| Outdoor Life https://www.outdoorlife.com/ Expert hunting and fishing tips, new gear reviews, and everything else you need to know about outdoor adventure. This is Outdoor Life. Mon, 24 Jul 2023 22:21:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 https://www.outdoorlife.com/uploads/2021/04/28/cropped-OL.jpg?auto=webp&width=32&height=32 | Outdoor Life https://www.outdoorlife.com/ 32 32 The Best Solar Panels for Camping in 2023, Tested and Reviewed https://www.outdoorlife.com/gear/best-solar-panels-for-camping/ Fri, 17 Jun 2022 20:00:00 +0000 https://www.outdoorlife.com/?p=196842
The Best Solar Panels for Camping
Laura Lancaster

Harness the power of the sun on your next trip to the great outdoors

The post The Best Solar Panels for Camping in 2023, Tested and Reviewed appeared first on Outdoor Life.

The Best Solar Panels for Camping
Laura Lancaster

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More

Best Overall Camping Gear photo Bluetti PV120 SEE IT

Powerful with easy setup and takedown

Best for Small Spaces Lion 50W Foldable Solar Panel Lion 50W Foldable Solar Panel SEE IT

Most powerful panel for its size and weight that I’ve tested

Best Built-In Battery BioLIte Solar Charger BioLite Solar Panel 5+ SEE IT

An impressive solar charger that can keep your phone juiced in a blackout

Experienced campers know that you can get off the grid without having to ditch your electronics if you bring along a great solar panel that’s built for camping and outdoor environments. Modern panels have come a long way since the low amperage models of even a few years ago and with the right setup, you can power anything from a laptop to an electric cooler, with nothing more than a clear view of the sky on a sunny day (sometimes you don’t even need that). To find the best solar panels for camping, I put high-performing models from the top brands to the test: 

How I Tested the Best Solar Panels for Camping

My initial test of solar panels for camping on a classic Pacific Northwest “Juneary” day. It should have been summer already, but it just wasn’t and wouldn’t be for a while. Solar panels were then evaluated on a number of criteria, including: 

  • Power Output: I tested each panel to see how long it took to charge my phone 5 percent. The larger panels were also tested on how long it took to charge a 32,000 mAh battery pack 5 percent, and whether the panel could charge both my phone and the battery pack at the same time. The battery pack used during this portion of the test was not the same brand as any of the products tested. 
  • Size: The size of the products I tested ranged from small panels that could crossover to backpacking all the way out to foldable four-panels arrays that can be chained together. 
  • Features: I considered the features of each solar panel in my test and the potential they had to improve the overall experience of the unit. 
  • Ease of Use: I considered how easy it was to set up and position each solar panel and how easy it was to break them down again for storage. 
The best solar panels for camping
From top left to bottom right, the Jackery SolarSaga 60, Goal Zero Nomad 50, Anker 625, Anker 515, BioLite 5+, GoSun 30. Laura Lancaster

I’ve been continuing to test solar panels, large and small, since then, including in our roundup of the best solar generators and the best solar chargers.

The Best Solar Panels for Camping: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Bluetti PV120 Solar Panel

Key Features

  • Max output: 120 watts
  • Weight: 12.6 pounds
  • Ports: MC4 connector (with DC adaptor)
  • Dimensions: 65 inches x 21 inches x 1.8 inches (unfolded); 18.5 inches x 21 inches x 3.4 inches (folded)
  • Warranty: 12 months


  • Compact package
  • Generates over 100 watts of power under clear skies
  • Snap features make setup and takedown a breeze


  • No sun dial feature
  • Cannot plug directly into a smartphone

The Bluetti PV120 Solar Panel is one of the best solar panels I’ve tested, and just barely squeaked out the Anker 625 for the top slot. These two panels, similarly sized and priced (with the Bluetti typically running a bit less expensive), were tested side by side under sunny skies. The Bluetti produced 16 more watts during testing, an over 15 percent difference in performance. I also appreciated that its kickstands had snap buttons at the adjustment points, making it simpler to find the correct angle then on solar panels that lacked that feature.

Camping Gear photo
Testing the Bluetti PV120 (center) against the Anker 625 (left) and BioLite (back). Laura Lancaster

Even storage was simpler, thanks to snaps that wrap around the accordian sides to hold the package together when folded up, eliminating the need for an extra carrying case. This has become my new go-to panel when I head out camping due to its space savings and power generation potential. Even better, since its DC-compatible cable pairs with the Goal Zero Yeti and Jackery power stations, I’m able to use it with my favorite power station for camping.

Honorable Mention: Anker 625 Solar Panel



Key Features

  • USB max output: 15W (5V)
  • XT-60 port: 100W (26.5V)
  • Weight: 11 pounds
  • Ports: USB-A, USB-C, and XT-60 (includes both XT-60 to XT-60 cord and XT-60 to DC7909 connector) 
  • Dimensions: 56.9 inches x 20.7 inches x 1.8 inches (unfolded); 20.7 inches x 18.5 inches x 3.4 inches (folded)
  • Warranty: 18 months


  • Strongest panel in my test, charged two devices simultaneously under very overcast skies
  • Overpower protection 
  • Integrated sundial


  • Expensive
  • Less stable when set up than other panels in my test

Despite being dethroned from the top slot, the Anker 625 is still one of the best solar panels out there, and an excellent addition to any camping setup. During the cloudiest part of my initial testing day, when dark gray clouds obscured the sun and the other solar panels packed it in, the Anker 625 was still able to charge my phone 5 percent in only five minutes. Then it powered up a 32,000 mAh battery pack 5 percent in a half hour under similar conditions. When I plugged both the battery pack and the phone in at the same time, it kept charging. If there is any chance of less-than-ideal weather on your camping trip, then this is the solar panel solution you’ve been looking for. 

The sundial on the Anker 625
Even in cloudy conditions, it was still possible to line up the dot in the sundial on the powerful Anker 625. Laura Lancaster

The Anker 625 was also only one of two solar panels in my test to incorporate an integrated sundial, which allowed me to optimize the positioning of the panel. This is helpful when it’s tough to distinguish the angle of the sun. Less helpful were the kickstands. Despite the nearly five-foot width of the four panels, there were only two kickstands provided, one on each end. This meant that the unit had a tendency to sag in the middle, and it moved more in the light breeze that blew during testing than other setups with a higher kickstand to panel ratio. 

Best for Tight Spaces: Lion 50W Foldable

Laura Lancaster


Key Features

  • USB max output: 27W (12V)
  • DC port: 48W (18V)
  • Weight: 3 pounds
  • Ports: USB-A, USB-C, and DC
  • Dimensions: 46 inches x 11.3 inches x 0.8 inch (unfolded); 11.3 inches x 11.3 inches x 1.6 inches (folded)
  • Warranty: 1 year


  • Compact
  • More powerful than it looks
  • Lightweight


  • Less powerful than larger 100W models

I’ll admit I had low expectations for the Lion 50W Foldable when I first took it out of the box. It’s noticeably smaller than other 50W panels I’ve tested—would it really be able to match its power specs? The setup is also pretty flimsy, with only two small kickstands stitched onto the back panel fabric.

But then I set up the panel, on a cloudy and windy March day, and was more than impressed. In medium light (where the sun isn’t exactly visible, but there is plenty of active light coming through the clouds), the panel kicked out enough juice from the USB-C port to charge my laptop. Not bad for three pounds.

While this is just too large and too heavy to consider for a backpacking trip, its combination of small size and power make it practically a necessity for a pack rafting or canoe trip. (Just make sure you pair it with one of the best dry bags.)

Best Built-In Battery: BioLite SolarPanel 5+



Key Features

  • Max power output: 5W
  • Weight: 13.8 ounces
  • Ports: USB-A
  • Dimensions: 10.1 inches x 8.2 inches x 1 inch
  • Also available in SolarPanel 10+
  • Warranty: 1 year


  • 3200mAh internal battery
  • Affordable
  • Small and lightweight
  • Integrated sundial and adjustable kickstand


  • Slowest charging time of the solar panels I tested
  • Performs poorly in even slightly cloudy weather

Not everyone is looking to charge an electric cooler or laptop while camping. Sometimes, you just want to juice up your phone a bit, so that you don’t have to monitor how much battery is left over the course of your trip. 

BioLIte Solar Charger
The internal battery and sundial helped make up for some of the missing oomph with the BioLite Solar Panel 5+. Laura Lancaster

The BioLite Solar Panel 5+ is essentially a low-cost alternative to a smaller battery pack. Its max output is only 5 watts, which, while too low to charge a larger battery pack, is ideal for charging a smartphone. I also liked that it featured an adjustable kickstand (the only one of the solar panels I tested) and an integrated sundial, which I used to optimize the positioning of the panel during testing. However, it still took the BioLite Solar 5+ 22 minutes to charge my phone 5 percent, even though it was sunnier (although still quite cloudy) than during other parts of my test. Unlike the other other panels, which could be used to spot charge a device on the go, the best and highest use of the BioLite is to charge the onboard 3,200 mAh battery (which can also be charged before leaving home via a micro USB port), speeding up your smartphone recharge so that you can get going again. 

Most Stable: Jackery SolarSaga 60



Key Features

  • USB max output: 12W (5V)
  • DC port: 68W (19V)
  • Weight: 6.6 pounds
  • Ports: USB-A, USB-C, and 8mm DC
  • Dimensions: 33.7 inches x 21.1 inches x 0.2 inches (unfolded); 16.7 inches x 21.1 inches x 1.38 inches (folded)
  • Warranty: 2 years


  • Two panel array was both stable and easy to set up
  • Great value
  • Overpower protection 


  • Unable to power two devices in cloudy conditions

Solar panels for camping have to hew a fine line between being compact enough to store on the go, but stable enough to withstand the elements. What impressed me most about the Jackery SolarSaga 60 during testing was how easy it was to set up, and once I had it set up, it just stayed put, unruffled by wind or me knocking into it as I fiddled with the other units. (Like the other solar panels in this test, it does need to be protected from rain.)

Jackery SolarSaga
The SolarSaga 60 was one of the easiest panels in my test to get into position under direct sunlight. Laura Lancaster

Once set up, the SolarSaga 60 did an excellent job powering my devices—even when the weather was cloudy, it charged my smartphone to 5 percent in five minutes. Unlike the more expensive Anker 625, however, it struggled to power two devices when plugged in during cloudy conditions. 

Jackery SolarSaga output cables
The SolarSaga 60 featured an LED indicator light in between its USB-A and USB-C ports, as well as an integrated DC output cable. Laura Lancaster

Because the SolarSaga 60 consists of two panels with two kickstands, it was the easiest large panel in my test to put away, simply folding up like a book with a magnet securing the edges together at the handle. If you need a high-power device that is simple to use, this one is hard to go wrong with. 

Best for Chaining: Goal Zero Nomad 50

Goal Zero


Key Features

  • USB max output: 12W (5V) 
  • DC port output: 50W, chainable up to 150W (14-21.5V)
  • Weight: 6.9 pounds
  • Ports: USB-A and male 8mm
  • Dimensions: 17 inches x 53 inches x 1.5 inches (unfolded); 17 inches x 11.25 inches x 2.5 inches (folded) 
  • Warranty: 2 years


  • Easy to chain
  • Compact size for a four-panel array


  • Struggled to charge my phone during cloudy weather

I’ll admit that once I started charging my smartphone and power banks for camping, it was easy to start getting carried away. What couldn’t I charge with just the power of the sun? But to really capture all that energy (especially if, like me, you live in an overcast part of the country) you’ll need more than the typical 50 or 60 watts of most panels. To facilitate (enable?) you to supercharge your solar powering capabilities, the Goal Zero Nomad 50 was designed to make it easy to chain multiple panels together with dedicated cords next to the port for this purpose. 

Ground Zero Nomad
Clearly labeled cords make it easy for even luddies to safely chain together their solar panels into a fast-charging array. Laura Lancaster

On its own, a single Nomad 50 charged my phone 5 percent in just over five minutes but only once the weather started to clear out into a more manageable PNW monocloud. Under darker clouds it struggled to provide any power at all. 

Goal Zero solar panel
The three kickstands on the back made the Nomad 50 both easy to set up and fairly secure. Laura Lancaster

I liked how, despite it being a four-panel array, the Nomad 50 folded down relatively easily to about the size of a briefcase for travel and had a handy magnet to snap the packet together. With this one, it’s easy to start dreaming about adding on a few more panels to create a truly powerful array. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Solar Panel for Camping

How Solar Panels Work

At its most basic, solar panels are made up of solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity. Each cell has two conductive layers, in between which are two different types of silicone—one with extra electrons, and one with space for electrons. When sunlight hits a solar panel, it sends a photon slamming into a solar cell, which in turns knocks one of the extra electrons loose. When that electron makes its way over to one of the silicone layers with space for electrons it creates a positive charge on one side and a negative charge on another. The solar cell channels the movement of the electrons, so that it can capture the energy it produces as it moves. While the amount of energy captured by each solar cell is negligible, when strung together in a solar panel, it can be quite impressive, with some of the solar panels in my test able to produce as many as 100W. 

Some solar panels are better at regulating this output of energy than others, which matters when you are trying to capture this energy on the other side, whether in a power bank or directly into a device like some of the best solar generators. For instance, if you try to charge your smartphone on a port that can output 20V of power, then there is a good chance that you’ll damage the battery of your phone, even if in the moment it appears that your phone is simply charging extremely quickly. The solar panels in my test limited the voltage output from the USB ports (5V or less), while the DC ports, which are intended to pair with one of the best power banks for camping, provided a higher voltage output (between 14.5V and 26.5V). While this provides some protection against accidentally overcharging your devices, it’s still worth knowing how the max voltage output of each solar panel port compares to what your device’s or power bank’s battery can handle.

Power Output

While there are differences in the power ratings between solar panels, generally speaking, the larger a solar panel is, the more power it will generate. This is why solar panels for camping are typically folded twice or more—to maximize the amount of surface area they can cover when in use, while also minimizing the amount of space they occupy during transit. 

Packed Size

While most people have plenty of room to spread out a solar panel unit at camp, the same can not always be said of the vehicle you use to get to get there. If your space is limited, the weather is predictable, and your power needs are low, consider a smaller solar panel. 

External Battery

Many of the best solar panels for camping are designed to pair with a power bank for camping. This is because most solar panels do not have a way to store the electricity they generate when the sun is shining for those times when it’s overcast or slightly cloudy. Further, since the USB ports on most solar panels for camping limit the voltage output—to prevent inadvertent damage to the battery of smaller electronics, it’s important to ensure that your solar panel has a port that matches the high voltage output port of your power bank. 

