Just how much time in the field do you really get?

thru-hunter

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
313
Luke and I were chatting yesterday and got to an interesting topic. We have been friends since 2007 and have gone on a few hunts together. That said I would be more than lucky to get 1/10th the time in the field that he does! I work a regular job and have a great wife who is my partner in everything.... except sheep hunting... ;) I work a 9-5+, Mon-Friday salary job with business travel needs and a regular on-call schedule requiring 24x7 coverage. Add to that 3 elementary age sons with cross-country and football and homework etc... My wife also works though she has a better schedule than me w/ 4x10's and more vacation... I get a whopping 10 days of vacation a year. Both Luke and Becca I am sure most of us have noticed have a unique lifestyle and have chosen career and life paths that allow the time to focus on their outdoor pursuits. I for one will admit to being pretty darn jealous of that!

The topic of our conversation turned to gear and the ever present online reviews. I know he tests stuff thoroughly in some of the most challenging terrain in the world for extended periods of time. That said I still have strong opinions on some gear items based on lots less real use. It made us wonder just how much time folks spend out using the stuff that they recommend.

I will be honest I bet that most of my reviews of gear items relate to stuff that doesn't work for me. At 6'5" tall and north of 250#'s I can frequently destroy something in about a week that has rave reviews from gear testers! Most of the stuff I stand behind has multiple trips behind it or is something that has come highly recommended by a guy I trust like Luke who has thoroughly tested it and I have found it to meet his accolades in my own personal use. Take my Go-lite tents. I think I am up around 15 days family camping in the SL8 and 9 or 10 in the SL5. They have worked for me to the letter how Luke said they would and with his hundred thousand hours in them and my personal experience I feel comfortable saying it is a good product and will likely work for other people. On the flip side if Luke loves something at 150lbs (soaking wet) and I demolish it in a week then I will certainly point that out and consider it relevant. I generally only apply this ideology when my application is the same as the testers. IE, I will say my tents work based on my somewhat limited personal use and someone I trusts extensive use but I am not going to say that a set of boots work after only a few days on them because they have worked for a guy 1/2 my size for the last 2 years.

Some things I use over the course of a few seasons and can stand behind in a way that Luke never could. Take my BD contour elliptical poles for instance. I hit the scale ready to fly last year in my basic hunting clothes and boots at 280#! I hauled 1/2 a sheep and all of our camp out of the hills at a combined weight of probably close to 400lbs. Same poles on another hunt (this one with luke) our group somehow managed to knock over 4 goats in about 36 hours. Thankfully they weren't all big mature billies but still a lot of weight and a lot of trips from near the summits all the way down to sea-level for the flight out. We lost one guy to a fall induced knee injury on the first haul out and Luke was still up the hill one upping us solo with the biggest goat of the trip... Anyway, I carried a LOT of weight down some nasty slippery alder infested slopes over multiple trips and certainly would have tipped scales at 400lbs + loaded on a couple of them. Those BD poles have never failed and I have even slipped and landed on them. Now Luke doesn't use the BD contour elliptical poles and doesn't need them but if you are a big guy like me then I feel they are worth considering even though they aren't "carbon, super, supreme, ultralite". I consider them thoroughly tested.

Another note worth pointing out is just because I don't get the field time in that some do doesn't mean that I don't still require top shelf gear. I am grateful to have forums like this one to help me decide where to allocate funding to make sure I have the best hunt in the limited time I get to be out there. I would even argue that having gear failures would be more detrimental to a guy like me than to those who are out 15 days of every 30. Heck for me a gear failure may destroy my one big hunt for the year! I can't just hike out, resupply in town then head back to the hills for another week!

Anyway, I just wanted to bring up this topic because I thought it was interesting and get some insight into others real world usage and just what it takes before you will put your name (or screen name) behind a product?
 

LuJon

Newbie
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
9
Location
The Forums
Anyway, I just wanted to bring up this topic because I thought it was interesting and get some insight into others real world usage and just what it takes before you will put your name (or screen name) behind a product?
I totally agree with you, I too don't get out in the field as much as I would like too. Reviews of all kind are relevant and much appreciated here on this forum as well as others. I still feel comfortable with my lack of time in the field with my reviews under my name/screen name, as should you.

JF
 

Aron Snyder

2
Rokslide Sponsor
Joined
Jan 23, 2012
Messages
5,011
Location
The Wilderness
I spend a lot of time in the field, but it's in the lower 48, so I very rarely comment on questions of Alaska or BC as I have less expierince in those areas of the world.
 

dotman

1
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
8,201
I think there are only a handful of people that spend over half their time in the woods. I respect their gear reviews and yes they get me to buy better gear. I'm lucky in that between hunting and camping I get to spend around 50 days out in the field, not all of these do I get to stay out over night. I will throw out my thoughts on my gear and yes it helps to also have the knowledge of others experiences. Kind of like researching anything you want to know what others think, i'm thinking consumer reports. Well I guess the web forums are a hunters version of consumer report. I will say what hasn't worked for myself quicker then I will say what is good.
 

