Hog Blog Gear Review – Gun Slicker and Cambow Sling

March 24, 2014

Several years ago, at the SHOT Show, someone came up to me and gave me a thimble-sized, bell-shaped bundle of neoprene with a clip on one end, and something stuffed into the bell opening on the other end.  I fiddled with it for a second and pulled out a square of microfiber lens cloth that was attached by a corner to the bell. I realized immediately, that I could clip one of these little guys onto my binoculars or my camera strap, and always have a good lens cloth right at my fingertips. “Wow,” thought I.  “This is kind of handy.  I wish I’d thought of it.”

And that was my introduction to Spudz, an innovative little gizmo from Alpine Innovations.  Since that day, I’ve got Spudz hooked to my camera strap, my binocular case, my video camera, and a spare in the console of the Tactical Vehicle (my truck).  I’ve given them away to friends and clients, and had more than one envious glance from other hunters when I wouldn’t part with my last one.  They’re proof to the cliché… sometimes great things do come in small packages.

Of course, a company with “Innovations” in its name isn’t likely to sit back on its laurels, and nobody is going to get rich selling lens cloths… no matter how cool they are.  They’ve been steadily cranking out cool new products for all sorts of applications, from hunting and fishing to golf and photography, and even electronics.  The Spudz line has now expanded to include a kit with a little tube of defogger, and another kit with a tube of lens cleaner included.  There are even big Spudz for cleaning the screen of your computer or tablet.

They do other stuff too, and while I was at SHOT this past January, I had the opportunity to stop by the Alpine Innovations booth and see what’s new.  I poked around at the variations on Spudz until one of the reps got a chance to show me around.  There’s a lot you can do with neoprene, and while it’s not an entirely original concept, the guys at Alpine had come up with a line of protective “slickers” for outdoor gear, including scopes, spotting scopes, and even the whole rifle.  They have a line for archery equipment as well.

I expressed my appreciation and dropped off a card.  Sure enough, a few weeks after the show I got an email asking for my mailing address, and not long after that I received samples of the Cambow bow sling, and a Gun Slicker for scoped rifles to try out and review.

Now bow slings aren’t any new thing.  I’ve been using one that covers the cams and the strings of my Mathews for several years now.  But the advertised feature for the Cambow is that you can shoot while the sling is attached.  I’m not a tech-head when it comes to compound bows, and I’ll admit that I am very hesitant to do anything that might impede the normal operation of my bow.  Every little thing is important, at least as far as I understand, so I was a little skeptical about the Cambow.  So I had to try it out.

Once I figured out how to adjust the Cambow sling and get it on properly (my demo unit came with no instructions), I really couldn’t figure out how you’re supposed to shoot without removing the sling.  Fortunately, there’s a YouTube video for that.

In fact, Alpine has a whole channel of videos about their products.

So it turns out, the sling actually detaches from the top of the bow and hangs from the lower limb while you shoot.  I took a few shots out back, and it didn’t really seem to impact accuracy or performance.  However, be careful.  If you get a little excited after the shot like I do, it’s easy to step on the hanging sling and trip yourself up.  Apparently, it’s not that hard to do even if you’re not excited, as I learned in the back yard.  Fortunately, I’d chosen not to make this a video gear review.

Seriously, though, I can see the value in keeping the sling attached to the bow after the shot.  My other sling (by another manufacturer) is designed to pop off quickly, but once it comes loose I have to either stow it or toss it on the ground where it’s likely to get lost.  In fact, I’ve almost left it on the woods more than once after a stalk.

Overall, the Cambow sling is useful and does what it’s advertised to do.  At around $25, it’s not expensive, and having a sling on the bow to free up your hands for those long hikes is an awful handy thing.

Gun SlickerThe Gun Slicker is a gun cover (think gun sock), more or less, that slips over the rifle.  The muzzle goes up into the cover, while the bottom of the gun is exposed.  This allows you to sling the rifle and keep it covered, which is something the basic gun socks don’t do.

Once the Slicker is over the rifle, a draw string allows you to pull it tight and achieve something of a snug fit.  I was a little worried when I pulled it tight over my Savage because I had to pull pretty hard to snug it down.  But the cord cinched up like it was supposed to, and the locking tab held just fine.

This thing is big, by the way.  It would easily cover any scoped rifle, and I expect it would fit over a fully-dressed AR if that were your thing (I don’t have one, so I didn’t try it).

I can’t tell you much about the durability or the foul weather performance of the Slicker, because I haven’t really had an opportunity to get out and test that sort of thing (a recent hog hunt got cancelled).  However, the slicker is well made with solid fabric that should hold up to the general kind of use you’d expect from field equipment.  I would have no doubts hauling it around the Rockies on a wet, snowy elk hunt, or carrying it through the chaparral on a CA hog hunt.  gunslicker02

Of course, just making a gun cover isn’t enough for a company like Alpine Innovations.  They had to do something different… something to add their special touch.  The Gun Slicker is packable, and folds into an attached, drawstring-closed bag.  The result is a handy, reasonably small (5 oz.) bundle that would easily stow inside a day pack.   It has a nice little carabiner clip as well, so it can be attached to a pack, saddle, or belt.

Overall, I think the Gun Slicker is exactly the kind of thing I’d expect from Alpine.  It’s convenient, it works, and it’s inexpensive (under $30).





One Response to “Hog Blog Gear Review – Gun Slicker and Cambow Sling”

  1. Hog Blog Gear Review – Gun Slicker and Cambow Sling | on March 24th, 2014 22:01

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