Interview Coming – Mike Kafka – Inferno Hand Pouch
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Stay tuned for a possible review and also an interview with Mike Kafka. In the meantime, check out this handwarmer!

The Inferno Hand Pouch, a revolutionary hand warmer created by NFL Quarterback Mike Kafka (Eagles, Patriots, Buccaneers and Vikings). The hand pouch is lightweight and contours to the shape of your body, as opposed to bulky options currently on the market. It is perfect for hunting and even includes a specialized belt to hold 10-15 units of ammunition at the ready for a quick reload.

• Mike Kafka was inspired to create The Inferno Hand Pouch after years of playing quarterback in the Big Ten at Northwestern University and the NFL. He was tired of inadequate, cumbersome hand-warming options during cold weather games.

• Says Kafka: “As a Quarterback, I need to use my hands. When the weather turns for the worst, the only hand warming options were bulky. They didn’t cut it. The Inferno Hand Pouch keeps hands warm without getting in the way. When you are a serious athlete, every piece of equipment and extra weight matters. It can make a difference in your performance.”

• The Inferno Hand Pouch is 7mm thick (about the width of a pencil). It is made in the USA with PolarTec® insulation and a weather-resistant Neo-shield outer shell. It is priced between $49.99 – $59.99 and comes in a variety of colors.

Review – Halo Xtanium 600 Rangefinder
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A tip of the hat to Aaron at Source Outdoor Group for sending me a Halo rangefinder for review!

From the Press Release:

Halo’s XTANIUM™ rangefinders use the best technology available to provide accurate yardage, but it’s their extra features that set them apart from the crowd.

With 8x magnification, you can quickly identify whether a buck is worthy of wearing your tag. You don’t have to get caught trying to juggle multiple optics when every second counts.

XTANIUM™ rangefinders also take the guesswork out of difficult shot angles. Inclines and slopes not only affect our ability to judge distance, they also affect bullets and arrows due to the mathematics of gravity and the true horizontal distance to a target. AI Technology™ built into every XTANIUM™ rangefinder accounts for slope to target. Simply take the reading displayed in your XTANIUM™ and make the shot.

If your target is on the move, XTANIUM™ has you covered. Scan mode allows for constant ranging of moving targets, providing up-do-date feedback for that critical moment.

Finally, even the best data won’t do you any good if you can see it, so XTANIUM™ rangefinders feature a red OLED display to make the numbers stand out in any conditions, whether bright sun or those precious last few minutes before dark.
All those great features are packed into Halo’s new tough but light aluminum housing to withstand the bumps and bruises of the most demanding hunt.

Halo XTANIUM™ rangefinders are available in two models. The XTANIUM™ 1000 which ranges distance out to 1,000 yards and the XTANIUM™ 600 which ranges distance out to 600 yards.

XTANIUM™ 600 Features:

• 600 yard range | 8x magnification
• New designed lighter weight aluminum housing
• Maximum of 600 yards to reflective target
• 8x Magnification
• Red OLED display for easy use (organic light emitting diode)
• AI Technology™ accounts for slope to the target
• Scan mode allows for constant ranging
• Precise to +/- 1 yard
• Water resistant
• 1 year warranty
• Uses 1 CR2 lithium ion batter
• Nylon case included

I drew an Arizona Mule Deer tag for Unit 23 this year, which is in central Arizona. For most hunting in Arizona (and in the west for that matter) – a rangefinder is indispensable. Long shots are much more common, and with the rugged canyons found in most units, angle compensation is a great feature. I was anxious to try out the rangefinder from Halo Optics on this hunt.

The Unit take a single Lithium battery, and access is really easy.

The unit comes with a case and a basic User’s manual that is easy to follow. This rangefinder is smaller than some of the others I have used and fits really nicely into my hand. The holster is simple but practical and has a secure closure that you can fasten and unfasten easily with one hand. These are great features. I wish the cord was a little longer; I like to slip it over my belt or tie off to my bino harness in case I drop it or it slips out of the holster. That being said, this holster is secure enough that isn’t much of a worry.

The rangefinder has a solid metal housing which makes it very tough and it is also weather resistant. Included in the display are a reticle, low battery icon, unit of measure (yards or meters) and the angle. The unit has a scan mode which allows you to range continuously while moving the rangefinder from point to point. The documentation indicates the rangefinder will scan an object such as a tree out to 500 yards, and a deer out to 225 yards.I was routinely ranging objects out to 500 yards on my hunting trip. In my case I think it outperformed its stated specifications. The Unit worked really well in low light conditions.

The price listed on the website is $275 and that price is reasonably consistent with other similar rangefinders, with similar features.

The only negative point about this review is the lack of a deer photo. Unfortunately, all we saw were does during this particular hunt, and I was limited to bucks. I would recommend these rangefinders without hesitation, especially if you managed to find one on sale which would really give an edge to the value. Well done, Halo!

Learn more about Halo at their website: Halo Optics

Be A Part of Something Special
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Hopefully anyone that enjoys cooking wild game is already a fan of Hank Shaw. Hank’s recipes are amazing and will really push the boundaries when it comes to preparation of wild, natural fare. Hank has had two successful cookbooks in “Hunt, Gather, Cook” and also “Duck, Duck, Goose”.

Hank is ready to release a new cookbook focused on Venison, and has aptly named it “Buck, Buck, Moose”. He plans to self-publish his new cookbook and has launched a kickstarter campaign which you can check out below.

Icelandic venison tenderloin with mushrooms and blueberries.

