Contributors to this thread:
Fill In the Equipment Blank.............
The once piece of equipment I would never cut corners on and always choose to buy the best I could afford, if not overspend on, is _________________________
for me rain gear
Binoculars. Nothin worse than an eyestrain headache from cheap glass. Not to mention having to hear my buddy say " you can't see his rack? "
Toss up between back pack and boots.
Back pack for me. Everything else hunting related can be found at a discount that suits me.
When it comes to my hunting equipment the only thing I cheap out on is my warm weather camo, I research the crap out of and buy the best i can afford, but im with Bou, i would never skimp on rain gear!!
Everything hunting related lol
Boots. Unfortunately I am still on a lifelong quest for a pair that is waterproof and fit me great.
Boots...If my feet aren’t happy, I’m in for a LONG hunt.
Bow, and I would say that includes the sight and rest on the bow.
Really tough to choose one single item. There are about a bajillion factors that go into it. Really not much of my gear is top of the line nor do I use junk. I find the middle ground is pretty comfortable for me. But I know it, I customize/modify a lot of it.
My style of Eastern hunting: treestand/climbing system, warm clothing. I get way in deep many hunts but it's not quite the daily grind that Western hunting is, so weight is less important.
The treestand industry pisses me off pretty good. 95% of it is designed to leave out all season. In 20 years of hunting, I have never once left a treestand anywhere overnight. The few designs for the mobile hunter all have flaws.
Staying warm for all day sits is huge, and durability is a bigger factor with all of our briars and brush.
Western hunting, I would probably have to go backpack. But I find the Westie gear more spendy in general simply because that packability, weight savings, and versatility more important with the daily grind of the mountains, as well as feeling I really need to maximize my efforts on those special trips.
Expect a lot will say optics but I've never been an optics guy. I have seen the difference pricey optics make and it is significant. Just not my thing. I love treestand hunting, and glassing bores the hell out of me.
I think a really solid argument to this query could be made for primo tags and private land access, but that game doesn't appeal to me.
Boots cold feet can ruin a hunt
Shelter and sleep gear. Got to get a good nights rest. A very close second is boots.
Beard trimmer. Gotta look my handsomest! :)
I'd say my treestand and sticks. Pretty much everything else is in the "gets the job done pretty well" mid-range category.
Good binoculars in open country.
Good boots in timber.
APauls x3. When it comes to bowhunting, I cant think of anything I cut corners on. If something makes me more comfortable, efficient, and/or effective, (and I can afford it), then I’ll get it.
I'd have to say backpack for now! Going to be boots as soon as what I have are worn out! The brand I like that actually fit me aren't distributed in the US anymore, been picking up some off eBay, but that well it's drying up for new pairs!
Boots, if your feet are happy, the sequence of events that follow make for a miserable hunt. To take it a step further, boots are the only thing I don't cut corners on.
Back pack. For me I can do just fine with average priced boots, bow, arrows, rain gear but a cheap pack that puts the weight on your shoulders can’t be gotten used to. My feet can get used to average priced boots but I won’t get rid of my high dollar pack.
Boots, Binos, scotch in that order.
Hunting vehicle and scotch.
Sleep system. Bag and pad.
It's all situational. If you aren't hiking/packing great boots not needed. Not glassing no need for great optics much less adding a good spotter. If not camping no need for a tent. If hunting at home for an OTC species.... not much to budget for WRT tags (OMG! My rezzy license went up $10!) If hiking, glassing, backpacking, hunting trophy animals out of state..... changes everything....
What gear do you feel good enough about to buy cheap crap?
My truck, if I can’t get to my hunting spot everything else is null and void
boots are the run away leader in the clubhouse.
TD, don't be confused by cheap crap. I don't buy top of the line much besides bows (albeit used), and my treestands/sticks, but I don't buy cheap junk either. For example, I don't buy Sitka or Kuiu clothing, but I buy good quality Cabelas or equivalent stuff. I don't buy the latest and greatest .001 straight arrows, I buy Beman ICS Hunters or GT XT Hunters that are .003 straight. My boots aren't the best, but they get the job done and aren't off the shelf at Fleet Farm. There is a wide range of quality of stuff. If you don't buy the best it doesn't mean you are buying crap.