Chaining Solar Panels

To maximize the power captured in a battery pack during the sunniest portion of the day, some campers may opt to link, or chain together, multiple solar panels into a single array. 


Q: How much do solar panels for camping cost?

Solar panels for camping can cost anywhere from $80 to over $300, depending on the size and quality of the panels.

Q: What size solar panel is good for camping?

The size solar panel that is best for camping depends on what you are trying to charge with it. If you are looking to charge a smartphone, then a smaller single panel (with an accompanying battery) is all you’ll need to get going. If you have multiple appliances or devices that you are looking to charge, then a triple or quadruple panel setup (or even an array chained together) will work better. 

Q: Can a solar panel overcharge a battery? 

If you try to charge your smartphone on a port that can output 20V of power, then there is a good chance that you’ll damage the battery of your phone, even if in the moment it appears that your phone is simply charging extremely quickly. The solar panels in my test limited the voltage output from the USB ports (5V or less), while the DC ports, which are intended to pair with a battery pack, provided a higher voltage output (between 14.5V and 26.5V). While this provides some protection against accidentally overcharging your devices, it’s still worth knowing how the max voltage output of each solar panel port compares to what your device’s or power bank’s battery can handle. 

Why Trust Outdoor Life?

Since 1898, OL has been a leading authority in testing and reviewing hunting gear, fishing tackle, guns and shooting equipment, and much more. We have more than a century-long history of evaluating products, and we’re now bringing that expertise to online reviews. Our editors are experienced outdoorsmen and women, and most importantly, we’re trained journalists. We prioritize field testing and objective data when reviewing products. We conduct interviews with gear manufacturers and engineers as well as outdoor experts so that our readers have an understanding of how and why a product works—or doesn’t.

Advertising does not influence our gear reviews and it never will. While we always focus our coverage on standout products—because we want our readers to be aware of the latest and greatest gear—we also cover the flaws and quirks of any given product.

Final Thoughts

After testing the best solar panels for camping from Jackery, Anker, Goal Zero, BioLite, and GoSun, the Anker 625 claims the top spot. If you’re only looking to power a smartphone, either the Anker 515 or the BioLite 5+ will provide sufficient juice at a lower cost (and a slower speed). 

The post The Best Solar Panels for Camping in 2023, Tested and Reviewed appeared first on Outdoor Life.

Articles may contain affiliate links which enable us to share in the revenue of any purchases made.

Fred Bear’s First Moose Hunt, from the Archives https://www.outdoorlife.com/hunting/fred-bear-moose-bowhunt/ Mon, 24 Jul 2023 22:19:06 +0000 https://www.outdoorlife.com/?p=253493
two hunters inspect a dead moose, while the third stands back holding his bow and arrows, vintage B&W magazine photograph
Guides Vic and Bill take a look at my bull moose and change their minds about hunting bows. Knick, a fellow archer, stands by. Outdoor Life

"My bow was up to it. Was I?"

The post Fred Bear’s First Moose Hunt, from the Archives appeared first on Outdoor Life.

two hunters inspect a dead moose, while the third stands back holding his bow and arrows, vintage B&W magazine photograph
Guides Vic and Bill take a look at my bull moose and change their minds about hunting bows. Knick, a fellow archer, stands by. Outdoor Life

Editor’s Note: This story was originally published in the June 1953 issue of Outdoor Life and it reflects the language and stereotypes of the times.

A COLD OCTOBER drizzle was soaking the Ontario bush when the old Ojibway Indian and his wife beached their canoe below our tent. They had a little boy with them, sort of wedged in the bow ahead of the woman, and he was yelling bloody murder. 

They looked too old to be his parents, and the man explained that, jerking a finger at the toddler and grunting, “Mamma dead.” 

After we welcomed them with cigarettes, the woman held the boy up and pointed to his mouth. “Hurt,” she said. And he wailed at the top of his voice. 

Neither my partner, K. K. (Knick) Knickerbocker, nor I is a medicine man, but we got the idea. The poor little cuss was teething, and they’d come to our camp hoping we could do something for him. I rummaged in my gear for the best remedy we had, a bottle of aspirin. We didn’t dare give them the whole bottle for fear they’d feed them all to the kid. So I shook out a dozen tablets, broke each in half, then pointed to the face of my watch and held up half a tablet for each hour. 

They were tickled pink. The woman poked the first dose into the boy without ceremony. He went right on crying, but they paid no attention to him. 

They came up to our tent and the man’s eyes fell on our two 70-pound-pull hunting bows and the arrows. Curious as a kid with a bulging Christmas stocking, he tested the razor-sharp edge of the four-bladed arrowheads, tried the pull of my bow. Then, after looking in vain for firearms, he grinned at me, and said, “Moose big. String-gun too little.”

KNICK AND I were still chuckling about it long after the Indians paddled away. 

“Honest Indian,” Knick said. 

But we didn’t share all the old man’s doubts. I started hunting big game with a bow in 1935, and I’ve never carried a gun since. Knick’s also an experienced archer, and he’d come all the way from Virginia to match his bow with a moose. Up to the time of our moose hunt, I’d killed nothing bigger than deer (though I’ve added moose, bear, antelope, and elk to my list since) and neither had Knick. Still we both felt our bows would stop a moose. Other archers had proved that. 

The Indian wasn’t the first to rate us underequipped for moose hunting. We’d had difficulty finding outfitters and guides willing to handle us, once they learned we intended to use bows rather than guns. 

One outfitter bluntly canceled our reservations. Another said he was booked full. 

We didn’t blame them. Surprisingly few know much about the killing power of hunting bows. And since big-game guides live largely by the success of their parties, it’s only natural that most shy away from archers. Guns get more game. 

It wasn’t until Knick and I contacted Archie McDonald in Quibell that we were able to arrange for a moose hunt in Ontario. And I confess we’d been in Archie’s main camp on Cliff Lake two days before we let it be known we were gunless. By that time it was too late to pack us out. 

That was a lot of moose bearing down on me. I wondered what he’d do when my arrow drove into him. Would he come crashing for shore and pound me to a pulp with his big hoofs? 

For guides we drew Bill Humphries an Victor MacQueen, an Englishman and a Scot respectively, and they were good sports about the thing. We were to hunt in an area where they trap beavers in winter. They assured us there were plenty of moose there, and if we were willing to take chances on bows it was O.K. with them. 

So the four of us set out for Cedar River, the outlet of Lake Wabaskang, 100 miles north of International Falls. We worked through a chain of lakes—Twilight, Evening, Mystery, Cliff, Cedar, Perrault—traveling in two canoes with five-horsepower outboards, and portaging over rocky trails. Cold rain fell in an endless drizzle, broken only by harder squalls. We were wind-bound on Cliff Lake, on Cedar, and again at the lower end of Wabaskang. 

We made camp late one afternoon, dried our clothes and bags, and let a good fire drive the chill from our bones. By morning the rain stopped, and the world began to look like a fit place to live. 

It became a wonderful world when we took our casting rods down to the Cedar and flipped our spoons at the foot of a low waterfall. We caught wall-eyes and northern pike as fast as we could take ’em off the hooks. The pike ran 10 to 12 pounds apiece. In 30 minutes I landed three that totaled 40 pounds. We hung a few in trees around camp for bear bait. We put back the ones we caught after that; it was wall-eyes we wanted for eating, and the river swarmed with them. 

Yet we found the best fishing of all at Wine Lake, a few miles down the Cedar from Wabaskang. Lake trout from three to 12 pounds had come up in the shoals to spawn, and they pounced on our lures the way a leopard goes after a goat. Now and then we hooked lunkers that wouldn’t be handled on our medium-weight casting rods. We broke lines and smashed tips on some I bet weighed over 25 pounds. We kept no lakers, still preferring wall-eyes at camp, but we caught them at the rate of 10 or 12 an hour anytime we fished. 

It was raining again the second morning, but Knick and I had come a long way to kill a moose and we didn’t have all fall to do it. So after breakfast we climbed into the two canoes and headed downriver. 

Knick and Bill turned off where Wine Lake has its outlet in the Cedar, but Vic and I kept on another three or four miles. Then we went up a small creek and into a little unnamed lake that Vic said was a moose hangout. By that time the wind was blowing a gale and the cold rain had us drenched to the skin. We went ashore, got a fire going, and huddled over it until our teeth stopped chattering. Then we went moose hunting. 

Wet weather gives an archer one great advantage over the prey. He can move without noise, which he must do to get close enough to score with an arrow. Vic and I traveled slowly, combing every open place ahead. Eventually we spotted a sleek whitetail buck, a six-pointer, coming toward us. I picked an opening ahead of him in the brush and lined an arrow on it. When he walked into it I let go. It should have been an easy shot, since his neck and part of his shoulder were in sight at about 30 yards, but there was too much thick stuff in the way. Or maybe it was my fault. My fingertips were numb with cold by that time, and I didn’t get off a good release. 

I heard the arrow thud into something solid and saw the deer whirl and run. I found the arrow, bedded in a young pine, three paces short of where he’d stood. It had brushed a twig, glanced off, and whacked into the tree. “I got a name for this place.” I told Vic. “Let’s call it Arrow Lake.” 

two hunters, one holding a longbow, crouch behind a whitetail deer; vintage B&W photo
Fred Bear, left, and Knick, find Fred’s arrow pierced the white-tail’s neck and brain. Outdoor Life

He grinned, but it was a feeble performance, and I could see he was biting his tongue to hold back some remark on my performance. 

It helped when I missed another shot at a bigger buck late that afternoon. I shot high, and again I blamed my cold fingers. But I knew better than to alibi to Vic. We saw seven deer that day, including three bucks, and I could have killed all three with a rifle. By the time we got back to camp I realized that any fragment of faith Vic and Bill may have had in archery was as good as gone. At supper the guides exchanged significant glances across the fire and acted like a couple of guys who have picked a lame horse. 

THE WEATHER broke two days later, and we saw stars overhead and pink in the morning sky for the first time since the hunt began. We hurried through breakfast and were on our way before sunrise, running, the canoes through a winding canyon of gold and scarlet foilage. We hadn’t realized how far autumn had advanced. Ducks got up in front of us, and an eagle soared lazily overhead. 

We separated once again, agreeing to meet for lunch. Vic and I saw two cow moose that forenoon, but nothing with antlers. Knick and Bill stalked a good buck but couldn’t get within range. 

At noon we met in a cove formed by a big point that thrust half a mile out into the lake. We were finishing the last of our grub when a series of low, whimpering grunts rolled across the water to us. Bill lifted a warning hand. We listened until it was repeated. 

“Cow, calling,” Vic said softly. “She may have a bull with her.” 

We got up noiselessly and laid our plans in a hurry. The point was connected to the main shore by a neck of land about 200 yards wide and timbered with open stuff. Knick and I would have a chance for shooting there. The guides would drive, starting at the far end of the point, and if there was a bull with the lovelorn cow he’d have to come past us to get ashore. 

Knick and I picked our stands and Bill and Vic shoved off in one of the canoes. Ten minutes later a cow moose come out of the willows 300 yards away, splashed through the shallows, and struck out across the cove. When nothing else showed up in three or four minutes I relaxed. Then I heard a heavy animal coming through the brush in a hurry and headed almost at me. I caught a glimpse of brown, too light for a moose, and an eight-point buck came busting out of the adlers. He was spooked, and going places, but I had him in the open and I knew he was my buck. 

He went past me at 15 yards, running in long, reaching bounds. I shot when he was broadside. The arrow made a good solid hit, but I saw that I’d failed to lead him enough. I’d aimed for the rib section but the arrow had flashed into his flank. 

I found out later the shot would have killed him anyway, likely within 100 yards. The four-bladed head had severed big arteries and was bedded against the hip bone. But I didn’t know that at the time. 

The only apparent effect of the shot was to slow him down. His long jumps changed to short, high hops. I sent another arrow after him before he’d gone 20 yards. It sailed over his back, a clean miss. 

He was going straight away from me, 40 yards off, when I loosed a third arrow. That sounds like fast shooting with a bow but my average time between shots is five seconds, and the buck lost a lot of his speed as a result of my first shot. 

I took a little more time with that third shot. It struck him in the back of the neck, just below the head, and he went down like a dishrag. When we dressed him we discovered the arrow had gone through the first vertebra behind the skull and had driven deep into the brain. No bullet ever killed a deer quicker. 

Bill and Vic came out of the brush in a few minutes, plainly disappointed and disgusted. They’d heard no shooting, of course, and I realized it hadn’t even occurred to them there could be a kill without gunfire. 

“See anything?” Vic asked with patient resignation. 

“Saw a cow moose and a buck,” I replied. “The moose swam the cove.”

“What happened to the deer?” 

“He went right through here,” I said, pointing. 

I let them take the lead, and they almost fell over the dead buck. 

“Well, I’ll be damned,” Vic muttered. Bill added, “No shooting or nothing.” It wasn’t lavish praise, but the way they said it made it about the biggest compliment I’d ever had on a hunting trip. 

Back at camp that night, however, I could see the two weren’t convinced that a bow was proper moose medicine. They’d witnessed a trial demonstration and were inclined to give me more credit than I deserved, but there’s a difference of something like 800 pounds between a moose and a deer, and to their way of thinking, killing a moose would require a far more lethal weapon. 

Knick and I voted to try the Arrow Lake country next morning. We’d seen plenty of moose sign there and also a couple of cows. It looked like a good bet. 

Knick and Bill left camp first but they loitered on the way down the Cedar, scouting for tracks, and Vic and I passed them. But five minutes after we paddled into the little lake they came out of the creek behind us—just in time for the show. 

Right then, with both canoes in plain sight, a moose showed up at the edge of the alders across the lake. We saw his antlers first, over the top of the brush, and then he waded into the water. I had my glasses on him before he took three steps. He was a big bull with a fine head. 

WHY HE DIDN’T spot us, I still don’t know. While our canoes were fairly close to shore and he was almost half a mile away, we had no cover. I didn’t think there was a chance we could cross to his side of the open lake unseen. But we had to try. 

Vic and I crouched low and drove our canoe with hard, noiseless strokes. Knick and Bill were close behind as we rounded the end of the lake. A brushy point now hid us from the moose, so Vic turned the canoe toward shore. I was out of it and into the alders before its bottom touched land. 

I brought the bowstring back to full draw and heard the sharp, satisfying twang as the arrow left it.

When I’d last seen the bull he was coming down the lake in our direction, walking slowly in shallow water about 25 yards offshore. There was a strong wind, blowing in my favor and making enough noise in the undergrowth to cover my movements. A few yards back in the brush I found a game trail running parallel to shore, and I followed it until I figured I was halfway to the moose. Then I took a branch trail down to the water. 

