We made it! The first month of 2014 has come and gone. As we launch into February it means that turkey season is quickly approaching. While thankful for the emergence of Spring in the next few months, I'm reminded of how quickly time marches on.
I posted an update on some of the products / companies that caught our attention while at SHOT Show last month, and promised a follow-up post. I'm afraid I got a little distracted with the excitement of a football team from Colorado headed to the Super Bowl and have neglected to wrap things up post SHOT Show. By now, us Coloradans are done licking our wounds and have fought back the urge to crawl back in the hole to hibernate with Punxsutawney Phil.
Usually I complain through the month of January ... it is cold, hunting seasons have ended, putting away all the Christmas decor is a chore, and did I mention it is cold? This year was different, I don't know what happened, but January came and went in a flash. I think the distraction of SHOT Show helped me get through my January blues, but now that it is February, I realized I haven't shared all the wonderful products that I discovered several weeks ago at SHOT. My initial post after the show highlighted a few of the new products for 2014. However, I have more to share!
While meandering through the miles of booths, we had the opportunity to see so many great products. As promised in our first SHOT Show post, here is our second list of products that deserve a shout out:
Lisa Looper started her holster business after a creating a unique holster design for herself. She simply wanted an accessible, safe way to carry her gun. After quickly realizing that holsters designed for a man's body rarely work well for women, she was on a mission to discover a place to hide a gun without compromising style in order to accommodate a bulky holster. As a result, Flashbang holsters were born which utilizes the space just below the bust line. Word got out quickly about this new, clever design and her desire to simply protect her family developed into a business in concealed carry options for women.
As I walked up to the Flashbang Holster booth, I immediately spied a friendly face. Britney Starr was hanging out showing off these amazing holsters. It was so fun to meet my friend that I've been chatting with online now for a couple years. One of the highlights of SHOT was getting to meet so many of my social media friends. She quickly showed me the Ava and the Betty holsters. I've had my eye on these holsters for a while now, and I can honestly say that after seeing them first hand, I want one for my own more than ever now. The soft leather back piece is amazing and am positive it would be comfortable as a concealed carry option.
Ladies, if you are looking for concealed carry option, I would recommend checking out the various Flashbank Holster options. Also, new for 2014 ~ competition holster belts and Glock42 holsters
As stated in their catalog ~ "It's a Heart Project!"
Emily and Britney ~ checking out the Ava Holster
My favorite feature ~ soft leather back piece
that conforms to the wearer's shape
Straight out of the catalog ~ "For outdoor enthusiasts, sportsmen, and nature lovers alike, the Grizzly Ridge line of outdoor meals and snacks is designed for those great adventures in the wild, or in your own backyard."
Troy and I are always looking for food options for our backcountry hunts. Grizzly Ridge offers a great variety of freeze dried meals and snacks. We snacked on the honey coated banana slices while walking around at SHOT, and let me just say ... AMAZING! I'm positive this light-weight, potassium rich snack will be found in our packs this summer during our scouting trips.
We are excited to try out their main meal options as well. One feature I really like about the packaging is the smaller bag size. While the serving size is comparable to other freeze-dried meal companies, the bag is smaller. Honestly, I've cut a good portion off the top of other packages and then freezer sealed the bag. If you've ever planned a back country hunt, you know how valuable every ounce is. Weight and space in your pack quickly become serious considerations.
Check out the full line of Grizzly Ridge products here.
A good pair of boots while hunting in the mountains is one of the most important pieces of equipment to have, in my opinion. If your feet are cold, wet or tired, it can quickly end a hunt. Both Troy and I promised each other after last year's elk hunt, that the priority for our 2014 hunting shopping list would be quality hunting boots. LOWA boots are currently at the top of our list.
After looking at these boots at SHOT, I'm especially excited about the Tibet hunting boot models made for women: Tibet LL WS and Tibet GTX.
We are fans of First Lite outerwear, merino wool and accessories. So navigating our way to the First Lite booth at SHOT was top of the list. Troy was excited to check out their new Sanctuary Insulated Jacket. Combining warmth and waterproof features, it is bound to be a favorite jacket for many hunters this Fall ... including my husband!
