For the upland hunter looking for a pack that holds more than just birds and shells, the choices are few and far between. I was one of these hunters searching for the perfect pack for a backcountry hunt to chase sharptails in North Dakota. In need of a pack that would hold not only birds, but also extra water for my dog, snacks, emergency kit, camera, extra layers, and more, I stumbled upon the Tenzing BV15 and never looked back.
Not your conventional bird vest, the BV15 is known as a vest/pack crossover—perfect for the upland hunter who leaves their truck for an all day cross country adventure. The pack has 13 total pockets, two radio pockets, and a large wrap-around bird compartment. Two large pockets sit on your hips to hold shells (7 shot shell loops in each pocket), while two adjustable hip straps keep the vest weight up and tight.
The BV15 is H2O compatible, but for those of you who don’t prefer Camelback reservoirs (like me), water bottles fit snug and easily in the bird compartment with extra room to spare. The BV15 is hunter green and comes with a hunter orange pullover for safety while afield.
New for 2016 is the BV16, which is exactly the same as the BV15, only they have updated the color of the pack to be completely blaze orange. Click here.
Wolverine is a brand known and respected for durable footwear. We’ve tested a number of their boots and haven’t been disappointed.
But now Wolverine is moving into clothing that matches the rugged attitude of their shoes.
The Bucksaw fits right in with that tough Wolverine lineup. Heavyweight fleece on the inside with old-school flannel bonded to the outside — all the warmth with none of the wooly scratch. Add some metal snaps and hood and you’re good for cool mornings under the bird vest or evenings around the campfire.
The only thing that is missing is some permanent stains for character so there’s no plans to wash it until the season is over. Click Here.
When afield we like leather gloves that have balance. We need maximum feel and functionality so that we can click off the safety and pull the trigger. But gloves still need to provide enough protection to remove sand spurs from the dog and help weasel our way through thorns in the grouse woods. These deerskin gloves strike that good mix. Here’s a quick tip for once the gloves get good and scuffed; spit in the palm and rub it in really well. It helps to make the leather a little tacky which improves the grip on the gun and thumb safeties. ($25.99) Click here.
So much for women having to fend for themselves in upland gear. Prois has quickly become the premier maker of hunting gear for the fasting growing segment in the sport. And these upland pants have all the hallmarks of quality that will take a beating and last for years. Better still, they get the seal of approval from our favorite female gunzel and owner of Starr & Bodill African Safaris, Britney Starr. So we know they have to be great. ($139.99)
The Eddie Bauer Micro Therm StormDown Vest or padded vest by Barbour offer the perfect form-fitting mid-layer for the field.
A well-constructed wool shooting sweater that keeps you warm in the field can pull double duty as an outer layer. The Beretta Windshield Sweater ($125) with its soft wool exterior and windproof liner, is an attractive mid-layer that acts as a wind block.
A new pair of shoes does not have to be a pair of luxury heels to be exhilarating. Waterproof and breathable field boots that transition well from the field to the everyday are a great gift for women hunters. My favorite are Dublin River Boots. Another classic is the Le Chameau Jameson Lady Zip GTX. These are not a good choice for chukar hunts in sheep country, but they are a stylish option for most game fields.
We ended up hunting in South Dakota in some of the most brutal conditions I’ve ever experienced afield. Filson’s Stryker Jacket ($325) gave us the perfect balance between insulation and weight. We had no problem wearing our strap vest over top and staying warm. The best part is we could still smoothly mount the shotgun without feeling over burdened by too many layers.
Despite the fact that women’s hunting gear has come a long way, overall, since I first started busting brush, it can still be slim pickins when it comes to female-specific upland gear. Luckily, there are a few companies who are doing it right, not just men’s sizing made smaller, but actual women-designed and women-tailored gear. One of those companies is Eddie Bauer. I’ve worn their Mabton Flats vest ($199) for three seasons in Michigan’s North Woods, and South Dakota, and it’s held up beautifully. The vest is made of durable, water-resistant material, that really does stay dry … Except for if you fall, armpit deep, into a bog while hunting swamp grouse, but I digress. The back pouch is roomy enough for a limit of birds, as well as a water bottle for the dog, and the front pockets can fit an entire box of shells each – if you like to burn powder like I do, you’ll probably want to have that many. Overall, the Mabton Flats vest is a solid staple piece to your upland wardrobe and well worth the investment.