Unable to see more than a few yards along shore, I crouched at the edge of the alders and waited. Nothing happened for a minute or two, and I was sure the bull had heard me and turned back. But I squatted there patiently and listened. 

Then I heard him, splashing and grunting. Another five seconds and I caught sight of him through a hole in the bushes, 75 yards off. 

For an instant I was as near to buck fever as I’ve ever been. He looked as big as a boxcar, and I recalled what the Indian had said about my string-gun. Suppose he was right? That was a lot of moose bearing down on me. I wondered what he’d do when my arrow drove into him. Would he come crashing for shore and pound me to a pulp with his big hoofs? 

Then I took another look, sizing up his black bulk and his broad antlers, that shone like polished mahogany. They’d go 48 inches or better. I thought of Knick, Bill, and Vic back on the point, watching from the brush, waiting for my shot. 

My bow was up to it. Was I? 

IF THE MOOSE kept his course he’d pass in front of me about 20 yards away. I could take all the time I wanted, and at that range I could hardly miss. 

I found another opening in the brush and settled myself on one knee. I could no longer see him but I could hear him coming. Then his neck and shoulders filled the opening. I brought the bowstring back to full draw and heard the sharp, satisfying twang as the arrow left it. And I was on target. The feathers of the arrow suddenly sprouted out from the center of the bull’s rib section. 

“That ought to fix him,” I murmured to myself. 

The moose flinched and stiffened. For an instant he froze in his tracks. Then he whirled and lunged toward deeper water. But he made only three jumps before he stopped broadside to me. 

I had a second arrow on the string when he humped his back, stretched out his neck, and blew a red gush from both nostrils. I eased off my draw then, knowing he was done for. He turned toward shore, but his legs buckled and he went down. One arrow killed him before he’d moved twice his own length from the place where he stood when it hit him. 

We got ropes on him and towed him ashore. When we dressed him we found that my arrow had entered between two ribs, sliced through the lungs, cut off big blood vessels, and stopped when the head sheared off a rib on the opposite side. The moose was dead a minute after he was shot. That’s how a hunting arrow is supposed to kill. 

The Indian and his wife and the little boy turned up at camp about noon next day. Maybe they smelled meat. Anyway, they heard of our luck—perhaps via the moccasin telegraph. The kid was quiet, but both he and the old ones looked hungry. 

Read Next: Carmichel in Australia: Charged by a Backwater Buffalo

We had two moose tenderloins hanging in front of our tent. I took one down and gave it to the old fellow. He grinned from ear to ear, and the woman started to paw through the duffel piled under a tarp in the middle of their canoe. She came up with a faded sugar bag full of wild rice, and handed it to us. When they were making ready to leave the man saw my bow propped against a tree. He looked from it to the moose quarters hanging near by. “String-gun plenty big!” he grunted. 

It was Bill, the once-skeptical guide, who whooped a hearty “I’ll tell the world” back at him. Across the fire that night Vic put an interesting question to me. “How much would it cost me,” he asked, “to get a bow like yours?”

Read more OL+ stories.

The post Fred Bear’s First Moose Hunt, from the Archives appeared first on Outdoor Life.

Articles may contain affiliate links which enable us to share in the revenue of any purchases made.

The Best Hiking Pants of 2023 https://www.outdoorlife.com/gear/best-hiking-pants/ Wed, 30 Mar 2022 17:00:00 +0000 https://www.outdoorlife.com/?p=185206
A man on top of a mountain
Laura Lancaster

Elevate your outdoor adventures by investing in the best hiking pants

The post The Best Hiking Pants of 2023 appeared first on Outdoor Life.

A man on top of a mountain
Laura Lancaster

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More

Best Overall A pair of dark grey best hiking pants Royal Robbins Alpine Mountain Pro Pants SEE IT

Durable, water repellent, and highly functional.

Best Budget Green best hiking pants REI Co-op Savanna Trails Pants SEE IT

A lightweight, comfortable pant at a low price.

Most Comfortable Light blue best hiking pants prAna Halle Pant II SEE IT

A loose, comfortable fit that’s great for hot weather.

Anyone who has been caught in a rainstorm, had their inseam rip as they sat on a rock during a break, or been swarmed by mosquitoes when the wind died down can appreciate the importance of performance hiking pants. But choosing from so many different models, for everything from casual day hikes to climbing, can be confusing. We’ve picked the best hiking pants out of what’s available today to help narrow the field: 

How I Tested the Best Hiking Pants

The best hiking pants evaluated in this roundup—seven different pairs from five different brands—were worn on spring day hikes around the Pacific Northwest with at least 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Two testers, Adam Tycaster and Dave Vanderzee, were used for the men’s pants, both with years of experience hiking and backpacking on trips ranging from a single-day hike of the 17-mile Enchantments trail in Washington State to the Pacific Crest Trail. 

Conditions during testing varied from frosty mornings to unexpected showers to early summertime temperatures. Pants were evaluated on comfort, ease of movement, weight, fit, and skin feel. I also separately tested the pants for water absorption (to see how they would perform in heavy rain conditions) and ability to go from trail to post-trail beers. Another consideration was cross-over appeal—whether the pants in the test could be used for multiple activities or whether they would be appropriate for casual wear. Finally, I considered the functionality of each pants’ features (pockets, drawstrings, roll-up buttons).

The Best Hiking Pants: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Royal Robbins Alpine Mountain Pro Pants 

Royal Robbins


Key Features

  • Available in men’s and women’s styles
  • Sizing: up to 34.5-inch waist (W); 42-inch waist (M)
  • Weight: 11 ounces (W); 13.3 ounces (M)
  • Fabric: 88 percent polyester, 12 percent elastane
  • Closure: Snap-lock button, women’s version has an adjustable drawcord


  • Comfortable fit in a great cut that is a touch thicker than average
  • Durable 
  • Great pocket coverage
  • Made of recycled (88 percent polyester) plastic bottles


  • Lack of inseam sizing makes it hard to find the right length
  • No cuff adjustment
A person from the waist down walking in the woods wearing grey best hiking pants
These durable pants do it all. Laura Lancaster

The Alpine Mountain Pros do it all. They are rugged enough to tackle brambly trails with just the right amount of flexibility for some scrambling, and after a hard day on the trail they still look good enough to head out for a post-hike beer. The tight knit of the fabric was surprisingly durable given the materials used. But they also feel soft against my skin. I liked that these were a bit thicker on average than the other pants in this review, making them more versatile for shoulder season adventures.

The pockets on the women’s version of these pants were the best of any we tried: the front-hand pockets are deep enough to fit a smartphone, one of the back pockets has a zipper for added security, and there were two deep, thigh pockets that were virtually unnoticeable when empty. 

Best for Hot Weather: Free Fly Breeze Pant

Key Features

  • Available in men’s and women’s styles
  • Sizing: up to 37-inch waist (W); 47-inch waist (M)
  • Fabric: 86 percent polyester, 14 percent spandex
  • Closure: Pull on with elastic waistband (men’s version has a zipper)


  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Cooling
  • UPF 50


  • Limited protection from the elements in the event the weather turns

Hot weather can make a mess of even the most breathable material; it’s why you see so many hikers wearing shorts in the desert sections of long trails. But exposing your legs to the sun for hours at a time in intense heat of summer isn’t an option (or even desirable) for all people: fortunately, there is the Breeze series from Free Fly. On overnighters and casual day hikes in bright sunlight, these pants are comfortable in everything from early morning to midday heat.

Camping Gear photo
The Free Fly Breeze Pants are the perfect hiking pant to wear all day long in desert and other hot-weather climes. Orijin Media

In fact, they often feel cooler than shorts (especially if the wind isn’t delivering as much as you’d like it to) and are very quick drying. They’re rated to UPF 50, which is great for anyone with a sun sensitivity. I’ve also appreciated that they look great. I’m not tempted to switch out of them before heading for post-hike, and have even been known to keep them on throughout the rest of the day into the evening hours. If you’ve been looking for a full-coverage hiking pants option, then this is a great pick that will keep you cool and protected.

REI Co-op


Key Features

  • Available in women’s styles only
  • Sizing: Up to 42.5-inch waist
  • Weight: 8 ounces
  • Fabric: 94 percent nylon, 6 percent spandex
  • Closure: Button closure 


  • Lightweight, comfortable fit
  • Excellent at repelling water
  • Low price
  • Comes in plus sizes


  • Unflattering cut
  • Wrinkles easily

I’ve worn the REI Savanna Trails everywhere from southwestern canyons to shoulder-season slogs in the Cascade Range and these pants function as well, if not better, than other, more expensive picks. The high nylon content means they are quite durable—after several seasons of use, mine are none the worse for wear—while the stretchy fit of the spandex makes it easy to layer underneath when the weather turns chilly. These pants also repelled water better than much of the competition, making them a top pick for sunrise hikes with brushy sections. 

Unlike the other picks for best hiking pants we’ve tested, the Savannas come in both petite sizes and plus sizes, making it more likely that you’ll find something that works for you. The biggest ding is that the cut is quite baggy, and these pants run large compared to other picks on this list (size down if you’re between sizes). They are also more apt to hold onto wrinkles, which might be an annoyance if you are traveling off-grid for an extended period of time. 

Most Comfortable: prAna Halle Pant II



Key Features

  • Available in women’s styles only
  • Sizing: Up to 44-inch waist
  • Weight: 12.3 ounces
  • Fabric: 95 percent recycled nylon; 5 percent elastane
  • Closure: Double buttons with drawcord
  • The men’s Stretch Zion Pant II is the equivalent to the Halle collection


  • Loose, comfortable fit 
  • Rollup buttons helped create extra airflow on hot days
  • Uses recycled nylon
  • Comes in plus sizes


  • Right side-seam zip pocket was difficult to use and may be too small for some smartphones
  • Repels water less effectively than other pants in this test

I wore the prAna Halle Pant II on multiple hikes this spring and found them to be the most comfortable in our best hiking pants lineup. This was thanks to a soft knit and a loose cut that was also flattering. These pants also incorporated a roll-up cuff—which I prefer to the men’s style of convertible pants—which worked great when I had worked up a sweat and needed a bit more airflow.

In the water repellency test, these pants absorbed water more readily than the others we tested. These are not the pants we’d pick for a hike through morning dew–soaked brush. That said, their airy fit means that they are unlikely to hold sweat on hot days. 

The size and shape of the Halle Pant II’s right side-seam pocket perfectly fit my 5.7 inch x 2.7 inch smartphone—although it may be too small or a tight fit for larger models. The side zip entry helped keep the phone from jostling around while I hiked, but I had to stop to access the phone to prevent it from accidentally falling on the ground. 

Like the Savannas, these also come in plus sizes. The equivalent men’s pant is the Stretch Zion Pant II.



Key Features

  • Constructed with high stretch polyester fabric
  • Wicks and evaporates perspiration
  • Four, large, zippered pockets
  • Articulated knees and gusseted crotch
  • 18.5 ounces
  • 28- to 42-inch waist with inseam choices of regular, short, tall


  • Six pockets
  • Zippered hip vents
  • Thick durable material
  • Various colors, including camouflage
  • DWR treatment


  • Not meant for warmer temps
  • No expandable zippered cuff
  • Men’s only

Our tester, an Alaskan bush guide, wore the Kuiu Attack pants over 300 miles through gnarly terrain of thick alders, willows, wet boggy tundra, heavy snow, driving rain, and scree slopes. They went through the wash more than 20 times, and after all the abuse and miles of trailless terrain, these pants still look like the first day he received them. He praised the feel and comfort and that fact that they moved with him with the ideal amount of stretch, especially around the knees and crotch. The six pockets were more than enough to carry keys, a phone, and a wallet with the two back and two thigh pockets still zipping closed. All the zippers have long pulls, allowing you to easily open and close with gloves. When the weather turned to rain and snow, the pants had a long-lasting DWR coating that really pushed the moisture away and dried very quickly. When temps got a bit warmer, our tester loved the 10-inch hip side vent lined with mesh underneath, which was a perfect defense against swarming monster mosquitoes.  Both oversized front pockets (not zippered) were also vented for optional air flow.  If you are looking for a pant that is best for rough and tough terrain, these were made for those conditions. —Justin La Vigne

Best Lightweight: Mountain Hardwear Trail Sender Pant

Mountain Hardwear


Key Features

  • Extremely lightweight (6.3 ounces) and breathable
  • Very soft material (100 percent polyester)
  • UPF 50 fabric for UV rays
  • Tapered fit
  • Has a style that works on and off trail


  • Material moves with you
  • Deep front pockets
  • Zippered rear pocket, which fits phone
  • No belt loops to interfere with pack waist straps


  • Sizing is bit tight
  • No belt loops
  • Single snap at waist is small and challenging to snap the pants up
  • Only one rear pocket

Our Montana-based tester said the Trail Sender Pants are the lightest at 6.3 ounces and the most breathable model he has ever hiked in. The material has the feel of a high-thread count linen even though it is 100 percent polyester. The tapered cut through the thigh to calf was form-fitting, but not restrictive. The style was fitting for post-hike outings in civilization. Although without a zippered cuff, you cannot take these pants off without first removing your boots. The waist band has a drawstring for ultimate comfort and adjustment on the go, so there wasn’t really a need for an added belt. There are four pockets: two deep open ones on the front hips, one thigh, and a zippered one on the backside that fits a phone. These pants proved to be very stain resistant as our tester coated them in DEET multiple times, but they didn’t stain or wear down at all. Being so ultralight and breathable with UPF protection, they worked well for warmer weather, but also could be paired with a thermal bottom for cooler days. With a $79 regular price tag, these are a great option. And when they go on sale at $39, you definitely can’t go wrong! —Justin La Vigne

Best Cargo Pants: Outdoor Research Men’s Ferrosi Cargo Pants

Outdoor Research


Key Features 

  • Available in men’s sizes only
  • Sizing: Up to 42-inch waist
  • Weight: 11.25 ounces 
  • Fabric: 86 percent nylon, 14 percent spandex
  • Closure: Button closure with drawcord


  • Comfortable fit that is true to size
  • Protected against the cold on windy days
  • Rugged enough to withstand the trail


  • Front-facing cargo pockets sometimes got in the way of hiking
  • Button snaps were difficult to use on the go

I sent the Ferrosi hiking pants out with a tester on a six-mile out-and-back with 2,400 feet of elevation gain in eastern Washington State. They reported back that, like the other Ferrosi pants, the fabric of these pants felt light, but durable and true to size. Not only did these pants breathe well enough to prevent overheating on the hike up, but the tester reported that “the situation at the top of Umtanum Ridge was quite windy and these pants blocked the wind as effectively as a pair of rain pants.”

