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After I began waterfowling in 1974—and again then, it was merely identified by the all-inclusive time period “duck looking”—we didn’t have blind luggage, the fashionable day equal of carry-on baggage for duck and goose hunters. What we had had been pockets…heaps and many pockets. And we stuffed these pockets to overflowing with what we wanted, which, to a 10-year-old, was 4.73 metric tons of 20-gauge ammunition.
My Previous Man packed a pseudo blind bag. It was, if reminiscence serves, an olive-drab heavy canvas army fashion shoulder bag—one thing, I consider, he introduced again with him from Vietnam in ’66. Inside was a spare pack of Camel Lights, a Hershey chocolate bar (with almonds), a bottle of 7UP soda, and a few bathroom paper wadded up in a sandwich bag. He might have had just a few 2-3/4-inch No. 5 shells for his Remington 1100, however not many, these he carried in his old-school Montgomery Ward shell vest.
Whereas I resisted the concept of carrying a blind bag afield for fairly just a few years, I’ve since seen the proverbial gentle. Like looking backpacks, they serve me properly through the season and are additionally a spot to retailer all my gear throughout these not-so-nice low season months. In terms of blind luggage, right now’s decisions are many; the designs and layouts, the bells ‘n whistles, much more so. Right here’s an in-depth have a look at what makes one of the best blind luggage … properly, one of the best.
How We Picked the Greatest Blind Baggage
I’ve been utilizing the identical blind bag for over 20 years now, and whereas it just a little tattered and torn in a pair spots, it nonetheless serves me properly. I may substitute it with any of a dozen luggage right here the home, so…why do I hold paddling it into Washington’s tidal marshes season after season? For a similar causes I’d to hold any of the luggage listed right here. These are:
- High quality building that allows it to face as much as day-to-day abuse
- Good zippers that don’t separate or break after Season One
- A PVC or comparable waterproof backside that doesn’t leak
- Robust, sturdy handles and straps with rugged attachment factors (D-Rings)
- A zippered waterproof inside pocket
- Aspect and/or finish pockets, ideally zippered
- Sufficient space for storing for what I’m bringing
- Room for a full-size thermos…espresso is essential
Greatest Blind Baggage: Opinions and Suggestions
Greatest Total: Rig ‘Em Proper Lowdown Floating Backpack
- Devoted thermos holder (an important characteristic, in my view)
- Full foam flotation
- Molded water-proof backside
- Constructed-in sun shades case
- Unimaginable quantity of space for storing
- Inside clear zippered pockets
- HUGE #550 paracord deal with
- Entrance and right-side handles
- 12 months-round multi-species/multi-purpose use
- Solidly constructed
- A number of handles equal comfort
- Good sturdy zippers
- Makes for an excellent journey bag
- I regarded exhausting; couldn’t discover any
Matthew and Heather Cagle at Rig ‘Em Proper make rattling great things. Interval. One of many nicest issues about their gear is it’s extremely properly thought-out; made BY duck and goose hunters FOR duck and goose hunters. The stuff simply flat works.
The Rig ‘Em Proper Lowdown Backpack is a living proof. It has roughly 1,180 cubic inches of storage inside, plus entrance and facet pockets and a mesh/elastic pouch with a lock strap to the proper—a thermos holder! It’s a lot large enough, however not so massive you’ll be tempted to pack it with tons of pointless gear. I’m not a fan of devoted sunglass circumstances on blind luggage; however you possibly can put one thing else you don’t need busted up in there, like Pop-Tarts or hard-boiled eggs.
I’m, although, a giant fan of a number of handles, and the Lowdown has them, that means you possibly can choose it up securely and simply no matter the way it’s laying. Zippered pockets, safe-storage inside pockets, a beefy paracord prime deal with, a padded-foam again, a waterproof backside, good stitching…and it’s handsome sufficient for use as a journey/pc bag. It even has a laptop computer pocket for that goal. Properly executed, Rig ‘Em Proper.
