Ammo & Gear Reviews

Last Minute Gifts For Hunters

By Scott Smith

Hunting season is either just opening or has been in full swing across most of the nation. So we figured we would put together a short list of items that might help in the field.

The first items we are going to look at are from Columbia River Knife and Tool. If you are like me and hike to your hunting area from your truck, having gear that is multifunction, lightweight and compact are buzz words. The $14.99 Eat’N Tool XL is one of those items that meets all those criteria.

As the name implies this is a stainless steel tool to eat with and more. The primary function is being an eating utensil; in this case it is a high tech “spork.” Unlike the plastic fast food sporks, the fork actually works. I have used mine to eat my morning yogurt and fruit, spaghetti, even a steak in the RV.

Opposite the spork is what makes this a multi-tool. You will find a flat tip screwdriver/pry tip, a bottle opener, can opener, and in between these tools a wrench to fit ¼” to ½” or 6.35mm to 12.7mm nuts. I found the can opener rivaled my GI P38 and that’s saying something since I have carried one on my keychain since I enlisted in ’81.

One of the handiest outdoor items I have used is the Eat’N Tool XL from Columbia River Knife & Tool. It’s a Spork, can/bottle opener and wrench all in one.

Next up from CRKT is The El Santo Trauma Shears. Trauma Shears you say, what do I need that for I am not an EMT. The answer is simple, because they will cut a myriad of materials from clothing to flesh. They come in a belt sheath to keep them handy. You would be surprised at the number of uses these have for a hunter.

First if you are an EMT/First Responder there is a window breaking pin be sure to tuck into the slot on the sheath. From experience I will tell if you don’t it will catch on clothing or puncture skin. Under the glass breaker is a slot for the valve on a standard oxygen tank.

On the lower blade of the shears is a seat belt cutter. With its sheep foot design this cutter will work well should you need to remove clothing if there is an accident or it will slide along the skin of a deer so you can field dress it without cutting open the abdominal cavity.

The pivoting blade of the shears is sharp enough to make an initial incision to start field dressing your trophy. When used as shears they are strong enough to use to remove/break legs of small game like rabbits or parts of game birds. The El Santo will also make short work of rope and small vines to secure limbs or clear shooting lanes. At $49.99 this tool is one you will not appreciate until you use it.

CRKT’s El Santo Trauma Shears designed for EMTs is still shear seatbelt cutter that hunters will find useful for trimming branches, cutting most anything that fits in the shear or field dressing game.

Last on the list from CRKT is the Rakkasan (Japanese for umbrella falling) knife. If you are like me a paratrooper you know the name refers to the 187th Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne/Air Assault Division. This knife was designed by Austin McGlaun who is a combat Vet to honor the 187th.  This is a hard use knife from its G10 grip to the powder coat finish over SK5 Carbon Steel, HRC 55-58 so the blade is sharp and corrosion resistant.

The 4.894” blade has an “S” curve for slashing and hacking and a drop point for spearing. While designed as a weapon of last resort this full tang blade is strong and will chop small branches or thanks to its sharpness make a fast clean incision to field dress a deer. Because of these attributes this is also a knife you should keep in your vehicle survival kit.

The Rakkasan is moderately priced at $125. Compared with many cheaper and more expensive knives this is a helluva knife. While it may be a “tactical” knife, it is a fixed blade knife that will work well for hunters and outdoorsmen/women as well. If you venture into the woods, you should always carry a solid knife and the Rakkasan will more than fit that need.

If you need a serious field knife The Rakkasan with its nearly 5” drop point blade is it.

When you are heading to the woods you need to stay warm and dry.  To do that you need to layer. While searching my local Field & Stream I came across their Triumph in Realtree Xtra. This is a waterproof outer layer full front zip jacket available in their stores for $139.99.

What caught my eye in the store is the Hydroproof Ultra tape sealed seams in the hood and on the safety harness slot. Over the years I have seen many pieces of store brand hunting gear where the hood is just glue sealed seams. This means it will leak; heat tape sealing helps ensure you stay dry in the rain. All of the seams even the pockets are heat tape sealed.

The next thing that caught my eye was the arm pit zippers. This might seem like a small thing, but these zippers allow you to ventilate a lot of sweat and body heat when hiking. It is important to do this so as not to get hypothermia when you get to where you are going. Generally hunting season rains are cold and not venting this heat will get you when you get to your blind.

Field & Stream even paid attention to the zippered bottom pockets. The bodies are mesh so you have another way to vent body heat. Short of cutting this polyester mesh with a knife or other sharp instrument your gear will be safe.

Since you might have the body pockets open, you will see a blaze orange highlighted zipper chest pocket to ensure your cell phone, ID, etc are secure.

