The last thing in the world I assume when I write a gear list is that someone would purchase new gear just because I use it. The first thing I think about is members of the JCS community having a better hunting season because something they’ve never used before helped them close the deal!
Some of the items on this list are sponsored items, but all of the items on this list are what I trust and have helped me have several successful seasons. I’m not easy on gear. If a piece of equipment slows down my hunt or can’t withstand the abuse of an entire season, it gets sent to the pile of other things that haven’t stood up to the test.
The cool thing is, they’re not just new items. Many of them are things that have been in my kit for years and are still proving themselves useful. My hope is that they will help answer some of your gear questions and direct you toward equipment that will make you more confident and proficient in the field.
Based on reliability (out of the package readiness), durability, usefulness, and convenience, here’s a list of my top five gear recommendations that have proven themselves over a number of seasons.
Do you have a favorite piece of gear? Share in the comment section below! I’d love to hear from you!
Wilderness Athlete Paleo(ish) Hydrate and Recover (Sponsored: Use Code JCSBLOG for 15% off at checkout)
Wilderness Athlete Hydrate and Recover has become a must have. Before I ever spoke with WA founder Mark Paulsen, I had been looking for a product to help me lose weight, but also provide what my body needed in the field. Several years ago, multiple-day hunting trips meant headaches, and week-long recovery after the hunt was over. Hydrate and Recover changed all of that. When a product helps you this much, and the founder shares his testimony and his desire to support your blog with you over the phone, it’s a no brainer to share such great products with your friends. No matter the trip, you’ll find Hydrate and Recover in my pack. I’m especially excited to begin using the new Paleo(ish) edition of H&R this season!
Every team likes to have a “ringer”. It’s the guy that takes the ball and is like clock-work. You just know that he is fully capable of changing the entire game. That’s how I feel about the Easton FMJ. Yes, I’ve used other arrows, and no, they haven’t performed as well. Tipped with a consistent boradhead and shot under the right draw weight, I’ve seen these arrows punch through both shoulders of whitetail as far out as 40 yards.
A great arrow deserves a consistent, well-built, deadly broadhead. Four seasons ago, a friend introduced me to Slick Trick broadheads, and everything has taken second place since. These are the most consistent shooting fixed blade heads I’ve ever used. If they aren’t shooting very closely to my field points, it’s typically because of arrow damage or a tuning issue with my bow. I have personally seen the 100 gr. standard (pictured below) fired from five different bow brands and arrow configurations, and all of them were consistent with field points.
Performance note: These heads are for accuracy junkies, not for folks who like giant entry and exit wounds. I lean toward the “if I can hit what I’m aiming at, I don’t need giant hole” camp. If you’re a mechanical shooter, Slick Trick offers their new Raptor Trick.
I have to admit, when I started using Cross Country Camo, I had questions. Wasn’t it going to be too light? Especially in the timber dense country of the midwest? Three years, multiple turkeys, and multiple whitetails later, I can honestly say my questions have been answered. Want to see a full review? Click Here.
Simple, practical, ergonomic. If everything I owned fell under those categories like this knife, life would be good. The carbon steel blade of this knife holds a great edge and is easy to return to razor-blade sharp with just a whet stone. My first experience with this knife was using it on my biggest buck to date in frigid temperatures. The edge held very well against the near frozen flesh of the animal and only needed to be sharpened once because of hitting bone. The price point is exceptional as well.
Equipment care note: Carbon steel requires some extra care. Leaving this blade wet for only a few hours can stain the blade. Some people use various mediums to petina the blade. I prefer to simply clean and dry it right away, and then spray the blade with olive oil before returning it to the sheath.