Guide Series Men’s Outdoor Insulated Camouflage Twill Jacket – Review

The Best Camouflage Hunting Coat For The Price

I have found the best Camo Coat/Jacket I have ever seen when it come to price. This is perfect for the entire Archery Season.

Where To Purchase This Archery Coat

I found this coat, which they call a jacket, in Gander Mountain on sale for up to 60% off. However you do not want to purchase it at the store, since you can get a better price on-line.

What Price Can You Purchase This Camo Jacket for

This Jacket in the store was on sale for up to 60% off. However, the most it ever came down to, from its regular price of $59.99, was $39.99. So I spent a year going into two different Gander Mountain Stores to see if the price would drop lower, as I wanted to purchase another one. Finally after a year I found this jacket on the Gander Mountain website for a much better deal. The Jacket was on sale for $39.99, with $10 off, and free shipping. So the total coast; $29.99 at the door.

Features

The Guide Series Men’s Outdoor Element Insulated Twill Jacket is built tough to withstand a variety of outdoor activities. Crafted from rugged 100% cotton twill fabric, the jacket boasts diamond-quilted insulation throughout with brushed tricot at the body and hood for extra warmth and taffeta at the sleeves for easy on and off.

Articulated elbows allow for a wider range of movement for even greater comfort with minimum noise. The Insulated Twill Jacket features a three-piece hood with draw-cord adjustment; a full-length front zipper; elastic-bound cuffs and bottom hem; and a license holder at the upper back. Bellowed front cargo pockets with hidden-snap flap closures, brushed tricot hand-warmer pockets (behind the cargo pockets), and an interior patch pocket provide ample storage for all your essential gear or camera. The Jacket is imported from China, so it is not USA made.

The jacket is not that heavy, is quite, and the cotton twill does not collect the burrs and tick-tacks like other materials do.

* Guide Series Men’s Outdoor Element Insulated Twill Jacket Item # 783321
* Rugged 100% cotton twill fabric
* Diamond-quilted insulation for warmth
* Brushed tricot at the body and hood
* Taffeta-lined sleeves for easy on/off
* Articulated elbows for added mobility

Product Review – 4.5 Stars*

I first purchased this jacket over a year ago. I like it so much I wanted to purchase another one for future usage and buy one for my two youngest sons, who enjoy Archery Hunting as much as I do. But I wanted to see if it would drop in price more before purchasing, since the sale sign in the stores said up to 60% off.

The Jacket is much larger then US sizes, most likely due to being made in China. I wear an Extra Large and had to go with a Large, which is still a little big on me.

Great for the Entire Archer Season, large enough to put layers of clothing under it, or to wear as is.

The zipper, if not seated completely down will separate, so make sure it seated entirely before zipping up. If it does separate it will take a few minutes to work it back down, but does not seen to damage the zipper.

The Jacket has plenty of pockets for gloves, hats, camera, etc..

I strongly recommend this coat for hunting in both the early and late Archer Season. I give it my thumbs up with a 4.5 Start rating.

How To Catch Crappies – The 2” Gulp Minnow vs The 1” Jigging Rapala

Catching Crappies – The Action Is On

I have found over the past years that the best bait for catching Crappies was the Gulp 2” Minnow on a Crappie Tube Jig Hook with a tube bobber. But could the ice fishing Rapala Jig work? Would it catch just a many Crappies, and would it out last the Gulp Minnow by hundreds of fish? Well here is what we found.

Jigging Rapala Catching Crappies

We took a tube bobber with 2.5 feet of line and tied on a Gold 1″ Ice-Fishing Jigging Rapala. I then made small slow retrievals with a pause between each. We were not surprised to find the Rapala Jig worked well and at first we were catching one for one against the Gulp Minnow. Within a few minutes however I started to fall behind and then the action really slowed, almost to a stop, why?

Jigging Rapala Gets Out Fished

First my wife and I located the Crappies and got our boat positioned so we could both start the competition at the same time. I gave my wife the Gulp Minnow with a white-silver tube while I used the Ice-Fishing Rapala.

