Test of Time: Favorite Outdoor Gear & Field Accessories
Garmin inReach Mini
The Garmin inReach Mini is must-have gear for many active Alaska outdoorsmen. From pilots to backcountry hunters to fishing float-trip crusaders, the inReach Mini gives outdoor enthusiasts the peace of mind in an emergency plus the ability for two-way texting in remote regions of Alaska for improved safety and logistics. You can even get weather updates, also extremely important in the Alaska Bush. We’ve used this unit in many locations across Alaska and it has worked flawlessly every time.
Diamond D Leather Guide’s Choice Holster
For the last 10+ years, Publisher Marcus Weiner has used this holster to carry a Ruger Redhawk .44 magnum revolver. It’s not a light handgun, so having a holster that is comfortable and distributes the weight of the revolver is mandatory. In his opinion, this is the best one on the market. It positions the gun squarely in the middle of the chest for easy access should you need it, incorporates storage for additional ammo, is supremely comfortable and has proven to be incredibly durable over the 100+ days wearing it in the field. He loves how easy it is to access the revolver, yet it remains out of the way when fishing and hunting. Diamond D can make you one for just about any handgun on the market.
Spyderco Endura 4 Ti Damascus
We have partnered with Spyderco and have tested knives from them over the last decade-plus. We’ve never used a design that we didn’t like, which is really a strong testament to the product-development vision at Spyderco and the wide array of designers that collaborate with them. And we have tested a lot of Spyderco knives. The three main types of knives we use from Spyderco are hunting knives, kitchen cutlery, and everyday carries. The Endura 4 Ti Damascus combines an eye-catching 31-layer blade and titanium handle. Its nearly 4-inch, full-flat-grind blade is perfect for everyday tasks.
Pro-Cure Redd Hot Double Stuff Egg Cure
On a mid-August day in the early ‘90s, George Krumm walked down the north bank of Montana Creek below the train-crossing bridge. Approaching the long run, he could see numerous anglers on the other side of the river tossing spoons and spinners. Drawing closer, he could see the shadowy figures of dozens of silvers holding in the moderate flow, ignoring or even moving away from the hardware. George lobbed out an egg cluster with just a small split shot for weight. The limit was three silvers per day back then, and after three casts, George packed up his three fish and gear and headed home. The eggs he was using were cured in Pro-Cure’s original formula, but the Redd Hot Double Stuff color. Pro-Cure’s original egg cure was revolutionary in that it was the first sodium-sulfite based egg cure on the market. It brought a level of success to anglers, especially those targeting salmon in rivers, that was nothing short of unbelievable. The 63-pound king to the left, landed by Bob Krumm, liked Redd Hot Double Stuff, too. This cure is still clobbering salmon and steelhead from California to Alaska. It has truly earned its place in history.
Pro-Cure Butt Juice
We’ve witnessed this scent turn on a halibut bite, and are firm believers that halibut feed by sight, sound and smell. When halibut fishing, we’ll use the Super Gel variant of Butt Juice on jigs and the Bait Oil version when scenting or marinating bait. Pro-Cure makes a really wide range of scents to help an angler catch fish in an impressively large range of fisheries. In addition to Butt Juice, we’ve had great success using their egg-curing and scenting products, bait brines, Bait Waxx, and Crab and Shrimp Attractant.
Knives of Alaska Coho Fillet Knife
There is just something about this fillet knife that makes it a favorite for our perennial testers who have tried dozens of fillet knives over the years. With an 8-inch blade, it’s perfect for filleting medium-sized salmon in Alaska and works like a champ for sockeye and coho. It’s super sharp and holds its edge. The double-riveted Suregrip handle fits comfortably in the hand and provides a nonslip grip essential for filleting.
Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag 70L
Publisher Melissa Norris has had this waterproof duffel bag for well over ten years and it’s still her go-to bag for every fishing trip. This bag feels larger than 70 L with the wide-open access to all of your gear. The backpack straps have withstood overpacking time and again and it is a helpful setup when you are pulling a cooler and camera case in one hand and holding a rod case in the other. While it has been used extensively, it looks like it is just a few years old. Still in their lineup after all these years, we know several other anglers who have this duffel and they love theirs, too.
Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener
Sharpening dull knives, especially those that have been long abused, is a difficult process. Or, it was, anyway. The Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener changed all that. It is basically like a small, electric belt sander built into a frame to sharpen knives. We have not seen an easier, faster way to sharpen knives, whether those that just need to be touched up or those long-abused knives some of us have. It can also sharpen scissors, hatchets, axes, mower blades and other items. It comes with interchangeable angle guides (20-degree bevel, 25-degree bevel, and a scissors’ guide) to make establishing a consistent edge easy. It comes with coarse, medium and extra-fine abrasive belts plus instructions. With this sharpener, even those of us who can’t sharpen a pencil can put a great edge on five fillet knives in five minutes. Probably less.