Also, included in the First Lite line up for 2014 is a new North Branch Soft Shell Jacket, Halstead Tech Fleece, and Boundary Stormtight Pant.
After attending ATA this past January, Aaron Farley offered a great review on his blog, Rustic Man, on the new First Lite products for 2014. I'd highly encourage you to check it out.
First Lite: Go Farther, Stay Longer
Sanctuary Insulated Jacket
As mentioned in a previous post, while in Las Vegas last week at SHOT Show, we had the opportunity to see some amazing new products that will be available in 2014. Some items I wanted to steal right off the manikin display on the showroom floor, but that was frowned upon, so I am subjected to wait like the rest of you.
Here is our first list products / companies that stood out to us at SHOT Show this year. There were honestly many more, and we'll offer another round of shout outs in a follow-up post.
Ladies ~ say, 'Hello' to the new Prois item available later this year ~ the Archtach Down Jacket. Archtach is Gaelic for Arctic. I think this beauty will live up to its name since it contains grey goose down, and offers durable weather resistance through down acrylic coating. This jacket is definitely on my wish list for 2014. Here's to staying warm on the mountain this year!
Here are the specs:
Archtach: Gaelic for Arctic
SOG - EXCHANGE KNIFE PACK
We loved this new SOG knife set! The SOG Exchange pack includes a large fixed blade knife with interchangeable blades - clip point blade with gut hook, double toothed saw, and fillet blade. This set would be a great addition to a back country gear list!
Here are the specs:
HAMMOCK SEAT & FAN TOM BLIND by DEAD RINGER
I didn't get a picture of the new 2014 Fantom Blind that goes with this fabulous hammock seat, but trust me there is a great turkey blind that goes with this set up. Sorry. I was having too much fun sitting in this chair. It is truly like sitting in a hammock. I want to shoot my turkey from this nifty little contraption!
Here are the specs:
HAWKE - SPORT OPTICS
New scopes and crossbow optic updates will be available in the 2014 Hawke Sport Optics line up. I have my sights set on one of the new Endurance scopes, which I'm hoping to use to take aim at an antelope later this year! Watch for this new line up on their website (hawkeoptics.com) -- coming soon!
Here are the specs:
The week of January 14-17 marked the dates for the 2014 SHOT Show. Each year thousands of people journey to the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, NV to experience the largest shooting, hunting and outdoor related trade show. This year had a record attendance of 62,371! Troy and I were fortunate to be included in that number. With a last minute decision, we decided to check into whether or not we would qualify for admission. The passes we tried to acquire were Media passes which would have given us a lot more freedom in taking pictures, receiving press releases, etc. However, since the media applications were sold out by the time we decided to make the voyage, we inquired if there were other options to get in the door. We ended up getting non-buyer passes. In retrospect, I'm glad we still attended since it was an overall great experience of meeting friends, networking and in a way enjoying a "non-hunting" vacation, but our hands were a little tied in obtaining material to write about.
I wasn't going to let that stop me ~ in a way it felt like a challenge.
The rules are strict about taking pictures if you don't have a media badge. Basically, don't. I wasn't able to carry my D3100 Nikon camera, but armed with my cell phone, I simply asked various booth owners if it would be okay to snap a picture or two. I quickly found that after introducing myself, chatting about their products, letting them know we have a website geared towards the hunting industry, taking a picture or two was welcomed. So.... I have a few to share with you all!
I was brave enough to take a picture of a drone ... just before it flew into the back of a girl's head.
Before diving into some of the new products we found and love I thought I would share a few of the lessons learned while attending SHOT Show. Follow up posts will highlight products / companies that stood out to us at SHOT
Lessons Learned from SHOT:
Tennis Shoes are Stylish: I thought I would be cool by wearing cowboy boots the first day. I have never been so not cool. While my feet may have looked fabulous, they didn't feel fabulous. If your feet hurt, you get grumpy. I'm afraid that I was grumpy some of the time in Vegas. As a result, I may have not been as friendly as I should have. I apologize to those you may have experienced my grumpiness. Once I found a spot to sit down, I didn't want to move. Honestly, this may have hampered the opportunity of meeting some fabulous people.
