By: Dave Conrad

When hunting whitetails I have never been one to carry a lot of accessories with me. I like to be ‘stealthy’” and keep items to a minimum. I find the more you carry the more noise you make, which is detrimental when pursuing trophy whitetail. I also like to keep things organized and close within reach, which includes my rangefinder and binoculars.

This year I am using the SideWinder EVO in order to keep my rangefinder close by my side. The EVO can be best described as a “retractable gear deployment system”. My initial thought was, “Why didn’t I think of something as simple as this?” It has a solid, well engineered feel that should put up with years of outdoor abuse.

The device clips onto your pack straps, pant waist or a variety of places using the removable LeverLock belt clip or integrated mounting slits in the frame of the unit. The LeverLock system can be quickly engaged with the flip of a finger. This design prohibits the belt clip from opening and ensures the SideWinder EVO stays securely in place. Molded grips on the inside and end of the belt clip also secures the device in place inhibiting movement along your pack straps or the waist or your pants.

The belt clip also has a pivoting 360 degree design so that it can be positioned at any angle. This can be accomplished by turning a dial on the inside faceplate of the belt clip. Within a few turns the SideWinder EVO pivots freely. This makes for a great feature because it can be changed from my pack strap to my waist quickly without removing my rangefinder. Disengaging the dial completely allows for the belt clip to be removed altogether enabling you to use the integrated mounting slits. (S4Gear has advised us they will soon have available and arm band, ATV mount and GPS and 2-way radio hard cradle mounts.)

Attaching a device to the tether pad on the Coupling Post is accomplished using a combination of a Velcro strap and an adhesive pad. The pad uses powerful 3M adhesive to attach your device to the tether pad. The Velcro strap works in conjunction with the adhesive to doubly secure your device. To ensure that a mishap doesn’t occur, the SideWinder EVO also is equipped with a safety lanyard. So just in case an accident occurs causing the Velcro/adhesive combo to separate I have the tough thin wired safety lanyard secured through the lanyard hole on my rangefinder. In testing I have not encountered any problems from bumps and brushes and quite frankly I don’t anticipate any with the rock solid combination grip.

If you do want to remove your electronic device from the tether system the Coupling Post and Tether Pad are designed with a release stud/hole combination. To remove your device, simply press on the Quick Detach button located on top of the Coupling Post and pull. This comes in handy when your buddy somehow forgets or leaves his rangefinder back at the truck.

The retractable Kevlar cord is silent, even if pulled across the fabric of your jacket or pack. The 36 inch length easily allows you a variety of places to clip your electronic devices. I had no problem what so ever retrieving my rangefinder from the thigh pocket on my camo BDU style pants.

What I like best about the SideWinder EVO is the smooth rotation of the internal Teflon Skid Plates. The Consistent Force Power Spring keeps a constant and consistent tension on the cable system. So whether you are extending or retracting the Kevlar cord the tension doesn’t bind or hesitate during motion. The Coupling Post is designed and engineered with over molded soft rubber in order to interconnect quietly with the SideWinder EVO base. This also helps in securing the device in place.

Testing of the SideWinder EVO was designed to put as many features as possible through routine field demands. I decided to start with what I thought was the most common single point of failure, the attachment of my rangefinder using the he Velcro/3M adhesive. I repeatedly bumped and brushed the rangefinder to simulate walking through bushes and underbrush. The system did not display any signs of separation, even with a few small sticks and briars being purposely caught between the tether pad and main body of the system.

Continuous pulling of the Kevlar cord in multiple directions, over the surfaces on the back and the sides of the SideWinder EVO did not cause any hang-ups or snags in the retrieval process. Repeatedly tugging on the device resulted in no failures of the LeverLock system and only minimal movement when pulled vigorously along pack straps. Overall the SideWinder passed with flying colors.

The SideWinder EVO device engineering is first rate and the quality showed throughout the testing. As mentioned earlier the total system feel is solid and designed with the rugged outdoors in mind. The molded soft rubber of the Coupling secured my rangefinder solidly to the main body. The main body also has soft rubber incorporated to allow for a solid grip when installing or removing the device to my pack straps or belt.

In conclusion I expect my equipment to perform to the best of my abilities when hunting. I believe the SideWinder EVO will allow me to quickly and easily utilize my rangefinder on upcoming hunts.
Company Products Statement:

S4Gear makes outdoor stuff that gets noticed. Innovative, cutting-edge equipment that supplies an air of confidence to the outdoor enthusiast. S4Gear is based in Eugene, Oregon and was born in the woods. S4Gear is dedicated to providing superior quality, craftsmanship, and technically advanced products that meet the demands of nature and those who tame it.


For more go to: S4Gear