I don’t hunt back country or go on backpack hunts as much as I like to or want to, but I learned from a nasty caribou hunt a few years ago that you never compromise on your shelter and your sleeping bag. The sleeping bag dilemma was the easiest to solve by buying a Wiggy’s 20 degree bag. Wiggy’s bags are made of Lamilite which is a lightweight and lofty insulation that keeps you warm even when it gets wet. The company’s website also describes Lamilite’s qualities as, “Helps contain the flow of heat that your own body generates. The key to Lamilite is its ability to allow the body’s own thermostat to function efficiently.” All you need to know is that Wiggy’s sleeping bags are awesome and can save your life, and they cost a fraction of what many big name bags cost.
Not compromising on shelter means buying the highest quality tent that you can afford. To me, there is absolutely no better tent maker than Hilleberg. This Swedish based company is world renowned for making the best tents on the planet and I finally got my hands on the Unna model. It is a freestanding tent that also allows me to remove the inner tent from the rain fly. This allows for a super light tent during warmer weather and a very light tent during the harshest elements. Youtube is full of videos that show Hilleberg tents being punished in high winds, rain and snow. I honestly think they are the standard and I trust my life to them, and they are actually less expensive than some other well-known tent names.
Optics are a major piece in your hunting gear puzzle. Just like tents, we have long been told by countless outdoor writers to buy the very best optics that you can afford. I disagree with that statement. There are a few up-and-coming brands that are comparable to the fancy name brands that we all know. Vortex optics are taking the hunting industry by storm as they are producing high quality glass for prices that put those big names to shame. Are Vortex comparable in performance, durability and quality to Steiner, Swarovski and Leica? Dang right they are. Vortex has either intentionally or unintentionally destroyed that old ‘buy the best that you can’ mantra that is now obsolete. That is no small accomplishment.
Buying the best gear does not mean spending the most money any more. That old myth of getting what you pay for is officially de-bunked.