Landing Gear

There’s a moment in waterfowling when everything changes. It’s when the birds commit and lower their “landing gear” to set in. It’s also when hunters go from hoping for an opportunity to knowing they’re going to get a shot—the reward for all the preparation, scouting and hard work setting up on “the X.” With the help of the following products, you may see more landing gear over your setups this year.

FIRST LITE STRAIGHTLINE FIELD JACKET

Hunters who venture out in harsh conditions will appreciate First Lite’s Straightline Field Jacket—designed to withstand the storms and straightline winds characteristic of North America’s prairie pothole region. The softshell jacket features a nylon-face stretch fabric backed by sherpa fleece and has chap overlays in high-wear areas. It is 100-percent windproof and highly water resistant and can be worn as an outer layer or midlayer. Magnetic high hand pockets are accessible when wearing waders, and there are two zippered chest pockets and two zippered low hand pockets. Weight: 38 oz.
Sizes: S through XXXL. Colors: Typha, Cache, Dry Earth (shown). Price: $300.

First Lite, firstlite.com.

SCHEELS OUTFITTERS MOTORIZED DECOY BACKPACK

Duck hunters looking for an easy way to transport motion decoys will appreciate the Scheels Outfitters Motorized Decoy Backpack. Holding up to four decoys, the pack’s zippered main compartment has an adjustable, padded interior with pockets for storing wings. Decoy stakes are secured in exterior pockets. Shoulder straps are fully adjustable, and there is thick foam on the backpack for padded comfort. There are three zippered accessory pockets; interior swivel snaps to hold remotes, valuables and so on; and a charging port. Color: Realtree MAX-7 plus tonal colors. Price: $120.

Scheels, scheels.com.

ALPS OUTDOORZ EMBER HAND WARMER

Cold mitts are a thing of the past with the ALPS OutdoorZ Ember Hand Warmer. DeadQuiet three-layered fabric—with a fleece exterior, a waterproof inner membrane and a suede interior—provides warmth, weather protection and noise concealment. A hidden-cuff design closes around the wrists to keep out cold and wind. A stowable waist belt adjusts from 29" to 49", and there is an envelope-style magnetic pocket for valuables or HotHands (not included). Dimensions: 19" (w) x 7" (h). Weight: 11 oz. Color: Coyote Brown. Price: $60.

ALPS OutdoorZ, alpsoutdoorz.com.

TOM BECKBE WATERFOWL STRAP VEST

Pairing classic materials with an innovative design, Tom Beckbe’s Waterfowl Strap Vest keeps hunters comfortable and well organized in the field. The shell is made of durable, weatherproof 8.25-oz waxed shelter cloth, and adjustable shoulder and side straps are anchored in back with a fully padded yoke. Pocketing includes oversized sherpa-fleece-lined handwarmer pockets, two large bellows pockets and two zippered valuables pockets. Two shell loops and an oversized loop for attaching accessories are on each side of the chest, and large webbing loops at the bottom can be clipped to for dragging decoys through the water. One size fits most. Colors: Rye Brown (shown), Classic Camo (Timber). Price: $249.

Tom Beckbe, tombeckbe.com.

CHÊNE GEAR SLOUGH BOOT

For those times when a knee-high rubber boot comes up short, there is Chêne Gear’s new Slough Boot. The boot is made of natural rubber over 3mm of insulating neoprene, and a four-layer, wader-nylon extension with elastic top can be unfurled to provide 12" of extra waterproof protection. (When not in use, the extension folds down out of the way.) A 9"-to-16" webbing clip can connect to a belt loop or belt to hold the extension in place. The boot has a rubber heel kicker for easy removal, and the molded rubber outsole has a unique tread pattern that offers plenty of traction. Extra 7mm innersoles (included) can be used to customize fit. Sizes: 6 through 14. Color: Mossy Oak Bottomland. Price: $300.

Chêne Gear, chenegear.com.

GHG PRO-GRADE XD SERIES MALLARD DECOYS 

GHG Pro-Grade XD Series Mallard Decoys are ultra-realistic dekes that combine detail and movement to totally dupe ducks. The “XD” stands for “Extraordinary Detail,” and it shows in the anatomically correct poses as well as the detail in everything from ruffled feathers to the irises and pupils of the eyes. Featuring IllusoryMotion (interacting color contrasts and shape positions that display the illusion of movement), the floating decoys have DuraFeather supple bodies and DuraKeels, which are perfectly weighted with 60 percent of the mass up front. The Harvester 6-pack contains 1 active drake, 1 resting drake, 1 swimming drake, 1 surface-feeding drake (shown), 1 surface-feeding hen and 1 active hen. Price: $110. (A 12-pack is available for $200, and a 6-pack of all drakes costs $110.)

Banded, banded.com.

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