Why the Rapala Came In Second

What we found:
The Jigging Rapala catch to bite ratio was much higher.
The Jigging Rapala did not take any abuse and would definitely catch countless Crappies
The Jigging Rapala’s multiple hooks and treble hook was difficult to remove
The Jigging Rapala harmed the fish to the point it would kill them if released
The action of the Jigging Rapala slowed quickly, increasing the time between bites
The action with the Gulp Minnow was faster, consistent, and continued beyond our fishing time
The Gulp Minnow was quick to remove, getting you back into the water quicker
The Gulp Minnow did not harm the fish or kill any fish
The Gulp Minnow would catch 50 plus Crappies before needing another one, but did require adjustments

Thumbs Up For Gulp Minnow

It was obvious the 1” Ice-Fishing Jigging Rapala did not perform as well as the 2” Gulp Minnow. The size of the Crappies were the same, but the action clearly was in the favor of the Gulp Minnow. Also the difficulty of removing the Jigging Rapala and the undesirable chance of killing the fish, it did not take me long to change over to the same bait my wife was using. Now if I were Ice Fishing straight down maybe the Rapala would out fish the Gulp Minnow, but that would be another fishing test I would need to do. Here the Gulp 2” Minnow Is The Winner!

Best Hunting & Hiking Boots – Irish Setter 2016

Best Hunting & Hiking Boots – Irish Setter

The avid Outdoorsman is outside 365 days a years and needs the right gear to protect them and yet still provide the best comfort during all four seasons. The key areas and most important pieces of outdoor gear are those that protect our feet, hands, head, and chest. Well here is a great hunting and hiking boot we have found and want to share with you.

When looking for the best boot for your outdoor adventures we need to consider a few things like the climate, terrain, standing time, walking distance, staying dry, staying warm, not sweating, and comfort.

Here we will focus on the season outside the coldest Winter months, which are March – November. So whether your passion is Morel Mushroom hunting, shed antler hunting, turkey hunting, grouse hunting, hiking, fishing Trout in the mountains, or all the above and more, the Vaprtrek Irish Setter – 8″ Realtree Xtra Waterproof 400g Field Hunting Boot is what you’re looking for. These boots are great 9 months out of the year, I have even used them for Ice Fishing on occasion.

Vaprtrek Irish Setter – 8″ Realtree Xtra Waterproof 400g Field Hunting Boot

This Irish Setter Hunting & Hiking boot is very light, weighing only 2lbs-6oz, fits great, is durable, and will keep your feet dry. I have personally used this boot for standing long hours in the tree-stand, still hunting, hiking many miles hunting the Morel Mushroom, hiking in Colorado, and trout fishing the Stagecoach reservoir. I now have a second pair, yes for backup, but mainly because I have a couple of boys that have the same size foot unfortunately.

I was introduced to these Vaprtrek Irish Setter boots by a young man (Dan) who manages his own Red Wing Shoe Store in Grand Junction Colorado, and I’m impressed. I was hiking and fishing with my normal 1,000 grams winter hunting boot and they were just too hot, these 400g Irish Setter Boots resolved that problem. I now use these boots for all my outdoor adventures for three out of the four season.

Features

– Realtree Xtra or Mossy Oak Breakup camouflage print
– UltraDry® waterproof construction along with moisture management lining for comfort and performance.
– A breakthrough composite material that significantly reduces the weight of the boot, providing extreme comfort and added endurance.
– 400 grams of PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation Eco provides warmth in harsh, cold conditions
– RPM camo sole for durable traction control on rugged, tough environments
– Shaft height: 8″
– Style: 2873 or 2868
– Irish Setter exclusive scent control ScentBan
– A protective covering that is incredibly tough and abrasion resistant, preserving and increasing the life of a boot.
– Comfort tongue technology designed to minimize pressure from the boot tongue onto the top of your foot.
– A four-way stretch nylon that adds flexibility while walking or hiking.
– An internal padded waffle mesh which maintains premium comfort.

**Price- you can purchase these boots between $150 to $165

Recommendation:

The Vaprtrek Irish Setter – 8″ Realtree Xtra Waterproof 400g Field Hunting Boot is an excellent choice when your hunt & hiking adventures demand a lightweight waterproof boot that stands up to the most active outdoorsman. My pair have held up great under the most severe climates and terrain and even for Ice Fishing on those warmer days.

If you would, please give Dan a call and order from him since he is the one that put us unto these great boots! Also let him know MWOutdoors recommend him.

