I’ve spent a lot of time sitting in a blind over the past several years. A majority of that time has been spent in one of the original Double Bull Matrix 360 blinds, the Dark Horse or one of the newer Deluxe blinds. For bowhunting, I have a strong preference for the blinds with a 180 degree front window. The Double Bull blinds have never failed me, and I still use them today, but there were always a few nit picky things that I would have liked to see improved on. These are things that other blind companies on the market have failed to address.
Visibility (or Invisibility) is Key
While walking the aisles of the NWTF Convention this spring, a digital camo blind caught my eye. The name of the company, Xenek, was unfamiliar to me at the time. I don’t know if it was the KUIU Verde pattern that drew me in at first, or the fact that the front 180 degree window was wide open. And by wide open, I mean WIDE open. I was immediately intrigued so I stopped over at the booth to learn more about them. After spending a few minutes at the Xenek booth, I knew I had to give their Apex blind a shot this spring.
In my opinion the biggest advantage the Xenek Apex blind has over other blinds on the market is its front window adjustment capability. As I mentioned before, the blind window can be opened extremely wide. So you may ask, “why is this helpful?”. One thing that other blinds on the market have failed to address is how to use them to hunt on any type of hilly terrain. Setup a blind on top of a ridge or down in a valley, and you run into the problem of being able to open up the front window enough in either direction to allow you to take a shot up or down hill. The Xenek Apex blind front window will adjust to where the bottom of the front window is roughly 18″ or so off of the ground floor. Likewise, for uphill shooting, the window opens almost to the top of the blind wall. This is also a huge advantage for when you take children hunting with you.
Blocking Out the Light
Another gripe I have with other blinds on the market is the amount of light that can pass through the blind material and/or rear windows. A stray beam of sunlight through a window or even light coming in through thin fabric can quickly alert your prey when something moves in front of it from inside. The best camouflage while hunting in the blind is to have a solid black/dark interior to hide your movements while also wearing a dark solid color (black preferred). The Xenek Apex blind accomplishes this by using a thick 600 denier fabric with solid black polyurethane backing. Not only does this keep the light out of the blind, but it also keeps the interior of the blind dry during a rain storm.
A Whole Lot of Room
I have spent years filming solo in my Double Bull blinds. Even on the occasion that I brought along a hunting partner, I never really had issues fitting all of my gear and my hunting partner inside. I have, however, hunted on occasion with two other people in the blind which can be a bit cramped when most of the floor space is taken up with a camera tripod. To overcome this, Xenek has added tripod slots in the front two panels of the Apex blind. With the tripod slots, you can position your cameras tripod real close to the blind wall and put one or possibly two of the tripod legs through the slot, instantly freeing up valuable real estate inside the blind. When not in use the flaps completely seal shut. If you add a Fourth Arrow Rex or Raptor arm on top of your tripod and utilize the blinds built-in tripod slots, you can easily remain hidden in the back of the blind and maneuver the camera to keep blind rods and straps out of your shot while also maximizing your cameras field of view.
Another cool feature of the Xenek Apex ground blind are the built-in threaded Mini-Mount hub couplings. Every hub on the blind, both inside and out, has a threaded Mini-Mount hub coupling where you can easily attach a secondary camera or other threaded accessory. Xenek sells a Mini-Mount camera mount which directly interfaces with the built-in hub couplings and is perfect for attaching a GoPro or similar style camera to help you capture the perfect secondary angles. When not using the Mini-Mount, it folds up nice and compact to reduce the amount of space taken up inside your pack.
Speaking of packs…the Apex blind also comes with a free blind backpack. I won’t go into great detail here, but with the shoulder straps, waist belt and chest strap, the blind backpack makes it easy to carry all of year gear into the field in a single trip…without breaking your back doing so. There are several more great features of this blind including built-in brush loops; extra reinforced hubs, corners, and window corners; removable/replaceable shoot through mesh front window; and solid fiberglass blind rods in lieu of weaker hollow blind rods.
I think it goes without saying that I have been very pleased with my Xenek Apex blind so far this spring. It has performed flawlessly and has already helped me to fill my first Ohio tag of 2017.
You can order your Apex ground blind here: Xenek Apex Ground Blind
Use the following coupon code at checkout: SELFILMED
Xenek Apex Blind Specifications:
• 72” x 72” (at hubs) x 73” tall.
• 25 Pounds
• KUIU’s VERDE digital camo pattern.
• 600d polyester skin with black PU backing.
• Removable/replaceable laminated Polyester/Spandex/PU elastic window covers.
• 10 built-in accessory mount locations (threaded hub couplings).
• Tripod slots integrated into the wall system.
• Reinforcing at corners of ground blind and other areas prone to wear.