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Mud River Luggage

Mud River Luggage

Aside from this luggage looking upland-ey (i.e. cool,) it’s extremely well made and durable. I’ve flown with the Rolling Duffel ($219) on hunting trips around the US and Africa, and it’s held up beautifully. It has every feature a duffel bag needs, heavy-duty nylon zipper, leather accents, wheels, extending handle, end zippered pockets, and a hard bottom compartment (perfect for stowing gear that might need extra protection). 

The Rolling Suitcase ($195) features the same durable shell, nylon zipper, extending handle, and wheels, and is great for travel when you don’t need quite as much room as the duffel affords. It has a roomy, large outer front pocket and a smaller pocket for toiletries, as well as interior shoe pockets. Available in 21″x14.4″x 8″ and 26″x16.5″x 11″ sizes. 

The Laptop/Briefcase ($93) is a great compliment to your luggage, and just as durable and smart looking. The large front pocket is great to stow your wallet, passport, and snacks … the travel necessities. And, the interior features a laptop sleeve in the middle, and ample room on either side for charging cords, paperwork, and hunting magazines. The shoulder strap is adjustable, and it also features carrying handles. 

Any hunter would be lucky to find this luggage set under the tree this holiday season! 


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Orvis Women’s Missouri Breaks Field Pant

Orvis Missouri Breaks

True, well-fitting upland pants for women are few and far between, and it seems like when a company makes a pair you love, they discontinue them within a year or two. Hopefully Orivs will keep these around for a while, because I quite like them! 

Made from tough cotton with tech stretch for mobility and reinforced at the front of the leg with cotton canvas for briar protection, these pants will definitely last in the most rugged terrain. The waistline hits mid-rise, not too low and not too high. As far as sizing goes, they seem to be a little roomy, so I would suggest ordering your normal size, as well as one size down, and returning whichever one doesn’t fit properly.

Available in both sand/dark khaki and brown olive, the Missouri Breaks Field Pant ring in at $129, a little bit of a hard pill to swallow, considering you’ll probably need more than one pair if you’re hunting multiple days, but these, in my opinion, are the best fitting women’s upland pants around, and you know what they say about supply and demand … 


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L.L. Bean Technical Upland Vest Pack

LL Bean Upland Vest

An uplanders’ gear vest is one of the most crucial items in his/her arsenal, and can make or break a hunt. Luckily the L.L. Bean Technical Upland Vest fits the bill for any serious upland hunter. Constructed of lightweight, rip-resistant material backed with polyurethane to keep moisture out, the pack is great for both warm and cool weather hunts. Not too heavy or hot that it makes you swelter while you’re walking through the uplands, and has adjustable straps at the shoulders and waist so you can layer warmer clothes or a jacket under it, if you’re in colder weather.  

For the uplander who puts a lot of miles on in a day, or even camps for multiple day-long treks, the vest is hydration bladder compatible (sold separately). A detachable gear pouch is located on each shoulder strap, great for holding dog electronics, a cell phone, or handheld GPS – although I removed the pouch on the strap of my shooing shoulder, so it didn’t interfere when mounting my shotgun. The waistbelt has two top-load pockets that each hold a box of shells, ensuring you have more than enough powder to burn. There’s a large zippered compartment to store your energy bars, emergency kit, knife, etc., and also features two side-mounted water bottle carriers for the pups’ hydration.

Available in regular and long sizing, the vest comes in at $149, a competitive price with other upland vests on the market. 


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LL Bean Vest

Kuhn Rikon Pressure Cooker

Kuhn Pressure CookerThis Kuhn Rikon stovetop pressure cooker in my kitchen is one of my favorite cooking tools because it’s so useful. I could write a very long article about why I prefer manual pressure cookers over electric ones, but I will simply say that the results are far better and the pot itself is very versatile. It comes in multiple sizes ranging from 3.7 to 8.4 quarts, so you can choose the right one for your family needs. Even though I don’t often cook for more than four people, I use the biggest size so that I can also make large batch stews. Besides the the ability to reduce cooking time by 70% which makes cooking a pot of pheasant thighs feasible on a weeknight, I love that you don’t have to lock the lid in place, meaning it doubles as a great stock pot – $198 and up.