Address: 2454 US-6 #103, Grand Junction, CO 81505
Phone:(970) 697-1500

How To Make Maple Syrup – Best Syrup Made

The Process Of Making Maple Syrup

Whether you’re a Novice, Expert, or Commercial producer the process for making Maple Syrup is the same. The differences will be in the tools, equipment, and energy efficiency for boiling.

How Do I know When To Tap My Trees

Before you start to tap trees the outdoor temperatures need to get above freezing during the day.
Once you start to see these warmer temperatures begin by only drilling and tapping a couple of spiles (spouts) and hang buckets on them. Use these taps to monitor the sap flow and when it’s consistent drill and tap all your trees. The Maple Syrup seasons typically begins around Mid-February and as long as the nights get below freezing and the days above the Sap will run. On warmer days the Sap will flow, so watch your buckets as they will overflow.

The Maple Syrup season is over once the temperature remains above freezing or buds start to form on the tree. If you continue to draw sap at this time it will produce bitter syrup and puts unwanted stress on your trees. In the Midwest the end of the Maple Syrup season is typically the last week of March.

How To Tap Your Trees For Collecting Sap

Use a cordless drill and drill your holes at the same diameter as your spouts. Make the holes approximately 3 inches deep at an upward angle, leaving the exposed spout angling downward towards the ground. Tap your spouts into the holes firmly with a hammer, but not to far as you want to avoid splitting the wood around your spout and losing sap. Next hang your buckets or attach your tubing. If using buckets try to keep a cover/lid on them to minimize any foreign material, snow, or water from getting in.

If your trees were tapped last year then move the tap hole at least two inches to the side and twelve inches above or below the previous hole. When done tapping remove all spouts (spiles) from the tree and do not plug your holes. By leaving taps and plugging the holes you can cause more harm to the tree. Tap holes will close or heal on their own within a year or two.

*Taps should be placed between two to four feet off the ground.

How Many Taps Can I Put In A Tree

A rule of thumb for the number of taps per tree is;

12 – 14 inch Dia (1 Tap)
15 – 19 inch Dia (2 Taps)
20 – 24 inch Dia (3 Taps)
25 Inch Dia or larger (4 Taps)

What Trees Can Be Tapped For Making Syrup

Maple syrup can be made from any species of maple tree; sugar, black, red and silver. Syrup can also be made from the Box Elder tree. The Sugar Maple is the best, as it contains the highest concentration of sugar.

*Trees should be at least twelve inches in diameter for tapping.

Plan For How You Will Boil The Sap

Pour your sap into a large cooking pan and bring to a boil. As the water boils off, add more sap. Take care to add only small amounts of sap to avoid killing the boil. When the sap darkens, produces smaller bubbles, and runs off a wooden spoon in a sheet (not drops) pour it into a smaller pan and boil under a better heat control (stove or turkey fryer work great). Test your syrup by taste, temperature (~ 219 F, Candy Thermometer), or a hydrometer. As the sugar in the sap becomes more concentrated the temperature of the boiling sap will rise above the water boiling temperature of 212 F.

*It is recommended that you have at least ten gallons of sap before you start the evaporating process.

How To Store Tree Sap

Sap is perishable and will spoil, so you need to keep it out of the sun and below 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally you want to boil your sap every day if possible. If you need to collect and store sap use this as a guide; If storing sap outside in the snow use within 3 days, if you need to store longer consider using refrigeration (store sap up to 7 days), for longer storage periods consider freezing the sap. *Before boiling, pour your sap through a filter ( wool, cheesecloth, or synthetic) removing foreign material such as bugs and bark.

How Long Do You Need To Boil Sap

There are many arguments on boiling sap until it reaches seven degrees above the boiling point of water, at your elevation. Some even say to boil water first to get the correct temperature. However, this is not as easy as it sounds and I would not recommend using this as your gauge. A better process, at least for the novice is to boil until the sap aprons or runs off a wooden spoon in a sheet and then to check with a hydrometer. To avoid over boiling try removing the heat source when you think you’re close and test. If the syrup is not rich enough boil it more. When you have completed boiling down your Maple Sap you need to filter the hot syrup through a clean wool, cheesecloth, or synthetic syrup filter. This will remove the niter (colorless to white crystallizing mineral) or sugar sand, leaving your maple Syrup clear and smooth.

