The Best Field Accessories of 2017 Tested by our Editors for Alaskan Hunters
Counter Assault 10.2-ounce Bear Deterrent with Chest Holster
Counter Assault has been producing bear spray for 30 years and is a leader in the field. Research shows that bear spray is very effective in stopping bear attacks. We recommend that you carry a canister when hunting, fishing and hiking in bear country. Practice using the canister—removing it from the holster, taking off the safety cap and making short, side-to-side sprays. Counter Assault’s 10.2-ounce canister will reach out to 32 feet for 9.2 seconds and is the strongest-strength spray available on the market.
Coast FL85 Headlamp
Our tester found this to be a highly functional and comfortable headlamp. It has several different settings for ultra-wide flood beam and long-range spot beam, as well as bright LED red and/or white lights. It is easily adjusted, and reviewers commented that they really like the focus feature and that it is lightweight and easy to hike with. It has reflective material around the headband, is well-constructed and was an all-around favorite choice for a headlamp.
HotHands Hand Warmers
Hunters on our staff bring HotHands into the field. When you sit and glass for moose for hours on a cold mid-September morning, you will really appreciate having these heat packs in your gloves and boots. And on numerous small-game hunts in the winter, when the temps reached negative numbers, having these helped immensely. They will provide about10 hours of heat.
MaxxDry Boot Dry
The Boot Dry is an effective tool for drying wet boots after a day in the field. The unit produces warm air, which rises into the boot and slowly dries it. This works well with hunting boots as it doesn’t shrink the boot. It’s silent and doesn’t use much power.
Quake Stack-A-Rest Shooting Rest
This rest weighs only 10 ounces and is comprised of four stackable layers, which provides many options for a variety of shooting positions. Being very lightweight, it is easy to strap to a pack and carry; it works well for sighting in a rifle or as a rest for the shot in the field.
Bog-Pod SB-2 Sportman’s Bipod
This bipod is very stable, yet lightweight and easy to carry into the field. The legs telescopefrom 21- to 40 inches so hunters can shoot from a sitting or kneeling position. The Universal Shooting Rest swivels 360 degrees, is rubber coated and holds the rifle in place. Even with the recoil from the rifle, our tester was able to get back on target much quicker than if shooting without a rest.
Mossy Oak Pocket Game Drag and Hauler
These make it easier to drag your deer or caribou to a better vantage before butchering or to drag it onto an ATV or into the bed of a pickup. Your hands go through the fabric loops, which go around your wrists so you can grip the fabric handles that are attached to stainless steel cinch cables, and this gives you far better leverage and grip. If you’ve ever dragged an animal any distance, then you’ll appreciate having these.
SG-20 Adhesive Sealant
We’ve used SG-20 to repair leaks in both neoprene and breathable waders and it works well. Clean around the hole and dry the best you can, apply the two-part polyurethane adhesive, and within about an hour the adhesive has set and you have a water-tight seal. When repairing breathable waders, turn them inside-out and apply from the inside. We’ve yet to use them on boots, but we will when needed. Each kit includes a 20cc cartridge, plunger, three mixing tips and a contouring plastic roll.
Caldwell E-Max LoPro Electronic Muffs with Shooting Glasses
Wearing these glasses and headphones were a pleasure while shooting. They are easily adjustable for a good fit. The muffs boast an added benefit of being able to listen to music. When someone starts to talk, you can easily adjust the music accordingly. When firing a gun, the noise suppression blocked out the sound of gunfire. The muffs work really well at amplifying low-level sound. Our tester could hear a bee buzzing and the crinkling of paper in somebody’s pocket; sounds seemed very natural and not electronic.
Alaska Game Bags Northern Game Bags Guide Series
Our tester commented that having a game bag rolled up to extend out over the quarter is brilliant and easily beats the old-fashioned folded-in-squares game bags. The material is extremely tough and durable; the bags will be easily reusable and are light to carry. Our tester used the bag on a hindquarter of a large bull caribou—it did not tear at all and was easy to put onto the quarter.
Otis Elite Cleaning System
This system will allow you to clean just about every gun in the safe, and it’s in a portable case so that you can take it with you into the field or to the range. It will allow you to clean .17- to .50-caliber rifles and pistols, .410- to 10-gauge shotguns and all in-line muzzleloaders. There are 40 items in the system, allowing you to clean and maintain all parts of the firearm, as well as optics-cleaning gear. One of the design features we appreciate is the inclusion of the Otis Tactical Cleaning System within the Elite so you have the option of taking that smaller system on hunts.
Frontiersman Bear Spray, 9.2-ounce canister
This bear spray will reach out to 35 feet and is the maximum strength allowed by the EPA. We like both the belt- and chest holster options and found it comfortable to wear the canister. The spray has been tested and proven effective on bears at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson (JBER), which is the Air Force and Army base in Anchorage.
Stansport Collapsible Water Carrier-5 Gallon
This is a handy device to take water out in the field. It folds flat for compact storage when not in use. It’s made from heavy-duty polyethylene and is BPA free and it’s refillable by a removable spigot. We found it useful having it strapped to the four wheeler for spike camp or a long day in the field away from camp.
CVA CLAW Ultimate Treestand Carry Straps
These are quality and versatile straps for attaching to tree-stands to haul into the field or for using as replacements on frame packs. They have an awesome grip that does not slide. They are easily adaptable for use with a variety of packs. With a broken pack-strap, they could be quickly attached in about five minutes, and it’s always a good idea to carry spare pack-straps