Matt Cashell

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
4,110
Location
Western MT
I am lucky to spend lots of time in the woods, but I think a lot of times you can know pretty quickly if a piece of gear is going to work for you. I tried a bunch of times to get along with a Magellan GPS, and it never did work out. I knew the first time I used it that it wasn't for me, but tried to stick it out. After a full season of use I ended up selling it and getting a Garmin Oregon. I knew right away that the Oregon was going to work, and now, with about 14 days out with it, I continue to get along with it just fine.

Other pieces of gear take some time for the Gremlins to show up. Like boots that were great, but suddenly fall apart, or a backpack that does everything you want, until you get it loaded down and 5 miles into a packout.
 

BMB

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
152
last year i spent around 100-115 days hunting. this year is not looking good, two mortgages and some investing of money back into my business have left things a bit tight. i usually have quite a bit of time off, but i'm fortunate enough to make my own schedule. In Texas it was easy to include the kids as the hunting grounds were more hospitable than Oregon, and my kids aren't old enough to really "hit the trail" just yet although my son seems to think otherwise.
 

Ryan Avery

Admin
Staff member
Joined
Jan 5, 2012
Messages
6,141
This is one of the biggest problems with forums. Some people want there name in the bright lights with out putting in the work. Aron has basically lived in the woods for the last ten years. Matt lives 5 minutes from some of the most rugged mountains in the lower 48. So there words should carry more weight. BUT with an open forum a guy can ask a question about a pack and everyone can chime in, even the guy who has never had that particular pack but his second cousin first removed sisters boyfriend did:).... So for me its more about who's saying it than whats being said.... I spend a lot of time in the woods and still have trouble telling people what they do or don't need.
 

BMB

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
152
This is one of the biggest problems with forums. Some people want there name in the bright lights with out putting in the work. Aron has basically lived in the woods for the last ten years. Matt lives 5 minutes from some of the most rugged mountains in the lower 48. So there words should carry more weight. BUT with an open forum a guy can ask a question about a pack and everyone can chime in, even the guy who has never had that particular pack but his second cousin first removed sisters boyfriend did:).... So for me its more about who's saying it than whats being said.... I spend a lot of time in the woods and still have trouble telling people what they do or don't need.
or they held it in the store for 5 minutes and seemed like a POS.....lol
 

fillthefreezer

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2012
Messages
2,804
Location
eatonvile, wa
i myself spend a fair bit of time in the woods or in the mountains, a lot of it is not actually hunting do to washington game regs only letting you hunt one weapon per species with seasons avg 10days..

woods time per year is 50+ days. i am lucky to live 4mi from an area that is about 330,000ac of rough country for me to play in
 

Matt Cashell

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
4,110
Location
Western MT
That is kind of the same thing, fillthefreezer. Country of origin can be really important ... politicially, but just because something is made in China, or the Phillippines, or wherever, doesn't necessarily mean it is crap. You see this in optics. A LOT of Chinese optics are crap. Some aren't. I understand and respect why some guys don't buy Chinese for a lot of reasons. Some really good optics are made there, however, including the Nikon ED50 and Viper HD spotters.

My wife loves her Chinese iPhone, too :).
 

fillthefreezer

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2012
Messages
2,804
Location
eatonvile, wa
That is kind of the same thing, fillthefreezer. Country of origin can be really important ... politicially, but just because something is made in China, or the Phillippines, or wherever, doesn't necessarily mean it is crap. You see this in optics. A LOT of Chinese optics are crap. Some aren't. I understand and respect why some guys don't buy Chinese for a lot of reasons. Some really good optics are made there, however, including the Nikon ED50 and Viper HD spotters.

My wife loves her Chinese iPhone, too :).
very true, optics and electronics are definately tough as far as that goes, but if you get down to packs and boots, a lot more cut and dry id say...
 

tstowater

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
1,203
Location
Iowa
Since I do not live in or near mountains, my "field time" in the mountains is limited. I try to comment where I see appropriate, good or bad, but try to stay out of the fray unless I have a definite opinion one way or another. That being said, I tend to rely on opinions of those that I see probably have had extended experience with a certain product. Just because something is expensive or popular doesn't necessarily mean it is something that will work for me. Quality that fits and works the way it is supposed to goes along ways in my book. We have all most likely had a bad experience with what was perceived to be a quality product that did not work for us, but that in and of itself does not mean that the product won't work for someone else. Just look at the discussions on boots, sleeping bags, pads, shelters, etc., etc.
 

Matt W.

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 2, 2012
Messages
2,289
Location
North ID
I feel blessed to live in Alaska and have an understanding wife. I get 20+ days a year in the field, but its hard to keep track of it all when you through in weekend fishing and hiking trips here and there. ??? Typically a 10-11 day backpack trip with a bunch of 2-4 day trips of different varieties sprinkled around.
 