*When boiling Sap it will foam up and can easily boil over the sides of your pan By rubbing butter around the rim of the pan you can avoid this from happening.

Heat Sources

The process to boil (evaporating water) Maple Sap down to Syrup takes time (several hours) and can be costly. It is recommend to use wood as a primary heat source as it’s typically free or cheap compared to electric or gas. Once you have boiled your sap down to 80% then switch to a controlled gas source. Large producers will use pits, sugar shacks, and efficient heating systems with evaporators.

Tools Needed For Collecting Tree Sap

For a small Maple Syrup Operation you will need;

– Drill with a bit the same size as your spouts (7/16″ or 3/8″)
– Hammer to tap in your spouts (spiles).
– Tree Spiles (Spouts)
– Buckets for catching Sap
– Large boiling pan (preferably low and broad. A large surface area will increase the rate of evaporation during the boiling process )
– Smaller finishing pan to complete the boiling process.
– Candy thermometer and Hydrometer
– Filters (Wool, Cheesecloth, or synthetic)
– Wooden spoon

*A hydrometer is an instrument used to measure the density relative to water of a liquid. The
density of maple syrup is measured in Baumé degrees and fluctuates with temperature, so it important to know the temperature of your syrup when testing. Hydrometer also contain a Brix scale, which measures the sugar content of a liquid.

Candy Thermometer and Hydrometer

What Is The Ratio Of Sap To Syrup

The ratio of sap to syrup for the sugar maple is ~30 to 1 (30 gallons of sap yields one gallon of syrup). However, here are the variables you need to consider in determining the best ratio for your taste.

The Maple flavor (richness) improves with boiling, but be careful not to boil to long, otherwise you will end up with all sugar. A safe procedure for final boiling is to boil multiple times until your Maple Syrup meets your taste expectations. Too little boiling and your Maple Syrup will be to runny, almost like water. This is why many home producers or novice boil the same batch multiple times before finishing and producing a Maple Syrup of perfection.

As the season gets late there will be less sugar in the sap, so you will need a higher ratio (up to 60 to 1). The ratio of sap to syrup will also increase if tapping those trees mentioned above, versus the Sugar Maple.

Why Are There Different Colors Of Maple Syrup

At the beginning of the maple syrup season the temperatures are the coldest and the sap is very transparent in color with about 2% sugar content (sucrose sugar). As the outside temperatures get warmer the heat enables microorganisms (bacteria) within the environment to grow, which creates a dark maple color. Although the sap is sterile within the tree, it is rapidly colonized by a variety of microorganisms upon exiting the tree.

*This is why you should avoid drinking the sap before boiling.

The enzymatic reaction caused by these microorganisms on the sap causes some level of conversion, converting sucrose into invert sugars, glucose, and fructose. As the seasons progresses the level of conversion increases in volume due to increased microorganisms in the warmer environment. This sugar chemical reaction in conjunction with the Carmelization and Mallard processes that occurs when the sap is being boiled causes the syrup to become darker in color.

*The stronger maple flavor occurs as a result of combining the Carmelization (browning) reaction with the Mallard and Bacteria Enzymatic Reactions. Corresponding to color, the darker the syrup the stronger its flavor.

Grades Of Maple Syrup

Maple syrup grades have nothing to do with quality or nutrition. Instead, they simply refer to the Syrup’s color, clarity, density, and flavor. There are 5 different color grades of Maple Syrup, which reflect the time of the season the syrup was produced. As the season progresses the color darkens; extra light, light, medium, amber, and dark. Many producers only consider 4 color stages and do not include Grade C, as this is more for candy making.

All Maple Syrups contain the same viscosity (consistency/thickness) levels and have a density of at least 66.5% sugar content.

Grade A

This is the first sap of the season to be tapped and boiled, usually in mid to late February. Since there is more sugar and less bacteria during this time in the season, the color is extra light to light.

Grade B

This Maple Syrup is medium to amber in color (darker than Grade A). It will have a more pronounced maple flavor and is the most common for use on pancakes, waffles, and french toast.

