The annual Las Vegas Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade show is the biggest gun show in America, attracting 33,000 people each year. And Sarah Palin. I was about the only visitor not wearing a pistol, but I did manage to find some neat new stuff.
Look closely and you'll be able to see the author hiding somewhere in this photo.
Sitka Gear Odor-Free Base Layers
These are not your typical base layers and they are not plain merino wool for all of its stink free-ness. These garments have been coated at the fibre level with a technology based on natural silver salt called Polygiene. This technology first originated in the medical world in Sweden and was used on bandages to prevent bacteria growth. When applied to "next to skin" clothing it will prevent stink inducing bacteria from growing in the first place. In the past, getting stinky was part of backpacking, but maybe now it doesn't have to be!
On top of that, the technical hunting apparel that Sitka is producing is like no other. It is tailored and cut specifically for hunters. Take, for example, the above photo: I am wearing the Fanatic Hoody that has a built in face mask that deploys from behind your neck, as well as on-sleeve, flip over mittens. It all works to keep you warmer and more concealed.
Over that is the strangely awesome Celsius Shacket. A combination insulated shirt jacket. Made from fleece, you could have a dance party in this thing before it makes a crinkle or noise. The cross chest zip allows it to come off easily while maintaining a two-hand front pouch for keeping your hands warm while waiting on those cold early morning hunts. The lack of bulk around your arms provides free range of motion for bow hunting and prevents snag in dense brush.
I feel comfortable that these two layers alone would handle 90% of my hunting needs. Toss in a soft shell for rain protection and you would be all set. They have launched a whole new line for 2015 and it is not yet live on their website, though their Facebook is loaded with pics of the new gear.
Sitka also produces beautifully shot films that are sure to inspire even PETA members. Take 25 minutes of your day and watch the above.
Weatherby Element Deluxe Semi-Automatic Shotgun
Weatherby is far from the first to create an inertia-actuated shotgun, but with the company's quality craftsmanship, this should be a great gun. A typical gas-operated, semi-automatic shotgun uses the gas vapors that are expelled from the cartridge to actuate the action and cycle the next cartridge. But that's a complex and heavy arrangement, capturing the shell's inertia is a more elegant solution.
The inertia action of the Element Deluxe uses the force from the cartridge to push the action rearwards along a cam system that ejects the shell and cycles the next one in, all while keeping gases out of the moving parts. It is super cool watching the action cycle and move along the cam path like pieces in an internal combustion engine. Prices start at around $US1,099 and come in 12, 20, and 28 gauge with either 26" or 28" barrels.
Benchmade 761 Ti-Monolock
This might look like just another simple folding knife, but with a pair of thrust bearings surrounding the pivot, this knife basically falls open once you release the lock mechanism. I have never felt a knife open with less effort than this one. There is no spring assist, just amazing precision, something that should lead to a stronger folding mechanism.
Benchmade's LifeSharp Service is top notch too. I once broke the tip off of a blade while trying to use it as a crow-bar, sent it back and they re-shaped it the best they could with a new point and a factory edge. At $US390 for this 761 Ti-Monolock pocket knife, you are buying this knife to keep for life.
FourSevens Maelstrom Regen MMU-X3R
The most powerful handheld flashlight from our favourite manufacturer puts out 2,000 lumens on high, can throw 1,000 lumens for 2.5 hours or 110 for 11. Not bad for a USB-rechargeable light that's only 5.5 inches long, can work underwater with its IPX8 waterproofness and retails for $US120. A Maelstrom Regen MMU-X3R is winging its way to us for testing as we speak.