Rather than a belt, the Ferrosi has a drawstring at the waist to help users dial in that perfect fit. The one drawback to these pants is that the pockets are more forward-facing than usual, which got in the way on long uphill climbs. Those side pockets also incorporated snap buttons (rather than the zipper found at the back pocket), which felt less secure.



Key Features

  • Available in men’s styles only
  • Sizing: Up to 42-inch waist
  • Weight: 17 ounces
  • Fabric: 95 percent nylon; 5 percent spandex
  • Closure: Snap button closure


  • High placement of the convertible zippers meant they were never in the way while hiking
  • Zips at the cuff allow you to take off the lower legs without taking off your shoes
  • Durable, water-resistant fabric


  • No drawcords or attached belt at the waist

The tester for the Renegades was a convertible pants skeptic, at least until he took these out for a few spring day hikes. He reported back that during a hike up Tiger Mountain in Washington State’s Issaquah Alps they were easier to use than expected, mimicking the feel of non-convertible hiking pants when the lower section was attached and zipping off easily when he was ready to convert them. Whereas other convertible pants have a fit that is a hair too relaxed, the Renegades “felt surprisingly lightweight,” and were form-fitting without ever riding up on steep climbs. 

While the pocket placement on these has a traditional cargo style, they were slanted more toward the back of the leg, which kept them out of the way. One thing to note about these pants is that they don’t come with a built-in belt or a drawstring cord—something to keep in mind if you plan to size up to accommodate a base layer. The tester also noted that these ran small, so if you are in-between sizes or looking for a more relaxed fit, consider sizing up. 

Best for Trail to Town: Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Pants

Eddie Bauer


Key Features

  • DWR treatment
  • 94 percent nylon, 6 percent spandex
  • Stylish for on and off the trail


  • Durable with two-way stretch
  • Both men’s and women’s sizes
  • Wide array of sizes
  • Six pockets
  • UPF 50+ sun protection


  • No venting abilities
  • Velcroed back pockets
  • Stitching around front pockets coming undone

These pants can be found on sale for cheaper than the MSRP, making them very affordable. However, the Guide Pro pants don’t act or perform like the inexpensive price. Our tester wore these equally on trail and around town. The comfort, stretch, and feel kept him moving while logging over 200 miles through various terrain. There are six pockets: two open front pockets, two zippered thigh pockets, and two Velcro back pockets. He did note the Velcro back pockets are not practical, as they would open at times with a pack on and sometimes not line up when shut. And it seems after several months of use, the stitching around the pockets is coming undone. The SPF 50+ technology along with the DWR coat added a bonus level of protection. With that being said, he noticed they wetted out quicker than some of the other reviewed pants. The lined waistband does not only add comfort, but has odor controlling properties. Because these pants are made of a lightweight nylon/spandex blend, they can be worn on warmer days, although they do lack venting abilities. —Justin La Vigne

Read Next: The Best Hiking Underwear for Women of 2023

Things to Consider Before Buying Hiking Pants

Five best hiking pants laying on the ground
From left to right: KÜHL Freeflex Roll-up Pant, Helly Hansen Rask Softshell Pant, REI Co-op Savanna Trail Pants, prAna Halle Pant II, Royal Robbins Alpine Mountain Pro Pants. Laura Lancaster


Most hiking pants are made from nylon and/or polyester, with spandex or elastane for stretch. Some also incorporate specialty fibers like hemp or Tencel, a type of rayon made from wood fibers. One material that is virtually never seen in the best hiking pants is cotton, due to its tendency to retain moisture. 

Bug Protection

In general, pants made from nylon—especially ripstop nylon—will do a better job at keeping bugs (including mosquitoes) away from your skin than polyester. But, if you live in a place where the mosquito is recognized as the official state bird, then you should treat your hiking clothes with permethrin for an additional defense. Some clothing manufacturers now sell hiking pants with permethrin pre-applied which has the added bonus of lasting for additional washings over self application. 


There can be huge variation between the pockets on men’s and women’s pants, with the men’s pants having adequate to (sometimes) excessive pocket coverage, while some of the women’s pants aren’t cut out to carry much more than some chapstick. In this review, if I’ve commented on pocket coverage, I’ll clarify which version of the pants were tested (the women’s picks in this roundup all have adequate to great pocket coverage), but it’s worth double-checking the manufacturer website to ensure the style you are purchasing has the coverage you need.


Q: Do I need hiking pants?

Plenty of people don’t use hiking pants—opting instead for leggings, running shorts, or even jeans—but there are a few reasons why hiking pants are worth the investment. As anyone who lives in tick country knows, long pants are essential for avoiding serious illnesses like Lyme disease. Similarly, while many women hike in leggings, I’ve found that mosquitoes are quite adept at biting through the thin fabric. Jeans, well—we’ve all hiked in jeans at one time or another. But the reality is that in a surprise squall or misstep in a creek could leave your jeans wet and chafing you all the way back to the trailhead. The best hiking pants are a worthwhile investment if you plan to go out on day hikes more than a couple of times per year. 

Q: How much do the best hiking pants cost?

Hiking pants can cost anywhere from $50 to $200 or more, with the higher range dominated by more technical hiking pants, suited for off-trail scrambles. 

Q: What is the best fabric for hiking pants? 

Hiking pants are typically made out of a combination of nylon and/or polyester (for durability) and spandex (for stretch). When looking at pants made from nylon and polyester (which are partially derived from oil and may introduce microplastics), we recommend steering toward ones with a high percentage of recycled fibers, like our best overall pick, the Royal Robbins Alpine Pro Pants

A woman walking through the woods wearing brown best hiking pants
prAna Halle II are idea for warm-weather hiking. Laura Lancaster

Why Trust Outdoor Life?

Since 1898, OL has been a leading authority in testing and reviewing hunting gear, fishing tackle, guns and shooting equipment, and much more. We have more than a century-long history of evaluating products, and we’re now bringing that expertise to online reviews. Our editors are experienced outdoorsmen and women, and most importantly, we’re trained journalists. We prioritize field testing and objective data when reviewing products. We conduct interviews with gear manufacturers and engineers as well as outdoor experts so that our readers have an understanding of how and why a product works—or doesn’t.

Advertising does not influence our gear reviews and it never will. While we always focus our coverage on standout products—because we want our readers to be aware of the latest and greatest gear—we also cover the flaws and quirks of any given product.

Final Thoughts

Companies like Outdoor Research, Patagonia, prAna, Columbia, KÜHL, Arc’teryx, Mountain Hardwear, and Fjallraven have spent years perfecting the best hiking pants, and the efforts show. Most hiking pants available for purchase today will function in a wide range of environments, and protect you from sun, bugs, rain, and wind. Hone in on the details that matter most to you (durability? pockets? comfort?) before making a final selection. 

Read Next: Best Hiking Backpacks

The post The Best Hiking Pants of 2023 appeared first on Outdoor Life.

Articles may contain affiliate links which enable us to share in the revenue of any purchases made.

The Best Bow Quivers of 2023 https://www.outdoorlife.com/gear/best-bow-quivers/ Thu, 22 Sep 2022 16:12:14 +0000 https://www.outdoorlife.com/?p=214204
The redline RL-1 is attached to the bow.
P.J. Reilly

We review light, silent, and low-profile quivers

The post The Best Bow Quivers of 2023 appeared first on Outdoor Life.

The redline RL-1 is attached to the bow.
P.J. Reilly

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More

Best Overall The Redline RL-1 Carbon Quiver 6-Arrow is the best overall. Redline RL-1 Carbon Quiver 6-Arrow SEE IT
Best Fixed The TightSpot Pivot 2.5 Right Hand Quiver is the best detachable. TightSpot Pivot 2.5 2-piece SEE IT
Best Budget The Kwikee Kwiver Lite-4 is the best budget quiver. Kwikee Kwiver Lite-4 SEE IT

The arrow quiver is one of those pieces of gear that bowhunters generally don’t think about too much. Until it’s a problem. The job of the quiver is pretty simple: carry arrows. That’s it. That’s all it does.

And often times, bowhunters simply look for the cheapest quiver they can find, or one that best matches their bow to complete a killer look. They don’t always pay attention to the working parts of the quiver that earn its keep when the heat is on.

So what do you want in a quiver? You want one that holds your arrows firmly in place, protects you from your broadheads, stays quiet, doesn’t stick out awkwardly, and, of course, looks cool.

Lancaster Archery Supply carries just about every hunting quiver on the market—certainly all the major players in the game. I get the chance to see, touch, and feel all of these quivers as they arrive in inventory, so I know them all pretty well. But in trying to find the best hunting quivers for this article, I took some extra steps to test nearly two dozen quivers.

I put arrows in the grippers and broadheads in the hoods to see how they hold. For the bow-mounted models, I mounted them on my bows to study their profiles and effect on balance, and I took shots to listen for any noise caused by vibrating parts—the coal-mine canary of bad bow quivers.

Combining that knowledge and testing, I came up with the following picks for best hunting quivers in the following categories:

The Best Bow Quivers: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Nock On Checkmate

Key Features

  • 19 inches long, made of high-modulus carbon and aluminum
  • Curved hood for wind deflection
  • Simple, fast quick disconnect
  • Holds five arrows, plus a bonus arrow
  • Low-profile design
  • Deep, protective hood with durable, dense rubber
  • Can be adjusted up and down and left and right for perfect balance
  • Holds arrows from micro-diameter up to 23 diameter
  • Retractable hanging hook


  • Can be used on the bow or be quickly detached
  • Totally silent in all uses
  • Rubber arrow gripper has separate notches to hold the skinniest arrows up to 23 diameter
  • Curved hood helps cut through the wind
  • Includes a one-arrow holder on the bow mount, so if you remove the quiver for hunting, you have a follow-up arrow always at the ready


  • Expensive
Bow Hunting Gear photo
The author found the Checkmate to be silent in use. P.J. Reilly

The Nock On Checkmate is John Dudley’s latest contribution to the archery world. He sat down and thought about every feature he’d like to see in a quiver, and then he built that quiver.

The Checkmate is 19 inches long, and made of high-modulus carbon and aluminum. The hood is 2.5 inches deep and filled with rubber foam to hold nearly any broadhead on the market securely. Also, the hood is curved to help deflect side winds so they don’t affect the bowhunter as much as if it were flat. And it’s got a retractable ring on the back that can be pulled up for hanging the quiver in a tree stand.

The lower arrow gripper has two notches in each arrow seat to accommodate super skinny or fatter hunting arrows. One of those grippers points directly back at the archer to allow for the fast rear deployment of one of the arrows.

Bow Hunting Gear photo
The single arrow gripper allows you to remove your quiver and still have an arrow ready to go. P.J. Reilly

The bow mount features a quick-detach system. Lift a lever, and the quiver slides out. Push the quiver into the receiver and push the lever down, and the quiver is locked in place.

And that bow mount includes two arrow grippers to hold a single arrow. So let’s say you detach your quiver while hunting in a tree stand. You can load one arrow in those grippers, so you’ve always got a follow-up arrow at the ready.

The quiver can be adjusted up and down and in and out to get it to sit exactly where you want it for perfect balance on your bow.

Read Next: Best Trail Cameras

Best Budget: Octane Furnace 4-Arrow Quiver

Key Features

  • Detachable, one-piece quiver
  • Deep hood with thick foam for seating broadheads
  • Dual arrow grippers in addition to the hood
  • Quickly detaches
  • Holds four arrows


  • Costs less than $35
  • Securely locks arrow in place with three connection points
  • Adjustable height to get the quiver in the right place on your bow
  • Quick-detach is fast and easy to use
  • Holds arrows of varying diameters


  • The foam in the hood will break up over time
  • Won’t stand up to much abuse
Bow Hunting Gear photo
The Octane four-arrow quiver gets the job done for under $35. P.J. Reilly

Not everyone wants to—or can afford to—spend $100 or more on a bow quiver. Some bowhunters just want the least expensive option for holding arrows securely. The Octane Furnace does that.

It’s a four-arrow quiver with two carbon rods connecting the hood to two arrow grippers. With three connection points, arrows are going to stay put. And the grippers will securely hold the most popular hunting arrow shaft sizes.

The attachment point on the quiver slides up and down so you can seat the quiver at the height you want on your bow. That connection point pops in and out of the quick-detach base that’s mounted to the bow. A lever holds the two parts together and then releases them from one another when you want to remove the quiver.

The hood is 3 inches deep and filled with foam for seating broadheads. You can remove the foam when using field points or mechanicals that you don’t want to sink into the foam.

This quiver isn’t built to handle serious abuse, which is one of the reasons it is so inexpensive. But just pay a little attention to what you do with it, and it will last for many years – especially for tree stand and ground blind hunters who simply carry their bows from the truck to their hunting sites.

Redline RL-1 Carbon Quiver 6-Arrow



Key Features

  • 20 inches long, yet only weighs 9.7 ounces
  • All carbon rods
  • Simple, yet secure, quick disconnect
  • Holds six arrows
  • Low profile design
  • Deep, protective hood with rubber lining and dedicated broadhead seats
  • Can be adjusted so quiver top stays below top limb and arrows don’t extend beyond bottom limb


  • You can slide the quiver forward or back to get it balanced on the bow
  • No rattling when you carry your bow or when shooting
  • Rubber arrow gripper holds shafts securely
  • Long design is great for securing arrows to the bow
  • Quick disconnect is fast and easy


  • The dedicated seats for broadheads are great for expandables and three-blade fixed broadheads, but they’re not ideal for broadheads with two large blades.

The Redline RL-1 Carbon Quiver is a six-arrow quiver measuring 20 inches long, but only weighing 9.7 ounces, thanks to all the carbon in its construction. There’s an identical, 3-arrow version that weighs 6.5 ounces if you want to cut even more weight. Redline is a new player in the compound accessory market, but the people behind the company have tons of experience. This quiver is a great example of the Redline goal, which is to produce quality gear at a fair price. This quiver isn’t cheap, but it’s not over-the-top expensive either.

The Redline RL-1 secures arrows with a gripper in the lower third.
The Redline RL-1 secures arrows with a gripper in the lower third. P.J. Reilly

The long design is a fairly new trend in quivers. I like it. With arrow shafts secured in grippers in the lower third and at the tip, they feel more secure than when you’re using a shorter quiver that grips them in the upper half of the shafts. 

