Friday, 24 September 2010

Harkila Lynx GTX6 - UPDATE

Harkila's Lynx GTX6 boot - super-comfy even after 39 hours' continuous wearing in the Midland mud!
Okay, so as I mentioned in my previous post, I wore these to the Midland Game Fair. Actually, I as good as lived in them. They were on my feet from 06:00 hrs on the Saturday until 03:00 hrs on Sunday (we had a party - don't ask!), then back on again at 06:30 hrs until I got home at 21:00 hrs Sunday night.

Amazingly, my feet weren't even sweaty. And I mean, as dry as a bone! Despite wearing them continuously for a 39-hour period with just a 3.5-hour break some 21 hours in, my feet came out of the Gore-Tex inners without even a trace of dampness (plus they didn't smell, either).

What's more, they weren't aching, either... and neither was my back, despite being on my feet (standing and walking) for the duration of the very long weekend. I can now say, officially, that these are the most comfortable shoes - let alone walking/stalking boots - I've ever had the pleasure of owning.

On the practical front, my concerns about the soles being a bit slippery are sort of founded. On normal terrain, they're perfect - but it rained a lot over the MGF weekend, and where there was a lot of mud and a reasonable slop, the Harkilas did feel a bit slippery under foot... though I'm not sure well-treaded boots would have been much better. It wasn't a hindrance; I just had to ensure my footfalls were carefully considered.

The Fenix TK12 R5 tactical LED flashlight from The Photon Shop
I went lamping with them last night, trying out the the new Fenix TK12 R5 tactical LED flashilight from The Photon Shop (keep an eye on my Blog for a fuller report soon), and I can tell you that the Lynx is the perfect stalking boot. Even on rough terrain and in the pitch black, you can 'feel' your way brilliantly. 

Given that they look like they're built to last a lifetime from top-quality materials, I can highly recommend the Harkila Lynx GTX - but if you decide to buy a pair mail order, I suggest you go a half-size up on your normal shoe size.

Friday, 17 September 2010

These Boots were meant for Stalking!

Stealth is the prerequisite of an airgun hunter - and I'll never forget the late, great John Darling telling me how important the correct footwear is for stalking. JD used to wear trainers, in fact - he said they allowed him to 'feel' the ground as he inched into range.

I've taken his advice on board; I usually hunt in either my Rocky Pro or Tenaya boots, both of which have soft (well, soft-ish) soles that let me tread with some feeling of what lies underfoot. And for the mucky, winter months, I swear by my Dunlop Wildlife Deluxe wellies which are made of incredibly soft rubber that's also very well insulated against the cold.

The Rockys are a tad weighty and, I must confess, the Tenayas get uncomfortable after a few hours - and as both have done a fair few seasons, I've treated myself to some new hunting boots. They're made by the famous Scandinavian outdoor clothing specialists, Harkila - brought into the UK by Seeland - and I've chosen the Lynx GTX 6 style ankle-boot with JD's immortal words still implanted in my mind.

Harkila Lynx GTX 6 boots
The Lynx is billed by Harkila as their 'ultimate' stalking boot because it's been designed in conjunction with specialist hunters to be incredibly light and flexible. In fact, what caught my attention at first was the fact that Harkila's advertising hype says you get a feeling of walking 'bare foot'! Well, I'm sure some license has been taken there... but the Lynx boot is incredibly light - each foot weighs just 240 grammes! - and the thin sole is flexible enough to let you stalk over most terrain with the sort of stealth every airgun hunter yearns for.

I've only worn them for a couple of easy-going outings so far - to break them in - but I'm intending to wear them for the entirety of this weekend's Midland Game Fair. As I expect to be on my feet in an outside environment for around 16 hours each day, I think I'll get a good idea of how comfortable they're going to be under field conditions. Mind you, the uppers are made of Harkila's 'Memory Fit' material, so I'm sure they'll feel like a well-worn pair of slippers come Monday morning!

Over the next few weeks, I'll bring you a further update once I've used them on a few of my hunting trips. They're a mix of Nubuck leather and Tietex cloth (which is also very silent), and they look very well made - plus the Gore-Tex lining and Texel Tundra changeable liner should stop my feet from getting sweaty and wet.

Gore-Tex lining
The design of the boots has to be seen to be appreciated. Just look at the underside of the insole, which Harkila call their Footbed: it's made of differing density foams and, along with plenty of insulation, has impact-resistant gel inserts at the heel and ball points. 

Footbed insole
I'm not sure how well the Pursch Sole System will cope in slippery conditions, mind you. To me, the tread has been compromised in order to improve the ground-feel - but these guys know what they're doing, so I don't think it'll be like walking on slick tyres in wet weather. 

Pursch Sole System
They're finished in Mossy Oak Break-up camouflage, and the outer's protected with clear, synthetic ribs along with a solid toe-cap. As the GTX 6 is an ankle-boot, there's no need for quick-tie loops, and the laces are well made and slightly elasticated to cope with wet conditions.

Clear side-ribbing
My first impressions of these £130 boots are very favourable - and I'm really looking forward to putting them through their, erm, 'paces' over the next few weeks before bringing you a no-holds-barred report on my Blog. Watch this space...

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The new AccuCover - amazing!

What an amazing new gadget we've got in the shooting world - the AccuCover flip-up lens cap that will instantly improve your accuracy by eliminating parallax error and rifle cant. 

It only costs £19.99, too - and although I've known about the product's development for the past four years, it's only in the past few weeks that I've been able to shoot with a full-working production sample. Let me tell you now, all my scopes are going to have one of these fitted onto them - it works that well thanks to its special chevron alignment system. It's also pretty good when you're lamping, too - and I'm looking forward to some improved night-hunting bags this season. 

It's a British concept, designed by and manufactured in the UK for AccuZero and besides a detailed review in the October 2010 issue of Airgun Shooter magazine (on sale from 7th September at newsagents, or as an e-zine from the iTunes Store), I thought I'd put together a short video to explain a bit more about it (below).

If you're as impressed as I am, you can purchase one on-line at AccuZero's dedicated AccuCover website.