Grade C

This is the last Sap to be tapped and requires more boiling (up to a 60 to 1 ratio) due to less sugar content. However the benefit is a Maple Syrup with a more pronounced Maple flavor. This syrup is typically used for candy rather than pancakes, waffles, or french toast.

How Is The Sugar In Tree Sap Produced

Trees store starch in their trunks and roots in preparation for winter. The starch is then converted to sugar. When the temperatures start to get above freezing the tree draws water through these roots, bring the sugar with it. Once most of the water is evaporated off you are left with the concentrated syrup, Maple Syrup!.

Best Self Climbing Hunting Stands – Deer Stands of 2017

Best Climbing Deer Stands – 2017 Hunting Stands

Every deer hunter has a preference when choosing the type and style of deer stand that works best for them, but we all want a stand that is light to carry, comfortable for a packed in hunt, easy and quick to put up, has high quality, is safe, and cost effective.

So with these characteristics what are the best climbing deer stands and who makes them? Well after a lot of research and trying many different stands there are only two companies that stack up, Summit and Lone Wolf. Yes you can find several other stands that are cheaper, but not with the quality and comfort these stands provide. There is also a new cumber on the block that adds an interesting design aspect that we will mention below, but due to poor quality and service they may be out of business, we will just have to see.

Summit Goliath SD

Summit continues to develop great climbing deer stands for a good price. The Goliath SD design has no parts that require removal and is attached to the tree with a rubber coated steel cable. The cable is easy to swing around the tree and feed into the square aluminum tubing, which has a spring load lever for positive locking.

The stand takes less than a minute to set up and is easy to climb with. The teeth on the Summit are very aggressive, locking your stand in tightly. However, this also requires extra force when breaking this deer-stand free from the tree. The Goliath SD offers extra room and has a weight limit of 350 lbs, making this a great stand for the bigger hunter or the hunter that likes to stand more then sit. This self climbing deer-stand also comes equipped with a large comfortable seat.

Summit Goliath SD Specifications

– 5 Year Limited Warranty.
– Mossy Oak® Breakup Infinity Camo.
– Aluminum 5-Channel Platform Frame with Dead Metal, Sound Deadening (SD).
– Wide Aluminum Seat/Climber Frame.
– Foam Seat with Backrest.
– Rubber Coated Steel Climbing Cables.
– Stand Weight: 21 pounds.
– Tree Size: 8 to 20 inches in diameter.
– Seat Height: Adjustable.
– Seat Base Dimensions: 18 by 12 inches (WxL).
– Backrest Dimensions: 12 by 20 inches (WxL).
– Overall Dimensions: 20 by 36 inches (WxL).
– Platform Area: 20 by 28.75 inches (WxL).
– Seat Frame Size: 21.75 by 26.5 inches (WxL).

Price $319.99
Weight rating: 350 pounds.

Pros & Cons Of The Goliath Sound Deadening (SD) Deer Stand

Pros- The Summit Goliath SD offers a big platform, which is great for both the larger hunter or the hunter that feels more comfortable standing majority of the time. This climbing stand is relatively light, easy and quick to place onto the tree, has a positive locking cable spring, and is comfortable when sitting for long periods. The Goliath SD use Sound Deadening technology (foam) to help keep the stand quite even during cold weather.

Cons- This Deer Climbing Stand is too heavy for long packed in hunts, has a large seat that is always in the way when climbing, hard to assembly for carrying, bulky to carry, catches brush easily when carrying, and requires you to start your climb at an angle to compensate for the loss of tree diameter when climbing.

Conclusion

The Summit Goliath SD is the best stand for the hunter that is looking to keep it in the woods for the hunting season or for carrying short distances. It is superior to portable stands that require steps and is much easier and quicker to use. This stand is a perfect compliment to ladder-stands when you have private land to hunt. The advantage over the ladder-stand is how easy it is to move, fine-tuning your position to the deer’s habitat. This is a great stand for both the Gun and Archery Hunter.

Lone Wolf Alpha Sit and Climb

Lone Wolf has the most technologically advanced stands on the market and yes you will pay for this quality and comfort. The Lone Wolf Alpha Sit and Climb Deer Stand is quite, easy to pack up, and light for carrying on long packed in hunting trips.