For example, we attended the Real Avid and Hawke Optics tweet up on Tuesday night and I also had the opportunity to attend the Women's Industry Dinner aka "Gun Girl Dinner" hosted by Britney Starr (managing editor at the WON) and Jacquelyn Kelly (Armed in Heals). I made the mistake of walking over a mile in heels to get to the Gun Girl Dinner. Troy, you were right. We should have taken a cab. I was in pain. In retrospect, I see now that I missed out on meeting a lot of great people simply because I was too tired to get up and mingle. I sat down and chatted with those within hearing distance of my seated position. In all seriousness, you are probably tired of people telling you to wear comfortable shoes. Well, if you are as stubborn as me, you need to hear it one more time. Wear comfortable shoes, with inserts preferably.
Plan Your Attack: These large trade show events are truly amazing, but it can easily be overwhelming. We had downloaded the SHOT Show app on our phones, which I highly recommend, and created an agenda that was easily referenced with a few clicks. However, even with reviewing the schedule and lay of the land, we found ourselves mimicking a pinball darting back and forth between booths, making a crazy path around the show floor. The booth displays are spectacular, designed to grab your attention. So instead of walking the aisles in a methodical manner, our footsteps zig zagged all over the place as we jumped from booth to booth. It would have been fun to track our steps somehow to see the path we actually walked each day. I'm sure it looked like a couple mice trapped in a maze. Hey... SHOT Show app people, maybe you could incorporate this option into the app next year? A foot step tracker at Shot Show. I'd like to see which booths I truly missed!
One day after roaming the show floor, out of pure exhaustion I think I told Mia Anstine that I had seen everything there is to see. She smiled at me and chuckled softly. I then said, "No really - I think I did." However, after looking at everyone's posts, I now keep telling Troy, "How did we miss that??" or "Where was that?" I stand corrected, Mia! I now know why you laughed at me.
Arm Yourselves: One thing we almost missed was the importance of bringing business cards. While it is a given that business cards are necessary if you are attending SHOT as a buyer or exhibitor, it is just as important if you don a non-buyer or media badge. The networking opportunity is huge at a trade show like this, and it is expected that someone will ask you for contact information via a business card, either to follow up, send product or simply for future reference. Be prepared and arm yourselves. Don't miss out on any opportunities.
Here's just one example of what I'm talking about. We had the privilege of meeting Will Primos. (btw - what a great guy!) We told him that we've watched practically all of their videos because we have 'free tv' and our form of entertainment is grabbing a bowl of popcorn and watching hunting DVDs. (In fact, Lars with @NRAblogpoked fun of me a bit b/c of the free TV thing ... that's another story.) Anyway, after chatting about some of their hunts, he asked if we had their latest video, which we had to be honest and confess we hadn't watched it yet. He was gracious and asked for our business card. Not long afterwards while hanging out in the First Lite booth, I received a phone call. Will Primos was calling me and wanted my address to ship his new video to. LOL! Thanks, Will! Apparently, having a shipping address on your business cards is helpful too.
Attending SHOT show was a great way to start off 2014. Putting faces to names that I've been chatting with on twitter for quite some time was really fun. We met so many wonderful people in the hunting industry that share our passion! If you have never gone, I would highly recommend it. If you have specific questions, please ask - this SHOT show novice is happy to lend whatever help I can provide, or point you in the right direction.
I'm still recovering, nursing a nasty head cold, and trying to quickly heal my feet so I can start training for my marathon. Overall, I'm thankful for new friendships and the opportunity to reconnect with folk I haven't seen for a while. Here's to a new year, new opportunities, and new friendships!
From the Draw
A website devoted to sharing bowhunting stories. From the draw in the mountains to the draw on paper, the moments live on.