The Redline RL-1 features protective rubber broadhead seats.
The Redline RL-1 features protective rubber broadhead seats. P.J. Reilly

The RL-1 has great rubber broadhead seats inside the hood that work well with any expandables and with three-blade, fixed heads. As I mentioned, big two-blade fixed heads won’t sit as neatly, but they’ll still be secured. 

If you want to take the quiver off when you’re up in the tree stand, there’s a simple, metal lever that you raise about 3 inches and then you slide the quiver straight back. It’s super secure and super quiet.

The features of this quiver are all great, but it vaulted to the top of my list when I put it on my Mathews V3X 33 and shot with it attached. It was whisper quiet, which is important. But what I didn’t expect was how well it allowed me to hold the bow. I was rock steady with the RL-1 on my bow with 4 arrows in the quiver. I held even steadier with it on than I did with it off. I’m sure it’s because I was able to slide the quiver straight back toward me. With a slotted mounting bracket, you can pull this quiver back toward you a good bit farther than you can basically any other quiver. So instead of it sitting parallel to the riser, it can sit parallel to the cables and string.

So the RL-1 is a well-made, lightweight, quiet quiver that holds arrows securely, and can be quickly detached, or balances the bow nicely if you choose to shoot with it on. That’s the quiver grand slam.

Best Detachable: Conquest Talon

Conquest Archery


Key Features

  • Unique, spring-loaded claws grip the mounting bracket
  • Considered a five-arrow quiver, but it’s got two extra spots on the back side that allow storage of two more for a seven-arrow total capacity
  • Rubber lining in the hood
  • Grips arrow shafts in two places, and has point seats in the hood
  • Comes with two sets of arrow grippers—one for standard hunting arrows and one for micro-diameter
  • Rope tree-loop on the top for hanging in the stand


  • The claw that you squeeze to remove the quiver is unique and ridiculously easy to maneuver
  • Ridiculously lightweight
  • Dual shaft grippers hold arrows still and quiet at the shot
  • Adjustable up and down to get your arrows where you want them on the bow
  • Holds seven arrows
  • Costs under $90


  • The point seats in the hood are round rubber cups, which I’m not a big fan of for holding broadheads

The Conquest Talon is the only quiver made by Conquest Archery, which is known more for its stabilizers. It’s lightweight, at just 9 ounces, and features dual, rubber shaft grippers, which is unusual for a 13-inch quiver. But those 2 grippers—plus the point seats inside the hood—ensure your arrow isn’t going anywhere until you pull one out.

You can adjust the quiver up and down on the twin, carbon support rods, and then lock it in place so it stays put where you want it. But the main feature of this quiver is the quick disconnect. No other quiver on the market has a disconnect like the Talon.

The Conquest Talon features a unique and speedy claw-like disconnect.
The Conquest Talon features a unique and speedy claw-like disconnect. P.J. Reilly

Essentially, it’s a claw that grabs hold of the mounting block on the riser. The claws are held in place by spring-loaded arms. Squeeze those arms and the claws release the mount block. You can easily pluck this quiver off the bow with one hand in a second.

To be perfectly honest, the Conquest Talon wasn’t on my radar as I was doing my initial research for this article. I had done a video on it two years ago when it came out and hadn’t paid much attention to it since. I saw it in the Lancaster Archery Supply Pro Shop and remembered the unique, quick-disconnect.

The Conquest Talon is on the bow.
The Conquest Talon attaches to the bow simply but effectively. P.J. Reilly

At first glance, it seems like there’s no way the quiver claw that grabs the mounting block would have enough force to keep the quiver from rattling. But it does. And the quick disconnect operates simpler and faster than any other I tested.

Best Fixed: TightSpot Pivot 2.5 2-piece



Key Features

  • Broadhead hood and arrow gripper are two separate pieces that are attached individually to the bow
  • Multiple included connectors fit just about any compound bow
  • Pivoting rods that allow the quiver to transform so it’s always vertical, regardless of the bow
  • Screw-in arrow blocks that allow the individual arrow grippers to adjust for fat or skinny arrows
  • Durable, solid foam block in the hood secures fixed or mechanical broadheads
  • Holds five arrows


  • Can be adjusted to fit nearly all compound bows
  • Once set and fitted with arrows, it’s solid
  • No audible extra noise added to the bow at the shot
  • Hood foam is deep and locks broadheads in place


  • I couldn’t tighten the bolt enough on the lower half of my test quiver to solidly lock down that piece. Once arrows were in it, however, it didn’t move.

The TightSpot Pivot 2.5 2-Piece Quiver is an adjustable quiver that can be permanently attached to just about any compound bow in a variety of configurations. Some bowhunters prefer quivers that are not detachable, because the quivers designed to attach and detach often are the ones prone to rattle when walking and shooting.

The TightSpot Pivot affixed to bow.
The TightSpot Pivot includes an independent hood and arrow gripper to mount at varying connection points. P.J. Reilly

The top half—hood—and the bottom half—arrow gripper—of this quiver are bolted onto the riser of a bow independently. TightSpot includes multiple hardware pieces to match the varying connection points across the spectrum of compound bows on the market. Once attached to the riser, the Pivot earns its name from the adjustable rods that can be maneuvered so the quiver stands vertically on any bow. And the rods telescope so you can extend or reduce the distance between the gripper and the hood. You can also push the quiver in toward the riser to produce a slim profile, or pull it out away if you need to work around other accessories.

Screws mounted in rubber wedges between the individual arrow grippers can be driven in, or backed out, which compresses or opens the grippers to accommodate arrows of different diameters. With the wedges screwed all the way in, they’ll firmly hold 4mm shafts. Backed out, you can load 23-diameter shafts without a problem.

The soft foam that fills the hood is my favorite kind of foam for broadheads. No, it isn’t as durable as harder rubber seats in the hoods of other quivers, but it holds broadheads in place better than any other material. And as long as you seat your broadheads in the same holes in the foam every time you load your quiver, the foam will last for many years.

Kwikee Kwiver Lite-4



Key Features

  • Detachable, one-piece quiver
  • Deep hood with thin, solid rubber padding inside and guide holes for arrow tips
  • Strong arrow gripper will hold skinny and normal diameter hunting arrows
  • Can be locked in with an included bolt
  • Lightweight at 8.4 ounces
  • Holds four arrows


  • Costs $30
  • With the Ultra-Lock bolt in place, it’s super quiet
  • Actic-2 arrow holder remains pliable in freezing weather
  • Easily detaches without the Ultra-Lock bolt
  • Even large fixed-blade broadheads are totally enclosed in the hood


  • Without the Ultra-Lock bolt, it has a faint rattle
  • With the bolt in place, detaching is not as fast as without it
  • Arrows extend below the bottom cam

The Kwikee Kwiver Lite-4 was going to make my list somehow because it’s one of the rare pieces of compound bow equipment that has remained virtually unchanged for more than three decades. I can think of no other piece of compound gear that hasn’t morphed over the years to change the way it functions or the way it looks. With that kind of longevity without transformation, you know The Kwikee Kwiver Lite-4 works.

This is a one-piece, detachable quiver that holds four arrows. Arrows are held about a third of the way down the shaft by the rubber Arctic 2 gripper, which doesn’t turn to rock when it’s cold outside.

The hood has a thin, solid-rubber lining with guide holes in the top to receive arrow points. Those holes combined with the gripper hold arrows pretty snugly in place.

The quick-detach bracket employed by the Kwikee Lite-4 is the same as it’s always been. There’s a metal leaf with a red plastic top that you pull back to insert the quiver. When the quiver is seated, the leaf springs back into place and the red top then holds the quiver down.

To get the quiver completely silent, you’ll need the Ultra-Lock bolt, which mounts through the center of the quiver arm and pins it to the bracket. It’s easy enough to unscrew it to detach the quiver, but it takes extra time. Without that bolt, the quiver does rattle a bit at the shot.

The Kwikee Kwiver Lite-4 affixed to bow.
The Kwikee Kwiver Lite-4 affixes to the riser in an unusual position. P.J. Reilly

Where the Kwikee Lite-4 sits on the riser is both good and bad. The quiver sits kind of in the middle of the bow, while others usually sit higher. This lower position causes arrows 27 inches and longer to extend below the bottom cam on most bows, which means the nocks are constantly digging into the dirt if you rest your bow on the bottom cam. But that low position allows your bow to balance better during a shot. It doesn’t make the bow top heavy, like some other quivers.

Best Traditional: Selway Slide-On Recurve Quiver



Key Features

  • Two-piece design
  • Slides over limbs
  • Hood is solid leather with thick, trad stitching
  • Foam insert inside the hood is deep to receive those big traditional broadheads
  • Lower, rubber gripper securely holds five arrows
  • Fits recurve bows with limbs 1.5-2 inches wide


  • Can be adjusted up and down on the limbs to hold arrows of any length
  • The ends twist to get the orientation of both halves so they hold arrows parallel to the bow
  • Easy to install
  • Looks super traditional


  • Not the most secure-fitting quiver

The Selway Slide-On Recurve Quiver tells you exactly what it is in the name. It’s a two-piece quiver that slides onto recurve bows. Each half slides onto a limb. 

Assembly is simple. Remove the bowstring and slide the hood over the upper limb tip and down toward the riser. Slide the arrow gripper over the lower limb tip and up toward the riser. Position the two halves anywhere to hold your arrows accordingly. The two pieces fit fairly snugly, so long as the limbs are 1.5-2 inches wide. Of course, they fit the 2-inch limbs more snugly than the 1.5-inch.

The Selway hood features a foam interior.
The Selway hood features a foam interior. P.J. Reilly

The hand-stitched leather hood is what makes this quiver so trad. It looks cool and forms the perfect container for my favorite broadhead-holding foam. Stuff a big, 135-grain Zwickey two-blade into this foam and it’s not going anywhere, nor is it cutting anyone accidentally.

With its all-rubber contact points, the Selway is nice and quiet on the bow at the shot. Even though it might be a bit loose on the limbs as compared to a bolt-on quiver, there’s nothing metal to rattle and make noise.  

Having arrows in the quiver actually makes it more secure on the bow because arrows connect the halves to one another. And it holds those arrows within easy reach in case a follow-up shot is needed fast—a not-so-infrequent issue traditional bowhunters face.

Like I said. The Selway Slide-On functions great. What seals its crown as the best traditional quiver is its looks. It’s trad through and through.

Best Hip Quiver: Vista Knight

P.J. Reilly


Why It Made the Cut

It’s one of the only hip quivers designed to hold broadheads left on the market. It’s well made, looks good and has my favorite type of broadhead foam.

Key Features

  • Stunning leather construction
  • Sturdy rubber arrow grippers
  • Thick hood foam to secure broadheads
  • Belt loop
  • Intended for wearing only on the right side
  • Leather thigh lashes


  • Stows arrows right on your hip for quick loading into your bow
  • Leather construction and foam in the hood protect you from razor-sharp broadheads
  • Lashed to your thigh, the quiver moves with your leg as you stalk
  • Rubber shaft grippers hold arrows securely


  • Not ideal for tree stand or ground blind hunting
  • Arrows are more exposed to brush while stalking and can get pried out of the quiver easier than arrows attached to a bow
The Vista Knight features a foam interior.
The Vista Knight features rubber arrow grippers and a foam interior for storing broadheads. P.J. Reilly

The Vista Knight Hunting Quiver is a stylish, leather quiver that holds five arrows. It’s 12 inches long by 8.5 inches across and has a loop that connects to a belt worn around your waist. It’s also got leather lashes so you can tie the bottom of the quiver to your thigh. The arrow shafts are held in place by rubber grippers at the top, while the broadhead-tipped points are buried in thick foam inside the hood. 

That foam inside the hood is what separates the Vista Knight from most other hip quivers on the market. Those are designed primarily for arrows tipped with field points, and therefore intended more so for target archery than hunting. Such quivers are no good for broadheads.

Hip quivers used to be quite popular among bowhunters many years ago, but have fallen out of favor in more recent times. That’s probably why there are very few options for hunting hip quivers today. Now, you’re probably most likely to see traditional archers using such a quiver.

But they’re great for spot and stalk hunts. With the lashes tied to your thigh, this quiver moves with your body, holding arrows ready for action right on your hip, sort of like a Western six-shooter. If you have to crawl on your belly, you undo the lashes and shove the quiver around your belt to your back.

Mathews and Hoyt Quivers

Mathews and Hoyt are two bow manufacturers that have cultivated dedicated fan bases that love to fly the manufacturers’ flags. Die-hard Mathews and Hoyt owners will have as many Mathews and Hoyt accessories on their bows as they can get, including quivers. If you’re part of this crowd and you have a Mathews Phase 4, you’re just not going to put a Redline or TighSpot quiver on your bow, even though they will fit.

Fortunately for Mathews and Hoyt owners, their manufacturers both make quality quivers. We are giving them their own category because these quivers only fit the bows they’re named for. So they’re no good to owners of bows that don’t say “Mathews” or “Hoyt.” But if your bow does bear one of those names, these are the quivers for you.

Mathews LowPro Detachable Quiver

The LowPro is a five-arrow, quick-detach quiver that follows the Mathews’s overall bow design of creating a skinny bow profile. They’ve got the integrate rest mount and the Bridge-Lock cutouts for mounting a sight and stabilizer – all in the name of slimming down the bow. So they need a quiver that keeps that vibe going.

Bow Hunting Gear photo
The LowPro sits tight to the bow. P.J. Reilly

The LowPro features a single carbon rod and attaches to the bow via connections at the top of the quiver and the bottom. A simple press lever at the bottom locks it in place. Lift the lever, and the quiver easily detaches.

The hood is deep and filled with a pliable foam that holds broadheads firmly. And with the hood and lower arrow gripper 20 inches apart, the quiver holds arrows in place more securely and quietly than shorter quivers. You can set your bow on the ground – quiver side down – and not worry about arrows bending or breaking.

It’s a quiver that’s quiet, very functional, low profile, and which will appeal to the Mathews fans who just gotta have all the Mathews accessories.

Read Next: Mathews Phase 4 Review

Mathews Arrow Web HD Quiver



The Arrow Web isn’t Mathews’ latest quiver, but it is the quiver that will fit the most Mathews bows. And it’s been around for many years because it’s well-made. Available in four-arrow or six-arrow versions, the Arrow Web mounts to Mathews bows via a one-of-a-kind connection.

There’s a metal piece shaped like the letter “C” that gets bolted to a unique-shaped recess built into Mathews risers. The quiver then has two metal posts on it. The top one gets seated in a cup on the mounting bracket and the lower one pivots over a raised finger before seating into its own cup.