Greatest Waterproof: Filson Sportsman Dry Bag
- 900 Denier polyester construct
- Heavy-duty waterproof zipper prime with quick-clip buckle
- Detachable padded absolutely adjustable shoulder strap
- High flap locks down through twin buckle/snap system
- Roughly 915-cubic-inch capability
- Welded seams
- Constructed extremely powerful
- Undeniably retains gear dry, IF used as instructed
- T-handle zipper pull could be very useful
- DIY inside divider system
- Clear zippered pocket inside prime lid
- Improbable digital camera/video bag
You’re taking a look at a blind bag that’s going to run you properly north of $300. Is the stuff you’re placing inside price that a lot safety? Possibly; possibly not. That’s as much as you.
That stated, the Filson Sportsman is an absolute tank of a blind bag. Assume the Fort Knox of Blind Baggage, and also you’re getting shut. There’s loads of inside room, and whereas the dividers are a pleasant contact, particularly for packing pictures/videography tools, I’d yank them out and stuff the within full of substances I didn’t wish to get moist.
Inside, you’ll discover a zipper pocket at one finish, and a pouch on the different…plus a tube of Tizip zipper lubricant, together with directions on the way to use it. Good contact, Filson. The D-rings on the lid are additionally properly executed, as is the heavy-duty padded shoulder strap – a departure from a budget nylon bite-into-your-flesh straps discovered on 99 p.c of right now’s luggage. The fast-clips are massive and simple to undo whereas sporting gloves. The T-pull inside zipper makes it simple to open and shut.
Spendy? Sure, however the Sportsman Dry Bag would possibly simply be the definitive all-season bag.
Greatest Price range: Banded Air II Blind Bag
Greatest Price range
- 900 Denier material
- Adjustable padded shoulder strap
- Zippered facet pouch
- Closed-cell foam flotation
- “Armored” backside
- Zip-lid lined inside
- Nice for walk-in hunters
- Loads of inside storage, until you intend on bringing furnishings
- Good wanting bag; fairly powerful and rugged
- Hook ‘n loop secondary lid closure can fill with particles, rendering it ineffective
- Comparatively small, in the event you’re trying to pack a ton of substances
- Questionable zipper high quality on facet pouch
I’ve used an earlier era of what seems like Banded’s Air II bag for a few years now. It began exhibiting its age a number of seasons in the past, nevertheless it nonetheless works simply high quality. Hopefully, this newest model is as long-lasting.
Banded makes an enormous vary of outside gear, amongst it quite a lot of blind luggage. With a value that’s lower than $30 for the Max5 sample, the Air II is considered one of their least costly fashions—and until you wish to haul a water buffalo with it, it’s greater than satisfactory. A bare-bones inside, entrance pouch, zippered facet, zip-top lid, and a handful of camouflage choices make this bag undoubtedly price consideration. No, it’s not the Rolls Royce of blind luggage, and it has a few downsides, such because the hook-and-loop secondary lid closure filling with junk and changing into virtually instantly ineffective. However all in all, and particularly for brand new hunters trying to reduce prices a bit, the Air II is a superb selection for a bag.
Greatest Multi-Function: Alps Outdoorz Pit Blind Bag
- Pop-High zippered lid
- 4 zippered inside pockets, plus finish pouches
- Elective hook ‘n loop inside divider included
- Two giant “keep open” entrance pouches with grommeted drains
- Exterior finish pouches
- Molded waterproof backside
- Massive exterior full-length rear pouch with strap closures
- Adjustable padded shoulder strap
- 16 elastic shotshell loops inside
- Two inside dog-style clips
- Rear pouch can maintain a full-size thermos
- Shotshell loops hold varied shot sizes useful
- Massive inside
- Helpful for different functions
- High opens extensive permitting easy accessibility to gear inside
- Nook-to-opposite-corner shoulder straps disliked by some
- Full-length rear pouch has no drain holes
- Finish pouches are a bit cosy
If I’m going to pay greater than $50 for a blind bag—which isn’t a horrible worth for a bag of this high quality—I’d wish to give you the chance use it for greater than 107 days. Enter the Pit Blind Bag from Alps Outdoorz. Duck season ends, and also you simply swap these calls and gloves and bins of shotshells for a choice of hand instruments, tape measure, hammer drill, security glasses, and work gloves, and also you’re good to go for the remaining 258 days on the calendar.