If it start with a B (bow,boots,broadheads,) I won't skimp.
Grampa told me to never skimp on your boots, bed or buggy.
Get a good nights sleep, have healthy feet and buy a vehicle that will never let you down.
Excluding shelter, food and water. It’s Socks and Boots For me. Any bow will shoot as good as the human holding it. Any pack will carry stuff a dozen miles. And on and on. But if your feet are not in good shape your pack or bow won’t matter. Just my opinion.
I agree partially altitude sick. My feet can go twelve miles in about any boots and socks that they are used to. It’s hard to go a dozen miles with an elk on your back when you have a cheap pack without proper load lifting abilities. 35 lbs hurts on a poor pack much less 70 lbs. I can hit my mark with reasonably priced arrows, I’ve climbed mountains in Danners, Wolverines, Keens and my worn out Nike running shoes but I won’t every attempt to carry more than 20#s in a cheap pack. Without a good frame and load lifting abilities this is what a pack looks like. Now imagine that with 70+ pounds in it going maybe 2-4 miles a trip. Now if you’re treestand hunting the Midwest, the most necessary thing might be a nice safety harness. I guess it’s all perspective.
You could also ask the reciprocal question: What equipment failure ruined a trip for you. When you answer that, you know what to spend money on next time.
I have had a trip ruined because of bad: Base layer, socks, boots, rain gear, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, tent.
You skimp on ANY of those and you might be very very sorry.
Having done both..... big difference between what you can make work and get by with and gear that's made to perform better and make the task easier and more comfortable. Not always.... but there is normally a difference in cost as well. Money can take 10-15lbs off a pack..... a bit more money and you get a pack that handles that and any other weight you put in it better and more comfortably. Much like temp ratings for sleeping bags..... for some brands "survivable" is comfortable enough. I am DONE "surviving" teeth chattering nights. Yes I am still alive. And also still remember the misery of those nights. No more. The higher end bags have no problems saying survivable is not good enough, comfort should be comfort. Thus you get TRUE comfort ratings from the high end bags. The premium is not put on fudging number for sales.
Used an Eberlestock pack for many years and hauled literally tons of gear and meat, mine and others, with it. It was a very "good" pack, better than most and got the job done. A Kifaru replaced it when it wore out. I'd buy the Kifaru again if it took me another year to save for it. It will just simply haul more weight more comfortably.
WRT which is "most important"...... as the saying goes.... you are as strong as your weakest link. Find your weakest link and make it stronger. Repeat as necessary..... Boots/socks (insole?) maybe every couple years..... high end binos maybe last a lifetime......
The gear I buy I consider investments. It is also for the most part accumulated over time. I have what I need to pack up and go anywhere on nearly any hunt for anything save for polar bear or musk ox. And will have it for many years.
Having said that.... if somehow I lost everything I owned but for my archery gear...... first high end gear I would spend top dollar for would likely be a pack. A used one.... =D Great deals on used gear out there if you study and shop. The world is full of.... what does Lou call em, "sitka warriors" who are basically one and done..... the fantasy more fun than the reality they ran head on into. Ebay is full of "only used one season...."
make the effort to do the homework and get the good stuff if possible. But you don't have to go broke doing so..... Then again..... I hear folks bitchin' about no way they're paying that much for a great pair of pants like Attacks.... as they sit in a $50,000 truck...... priorities I guess.....
interesting nobody has mentioned personal safety / communication enablers. certainly on some adventures the ability to reliably communicate with the outside world could mean the difference between getting home and getting buried.
Forced to choose one? Only boots can work as designed/ built and still miserably fail the individual to the greatest extent. Poorly fit boots can fail from the minute you step foot on the trail. Packs are close second but that often manifests in a haul out so, theoretically, they won't wreck a hunt as pervasively as boots.
My answer would depend on where/when I'm hunting. (i.e. big difference between an Alaska wilderness drop hunt and sitting in a treestand on the back forty.)
Range finder is my numero uno and then it would be my merino base layers. I literarily will buy merino wool when I see the slightest hint of a sale price whether I need it or not. If hunting via back pack then it would be rain gear.
Every thing has to be good to great,or it will wreck the hunt.
Bow hands down. Fortunately, my D350 still rocks!