Now that connection keeps the quiver seated solidly. It, plus harmonic dampeners in the quiver and the mounting bracket keep this quiver ultra-quiet if you choose to shoot with it attached to the bow. But if you press down on that finger on the lower attachment point on the bracket, the quiver can quickly be detached if you like to remove it in the tree stand or ground blind.

The hood space is generous and it’s filled with a rubbery pad that broadheads sink into for nearly total encasement. The arrow grippers easily accommodate standard or micro diameter hunting arrows.

Hoyt Carbon Superlite Stretch



The Carbon Superlite Stretch is another one of those long quivers, measuring 20 inches. Again, I like that length for stability holding the arrows in place. You can shoot your bow with this quiver attached, or it can quickly be detached at its two mounting points.

The unique feature of the Carbon Superlite Stretch is its adjustability. You can adjust the quiver up or down so the arrows sit on your bow the way you want. And you can also adjust it toward or away from the riser to navigate around other accessories. And if you’re using a Hoyt integrate arrow rest and the Hoyt picatinny mount for your sight, you can pull the Carbon Superlite Stretch insanely tight against the riser for an extremely low profile.

What to Consider When Buying a Quiver

Choosing a hunting quiver doesn’t need to be a long, drawn-out process. If you do your homework and know what you want, you should be able to pick one out in short order.

The process starts with deciding if you want the quiver to be detachable or not. Think how you hunt and where you hunt, and that decision should be simple. Of course, if you’re not sure, then go with detachable, because you can always simply leave that quiver attached.

Study how different quivers attach to a bow. If there’s going to be noise, this is where it’s going to start. You want the connection to be snug—immovable if possible. 

If the quiver is detachable, how does the detach system work? You might be detaching and attaching in the dark, so you don’t want a quiver that requires fine motor skills to put it on or take it off your bow.

Like you’d do buying a car, look under the hood. How does a certain quiver hold arrow points? You want your points held firmly in place to keep them from rattling loose. In my opinion, hoods filled with foam/rubber are the most secure.

Check the arrow grippers. You want them to be pliable, so arrows can slip in and out easily, but you don’t want them to be flimsy, or the arrows will vibrate loose. Pliable, sturdy arrow grippers are best. 

Overall, how well does the quiver hold your arrows? If you hold a quiver that locks arrows in place and one that allows them to move around, you will feel the difference. 

Choose the quiver that holds the number of arrows you want to take with you on bowhunts and fits your budget, and you’re all set.


Q: What arrow capacity is best for a quiver?

There are quivers out there that hold two arrows and quivers that hold 10, believe it or not. The two-arrow quiver is going to be super light. The 10-arrow quiver is certain to have some heft. Arrows are the bowhunter’s ammunition. Ideally, you’ll only need one arrow to close the deal on a bowhunt. But it’s always good to have backups. And if you’re on a hunt where multiple species are fair game, you want to be prepared for the best-case scenario of filling all your tags in a single outing. Or if you’re heading to the backcountry for a week, you want to have plenty of ammunition to get you through the week, in case your shooting isn’t on point.

Realistically, I can recall five hunts in 30 years of bowhunting where I used two or more arrows. There was one time when I used all five. I got the buck. Don’t ask why I needed five shots. How many arrows do you need to carry to feel prepared? How much weight are you willing to haul on your bow to achieve that feeling? Answer those questions and you can pick your quiver capacity.

Q: Fixed or detachable?

After arrow capacity, this is probably the leading question bowhunters have when considering a new quiver. It’s your choice, but here are the relevant factors pertaining to each type.

Fixed-position quivers are generally going to be sturdier when mounted on the bow than detachables. That might be important if you tend to be rough with your bows, or if you’re stalking through heavy cover. Fixed quivers tend to be quieter when shooting because they aren’t made to be removed. But that was more evident 20 years ago than it is today. There are some seriously quiet detachables made today.

With fixed-position quivers, you need to get used to having that weight on the bow while shooting. If you practice all year without a quiver on, and then attach one the day before hunting season, the weight change will be abrupt.

Detachables are generally associated with tree stand and ground blind hunting, because those bowhunters get to a spot and then don’t move. You can take your quiver off the bow, and still have arrows within quick reach.

Q: How much do quivers cost?

Hunting quivers range in cost from $20 up to $250. Generally, you can count on the higher-end quivers to be quieter, sturdier and lighter. 
Remember, the job of a quiver is simple. It carries your arrows. But when it doesn’t do that job correctly or quietly, you’ll curse it. Consider that when you weigh how much you want to spend.

Final Thoughts

Bowhunting quivers aren’t sexy. They aren’t meant to be sexy. You don’t usually hear bowhunters waxing poetic about how much they love their quiver. You want it to do its job and never have to think about it. Pick the right one, and that’s exactly what you’ll get.

The post The Best Bow Quivers of 2023 appeared first on Outdoor Life.

Articles may contain affiliate links which enable us to share in the revenue of any purchases made.

1,000-Pound Tiger Shark Should Smash Alabama Record https://www.outdoorlife.com/fishing/alabama-record-tiger-shark/ Mon, 24 Jul 2023 17:14:18 +0000 https://www.outdoorlife.com/?p=254282
alabama record tiger shark
The team of anglers caught the shark on their way back to the weigh-in. via Facebook

The giant tiger shark turned heads at this year's Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo

The post 1,000-Pound Tiger Shark Should Smash Alabama Record appeared first on Outdoor Life.

alabama record tiger shark
The team of anglers caught the shark on their way back to the weigh-in. via Facebook

It took Brett Rutledge nearly an hour to boat one of the biggest sharks in Alabama history on July 22. While competing with a team of anglers in the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, Rutledge hauled in a tiger shark weighing roughly 1,019 pounds.

If the catch holds up to scrutiny by the state, Rutledge’s tiger shark will set a new Alabama record for the species. The current state-record tiger shark, according to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, weighed 988 pounds. It was caught near Gulf Shores by angler Larry Eberly in 1990.

“We caught seven sharks this morning, and this happened to the biggest,” Rutledge told Fox-10 News over the weekend. “I’m excited … and if it does hold, it will be a new state record, so that would be cool.”

No official length measurement was available, but judging from the photo of the anglers standing beside it, the tiger shark appeared to be well over 10 feet long. It also had some tremendous girth, along with a huge, blunt-nosed head that’s typical of big tigers.

Spud Marshall, who was fishing with Rutledge during the tournament, said they caught the shark while trolling. It turned a tough day of tournament fishing into one for the record books.

Read Next: Watch: Shark Drags Fisherman Overboard in Florida Everglades

“It was a fight, but we got it,” Marshall told reporters. “We went out to catch swordfish, but the bite just wasn’t happening. So, on our way in we decided to set some lures out, and we caught it on the way in.”

This year marks the 90th annual Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo. Billed as “the largest fishing tournament in the world,” the three-day event brings in over 3,000 anglers each year. It’s located on Dauphin Island where Mobile Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico.   

The world-record tiger shark was caught by Kevin Clapson on in March, 2004 near Ulladulla, Australia. Its official weight was 1,785 pounds, 11 ounces.

The post 1,000-Pound Tiger Shark Should Smash Alabama Record appeared first on Outdoor Life.

Articles may contain affiliate links which enable us to share in the revenue of any purchases made.

Woman Found Dead in Apparent Grizzly Attack Outside Yellowstone https://www.outdoorlife.com/survival/woman-killed-in-yellowstone-grizzly-bear-attack/ Mon, 24 Jul 2023 16:26:45 +0000 https://www.outdoorlife.com/?p=254220
grizzly bear with cub in Yellowstone
Investigators have yet to find any bears in the area. Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

Investigators found tracks consistent with one adult bear and at least one cub near the woman's body

The post Woman Found Dead in Apparent Grizzly Attack Outside Yellowstone appeared first on Outdoor Life.

grizzly bear with cub in Yellowstone
Investigators have yet to find any bears in the area. Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

Updated July 24, 10:26 pm: A woman who was killed by a grizzly bear near West Yellowstone, Montana on the morning of July 22 has been identified as 48-year-old Amie Adamson of Derby, Kansas, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office confirms in a Facebook post.

Adamson was working in the Yellowstone area at the time and was on the Buttermilk trail when the grizzly attacked her in what GCSO is calling a non-predatory manner. The avid runner was likely jogging at the time of the attack and was only a few hundred yards from the trailhead, ABC News reports. There was no evidence of the offending grizzlies consuming or attempting to consume the victim.

Adamson was a longtime English teacher and published author who quit her job in 2015 to hike across the country. No stranger to spending time outdoors, she wrote the book Walking Out: One Teacher’s Reflections on Walking Out of the Classroom to Walk America. Officials have set bear traps in the area for the third night in a row since the incident in hopes of catching the grizzlies.

A hiker discovered a woman’s body on the Buttermilk Trail near West Yellowstone on the morning of July 22. Tracks, wounds, and the location of the incident are consistent with a grizzly bear kill, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks reports.

FWP game wardens were notified of the body at around 8 a.m. on Saturday. Wardens, bear specialists, and other investigators found wounds on the body that were typical of a grizzly bear attack. They also found tracks from an adult grizzly bear and at least one cub in the vicinity, but they didn’t see any bears, bedding areas, or animal carcasses nearby.

The woman is believed to have been traveling alone. Investigators didn’t find any bear spray or firearms at the site, indicating that the woman had no way to protect herself from an attack.

The Forest Service immediately closed down the section of Custer Gallatin National Forest where the incident occurred. They also warned nearby residents and visitors of bear activity. Concerns over the proximity of the area to multiple homes, campsites, and high-use areas prompted responders to begin the bear capture process, although no bear has been found yet. Investigators are still searching for the offending bears both on the ground and from the air.

The Buttermilk Trail (or “Buttermilk Creek Trail,” depending on which map you look at) is located within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. One of six recovery zones for grizzlies in the U.S., the GYE is home to well over 1,000 bears, which is second only to the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem in terms of overall population.

Read Next: The Clock Is Ticking as the Feds Grapple with Delisting Grizzly Bears

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently reviewing both distinct population segments and the feasibility of removing them from the Endangered Species List. That process began on February 3 and is expected to take a full year.

The post Woman Found Dead in Apparent Grizzly Attack Outside Yellowstone appeared first on Outdoor Life.

Articles may contain affiliate links which enable us to share in the revenue of any purchases made.

The Best Places to Buy Sunglasses https://www.outdoorlife.com/gear/best-places-to-buy-sunglasses/ Fri, 10 Jun 2022 18:25:12 +0000 https://www.outdoorlife.com/?p=195948
The best places to buy sunglasses are online and brick and mortar.

These retailers have the best selection, return policy, and deals

The post The Best Places to Buy Sunglasses appeared first on Outdoor Life.

The best places to buy sunglasses are online and brick and mortar.

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More

Best Overall Amazon is the best overall place to buy sunglasses. Amazon SEE IT

The biggest marketplace also does sunglasses.

Best For Outdoors Backcountry is the best place to buy sunglasses for the outdoors. Backcountry SEE IT

A great selection of sunglasses for hiking, fishing, and more.

Best For Prescription Sunglasses Warby Parker is the best place to buy sunglasses for prescription sunglasses. Warby Parker SEE IT

A digital age eyeglass retailer that also does prescription shades right.

A glint of brass outlining clean aviators to the glare-cutting polarization every angler needs: It seems like there are more styles of sunglasses in the world than there are squirrels in the Great Smoky Mountains. So finding that particular pair that’s just right for you is impossible to find, hidden amongst a trillion others. You might be shopping for budget, brand name, or protection: Whatever it is that drives your decision, it can be useful to narrow down your search to just one or two marketplaces. The best places to buy sunglasses offer a wide selection of shades tailored to your needs. 

Some of the best places to buy sunglasses are large general-purpose retailers that carry thousands of brands and products and might carry budget-priced glasses as well as famous brand names. Other retailers are small boutiques or mid-sized companies that make sunglasses and prescription glasses and will offer the best in-store experience as well as a solid online storefront. 

I looked at the top retailers and evaluated each for their selection, return policy, and user experience. Read on for a look into where to buy sunglasses, whether you’re shopping for a pair of sunglasses that look straight off the set of Catch Me If You Can, something to keep your eyes safe on that next ascent up Shasta, or some shades that will help you spot the fish of a lifetime.

How I Picked the Best Places to Buy Sunglasses

I know how essential sunglasses can be. After failing to pack sunglasses on a three-day backpacking trip around a snow covered glacier in the Three Sisters Wilderness, my hiking buddy and I staggered forth from the end of the trail half snowblind, with the trailhead swimming before us. There are some situations in life where sunglasses are simply mandatory. 

To assemble this list of the best places to buy sunglasses, I factored the experience I’ve garnered as a long-time gear reviewer and outdoors enthusiast, as well as my interest in contemporary fashion and streetwear, honed through years of living in NYC and camping all over the country. I researched multiple retailers and dived deep into their offerings. This list aims to be inclusive, including some of the best-loved retailers for outdoors gear and some focused on style. The picks on this list also run the gamut on price. Below is a breakdown of some of the criteria I looked for in my picks.

Average Price

Some retailers focus on cheaper shades, while some brand-name boutiques get quite expensive. I made sure to include both and highlight their price points.

Prescription Lenses 

Prescriptions aren’t always available directly from all retailers. I made sure to include a few eyewear services specializing in prescription opticals and do a good job catering to prescription needs.

Return Policy 

The return policy can make all the difference as to whether you’re comfortable buying from an online retailer. I made sure to highlight return policies. Some companies even go further and make returns a cornerstone of their business, shipping trial glasses to you de facto, with the expectation that you’ll try more than one on and ship the rejects back.


The number of brands can be quite broad or quite narrow at given retailers. I highlighted a few direct-to-consumer brands and a few larger retail marketplace that carry many brands.

Best Overall: Amazon



Key Features 

  • Return Policy: Generous, most items eligible for free return with exceptions
  • Marketplace or Direct: Marketplace
  • Prescriptions: Limited
  • Number of Brands: More than 100
  • Try Before You Buy 

Why It Made The Cut

With super fast shipping, a generous return policy, and thousands of options from both A-list brands and budget picks, Amazon is the most powerful platform for hunting for shades. 


  • Super fast and cheap shipping, especially with Prime
  • Usually free to return items
  • Over 30,000 results for “sunglasses”


  • Clunky for prescription lenses

Product Description 

The biggest online retailer has stacks of options to find the best pair of shades for you. Whether you’re looking for premium shades that scream luxury outdoor lifestyle or an Affordable pair, Amazon has it all. While most retailers on Amazon don’t prepare lenses for your prescription, you can find shades that ship with lenses made for common prescription types. 