The one factor I don’t take care of with the Pit Blind Bag is the corner-to-corner fashion shoulder strap; I all the time discover they’re in the best way, no matter how lengthy they’re. The ‘Open Huge’ zippered prime is nice for entry, and there’s a goodly quantity of room inside. I might have made one or two of the inside pockets waterproof as a substitute of mesh for stay-dry gear, however a plastic bag will resolve that. I applaud the particular person accountable for designing the entrance pouches with grommeted drains, however drains within the rear can be useful as properly. The waterproof molded backside is rock-solid, and comes up a full two inches on the perimeters, offering ample safety. Total, it’s a really good multi-purpose bag.
Greatest Sling-Type: Sitka Sling Choke
- Revolutionary sling design
- Built-in duck strap
- Water repellent end
- Beverage sleeve
- Entrance quick-clip cinch strap
- Padded carry deal with
- Comfy again padding
- Comfy and absolutely adjustable
- Doesn’t intrude with shouldering a shotgun/taking pictures
- Round zipper pulls work properly with gloves
- High and facet carry handles
- Slightly on the spendy facet for a blind bag
- Comparatively low capability, nevertheless it’s not meant to pack a ton
When Sitka first got here out with their waterfowl line years in the past, it was instantly apparent to me that the gear hadn’t been designed by a duck hunter. It regarded good, nevertheless it wasn’t very user-friendly the place it wanted to be user-friendly. Quick-forward to 2022, and that’s all modified. Sitka’s doing a high quality job of outfitting waterfowl hunters with gear that works properly within the discipline.
The Sling Choke bag/pack shines throughout these events whenever you’re don’t want a complete arsenal of substances (early season teal hunters and walk-in hunters come instantly to thoughts. No, there’s not 2,000 cubic inches of storage right here, however the 700 CI is a lot in the event you’re packing gentle. In my view, the Sling Choke ranks approach up there in consolation, with the padded again permitting air to flow into between you and the pack, thus holding you cool. I do have a Stanley scorching bottle for espresso that matches completely within the bag’s “beverage sleeve,” in order that’s a plus.
A bonus: The Sling Choke would work properly as an angler’s bag in conditions resembling winter steelhead fishing.
Greatest Roll-High: Dive Bomb Dry-Line Blind Bag
- Radio frequency (RF) welded seams
- Roll-High with heavy-duty buckle
- Expandable exterior pocket
- Zippered/waterproof exterior pocket
- D-rings and molle loops for add-ons
- Padded/adjustable shoulder strap
- Retains stuff dry, prefer it’s purported to
- Three totally different shade choices
- Clear zippered pocket inside prime flap nice for paperwork and maps
- Glorious worth level
- 12 months-round functions: digital camera bag, fishing gear, electronics
- Restricted capability, however, then once more, it’s not a suitcase
Dive Bomb launched their first decoys in 2011, and so they had such an excellent reception that it’s been a whirlwind trip ever since. As we speak, Dive Bomb incorporates a prolonged checklist of looking merchandise, together with their top-notch Dry-Line Blind Bag. It’s waterproof just like the Filson, talked about earlier, nevertheless it’s cheaper and incorporates a roll-top closure, which a few of you might want.
There’s actually nothing sophisticated about this bag in any respect, and that’s one of many causes I prefer it. You set your gear inside, seal and roll down the highest, safe the perimeters, and also you’re waterproof. The see-thru pocket on the underside of the lid is nice for paperwork, whereas the entrance zippered pocket holds “want it now” gear like calls, coaching remotes, cellular phone, chemical handwarmers, and/or multi-tools. There’s a second zippered pocket within the rear.
The inside of the Dry-Line is easy. No dividers or compartments, simply a few mesh pouches to carry requirements safe and at hand. It’s old-fashioned mixed with 21st century expertise designed to maintain stuff dry. And it really works. I drop my small digital camera bag into the Dry-Line, the place it all the time stays moisture-free.
