November 04, 2010
When you're hunting from a ground blind, success usually rests on your comfort.
Most of us can agree that personal comfort amplifies patience, and patience often translates into bowhunting success. This concept can be difficult to grasp when a scorching Wyoming sun turns your ground blind into an oven. Beads of sweat stream down your body, your neck hurts from scanning for incoming pronghorns, and your mouth is as dry as the dirt beneath your boots. With those unavoidable challenges, the last thing you need is a body-wracking chair.
If you're more than 20-something, you probably won't last all day without a good seat. Your hindquarters must be comfy and your back well supported or you'll be heading back to camp early -- just as the trophy of your dreams slips past your empty blind.One important note: Whatever chair you choose, always practice shooting from it before hunting. Different chairs can alter your shooting form in different ways. So practice until you're positive you can shoot accurately from your chosen chair.
The Huntmore 360 is currently the ultimate blind chair. The aluminum frame consists of two oversized, sturdy hubs, with removable seat and back cushions on a collapsible frame that fits into a small carrying case. Setup requires a short learning curve, but once you have it down it's quick and easy.
As the name suggests, the Huntmore 360 rotates 360 degrees, and it does so smoothly and silently. The triangular seat section is large enough that it doesn't cause discomfort or cut off circulation to your legs. One of the backpad sections adjusts to customize lumbar support.
The telescoping legs are tipped with large, wide feet that won't sink into soft ground.
You can level this chair on uneven ground like that encountered next to a waterhole or a large tree. At 10.5 lbs., the Huntmore 360 is not light, but it's easy to carry with a shoulder strap. At around $200, it's not cheap, either, but the old cliché, "You get what you pay for," applies to this product.
MAGNUS RACK PACK
I've included the unique Magnus Rack Pack because of its versatility. Doubling as a backpack to which you can strap your pop-up blind, the Rack Pack is easily converted to a blind chair. A shelf that can be used as a meat shelf for packing game flips around to serve as a seat, and the padded side of the packframe becomes your backrest. Even for a guy my size -- 6'5" and 220 lbs. -- the Rack Pack has proven quite comfortable. It slopes back, almost like a recliner, so you can kick back when things are slow yet sit up when action is imminent. An adjustable padded headrest adds even more comfort.
Best of all, you don't have to carry a chair or blind. Just strap your blind to the Rack Pack and take off for the woods. If you're planning to hunt from a natural blind, you can use the Rack Pack to haul your pack, bow, or even a decoy and still have a place to sit. All that ingenuity and versatility weighs only 7.7 lbs. and costs around $170.
PRIMOS QS3 MAGNUM
For a combination of comfort, light weight, durability, simplicity, and low cost, you can't beat the Primos QS3 Magnum chair. This "Tri-Stool" is built to handle abuse, with heavy-duty frame hubs that won't break -- like those on the cheap lawn chairs some of us use. The triangular design helps maintain circulation to your legs, and a second back section provides lumbar support. The QS3 Magnum has no armrests to get in your way, and it folds quietly if you decide to bail off and shoot from your knees.
The only negative is the Cordura material, which is somewhat noisy if you slide around on it. Of course, most companies make chairs with either Cordura or polyester because of those materials' strength and durability. Unfortunately, they are inherently noisy, too, so I often lay an extra fleece garment over such chairs to quiet my movements.
The QS3 Magnum is larger than the original Primos Double Bull Tri-Stool, but it still folds up into a relatively small package that weighs only 5.5 lbs. It comes in Ground Swat Camo and costs about $50.
MOBILE REST 360
The Mobile Rest 360 chair was originally designed for rifle shooters and then adapted for bowhunters. It has a thickly padded seat, adjustable seat height, and an adjustable backrest. The 360-degree rotation is silent, and the chair collapses for transport.
One unique feature about this chair is the built-in bow holder that sits between your legs, keeping your bow within easy reach. Height adjusts for precise positioning, and the bow holder sets up for right or left-handed shooters. When not in use, it folds out of the way.
The Mobile Rest 360 isn't especially compact when collapsed, and the tripod base is not as stable as some four-legged designs, but for $130, this 8-lb. chair works well.
The Stag is essentially a stool enhanced with a backrest. Constructed of a tough composite material with a dull finish, the Stag weighs an easy-to-pack 6 lbs. The removable legs store in the seat section, so the chair is compact and portable.
All four legs quickly adjust from 16" to 23", so you can easily level the chair on uneven terrain. The seat is padded, but the backrest is not. The Stag swivels easily but it is a bit rough and, while not totally silent, it is quiet enough for the slow, careful rotation you'll need when preparing for a shot.
The Stag is a streamlined option that won't get in the way of your shot, but if you plan to sit all day, you'd better be 20-something with a small hind end. Long days in a blind require more comfort than the Stag offers. It's better suited for situations when you need a compact, maneuverable chair for short hunts. Price is about $108.
HUNTER'S SPECIALTIES PILLOW CAMO CHAIR
Hunter's Specialties offers a number of hunting chairs of various sizes and designs. I have one of their Pillow Camo Chairs that I like for long sits. I especially like it for pronghorn hunting because I generally know animals are coming well ahead of time, and the Pillow Camo Chair is easy to fold and stash behind me, allowing me to quickly shoot from my knees. The Pillow Camo Chair has armrests and padding in the seat and back, it's built tough enough to handle abuse, and it folds up nicely. Price is about $55.
AMERISTEP ARCHER'S CHAIR
The Archer's Chair is a somewhat different design featuring a very sturdy and stable frame that won't tip over or collapse. It has a wide seat and even wider
backrest, and it folds flat for easy storage. Under the seat is a zippered gear pouch to keep your stuff together. It weighs just over 5 lbs. and costs about $50.
GORILLA GEAR HI-BACK HUNTING CHAIR
At just over 4 lbs., the Hi-Back Hunting Chair is the lightest chair on this list, and at just over $20, it's the least expensive. It has a gear pouch under the seat and folds up flat, but the backrest is a bit too upright for my taste. I would consider it fine for morning and evening hunts but too small for all-day sits.