2018 ATA Show – Benchmade Knife Company

Benchmade released several exciting, new knives in their Hunt lineup this year at the 2018 ATA Show.  Some were improvements on fan-favorites, while others were hybrids to fill gaps between existing platforms.  My two favorite were the skeletonized knives, the 152000RG Altitude and 15200DLC Altitude.

At 1.67oz, these were destined to become part of each backcountry hunter’s arsenal. Even with the Kydex sheath, this slim and light package disappears into your pack.  At first glance one cannot help but think “scalpel.” However, the standout feature on the handle is something you don’t find in medical office or other skeletonized knives on the market. The carbon fiber scales not only look great but greatly improve the dexterity when your handle is lucky enough to get “messy.”

These knives also feature another first for the Hunt line of knives: S90V steel.    This premium, rock-hard stainless steel can be sharpened to a razor-edge bevel, and hold it. While I’ve only had the opportunity to test this on some mid-west squirrels, others tell me it’ll easily stay sharp through one and a half to two bull elk.  The orange blade has a ceramic, Cerakote® coating that adds an additional level of corrosion resistance. The black 15200DLC model features a “diamond-like carbon” coating that is, as you can imagine, extremely hard.  These knives fill multiple gaps that the variety of “disposable” blade knives currently on the market leave; rugged blades that can stand up to the abuse of backcountry hunting and less waste left behind.  To further this pledge to future generations, a portion of the proceeds from each 152000RG will be donated to Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.

Expanding upon two highly successful platforms, Grizzly Creek and Crooked River, Benchmade also released two highly portable folders;  the Grizzly Ridge and Mini Crooked River.   The Grizzly Ridge features a dual-durometer handle in lieu of the stabilized wood handle of the Grizzly Creek.  It also forgoes the gut hook for save some substantial weight, as well as make it a little bit more budget-friendly.   The Mini-Crooked River is just like its larger brother:  A well-designed hunting folder but sized for everyday carry.

The largest new fixed blade in the hunting line up, the Pardu Hunter, is a good slicer and all-around hunting knife. Micarta handles give a soft, textured grip that can easily be removed if you would like to shed a few ounces while still carrying a full-sized fixed blade. Aside from the two skeletonized knives, the remainder feature  S30V premium stainless steel for all-around edge retention, corrosion resistance, and toughness.

For those that aren’t quite sure what knife to get, or those who want to put their own unique touch on their gear, check out Benchmade’s amazing new Custom Knife Builder.  You can find this program, the new knives above, and other wildly popular models on their website www.benchmade.com. Also, be sure to stay tuned into the SELFILMED blog as we bring you up-to-date coverage from the 2018 ATA Show in Indianapolis.

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2018 ATA Show – Spot Hogg

Last year, Spot Hogg saw demand for the Fast Eddie and Fast Eddie XL  soar through the roof. In fact, demand was so great, it was difficult for them to stay caught up on the manufacturing side. In light of this, Spot Hogg opted to focus on improving production capacity in lieu of new product design. However, Spot Hogg being who they are has introduced a few improvements and upgrades to their existing sight line.

Did I mention the Fast Eddie was a hot selling item? Well, this year will be no different, and to add its list of great features available, for 2018 Spot Hogg has introduced an adjustable positive rack stop for the Fast Eddie and Fast Eddie XL. This stop will allow archers to set a maximum (or minimum) distance on their Fast Eddie sights and have a “Zero” stop return point so they can quickly dial their yardage knob to a known distance without even looking.  The Rack Stop will come standard on all 2018 Fast Eddie sights, and can be retrofitted to previous year models.


Also for 2018, Spot Hogg has added the Double Pin Pointer to their Tommy Hogg and Hogg Father sights. If you already have a Tommy Hogg or Hogg Father sight, the Double Pin Pointer easily retrofits to previous year models just like the Rack Stop. Though there is some assembly required, Cabe Johnson from Spot Hogg assured us that it is an easy installation process, and Spot Hogg’s awesome customer service will – as usual – be happy to help anyone who has any questions.

