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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 

Coleman Steel-Belted Portable Cooler, 54 Quart

Coleman Cooler

Yes, I know, everyone and their brother has a roto-molded, armageddon-proof cooler that costs more than their actual freezer. There are umpteen companies now competing in the space, basically making the same heavy cooler with thick walls leaving minimal room for actual cooler contents. 

But, I had a space problem. I needed a cooler that fit a very specific space and needed room for more than two sandwiches and a can of soda. 

I went old school. The Coleman Steel-Belted 54 Quart has been around since the dinosaurs. Your grandad is probably still rocking this cooler. And there’s reason for that…….. it’s rock solid gear. 

I’m not sure if it will withstand a grizzly attack. But I am certain that this cooler will hold ice for 5-days or longer in cool weather. And if a bear happens to attack and destroy my Coleman cooler, I can buy five more to replace it for the price of one similar-sized  insanely heavy Abominable Snowman. I went with the red version, though the stainless steel might feature the requisite stickers better – $65.


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Eddie Bauer Alchemist 40/55 Pack

Eddie Bauer Alchemist

 

When you’re headed into the backcountry bird hunting, it’s always a balancing act between how much gear you can carry yet still have enough legs left once camped to follow dogs in pursuit of birds. I was able to easily pack four days and three nights worth of gear and food in Eddie Bauer’s Alchemist. The pack’s best feature is once you get a remote camp setup you are able to collapse the expansion and travel light for day use carrying only the essentials – water, snacks, dog treats and extra shells. It rides high, is comfortable to wear regardless the load and easy to shoot while wearing. Don’t let the rock climbing origins deceive you, this pack is perfect for backcountry upland – $150 click here to learn more.

Thermacell Backpacker

Thermacell Backpacker

 

Biting bugs can ruin a backcountry trip. Since most of our hunting occurs after the frosts of fall, insects are rarely a nuisance. But when training in the off-season or even hunting in early-season those bugs can be absolutely maddening. I was one of the original testers of the Thermacell Backpacker at high elevation. The feature I like best is that it uses the same fuel canisters as our back country cook-stove so no extra weight is needed to carry this featherweight (4 oz) vampire repeller – $42 with two 24-hour mosquito repellant refills, click here to learn more.

Cabela’s Alaknak Tent

Cabela's Alaknak

 

Backcountry bird camp isn’t complete without a wall tent. But ditch the heavy canvas tent and opt for the Cabela’s Alaknak instead. Made of waterproof 250-denier polyester, the tent features 10 perimeter poles and one center pole for durability in harsh weather. The 12×12 Alaknak withstood a powerful thunderstorm at 11,000 feet in Colorado while chasing blue grouse earlier this year. The tent provided plenty of living space for two hunters, three dogs, gear, and a Camp Chef Camp Oven. Bonus feature: a stove pipe jack in the roof for warm nights during late season hunts – $900 click here to learn more.

ThermaCELL

ThermaCELL

There is a lot of down time during the season. Early on when the weather is still hot, that down time brings a whole host of annoying biting bugs to camp which make getting rest a challenge. We have to admit that we had our doubts with the plastic appearance of the ThermaCELL ($26.99). At our wit’s end we were willing to try anything and this little unit delivered.  Biting flies and mosquitos hate it, which guarantees we love it. You can’t put DEET on the dogs and it’s probably not a great idea to cake it on yourself either and with the ThermaCELL you no longer have to.

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Helio Pressure Shower

Helio Shower

Hunting in Alaska this year I went 20 days without a shower. Never again. NEMO makes the Helio Pressure Shower ($99) specifically for these backcountry adventures. It’s also a great solution for hosing off bird dogs that have rolled in mystery stench. Honestly, in Alaska I may have smelled worse than the dogs. The Helio packs up small and tucks away in a corner until needed.

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The Brute Cooler

Brute Cooler

The Brute Cooler is appropriately named — hard core, roto-molded, large handles, rubber latches — it’s got it all. Made in America by Brute, a family run company with excellent customer service. The 50 qt. ($319) will keep your birds chilled for at least five days, but go with the 75 qt. ($369) if you want to throw lunch and drinks on board too.

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Camp Chef Rainier Campers Combo Stove

campchefrainier

Small and portable, the Camp Chef Rainier Campers Combo Stove ($153) is complete with a one-burner stove, and a non-stick griddle and grill. The griddle and grill are easily switched for making pancakes in the morning, to grilling venison for dinner. Complete with a matchless ignition for ease of use, the Camper’s Combo is the perfect stove for hunting and camping adventures. I was fortunate enough to use the Rainier Camper’s Combo in North Dakota during my 3-day wild bird hunt camp. The stove performed flawlessly while cooking antelope over the grill, and even in tight quarters as my fellow hunters and I squeezed into a smaller camper to avoid freezing rain. Venison was grilled to medium-rare perfection, while noodles were boiling on the burner. Click here for the latest pricing.