Amazon offers some attractive options that make it an especially easy place to shop for sunglasses. With Amazon Prime, you get free 2-day shipping on Prime eligible items and free same-day delivery on specific items in some geographic areas. If you’re ordering lots of sunglasses you can even elect to have them all shipped on a chosen “Amazon day,” which will reduce the packages your products come in. Deliveries can also be arranged for pick up at common Amazon hub locations. 

There are lots of convenient return options, especially for Prime. Most sunglasses delivered within the country are eligible for free returns. Prime eligible sunglasses are held to the same return policy as sunglasses shipped from Amazon, even if they’re from a third-party seller (so look before you buy). For eligible items (generally non-perishable items shipped directly from Amazon), drop-off returns at hub locations are always free within 30 days of shipment for un-tampered items. This is a great alternative to shipping back returns, as shipped returns will generally deduct the shipping cost from your refund. However, if you’re making the return because of a mistake on Amazon’s part, they will generally wave shipping costs.

All in all, Amazon has some of the best selection and delivery options out there. Amazon’s Try Before You Buy program makes the selection process even easier, allowing you to pick out up to six sunglasses (or shades and a matching hat), then ship back what you don’t want to keep in a resealable box. With free return shipping, Try Before You Buy is a great way to find the sunglasses meant for you.

Best for Outdoors: Backcountry



Key Features

  • Return Policy: Full refunds on unused gear with paid label
  • Marketplace or Direct: Marketplace
  • Prescriptions: Limited to none
  • Number of Brands: 30

Why It Made The Cut: With free shipping on orders over $50 and a generous return policy, Backcountry caps off an excellent lineup of shades with an easy to use marketplace.


  • Great selection of outdoors shades including outdoor sports shades
  • Solid shipping and return policy
  • Generous lowest price guarantee policy


  • Not the most budget friendly

Product Description 

Backcountry is both an online retailer and storefront. Making its home in the Western United States, Backcountry is focused on brands that cater to outdoor enthusiasts. While their offerings touch all sides of outdoor gear, they do an excellent job with sunglasses. 

Backcountry is an easy-to-use platform that offers free shipping on orders over $50 in the US. Their return policy is decently generous, offering full refunds for returns on most unused new items at any time and returns on used items within 30 days for credit. A non-freight return label is $6.99. While Backcountry doesn’t have locations all over the United States, if you live in a town with a store front, they offer one of the best in-store shopping experiences for sunglasses. They also offer a lowest price guarantee policy that will beat prices on gear from any non-third party seller (not Amazon) by 5%. The Expedition Perks loyalty program is another solid marketplace feature, giving you excellent rewards for things like birthdays and return buys. All in all, Backcountry deserves a look from anyone serious about outdoor shades.

Best for Prescription Sunglasses: Warby Parker

Warby Parker


Key Features

  • Return Policy: Free returns, free trial system with 5 frames
  • Marketplace or Direct: Direct
  • Prescriptions: Yes
  • Number of Brands: 1

Why It Made The Cut 

Warby Parker offers a free try-out service that sends five options to your door, a virtual App-based try-on system, stylish frames, and prescriptions available for your shades.


  • Free shipping and returns
  • Order five frames to try on and send back the four you don’t like
  • App lets you virtually try different frames on your face
  • Eye exams are available in-store


  • No budget options available

Product Description 

You don’t have to be a hipster to rock Warby Parker shades, you just have to appreciate style and convenience. Warby Parker is the quintessential direct-to-consumer eyeglass brand of the digital age. Their reputation for quality, style, and ease of use is well deserved with a strong lineup of good quality shades that are all had for a moderate price point, which scales based on the feature set.

The Warby Parker online retail space comes with some innovative practices. Warby Parker offers a free trial service:

  • Pick five frames and have them shipped to you.
  • Try them all on at home.
  • Make your decision.
  • Ship back the rejects.

The company also offers an app-based virtual try-on service that allows you to apply different frames to your face instantly. Together, these tools help you pinpoint exactly which glasses will look good on you

Perhaps most importantly, Warby Parker is also good at prescriptions. Not only are all their shades available for prescription, but they also offer progressives and simple reading lenses—even as sunglasses. If you’re not sure what your prescription is, head to a Warby Parker store and get checked out, they offer affordably priced eye exams in store. All in all, Warby Parker is a great choice for stylish prescription shades, whether you’re shopping online or heading to their brick and mortar.

Best for Fishing Sunglasses: Cabela’s



Key Features

  • Return Policy: Refunds or exchanges in most cases, can be returned to Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shops
  • Marketplace or Direct: Marketplace
  • Prescriptions: No
  • Number of Brands: 11

Why It Made The Cut 

Cabela’s has a great selection of fishing sunglasses and the tackle to go with them. 


  • Free shipping on orders over $50
  • Products are easy to return and exchange at Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops
  • Great selection of classic outdoors gear


  • Not much help for prescription sunglasses

Product Description

Cabela’s and its sister company Bass Pro Shops are some of the best-known names in outdoor gear. Whether it’s timeless Ray Bans that look straight out of the war chest of a 1940s RAF pilot, or a set of Oakleys that will have heads spinning at the boat ramp, Cabela’s has the classics on lock.

Sunglasses are one of the best fishing gifts, and Cabela’s is an especially great place to buy a gift. Cabela’s has a policy that says all online sales can be returned in person to any Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shops locations for exchanges. Since exchanges are accepted in person at both sister retailers, it’ll be easy for the angler to drop into a Cabela’s and pick out something just right—even if you buy online. 

All in all, Cabelas is a leading place to buy outdoor gear, with a great selection of the best polarized sunglasses for fishing. If you’re looking for something for your daily commute, for long days spent angling, or for an afternoon on a cliff ascent, Cabelas has your back. Cabela’s also has a selection of the best shooting glasses

Best Budget: Etsy



Key Features

  • Return Policy: Depends on seller
  • Marketplace or Direct: Marketplace
  • Prescriptions: Generally not, depends on seller
  • Number of Brands: Over 238,000 search results for “sunglasses”

Why It Made The Cut

With thousands of retailers on the platform, Etsy offers budget prices on unique sunglasses, and the marketplace makes it cheap and easy to shop too.


  • Lots of unique options
  • Support small businesses
  • Etsy works towards sustainable practices


  • Return policies can be harder to navigate than some

Product Description 

Etsy is full of unique options for eyewear, whether it’s vintage, stock sourced from other countries or oddities created by small businesses. Whether you’re looking for a great budget deal or something unique that stands out from the mainstream, Etsy is a great place to buy. With a quick search, you’ll find vintage 80s stock sunglasses, thin and slim shades, and vibrant sunglasses that’ll look at home on your vacation to Miami beach. 

Since Etsy aggregates many small independent sellers, the marketplace isn’t as unified in terms of shipping time and return policy as some. Sellers aren’t required to provide returns or exchanges. Most sunglasses on Etsy don’t offer the option of prescription lenses, though many frames bought on Etsy are compatible with prescriptions. The marketplace is also always an excellent place to shop for unique frames for your prescription sunglass lenses. 

Things to Consider Before Choosing Where to Buy Sunglasses

Before you go to pick out that brand new pair of shades, you might want to hone in on where the best places to buy sunglasses.

Technical Outdoor Gear

There are a lot of ways to enjoy the outdoors. When some say they’re going camping, it means pulling up to a county park site they booked online and setting up a tent next to the car for a barbeque and some fun with the family. For others, it might mean backpacking 18 miles into an alpine pass alone and setting up a tent. 

However you enjoy the outdoors, you’ll need sunglasses that match your passion.


Not many third-party marketplaces offer prescription lenses for sunglasses, yet for many, prescriptions can make all the difference. If you have an astigmatism and shoot hoops, you’re nearsightedand you like to birdwatch, or you’re farsighted and you spend your days planting in the garden, prescription shades can change your experience of the outdoors. Rather than relying on contact lenses with generic shades or clip-on shades for your everyday opticals, consider finding a sunglass retailer that can fulfill your needs for custom prescription sunglasses. Some marketplaces facilitate this feature, but this type of service is often easiest to find at a direct-to-consumer optical service.

Shopping Perks

When shopping for shades, it’s often a good idea to look for some of the perks that make a given marketplace or digital storefront stand out. Many retailers will offer nice features such as free shipping on orders over a specific price, points toward special deals for repeat purchases, seasonal sales, free shipping on returns, and other such perks. Some have a virtual try-on service built into their website or offer this feature in an app. Before choosing a market to shop in, consider what perks will benefit you. 


Q: What are the best brands of sunglasses?

The best brands of sunglasses come in many different forms. Warby Parker makes style-forward sunglasses that are easily outfitted with prescription lenses. Ray Bans offer some of the most classic style out there, while their quality has proven the test of time. Baijo and Costa offer some of the best fishing sunglasses. 

Q: Are polarized sunglasses worth it?

Polarized glasses are completely worth it for those who benefit from them. Since they help protect against glare from horizontal surfaces, polarized glasses can make all the difference for sunny days by (or on) the water, long days of driving, or sandy landscapes.

Q: Which is the best site for sunglasses?

Amazon.com remains the best overall site for sunglasses. Because of its wide selection of brands and generous shipping practices, Amazon has something for (almost) everyone. 

Q: How do I buy sunglasses that fit online?

Some websites offer convenient features to find out your fit. Warby Parker offers an app that helps you virtually try on sunglasses, this can be a great tool to use to find out what type of shape and size works best for your face. Many brands also feature breakdowns as to how their shades fit.

Final Thoughts

Whether for charm or protection, your eyes will benefit from a great pair of sunglasses. If you want all the options, Amazon still has the best overall selection with budget prices next to top brands. Try on a few favorites with Amazon’s Try Before You Buy program. Whatever you choose, keep your eyes protected this summer.

The post The Best Places to Buy Sunglasses appeared first on Outdoor Life.

Articles may contain affiliate links which enable us to share in the revenue of any purchases made.

Adjustable, Custom Turrets Are the Hot Trend. Here’s How to Use Them On Your Riflescope for Better Accuracy https://www.outdoorlife.com/gear/how-to-adjust-rifle-turrets/ Wed, 09 Jun 2021 17:11:08 +0000 https://www.outdoorlife.com/?p=152247
Turrets will help you be more accurate with your rifle.
Know how to dial your riflescope turrets. Tyler Freel

There are a few basics you need to know about turrets before you start using them in real time

The post Adjustable, Custom Turrets Are the Hot Trend. Here’s How to Use Them On Your Riflescope for Better Accuracy appeared first on Outdoor Life.

Turrets will help you be more accurate with your rifle.
Know how to dial your riflescope turrets. Tyler Freel

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More

I tapped the button on my rangefinder to send a laser at a group of three bedded rams. I was 465 yards away. Caught off-guard by the rams, I had to approach them from below and this was as close as I was going to get without being busted. The shot was well within my range, and the broken fog that socked in parts of the mountains hung dead in the air, so adjusting for the wind would not be an issue. Dialing my custom turret to 4.6, I eased up on my belly to a comfortable shooting position. The familiar “thunk” of a solid hit followed the report of my rifle. The ram stood up, only to fall right back over.

Adjustable sights date back to late 1900s. The old 1874 Sharps buffalo rifles were some of the first to have them. Turret adjustment has had a renaissance amongst hunters in the last decade. Dialing for proper windage and elevation has helped make us better long-range shots and more precise, which makes our kills clean. When I was a kid, I used a fixed or variable power scope, and zeroed it 2 or 3 inches high at 100 yards. If I wanted to shoot past 300 yards, I had to estimate the yardage and memorize the drop chart on the back of the ammo box. For most applications, a hunter can be effective with “holdover,” especially if he or she owns a scope with a holdover reticle. But it still leaves plenty of room for mistakes. Dialing your turrets properly allows you to settle the crosshairs on your intended target and make a smooth trigger pull.

I was first introduced to sight adjustment in my service rifle competition days, though riflescopes with adjustable elevation and windage turrets have been around for much longer. For hunting, I have used Leupold’s CDS (custom dial system) turrets on a VX-3 riflescope. I quickly realized the value in being able to adjust elevation for distance, and hold on target. It took the guessing out of how high to hold over the back of a sheep or caribou. Now, I can’t justify not having an adjustable turret on any rifle I might want to shoot beyond 250 yards. Custom and non-custom turrets are available in a wide variety of riflescopes. But if you’re just beginning to dabble, there are a few basics you need to know about turrets.

How Turrets Work

First, whether you’re ordering a custom turret or just plugging data in to generate a drop chart for a standard turret, you need to know the exact bullet and chronograph its velocity out of your rifle if you want to be able to make accurate adjustments in the field. A custom turret is typically made for one particular load. You send the manufacturer the data and zero range of your rifle, and they build a turret to match the exact trajectory of your bullet. You will simply need to range your target and turn the dial to the appropriate yardage listed on the turret. Factors like temperature and elevation can also have impacts on cartridge trajectory, so be sure to account for those as well. If you’re unsure of what those factors do to your bullet, talk to the ammunition manufacturer. They should be more than willing to help. Once you generate the calculated data, it’s also important to verify it on the range. Use the rangefinder you will be hunting with, and note any differences in impacts versus your calculations.

The Importance of a Zero Stop

Another important thing to know about your scope is whether it has a zero stop, zero lock, tracking, or other adjustment-locking mechanism. Some scopes have adjustable elevation and/or windage turrets that are fully adjustable both up and down and left to right with no way of fixing them in one place. This isn’t a problem when your rifle is sitting in the gun closet, but while you are hunting, your turret can easily be caught on something and get twisted. And you might not be able to tell if the rifle is zeroed or a full revolution off, which will cause your shot to be way off line.

If you have a zero stop, that means from any given elevation change, you can twist the dial all the way back down till it stops, and you’re back at your basic zero distance every time. Some scopes like Leupold’s VX-3HD, have turrets that lock onto zero, and you have to push a small button to manually make an elevation adjustment, which eliminates accidental adjustment. Many scopes also have reference marks to tell you if you’re more than one revolution up from your zero, so make sure to familiarize yourself with your scope to ensure that you understand how to determine where you’re at.

You Still Have to Practice

Practice making adjustments, shooting, and coming back to zero with your scope. Generally, your impact will adjust in the direction you’re moving your turret. Elevation impact is adjusted up with a counter-clockwise turn, and down with a clockwise turn. Windage is usually moved right with a counter-clockwise turn and left with clockwise turns. However, there are some makes of riflescopes that have opposite directions of adjustment, so make sure you pay attention to what you’ve got. There’s no substitute for range time and learning wind conditions and how they affect your impact, but also practice interpolating between marked yardages on your chart or turret, so that you can make a more accurate shot at any reasonable distance. A good drill is to shoot out to a set yardage, say 200 yards, and then shoot at closer target between 100 and 200 yards or one between 200 and 300 yards. You can increase these distances as you become more proficient with your rifle.