Buck, Buck, Moose: Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Deer, Elk, Antelope, Moose and Other Antlered Things celebrates a food so important to humankind that many scientists believe it is one of the reasons we are who we are as a species today. We have hunted deer, in one form or another, since before we were fully human, and every culture in the world has a living venison tradition – from whitetail deer, elk and moose in North America, to red and fallow deer in Europe, axis deer in Asia, sitka deer in Japan, to the myriad forms of antelope and gazelle in Africa. Heck, even the native Australians hunted kangaroo, which has a flavor very much like venison.

Buck, Buck, Moose embraces that global heritage – and its modern expression – with more than 100 recipes ranging from American classics like country-fried steak to Southeast Asian curries, African favorites like bobotie, Chinese stir-fries, traditional European standards – as well as a host of completely original dishes I’ve created just for this book.

Americans and Canadians are eating more venison now than at any time in a century, and many are eager to expand their skills with one of the most free-range and organic of all meats. Wrapping your venison in bacon or dousing it in canned cream of mushroom soup just won’t cut it anymore.

Even non-hunters are starting to look at venison as a healthy alternative. Farmed venison can be bought in fancier supermarkets, and its high protein content, leanness, flavor – as well as the fact that deer cannot be intensively farmed like cattle or pigs – has boosted this market in recent years.

But the best news of all is that more and more people are taking up deer hunting as a way to take control over what they feed themselves and their families. No hormones, no antibiotics, no horrific farm practices.

Buck, Buck, Moose represents a guidebook for both the beginner and the lifelong hunter that will carry you from that moment in the woods all the way to the months of memorable meals that follow a successful hunt.

So here’s your chance. Help be a part of something special. Help a nationally-acclaimed chef get his cookbook on the shelf, and get a copy or a cool tshirt in the process. More importantly, you spread the word about the bounties and benefits of hunting, namely ethically harvested, organic, natural meat. People can learn to prepare it in ways that will literally leave their families and guests awestruck. How could you not want to be a art of that?

Square Duffel bag from Rickshaw
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A big thanks to Jane Chung from Echos Brand Communications for sending me a Square Duffel Bag from Rickshaw Bags for review.

From their media campaign:

•Height: 9.5″
•Width: 19″
•Depth: 9″
•Volume (Approx): 1624 cubic inches

Key Features: Machine Washable, Super Light Weight and collapsable, great travel bag – TSA compliant, carry with durable nylon webbing handles or included padded shoulder strap.

Exterior: Black Waterproof X-Pac™
Interior: Saffron Cordura® Nylon

X-Pac™ sailcloth is the perfect material for those of you in wet-weather climates. X-Pac™ is a special high-performance sailcloth for ocean–going racing boats, with a high-tech laminate is lightweight, abrasion resistant and waterproof. So, if wet weather riding is your gig, rest assured what’s inside the bag will stay dry.

Cordura® brand nylon is the classic “backpack” fabric used for durable packs and messenger bags for over thirty years. The fabric is woven in the United States, is extremely durable, machine washable and should last you a lifetime.

Rickshaw Square Duffel

This particular bag would be great to use as a range bag. For mechanics, it would be a great bag to keep some of your specialty tools together. If I was still working as an industrial mechanic, I’d probably use it for pipe wrenches or my rigging tools – line up tools, pry bars, etc. It would make a great bag to load full of jacks and tools and other supplies to aid you if your vehicle breaks down.

Rickshaw Square Duffel all loaded up

What struck me about this bag is the material. You would have to work at it to tear this bag. I tried driving a screwdriver through it in several places and couldn’t. Really. In the old days I was gentle on review products but now I try to really put them through the paces. I tried to puncture it and couldn’t. I loaded it heavy and bounced it up and down with the shoulder strap, trying to make the stitching or buckles fail. They didn’t. This bag is built very, very sturdy.

Heavy duty zippers and stitching

This is a tough, well-built bag that has dozens of uses. I really couldn’t find much fault with the bag itself. The only issue I have with the bag is the price point of $129. That will scare some folks away but based on what I have seen, this bag is nearly indestructible so the price makes a little more sense.

According to the site, they will repair worn or damaged bags for a nominal charge. I think if they just stretch that into a lifetime warranty, they’ve got a home run.

Believe it or not, we repair our own bags right here in our San Francisco workshop. If your beloved bag has suffered damage in an accident, or is wearing thin from years of use, our expert bagsmiths are here to help. We can mend tears, patch worn spots and replace broken hardware – generally at a nominal cost for time and materials. If you’re in the neighborhood, just drop on by and we’ll take a look. Otherwise, call us at (415) 904-8368, or email us at, to make arrangements.

If you’re looking for an extremely tough and durable bag for your tools, survival items, range euipment or whatever, have a look at Rickshaw Bags

4 in 1 Survivor Penlight from Browning
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Thanks to the folks at Browning for sending me one of their survival pens to check out. What a great idea this is, and would be perfect in a backpack or glove compartment.

Browning Survivor Pen Light

The tool has a ballpoint pen designed to write on most surfaces, and a hardened-tip for breaking glass. It includes a high intensity LED light as well.The pen features an “ultra-tough all-aluminum construction”, with a spring steel clip. You can use the clip to attach the light to your hat brim if needed.

Survival pen with ultra-bright LED light

This device doesn’t take up much room, and it could really make the difference in an emergency. It is simple, rugged, well thought-out and a great little tool to have.

Here is the Press Release from Browning:

Browning’s new 4-in-1 Survival Pen features an innovative combination of flashlight, cap light, writing pen and a tactical glass breaker with hardened tungsten carbide point.

The body of the 4-in-1 Survival Pen made from rugged aluminum. The pen features a lock on/lock off twist switch to prevent accidental operation of the flashlight and a pocket clip for easy access.

The white LED has an effective distance of 22 yards, and four LR41 button batteries give the pen an 8-hour run time.

Suggested Retail: $22.00.

For more information on new Browning flashlights for 2015, please visit