Last but not least, Spot Hogg has introduced a few new offerings in their release lineup.  The Wise Guy release is now available with the Boa Wrist strap by Truglo.  This well designed wrist strap is much more adjustable than more traditional buckle design straps. The Boa design allows for infinite adjustment, making it by far the most comfortable wrist strap available today.  To piggy back off the Boa wrist strap, Spot Hogg has also introduced a Cam Hanes Keep Hammering signature series Boa wrist strap. In addition to this, there is a new women’s camo pattern wrist strap for the Wise Guy known as the Muddy Girl.  This wrist strap and the and the others are all available on 2018 model Wise Guy releases.

For more information on the new products being offered by Spot Hogg, be sure to visit their website at www.spot-hogg.com. Also, be sure to stay tuned into the SELFILMED blog as we bring you up-to-date coverage from the 2018 ATA Show in Indianapolis.


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2018 ATA Show – Grim Reaper Broadheads

Grim Reaper focused their R&D efforts on addressing customer feedback and suggestions that have come up over the last year.   If you’ve shot their broadheads in the past, you’ll know that they fly like a field point and open up with some of the widest linear cutting surfaces available.  Designed to open up during entry to maximize chances of success – while staying closed out of the fastest bows on the market – some folks were concerned that the broadheads would open a little too early with the jolt from a crossbow.

To further differentiate their crossbow and compound lines, they redesigned the cam system that retains the blades throughout the shot to their X-Bow line of broadheads.  In essence, there is a “hump” early in the blade cycle that keeps the blades fully closed during flight even when shot through the fastest crossbows on the market.  Warning: this will make the broadhead feel substantially stiffer to open by hand.  However, do not worry about opening upon impact.  Impressively, these same broadheads reliably open on a water-filled milk jug even when shot from a 20 lb draw Genesis youth bow.  Despite these major modifications, the broadhead still flies just like their practice version and a field point:  shots out of a 460 FPS crossbow at 110 yards produced five-inch groups between all three.

Variations of these improvements made it over to their compound-bow designed broadheads.  The improved cup design is guaranteed to stay closed during flight, yet you’ll notice these are even easier to open by hand than before.  Those with a collection of prior year’s Grim Reapers will appreciate the replacement blade kits that fit ALL past mechanical models.  In addition to these broadhead improvements, Grim Reaper redesigned their practice broadhead to make it even more durable and accurate.

Last but not least, Grim Reaper released a sweet, new t-shirt.  They stressed to us that this shirt represented everything they are about at Grim Reaper. For more information, or to purchase this and any of their new products please visit www.grimreaperbroadheads.com.

Also, be sure to stay tuned into the SELFILMED blog as we bring you up to date coverage from the 2018 ATA Show in Indianapolis.

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2018 ATA Show – Sitka Gear APEX Series

Every year Sitka Gear seems to raise the bar for the competition and this year did not disappoint.  In addition to their new Early Season Whitetail (ESW) system, Sitka’s Big Game release – the Apex Series – is sure to be a hit in 2018.

Built for the spot-and-stalk hunter, the technologies woven into this system were immediately visible.   The silky smooth and quiet exterior were designed for efficiency and silence during the stalk.  The precisely mapped Apex Hoody features my favorite fabric, merino wool, with a nylon face to withstand the abuse associated with rugged western stalks.

There are numerous other features of the hoody that set this part of the system apart from others.  Padded elbows, as well as a built-in mesh face mask help keep you comfortable and concealed.  The feature I liked the most of the Apex Hoody was the kangaroo-style pocket.  The zippered, compartmentalized pocket is a quick and quiet means to access all of your gear at a moment’s notice without alerting your prey.

The lightweight and agile Apex Pant is structured to adapt to ever-changing hunting conditions. The micro-grid interior keeps you warm as weather conditions worsen and sheds moisture/heat when the hunt intensifies.  The polyester exterior gives the pant a quiet, yet weather resistant exterior for further protection from the elements.

Sitka’s new, minimalist Apex Pack rounds out the ultimate spot-and-stalk system.  The low-profile design minimizes your silhouette and bulk, allowing you to quickly and quietly close the distance.   A functional, accessible design keeps essential gear within reach for when the moment of opportunity presents itself.

While many of us would love to have this system for chasing turkeys this spring, be on the lookout for the new Apex System later this summer.  In the meantime, you can check out this and other new items on Sitka’s website www.sitkagear.com.

Also, be sure to stay tuned into the SELFILMED blog as we bring you up to date coverage from the 2018 ATA Show in Indianapolis.

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