Read Next: Riflescopes: MOA vs. Mils

Finally, don’t use your turret as an excuse to skip out on range time or shoot at an animal beyond ranges you would not be comfortable with if your turret was not dialed for a specific load. A turret is a wonderful tool, and can make hunters much more precise within reasonable shooting ranges. It can also help experienced shooters be more accurate at longer distances. Buy you have to practice. Know your rifle and scope, and how to evaluate hunting scenarios so you can make an ethical shot.

The post Adjustable, Custom Turrets Are the Hot Trend. Here’s How to Use Them On Your Riflescope for Better Accuracy appeared first on Outdoor Life.

Articles may contain affiliate links which enable us to share in the revenue of any purchases made.

The Best Hunters Go on Instinct. Here’s How to Sharpen Yours https://www.outdoorlife.com/hunting/best-hunters-go-on-instinct/ Sat, 01 Oct 2022 20:00:00 +0000 https://www.outdoorlife.com/?p=215387
grouse hunting
The author's six-year-old son after a successful grouse hunt. Tyler Freel

Hunting with my six-year-old son has taught me a lot about hunting instincts. These lessons can help you, too

The post The Best Hunters Go on Instinct. Here’s How to Sharpen Yours appeared first on Outdoor Life.

grouse hunting
The author's six-year-old son after a successful grouse hunt. Tyler Freel

Among the many highly successful hunters I know, one thing they all have in common is great hunting instincts. Yes, they also have sharp skills and deep knowledge, but more importantly, they can recognize an opportunity and seize it without hesitation.

They have an ability to anticipate what’s going to happen, and they’re able to react without over-analyzation. Often, this results in meat in their freezer when others would go home empty-handed.

The good news here is that we can all sharpen our hunting instincts, however, this is no easy task.

Watching Instincts Develop

Hunting instincts play a role in a variety of different ways, but shooting scenarios are the most obvious. Watching the development of my oldest son, who I’ve taken grouse hunting since he was three years old, has taught me a lot about a hunter’s instinct. I started him on a Savage Rascal .22, and he first learned to shoot with a red dot scope.

He’s progressed to become proficient with iron sights and magnified optics, but his grouse gun is still that little .22. He often accompanies me to the shooting range and will constantly pepper my 100-yard targets with .22 holes. He thinks it’s a gas. As staple of boyhood, he got his first Red Ryder this past spring, and we set up a backyard range for him, where he tears through bottles of BB’s ventilating aluminum cans suspended by strings. But this is more than just fun and games, he’s learning every time we shoot.

My son has always been a quick learner, and now he’s becoming a crack shot before my eyes. He’s been shooting red squirrels with his small hand-me-down compound bow since he was five. A few days ago, we followed a pair of grouse into a black spruce thicket, and when I could see a bird ducking and bobbing his way toward a tiny window through the tangled mess of dry, gray limbs and alder branches, I set the tripod we use and pointed his rifle toward the opening.

He quickly got behind the rifle and had only a couple seconds before the bird walked into the opening. Bang! The grouse dropped. We continued, and he got another one in the same manner. It was our first grouse hunt in a while, and the first time I’ve seen him shoot with such decisiveness. These weren’t lucky shots made in haste; they were intentional and accurate. He prepared quickly and took his opportunities as soon as they appeared.

We Aren’t Born with Hunter’s Instincts

I’d love to believe that the secret to being a great shot on wild game is simply flowing within the Freel family bloodline. And it’s nice to think that we all have hunting instincts and skills hardcoded into our DNA from ancient ancestors who chased down wooly mammoths with bows and spears.

But, unfortunately, that’s not how it works in the real world. Of course, some people have natural abilities (like keen vision or good hand-eye-coordination) that help them become better hunters, but a true hunter’s instinct isn’t something you’re born with. Hunting instinct is cultured and learned.

I’ve been crazy about hunting for as long as I can remember, but that didn’t mean I was always good at it. When I was 12 years old, my dad and I started calling coyotes together. I loved it, but I don’t remember killing a single coyote that first winter. Over several years, we got better, learning from each coyote we called in. We learned to predict what they were likely to do, we learned when to shoot and when to wait. As our experience and skills grew, so did our instinct for it.

We had to see a lot of hunts play out and we also mess up on a lot of coyotes before we really had the right instincts. All those experiences informed future hunts.

You Can’t Buy Instinct

Shooting a .22
The author’s son practices with open sights. Tyler Freel

Shooting animals ethically, effectively, and decisively, is a learned skill. That skill can’t be bought, and neither can good shooting instincts.

In the materialistic and hyper-marketed world, we live in, it’s easy to fall for the notion that you can buy yourself better results with better gear. While accurate rifles, quality ammunition, and precise optics do provide tangible benefits, they don’t mean shit if you don’t know how to use them. Competency takes lots of practice, and yes, some failure, too.

Based on the nature of many posts and conversations I’ve seen, I’d say it’s easy for many new hunters to be paralyzed by indecisiveness—afraid to just go, try, and even fail on their own. Many want to be told everything from where to go to which type of bootlaces they need to be using. The best advice is to simply get out there and learn as you go.

Likewise, even many experienced hunters put too much emphasis on gear and not enough emphasis on time in the field.

How to Develop a Hunter’s Instinct

The best route for developing a deadly and efficient hunting instinct is, quite simply, to spend a lot of time hunting. To get good at recognizing shot opportunities and to capitalize on them, you need to get many of animals in front of you. And to do that, you’ve got to spend serious time in the woods.

But range time matters too. I started my son out with a red dot scope because it made for one less complication to the shooting process, and he could see success and improvement. It made shooting fun. With thousands of repetitions, he’s become comfortable, quick, and decisive in his shooting. When starting with iron sights this summer on his BB gun, he was frustrated and shaky, shooting off a bench. Now he can make those tin cans dance shooting offhand better than Chuck Connors. That snappy decisiveness translates to hunting.

Experienced hunters can sharpen their instinct by practicing with a shot process. This means executing the exact same steps in the same order before every shot (this gets written about a lot in archery, but it’s important for any type of shooting). Drilling a shot process might seem counter intuitive at first, because the whole point of going on instinct is to not think about it, right? That’s true, but first you’ve got to build solid fundamentals. By practicing with a shot process, you drill those fundamentals into your subconscious. Soon, you won’t be thinking about the steps in the process, you’ll do them automatically. When a shot opportunity presents itself on a hunt, you’ll shoot the exact same way you do in practice.

It’s amazing to watch son develop his skills and hunter’s instinct. But it’s important to remember that the focus of any hunt should never be only on killing something. After all, you’ll learn more from missed opportunities than successful ones. I know I must be patient and have him only take good opportunities and ethical shots, but more and more he’s recognizing those opportunities on his own.

The post The Best Hunters Go on Instinct. Here’s How to Sharpen Yours appeared first on Outdoor Life.

Articles may contain affiliate links which enable us to share in the revenue of any purchases made.

10 Early Ice Fishing Walleye Tactics That Will Put You on the Bite https://www.outdoorlife.com/story/fishing/early-ice-fishing-walleye-tactics/ Tue, 22 Dec 2020 02:00:00 +0000 https://dev.outdoorlife.com/uncategorized/early-ice-fishing-walleye-tactics/
An angler holds a walleye caught from an ice fishing hole.
Ice fishing is a great winter activity, but your first concern should always be safety. Joel Nelson

Here are the best walleye tactics as lakes start to freeze up

The post 10 Early Ice Fishing Walleye Tactics That Will Put You on the Bite appeared first on Outdoor Life.

An angler holds a walleye caught from an ice fishing hole.
Ice fishing is a great winter activity, but your first concern should always be safety. Joel Nelson

It’s hard to believe in late December we are still talking early ice, but in the Midwest unseasonable warmer temperatures have kept water open. Northern Minnesota and North Dakota, however, are experiencing some excellent early ice walleye fishing and the remainder of the Midwest shouldn’t be too far behind, so get those batteries charged and hooks sharpened because ice fishing season is coming. Here are 10 tips that will help you land more walleyes as lakes begin to freeze.

1. Be Cautious

An angler holds a walleye caught from an ice fishing hole.
Ice fishing is a great winter activity, but your first concern should always be safety. Joel Nelson

Safety is an important consideration for any sort of fishing, especially early ice. Never venture out without letting someone know where you are going. A good spud bar is paramount for testing the ice but any heavy stick will work. Place your cell phone in a plastic bag, carry a rope along and invest in a reliable ice axe in case you should fall through.

2. Rely on Fall Scouting

In most cases, ice anglers like to be mobile, drilling holes in the ice until they find fish. That’s not necessarily a bad practice at the right times, such as mid-day or slow bite periods. However, use your fall fishing as a form of scouting. If you found good weed beds and break lines near shore in September and October, target those same areas the first few days and weeks of ice fishing.

3. Minimize Your Movements

You need to be stealthy when fishing early ice, because fish may very well be shallow or on the move as they transition into the coldest water temperatures of the year. There are a lot of new noises, from footsteps to augers, and ATVs coming from above, making these walleye a bit more cautious than usual. Move quietly and minimize noise especially during peak hours such as early morning and evening. Do your best not to move when the fish are moving. As the sun begins to set, you should already have your holes drilled and be fishing at or relatively close to where you expect the fish to be, come evening. Being set up for the fish before they arrive is key to not spooking them out of the area.

4. What Should You Use for Bait?

An angler pulls a walleye from an ice fishing hole.
The size of bait you choose depends on how big a walleye you’re looking to land. Brian Bashore

Bait size is often overlooked by many ice anglers. But it’s pretty simple. Bigger bait means bigger fish. If you are targeting panfish, make sure you are using small baits such as tungsten jigs and small waxies. If you are targeting eater size walleye, you can often get by with a fathead minnow or shiner on a jig, mid-size spoons, and glide baits will put those walleye onto the ice as well. For trophy walleye don’t be afraid to rig up creek chub, red-tails, and larger profile baits such as Rippin’ Shads, Rippin’ Raps, and many of the other lipless style baits. When the bite gets tough, downsize your baits and minimize expectations. Everyday isn’t a trophy walleye day.

5. To Tip-Up or Not?

Tip-ups have been around for as long as I can remember and they are a great way to cover water and maximize the number of baits you can legally have out. I prefer to fight the fish on a rod and reel versus the old hand lining method. With all the innovations in ice fishing rods, it is easier now than ever. Placing your rod in a rod holder (known as dead-sticking) is extremely effective and many will tell you that their bigger fish came on these setups. A dead-stick rod allows you to see the bite easier. The rod loads up and in many cases will set the hook for you instead of letting the fish swim around freely while getting tangled up in other lines. And when it comes to fighting big fish, you are more likely to land them on a rod and reel combo as opposed to hand-lining a lunker top side. No transducer is needed in the hole of your dead-stick, which minimizes noise and why many believe bigger fish are more likely to bite.

Read Next: This is Your Year to Get into Ice Fishing. Here’s the Gear You Need to Do It

6. Keep Your Bait Alive

Lively bait can be a challenge when you’re fishing in arctic temperatures. But with all the innovations in insulated and aerated bait stations keeping your water moving and bait highly oxygenated they will remain as lively as they were when you purchased them. It’s usually the angler’s fault for not having lively bait. The cold water temperatures create more viscosity in the water, which means everything moves slower. This is why an active bait can attract a fish to bite from a long distance versus a dead minnow hanging below the ice. Shiners, fatheads, and red-tails are all excellent live baits for ice fishing based on your location. Red-tails are a favorite among Minnesota anglers whereas shiners and fathead minnows, work just about anywhere. Creek chubs are the go to in the Dakotas and when kept fresh and alive they are some of the most active live baits under the ice sure to entice a hungry walleye.

7. Start Off Bank Fishing

Shorelines are a great starting point during early ice. Most shorelines hold structures such as weeds, rocks, and sand, as well as warmer water initially, making for a great starting point. As the day progresses, look for deeper water nearby such as main lake points and breaks. If you can find a location with a break fairly close to shore this can be the ticket as you won’t need to move a lot throughout the day and you’ll be in the perfect position for when those active walleye move up shallow to feed again.

8. Find the Weeds

Weeds hold fish all year long, because they create oxygen, which attracts everything in the food chain. Finding good weeds late in the winter is tough, but early ice weed opportunities can be the ticket. The use of a good underwater camera to do some mid-day scouting for weeds can pay dividends come evening.

The Right Rod For the Job

An angler fishes in an ice fishing hole.
Pick the proper rod the size walleye you are fishing for. Brian Bashore

Just like your bait, you need the right setup for the technique you plan on fishing. A soft tip and longer rod can make for a great dead stick. But you will want a more medium to heavy powered extra fast action rod for larger baits when targeting those trophy walleye. The fast action tip will ensure quicker and more solid hook set. A medium action rod will give your bait the proper action when worked vertically through a hole as well as more control over that tanker walleye to guide it up through the narrow ice opening. The right rod will increase your hookups and your ability to land the fish. The wrong rod will increase your odds of missing bites and weak hook sets resulting in lost fish. When your rod is too soft and the action is too slow it’s very difficult to get a good hook set on a fish as all the backbone and strength of the rod are in the lower third near the reel seat. This backbone is what drives the hook home. These lighter and ultralight rods are best suited for panfish. When targeting walleye a longer rod (32-inches), such as a St. Croix CCI Dead Eye, allows the walleye to bite the bait feeling minimal resistance from the rod allowing it time to “load up.” This type of setup is perfect for a “deadstick” allowing the walleye to devour the entire bait before feeling the resistance and in turn self hooking itself.

10. Dress Warm

As ice anglers, we know the cold well, but far too often anglers are not dressed appropriately. Wintertime temps are seldom stable and in the upper Midwest, you can count on the wind making it much colder than what your weather app forecasted. Once you’re cold, it’s hard to get warm without leaving the ice for a short period of time. Wet hands make it even worse. Packing a small fishing towel can go a long way as well as extra pair of gloves. You will see many seasoned ice anglers overdressed for good reason. It’s much easier to take off a layer than add a layer that you didn’t bring with you. Striker Ice suits has a huge array of floatation suites, bibs, and jackets that also come with many layering options, making them a go-to for ice suits and accessories.

The post 10 Early Ice Fishing Walleye Tactics That Will Put You on the Bite appeared first on Outdoor Life.

Articles may contain affiliate links which enable us to share in the revenue of any purchases made.