What to Think about When Selecting a Blind Bag
No, shopping for a blind bag doesn’t rank proper up there with shopping for your first home when it comes to particulars and specifics. That stated, in the event you have a look at only a handful of variables, discovering the bag that can greatest swimsuit how and the place you hunt turns into a lot simpler. Listed here are 4 key issues.
Type of Searching
The most important issue right here is the way you get your self and your gear to your looking space. Are you a walk-in hunter? Do you are taking a ship or an ATV? Do you’ve gotten a brief stroll to a everlasting blind?
Should you’re a walk-in hunter—say, a refuge waterfowler—you’re possible going to need a small, light-weight bag that’s simple in your shoulder, or a backpack fashion bag that distributes the burden extra evenly. Should you’ll be utilizing a ship or an ATV, get a bag as massive because the mountains; in spite of everything, all it’s important to do is heft it into the sled, and off you go.
Quantity of Gear
Duck and goose hunters are infamous for packing a LOT of stuff into the sector…and the larger the bag, the extra stuff you’re going to hold, and the heavier the bag will likely be. Do you actually need a hardcover e-book and a battery operated Keurig espresso maker? Properly…possibly the Keurig. Check out the gear you employ. Will it slot in a 600-cubic-inch bag, or do you want an 1,800-incher? They’re on the market, together with all the pieces in between.
Floating or Non-Floating
Put your gear right into a floating blind bag, and there’s an excellent probability you received’t lose all of it when the bag goes within the drink. However floating blind luggage are heavy and hulking. So suppose: Do you want one thing that floats, or will you be okay when…not if, however when…your stuff goes over the facet?
Blind luggage are available each camouflage sample that’s available on the market: Mossy Oak, Realtree, Optifade, old-school Woodland, and others. Or—and a few might cringe—you will get a non-camouflage bag. My thought is that this: If a mallard will get shut sufficient to see that my blind bag isn’t bedazzled within the newest camouflage sample, it’s shut sufficient to shoot.
Q: Does a duck hunter really want a blind bag?
A blind bag isn’t an absolute necessity, nevertheless it’s extraordinarily useful for serving to hold your gear dry and arranged. They’re nice for storing all of your duck looking gear through the low season. “The place’s my headlamp?” you ask in June. Why, it’s in your blind bag, proper the place it must be.
Q: How a lot does a blind bag price?
It actually will depend on what you’re searching for—measurement, fashion, camouflage sample, further options resembling pockets—and the way a lot you’d wish to spend. On the low finish, $25 will purchase you a bag, nevertheless it won’t final for 20 years. Higher finish, you’re taking a look at $350, which is so much to pay, nevertheless it will depend on your pockets and what you intend on placing inside that bag. Should you’re carrying electronics of any kind, I’d go together with the dearer larger high quality bag.
Q: What do you place in a blind bag?
The easy reply is no matter you suppose you’ll want for the day’s looking. I carry the necessities, plus some: Duck/goose calls, ammunition, transportable energy for my cellular phone, a small first support package, a Pepperoni Pizza MRE, snacks, water, further gloves/hat/socks, multi-tool, duck strap, Camo-Compact with mirror, further eyeglasses, and, after all, bathroom paper in a Ziplock bag.
Q: What’s a floating blind bag?
A floating blind bag is designed with extra padding (flotation) so, ought to the bag unintentionally go into the water, it doesn’t sink and may be extra simply retrieved.
Greatest Blind Baggage: Last Ideas
Nearly with out exception, waterfowlers carry with them a mountain of substances. And since there’s typically a lot, getting all of it to your blind and holding it organized could be a problem. Blind luggage assist vastly with the organizational facet of any waterfowling journey by holding gear, particularly these smaller easy-to-lose gadgets like calls and headlamps, multi function conveniently situated spot. And if it weren’t for blind luggage, the place would we ‘fowlers put our most vital items of kit—our trusty previous thermos, and our bathroom paper?
Why Belief Us
For greater than 125 years, Area & Stream has been offering readers with sincere and genuine protection of outside gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outside, and that keenness comes by means of in our product critiques. You possibly can rely on F&S to maintain you updated on one of the best new gear. And after we write a couple of product—whether or not it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cowl the great and the dangerous, so precisely what to anticipate earlier than you determine to make a purchase order.