Yellowknife

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Messages
1,673
Location
Fairbanks, Alaska
Hunting? I'd say about 10-20 days in the field in a year currently. However, my work involves a lot of very remote field time in roadless Alaska, so I spent a good part of every summer living in tents, old log cabins, and remote lodges WAY off the beaten path. Usually 50+ days in a given year. Consequently, I get to test clothing, boots, day packs, etc more than most and I get to do it in a wide variety of settings.

Pre babies, my wife and I were also pretty hard-core weekend warriors. Could pretty much count on spending 1-3 nights a week in a tent all summer long up too about four years ago, so I draw on that experience also.

I will say it does irk me when somebody pronounces something to be "AWESOME!" just because it is new and shiny and arrived on their doorstep that morning. I usually try and avoid reviewing items until I have a year or so of experience with it, and on occasions when I can't get that (ie a new product to the market that people want to know about), I always add a disclaimer.

Yk
 

HellsCanyon

Senior Member
Rokslide Sponsor
Joined
May 29, 2012
Messages
3,474
Location
Lewiston ID
This is one of the biggest problems with forums. Some people want there name in the bright lights with out putting in the work. Aron has basically lived in the woods for the last ten years. Matt lives 5 minutes from some of the most rugged mountains in the lower 48. So there words should carry more weight. BUT with an open forum a guy can ask a question about a pack and everyone can chime in, even the guy who has never had that particular pack but his second cousin first removed sisters boyfriend did:).... So for me its more about who's saying it than whats being said.... I spend a lot of time in the woods and still have trouble telling people what they do or don't need.
Exactly... I remember back in the day when I first started visiting internet forums, if one or two people said that a pack was good to go, then I was sold on it! You'll get a lot of people out there than for the first time spent more than $100 on a pack and just because they used it that fall and still got to drag their deer to the road that its the cats meow. You can usually tell though if a person has really put a piece of gear to use. You learn to separate the "I have an ______ brand pack and its great!" posts vs. the "I packed out X amount of animals last year with ______ brand pack and it worked great, load lifters worked for myself and....etc"

As far as myself, now that I'm done with college and have a business to run, its going to be interesting to see just how much time off I can get! I'm hoping to have 20+ days pre-season in this year and am focusing on helping others hunt as well as myself in order to get more time afield.

Mike
Mike
 

chiefhoyt

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2012
Messages
79
Location
Mountain View, CA
Im lucky and still in college and can hit the river for ducks and turkey almost every day. Back country trips take alot more planning and time off but I take full advantage of it.
 

luke moffat

Administrator
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
0
Hunting? I'd say about 10-20 days in the field in a year currently. However, my work involves a lot of very remote field time in roadless Alaska, so I spent a good part of every summer living in tents, old log cabins, and remote lodges WAY off the beaten path. Usually 50+ days in a given year. Consequently, I get to test clothing, boots, day packs, etc more than most and I get to do it in a wide variety of settings.

Pre babies, my wife and I were also pretty hard-core weekend warriors. Could pretty much count on spending 1-3 nights a week in a tent all summer long up too about four years ago, so I draw on that experience also.

I will say it does irk me when somebody pronounces something to be "AWESOME!" just because it is new and shiny and arrived on their doorstep that morning. I usually try and avoid reviewing items until I have a year or so of experience with it, and on occasions when I can't get that (ie a new product to the market that people want to know about), I always add a disclaimer.

Yk
You sir, have a job that I would love to have though. Get to fly out to remote parts of our state that 99% of Alaskans never get to see and get paid for it. Jealous for sure!!!

Our primary hunting season up here in Alaska is only August 10th-Sept 20th. Beyond that you gotta get creative and hunt other critters beyond moose, caribou, and sheep generally. Mountain goats (Oct and Nov), and bears nearly year round. But I'd say of the 100+ days I spend in the field a year, maybe 60 of those are actually hunting. The rest is just hiking/scouting or just being out for the sake of being out. Don't need to have a rifle or bow along with me to have fun outside, though that doesnt' stop me from luggin' the extra 6-7 pounds along on a lot of my summer hikes on the off chance I can take a grizz.

Gear reviews are all relevant. However, the guy that just gets his pack/tent/boot/etc and loads up/sets/puts on their product for a quick intial test don't really do much for me. The extra pics of those reviews provide beyond the standard website pics is much appreciated, but the actual function reports I really dont' put much stock in until guys have packed out a few animals in a pack, done a couple multi-day hunts out of a tent, or hiked an animal out several miles off trail in a set of boots for example.

The shiny stuff looks great, but lots of the ugly stuff works better, and for me form follows function. It doesn't have to look purdy, just has to work. :D
 
Last edited:

dcestnik

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2012
Messages
162
Location
Helena, MT
Like other folks in living non-western states for every day I spend in the field I spend about 20 researching gear so keep the reviews coming everyone.
 
Top