Published by Gear Junky on 01 May 2008 at 01:10 am
Simple. Cheap. Effective. How many products with those attributes actually improve your quality of life?
Toilet seat covers come to mind. Not much else.
In the previous installation, I recommended a great backpack, backpacking stove, and lightweight bivy. In this blog, I’m going to highlight a few items that are less expensive and get less attention, but are worth their weight in gold. These items will make your next hunting trip more enjoyable, believe me. Simple, cheap, effective…you can’t go wrong.
Must-Have Blister Buster: Body Glide Anti-Friction Stick
Cost-Effectiveness: 10 ($7 online)
On the list of things I hate, blistering and chafing rank just ahead of rectal exams and just behind Kirstie Alley’s voice. I can’t do anything about the other two, but blisters and chafing are now a repressed memory with Body Glide. I found this magic stick when I was training for my first marathon. I thought a few days of wearing hunting boots over rough terrain was bad, but let me tell you, you haven’t experienced a hot spot until you’ve had a blister bleed through your sock and shoe on mile twelve. Of twenty six.
Runners, instead of doing the sensible thing (give up running), invented anti-friction sticks out of necessity. Body Glide is as good as any product out there, and is widely available for around seven bucks. You can apply it to feet, from the soles to the toes and the heel and everywhere in between, before putting on your socks. And it works anywhere else you feel hot spots, which can be a real life saver when each step burns your inner thigh. Ouch. And it works on existing blisters, so if you forget to use it, it isn’t too late – a thin layer eliminates friction, and since friction is the cause of irritation and pain, you won’t notice the blister the rest of the day.
All of those clever remedies – duct tape, band aids, Vaseline – are obsolete. Just keep this stick around or cut off a tiny slice and throw it in a plastic baggy for the backpack. It has the same consistency as clear (non-gel) deodorant, and just one stick will last years.
Must-Have Spotting Scope Accessory: Universal Digiscoping Adapter
Cost-Effectiveness: 8 ($45)
What the heck is digiscoping? A long time ago, people asked what the heck were wheels, or compound bows, or iPods. And digiscoping is much cooler than wheels or iPods. Maybe I’ll write a separate blog on this later, but for now, here’s the quick story. At some point, most every one of us who own a digital camera and a spotting scope have tried to take a picture through the scope, usually with disappointing results. But like Dylan told us, the times they are a changin’.
As you can see, the adapter serves as a tool for positioning and stabilizing a compact camera on a spotting scope, either angled or straight. For $45, you can capture any images you see in your scope by taking a picture or video clip, and with impressive results. It takes some practice to get it just right, but once you figure out the proper settings on the adapter and the camera you’ll have some fun. Here are some of the photos I took through my scope (27x fixed eyepiece and 3x optical zoom = 81x magnification), which would have otherwise been impossible. This pronghorn probably scores near 90 B&C:
Here’s a link to a youtube video of the same goat, also through my spotting scope at 300 yards:
Now, had I come back and told my buddies that I had found a B&C monster without evidence, what would their reaction have been? Sure, Roger Clemens, an 88 inch pronghorn. But with digiscoping, scouting trips become photojournal excursions. Sure, your results will depend on the quality of your spotting scope and your photography skills. But even a rough image is better than no image, right? At twelve ounces, I bring my adapter along any time I’m not living out of a backpack.
Must-Have Bottom-Saver: Allen Gun Cases Self Inflating Seat Cushion
Cost-Effectiveness: 9 ($15 shipped)
Nobody likes wet rumps in the field. I don’t like a wet rump anywhere. Nor do I like pine cones or jagged rocks jabbing my nether regions when I’m trying to rest my footsies. This self inflating seat cushion does the trick, keeping you dry and padded when you sit to glass those upper basins or relax and watch a Mariners game from the cold metal bleachers in the outfield. It straps around your waist (like a belt) and stays on all day, and after a few minutes you won’t notice it’s there. It doesn’t flap against you as you walk, and it sits below your backpack so it doesn’t get in the way. When you want to sit, just sit – it will be there. This one is not to be missed – it’s the most satisfying fifteen dollars I’ve spent since Safeco Field opened their cheap seats.
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