While I didn’t wear the Triumph into the woods hunting, I was able to test out how waterproof Hydroproof Ultra is in the monsoons we have been having at home. I braved the downpours to see if I would stay dry during my daily walk. Save for sweating, I did not get wet from water leaking through the shoulders or sleeves so the Triumph is waterproof.  Field & Stream’s Triumph is built for hunters.

When you need a quality well thought out rain coat, Field & Stream’s Triumph Parka is it.

If you really want to be miserable get a pair of waterproof boots that aren’t. When I was stationed in West Germany in the mid-eighties a new Gore-tex boot, The Fort Lewis Boot was approved for uniform wear. This boot was and still is built by Danner.  I have been wearing one version or another of this boot since. Recently Danner had a sale on their Eastridge Boot on sale; it was an awesome clearance since they phased out the Realtree version for all brown.

The Eastridge is full Gore-Tex bootie hunting boot available in non-insulated or a 400 gram Thinsulate model. Not having an insulated boot I chose that model. As hot as it’s been I was not going to test the warmth of these boots and opted for taking the word of my bud who has various insulated Danners. To the man and woman they tell me until it gets brutally cold, if you are moving these boots keep you warm. If you can get a layer of pine needles or leaves between you and the ground they are toasty standing too.

What truly sets Danner apart from other hard use boots is their waterproof Gore-Tex bootie. In the thirty plus years I have worn GTX Danners, I have had exactly one leak. I contacted Danner and explained the direness of getting a new pair and Danner next day aired a pair and a return call tag. It turns out the upper seam of the right boot had separated.

At $260 some folks will say Eastridge and comparable boots from Danner are expensive. When you are on your feet for hours at a time in the harsh elements do you want cold wet feet to ruin the trip of a lifetime? As someone who buys Danner boots, I will tell you they are worth every penny.

To keep your feet warm and dry, Danner’s Eastridge Gore-tex boot is hard to beat. The current version is all brown not Realtree Camo.

When it comes to iconic names in the firearms industry, Lyman is one of them. For many years they were the go to for powder scales and dies etc. Today the Lyman Brand encompasses Lyman, Pachmyar, TacStar, A-Zoom, Butch’s, Trius and Targ-Dots. With this growth Lyman proper has grown and expanded their firearms cleaning lines. At SHOT Show 2017 I looked at the Essential Gun All-In-One Care Kit and the Qwik Draw Bore Cleaning Rope.

The cleaning brushes, jags and flexible rods of Lyman’s Essential Gun All-In-One Care Kit.

Let’s look at the All-In-Kit first. This kit retails for $79.50 and will clean virtually any centerfire firearm on the market save for shotguns and 50 Cals. This kit arrives in a zipper pouch that can be MOLLE attached to other MOLLE gear so your cleaning kit travels with you. When you open the dual zipper pull case on the left there are clear pockets for brushes and jags while the right has solid cleaning rods, toothbrush, flexible cleaning cables, T handle, patches and cleaning solution/oil.

A more detailed look at this kit reveals there 12 each bronze brushes/jags in calibers from .17 to .45 to cover most firearms on the market. There is a set of threaded cleaning rods, picks for cleaning carbon fouling, a large and small bore flexible cables with a T handle to pull them through. I used the pull through on a couple of ARs and they worked like a champ. I had to swab the bore and chamber with the solid rod. I like the portability of the Essential Gun All-In-One Care Kit and its versatility.

All the Essential Gun All-In-One Care Kit‘s cleaning rods, CLP, picks and cleaning pads fit into this handy case.

The last item I found this year for the field is the $10.98 .30Cal Qwikdraw Barrel Cleaning Rope. This style cleaning “rod” has proven itself to be effective and quick since they first appeared on the market. They are easy and fast to use.

The Qwikdraw is different from other pull through cables in that this one has a true bronze brush not just bristles embedded in the rope. Having a true brush means the body of the rope will not get soaked with cleaning solution. This will help ensure the bore gets cleaner. I dropped the weighted end down the barrel of my fifties vintage 336A and it pulled the Qwikdraw right on down the barrel and out the side plate.

These two firearms cleaning products are some of the best thought out I have seen in quite some time. Lyman’s Qwikdraw Barrel Cleaning Rope and the Essential Gun All-In-One Care Kit will work well separately or together. Their biggest plus is they are designed to take with you so you will get your firearms clean anytime, anyplace.

Well, I hope this overview gives you a few ideas for new gear for Hunting Season 2017. I wish you all the best and great success in the field. Make sure your rifles and bows are sighted in so you shots are on and not just minute of deer. When you are out in the woods; truly shoot safe, know your backstop, shoot accurately and have fun.

Scott Smith is a Disabled Veteran serving in the Army and USAF Reserve. He has been a federal police officer, is a charter member of IDPA and is actively involved with USPSA and various three gun competitions.