This deer stand is made from solid cast aluminum and has no welds or hollow tubes, reducing noise year round. The attachment method is a belt-and-cam fastening system, which makes it quick and easy to set up. The stand collapses/packs down to 4 inches for carrying on your back and is comfortable when carrying for long distances.

Lone Wolf Alpha Sit and Climb Specifications

– Limited lifetime warranty on all castings, 1yr. warranty on parts and components.
– 3-D camo platform design.
– Comfortable 2-panel, contoured foam seat pad.
– Belt-and-cam fastening system (belts made of polyurethane reinforced with steel cables).
– Pivoting Sit & Climb bar.
– Stand Weight: 20 pounds.
– 2 pockets to hold concealing brush.
– 2 hooks to hang accessories.
– Built-in (Cast) bracket to hold your compound bow.
– 30″ x 19.5″ one-piece cast aluminum platform.
– Top dimension – 17.25″ wide.
– Fits trees 6″ – 19″ in diameter.

Price $419.99
Weight rating: 350 pounds.

Pros- The Lone Wolf Alpha Sit and Climb offers a large platform, which is great for both the larger hunter and the hunter that feels more comfortable standing a majority of time, such as Archery Hunters. This climbing stand is easy and quick to place onto the tree, has a positive locking mechanisms, and is suited for longer packed in hunts. When carrying, it hugs your back well and does not catch the brush like many other stands. The Lone Wolf climbing stand is exceptionally quiet all season long. The pivoting sit and climb bar provides ease for climbing and can be set up for either the Gun or Bow Hunter. The 2-panel contoured foam seat offers seating comfort for long periods.

Cons- This deer stand is not cheap and still a little heavy for long pack-in hunting trips. It also requires you to start your climb at an angle, to compensate for the loss of tree diameter when climbing. If you miss calculate the tree diameter at your final height you will end up with a forward angle on your platform, which can be tough to hunt in for long periods.

Conclusion

The Lone Wolf Alpha Sit and Climb is very expensive but worth the price when it comes to quality and comfort. It is the best overall climbing deer stand and extremely comfortable for carrying long distances. It is superior to portable stands and much easier and quicker to use. The bottom/standing platform is large, safe, quite, and as solid as they come. This climbing stand is well worth the price and is suited for both the Gun and Bow Hunter.

Up And Coming Deer Stand Technology – Equalizer

Buckshot Manufacturing developed a climbing deer stand that can be adjust to maintain a level platform at any height. The best of these stand was the Equalizer, note I said was since the company is no longer producing stands.

Equalizer Specifications

– Made in the USA.
– 5 Yr. Guarantee on all Welds and Frame.
– Powder Coated Mossy Green.
– Hand-Crafted, with each customer’s name laser etched onto their frame.
– Completely Modular Frame design.
– Geared Leveling Arms.
– 22’ Wide x 27” Long.
– Active cable adjustment 10.25”.
– Tree Size 8” to 20” diameter.

Price No longer available!
Weight rating: 300 pounds.

Pros- These deer stand eliminated the need of having to incline the tree-stand at extreme angles to start your climb. Then as the tree tapers (diameter gets smaller) you can continue to adjust it to a level position, allowing you to reach higher heights and still have a level platform to hunt from. The tree-stand has up to 10.25 inches of adjustment, allowing for up to 6 inches of lost tree diameter. The advantage of having a stand that will level are; safety, eliminates uneven pressure on your legs and body, and eliminates from standing or sitting at a forward angle.

Cons- The problem here was the Quality of the Deer-Stand and the Manufacture (Product & Service). These deer-stands had detachable parts that were easily lost, knobs that would break off, and a leveling mechanism that required you to remove your feet to make leveling adjustments. Then there was their service, which was less than desirable.

Conclusion

This stand design is a good idea and thinking outside the box. However, it was comprised of parts (pins and knobs) that detached and were easy to lose. The platform used smaller aluminum tubing and the steel cables were covered with plastic, giving this deer-stand design a lower rating for quality. Then there is the safety aspect of taking your weight off the lower platform to adjust for leveling, which increases the odds of the bottom platform falling. Another concern was climbing down your tree in the dark, needing to remove your feet to make leveling adjustments. This makes things very interesting or scary, to the point where you skip the adjustment and end up with the same angle as any other climbing deer-stand. But let’s see if they make a comeback and what design improvements they incorporate.