.com/products/mosquito-repellents/specials/backpackers-pack

The same mosquito protection that hunters carry to the turkey woods is now available in a compact backpacker model that is perfect for carrying to the hunting blind. My biggest frustration with the traditional models has always been the frequent need to replace the fuel cells. But, the Backpacker can run 90 hours off one 4-ounce backpacking fuel canister, meaning you’ll be changing mosquito mats far more often than fuel source. Don’t see a need for it in the blind? Use it to rid your hunt camp, back porch or patio of pesky mosquitos. — P.M.

Maven C.1 Binoculars

MSRP: $350.00

https://shop.mavenbuilt.com/collections/b-series/products/c1?variant=42113605580

Maven is breaking into the optics industry with this pair of lightweight and easy to stow binos. They are very customizable with different wraps to choose from, providing you with a one-of-a-kind piece of equipment that provides clear and crisp details rivaling many industry greats. While these may not be the best binos to grab for glassing elk out West, they are a great fit for the turkey woods or for enjoying scenic views. — C.F.

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