Sky’s Top 5: Best Hunting Gear for Beginners and Pros
Meet Redmond Hunt videographer Skylyn Christensen! Sky is an avid hunter, incredible outdoor videographer, and co-founder of Elusive Outdoors and RidgeBelt hunting belts. In this blog, Sky gives his favorite brands for basic hunting gear to help you get the goods you need without buyer’s regrets.
I filmed my first mule deer hunt in high school with a buddy, a cell phone, and a cheap camcorder. I did it as a sort of digital diary so my future kids could see the awesome stuff dad did before his knees went bad.
That’s when I first found a niche for filming. But my love of the outdoors didn’t begin or end there. My hunting passion has deep roots—and hopefully a long future! My dad introduced me to the outdoors before I could walk, and I became a dead aim with a Daisy Red Ryder soon after.
During my teens my big brother took my hunting education in hand. Lance was serious—dead serious—about hunting. So his tough-love teaching meant a knock on the head every time I snapped a twig under my boot. But he passed along his hunting secrets and took my skills to a new level.
I eventually learned how to meld in and move through the woods without alerting deer by either sound or scent. And I got a better video camera. I also learned there’s a difference between hunting and hunting smart. It’s an art, really. And that includes using the right gear.
My Must-Have Hunting Gear
Experience has taught me what gear works and what doesn’t. Eastern and western hunters are different animals, and the gear they need is also very different. Here are some go-to brands I use to gear up for successful hunts in both regions.
1. Camo and Clothing
Head to any fashion rack and you’ll find camo is the new black. It’s everywhere. But despite fads, a hunter doesn’t really need camo. A savvy hunter can head into the woods in their b-day suit and still bag a nice buck. Camo is, however, helpful. It breaks up your outline, helps you blend in, and—let’s admit it—looks super sweet.
So how do you choose camo that looks great and works for you? Remember four things:
- Go for lightweight but high quality.
- Pick colors and patterns that blend in with the season and terrain. (I.e, Don’t go on a high-mountain hunt clad in desert camo.)
- Choose layers, material, and insulation based on weather and when you’re hunting (early, mid, or late season). My favorite base layer material is wool/merino wool for cool weather and cotton for warm. Mid layer: cotton. Outer layer: polyester, Cordura, or nylon. Outer coat insulation: feather-filled down or superdown for warmth.
Best Camo/Clothing Brands
2. Hunting Boots
If camo is optional, a solid pair of hunting boots is not. Ever hiked miles over rocky terrain or slogged through wet, knee-high grass in a lousy pair of shoes? It sucks. You get blisters. And you wish you’d sprung for better footwear.
Consider these three things before you purchase boots:
- Support. Boot height is a personal preference, but I like something above the ankle—especially on terrain with lots of ankle twisters. If you’re bowhunting in a treestand and wading through wet grass, a pair of tall rubber boots work best.
- Waterproof/Weatherproof. Boots should be waterproof, insulated for warmth in winter, and breathable in summer.
- Sole. Type of sole depends on the terrain you’re hunting. Headed into steep, mountainous areas? Go with a stiffer sole. Going woodland or treestand hunting? Something flexible works better.
Best Hunting Boot Brands
- Crispi: Offers a range of boots built for different seasons and terrain.
- Kenetrek: Vetted company with quality western hunting boots.
- Hanwag: Boots with durable soles that are easy to break in.
- Muck Boot: Flexible insulated and non-insulated rubber boots.
- Lacrosse: Same as above. Great eastern-style hunting boots.
Having the right optics—whether that’s binoculars, a spotting scope and tripod, or rangefinder—can make the difference in harvesting a deer or not. There’s been a few times I’ve forgotten my optics at home. (Head smack moment.) I spent the trip unable to see any farther than what my naked eyes could detect, and that doesn’t work well in vast terrain.
So you’ve gotta have your glass—whatever is most important for your style of hunting. Three important things to look for when choosing it are quality, price, and the right magnification specs for your needs.
Best Hunting Glass Brands
- Swarovski: Easily the best quality optics and glass on the market. The downside? Also the most expensive.
- Vortex: Quality glass at an affordable price. This company offers a no-questions-asked lifetime warranty on their products.
- Leupold: All-around good glass, affordable price, and great warranty.
4. Binocular Hub/Harness
Let’s say you just spent a mint on a pair of binos and need a case to protect your glass. A harness is awesome, especially for western hunters. It keeps your binoculars safe, strapped securely to your chest, and provides quick access. Many hubs also have handy side pockets for rangefinders or other devices.
Best Bino Harness Brands
- Kuiu: Lightweight and very adjustable.
- Marsupial Gear: American made. Lots of great attachments.
- Badlands: Fits a range of optic sizes.
A good hunting pack is one thing I recommend dropping some money into. If you’re a western hunter, a frame backpack is a must to carry gear and, potentially, animal quarters. If you’re hunting from a tree stand, a daypack to hold food, water, and equipment is also necessary. Here’s what to look for in both types of packs:
- Lightweight when empty.
- Comfortably distributes a heavy load when full.
- Durable material that doesn’t rip.
- Good zippers that won’t blow out.
- Compartments that keep gear organized and easy to grab.
Best Hunting Backpack Brands:
- Kuiu: Super lightweight carbon fiber frame packs.
- Sitka: Lightweight options for frame, treestand, and daypacks.
- Stone Glacier: Large-capacity packs for high-mountain hunts.
- Kifaru: Versatile lineup with options to cater to your specific hunt.
Figuring out what hunting gear you need is critical—but it’s not just about buying the best of everything. What will work best for the location you’re headed and what you want to accomplish on your hunt? Figuring that out is way more important than the brand you use. Bottom line? Pick the gear that works best for you. See you on the trail!
Interested in Sky’s videography work? Check out the Redmond Hunt “Beyond the Rock” video below! Or click the button to learn more about Redmond and our super effective deer mineral products.
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