Vortex Glasspak Binocular Harness
After having spent years in the field with his binos hanging around his neck, Publisher Marcus Weiner starting using the Vortex Glasspak Binocular Harness and he’s sure glad to have made the switch. His Vortex Razor HD 10×42 binos sit securely in the case and are protected from the elements and damage incurred from bashing them around in the bushes. That’s an issue on many of the moose, deer and elk hunts that he goes on each year. The harness sits snugly on your chest, tethers attach to your binos, and a bungee and nylon tab allow for quick access to get the binos into action. The case includes extra storage space with two mesh side pockets and a zippered back pocket.
Sagebrush Dry Gear Daypack
Made in the southeast Alaskan village of Kake, Sagebrush Dry Gear is designed for the wettest and wildest of adventures. Contributing Editor Bjorn Dihle shared, “I spent a lot of last spring, summer and fall using their daypack guiding film crews after brown bears. Sagebrush’s Daypack lived up to the wear, tear and other forms of punishment. Its main compartment is 1650 cubic inches and offers plenty of space for everything I need for long days. The pack has a robust zipper and straps designed to carry a fishing rod tube. I’ve used a variety of dry backpacks over the years and my Sagebrush is hands down the best.”
Diamond D Outdoors Denali Chest Holster
This ballistic-nylon holster is super comfortable to wear, being both light and also well designed to place the weight of your handgun on your shoulders and across your back. The ballistic-nylon sheath provides a solid, snug fit for our Publisher’s Ruger Redhawk .44 Mag, and the elastic strap with snap works perfectly to secure the hammer of the revolver in place. Marcus has used the Guide’s Choice Holster by Diamond D Leather, the companion company to Diamond D Outdoors, for many years, and now has two great options for carrying bear protection. The padded shoulder strap feels good on the shoulder and provides storage for 6 extra rounds. The holster design places the handgun right in the middle of your chest, allowing a hunter to draw the gun rapidly, and still allow for active shooting of a rifle or shotgun without interference from the handgun.
Three Bears Grizzly Tech 40 Liter Dry Bag
Dry bags are critical pieces of gear in Alaska. They come in many sizes and shapes. It’s gonna rain, just a matter of when. Last year we tested a Three Bears Grizzly Tech 40 Liter Dry Pack and this year we opted for the 40 Liter Dry Bag. The roll-top design keeps water out, and the carry strap allows you to throw it over a shoulder when carrying. The material is tough, and all the seams worked properly and kept out water.
Pelican 1485 Air Case
For a long time, Pelican has made cases that we have used to keep our electronics safe when we travel into the field. The one complaint we had was that they were heavy. Not any longer. The Pelican 1485 Air weighs only 5.39 pounds including the foam and is tough as nails. This size case, with an interior dimension of 17.8” x 10.2” x 6.2”, fits our Sony A7iii camera, multiple lenses, a RODE microphone system and a DJI Osmo Pocket. Pelican makes many sizes in the Air series.
Stone Glacier Solo + XCurve Frame with Large Belt
Inspired by solo sheep hunts in Alaska, the Stone Glacier Solo makes an ideal minimalist backcountry multi-day backpack. A 3,600 cubic-inch bag fits all your ultralight 4-season gear and a week of food. For longer trips, expand the bag from the frame and add 2,500+ cubic inches of storage for your food in the load shelf. The pack weighs 4 pounds, 9 ounces on the medium XCurve frame, but is capable of loads of more than 150 pounds (enough to haul out the average moose quarter). It has a built-in, differential cut spotting-scope pocket to create more room inside the bag. It also has an external top pocket for quick access to smaller items. Several accessories can be added to increase capacity or organize gear, including the various Lids, Accessory Pockets, Camp Pocket, Swing Out Pocket, Access Bag, and Load Cell Bag for packing out boned-out meat. The pack bag is compatible with either the XCurve or Krux frames. This is a very versatile, well-thought-out pack.
Yeti Crossroads 29” Luggage
Overbuilt. That one word aptly describes everything Yeti makes. Baggage handlers aren’t easy on luggage, but this bag is built to handle anything they can dish out. The outer material is Yeti’s Tuffskin Nylon, which we’ve found to be very abrasion resistant. The inside is split 70/30 into two compartments. A mesh panel with pockets divides the two main compartments. There is also a front pocket on the exterior of the bag. The wheels and handle are quite stout; it’s unlikely they’ll break through normal use. Dimensions are 29.5” by 16.25” by 11.5” and the empty weight is 10 pounds. Capacity is 80 liters (4,882 cubic inches).
Yeti Crossroads 35L Backpack
This is one of the most versatile small backpacks we’ve seen, and it’s built to Yeti’s standards of quality and durability. One of the features we like most is the 180-degree clamshell opening that allows you to load it like a small suitcase. In fact, Yeti describes it as a suitcase designed as a backpack. It’s a little bigger than many backpacks. It has a TSA-friendly laptop compartment, and the panel closest to your body is padded to protect contents within. The clamshell divider inside has two mesh pockets. There are external zippered access points on both sides of the bag, and each side of the bag also has MOLLE attachment points and carry handles. It has a carry handle on top, too. This bag makes an outstanding carry-on for airline travel, but it’s tough enough to spend time in the field or on the trail.
Please take a look at our other Editors’ Choice Awards