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Camelbak Helena 20

Camelbak Helena 20

If you are a backcountry upland hunter then you know the value of having a quality hunting vest that is capable of carrying the necessities but is also lightweight. I had a hard time finding a vest that fit my small frame. I tried multiple brands and ended up with something less traditional: the Camelbak Helena 20.

With a 2.5L hydration capacity and multiple zippered pouches, this versatile daypack weighs only 1 lb. 7 ounces and is ergonomically designed to hug the body so that you have the freedom to swing and move without feeling any dead weight sliding around. The waist belt has two zippered pouches each able to hold 11 shells or a small cell phone. The large outer pocket is big enough for a few Chukars or you can unzip the top and shove a pheasant in there. This pack is ideal for those putting a lot of miles under foot who want minimal weight on their back, plenty of water for dogs and a place to store small game birds – $99.


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Jim Matthews Quail Calls

Jim Matthews Signature Calls

For a truly one-of-a-kind gift for your bird hunter, Jim’s calls are outstanding, functional pieces of art. These hand-sanded, oil-rubbed finish walnut calls can replicate the sound of Gambel’s, California or Mountain Quail. There will be a lot of Bobwhite hunters back east wishing Jim had a call for their native birds. But, don’t let that stop you from owning one of these calls which are great fun to practice for a future date with western quail – $60 and up.

Hoppe’s Gun Medic

Hoppe's Gun Medic

My shotgun gets beat up. I originally bought Hoppe’s Gun Medic because the name seemed appropriate for the state of my abused primary carry gun. And the iconic Hoppe’s name is synonymous with quality gun cleaning products. 

Gun Medic doesn’t disappoint. It’s not gonna fix everything that is wrong with my shotgun, but it sprays on easy and even, evaporates quickly and lubricates while cleaning at the same time. I prefer this aerosol to the screw-top solvents which always seem to come unscrewed in travel and empty all over the rest of the cleaning kit – $7.


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Real Avid Shotgun Micro Tool

Real Avid Shotgun Tool

I always have my keys on me; I feel lost without them. And now thanks to Real Avid I’ll always have a pin punch, choke wrench, cord cutter and bottle opener on my person as well. 

There is going to be a time in the field when I need to poke or prod something on someone else’s shotgun, not mine. And I’m gonna be ready. Then I will open a beer and bask in all my MacGyver glory.  Easy stocking stuffer, get one. Real Avid’s shotgun cleaning kits are pretty nifty as well – $7.


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Camp Chef Ranger II

Camp Chef Ranger II

I wasn’t happy with the under-powered cooktop that came standard with my camper. Standing around waiting for water to boil on cool camp mornings when coffee can’t come quick enough wasn’t going to cut it. 

The compact Camp Chef Ranger II was able to drop right into place and give me more than double the power per burner – 17,000 BTU – and weighs in at just 17 pounds. From frying eggs to searing steaks in cast iron, the Ranger II lights it up. 

Camp Chef certainly has more ambitious and expansive models, but the table top design with easy clean-up and stowing capabilities will be just right for most campsites  or tailgates. And the coffee will be piping hot in a blink – $76.


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Red Dog Roasters 

Midland MXT115, 15 Watt GMRS MicroMobile Two-Way Radio

Midland MTX 115

Get caught in an unexpected storm in the backcountry where there is no cell service and you learn quickly just how valuable weather forecasts can be. That’s why I got the Midland MXT115 – the 50-mile range and the NOAA weather scan and alert can be a true lifesaver with the latest forecast at the push of a button. 

You can easily move this radio from the truck to the camper or base camp for communication with other hunters in your group using handhelds afield. And it’s a convenient way to communicate between vehicles on road trips to and from the hunting grounds – $150.


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