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Evaluations : Jon E. Silks
Last Updated: Feb 22nd, 2007 - 18:37:03

Silks Straps on Deerskin Belt Pouch
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Sep 27, 2005, 18:04

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To Field Evaluations by Jon Silks

HUNTER'S CAMO PACKS FROM SUNSET CREEK DEERSKINS

Throughout the years I have owned numerous leather products including boots, jackets, wallets, muzzle loading pouches, quivers, business card holders and the like. One of my favorites was an expensive leather jacket that was given to me as a present back in my early 20s. I can still remember how well it was made and how soft and pliable it was. It was quality made and lasted for years. Until recently when I was introduced to Sunset Creek, no other leather product stood out to me. Two items were sent to my shop for evaluation, a Hunter’s Camo Hip Pack and a Hunter’s Camo Belt Pouch. In this review we will take a look at the quality of each and see where and how well they fit into a bowhunter’s gear.

The Hunter’s Camo Hip Pack measures 3” x 3” x 12” and has a single pocket. For convenience and function it has a defined bottom/floor and top flap. The top flap employs a double-pull zipper that runs along its edge. An adjustable 1” wide web belt with squeeze-release buckle finishes off the package. The end of the belt has a small elastic band that wraps around the main belt and slides to neatly take up the slack.

A nice addition to the Hip Pack, the smaller Hunter’s Camo Belt Pouch measures 2” x 4” x 6”. Two large belt loops are triple-stitched into the back of the pouch for a secure and long lasting attachment. The pouch is top loading with a single zipper that runs approximately 9” from the middle of one side up and directly across the top then down to the middle of the opposite side.

Both pieces are made from Sunset Creek Deerskin’s exclusive Deer Path deerskin in Tree Moss Camo. Their tanning and finishing processes are proprietary. The result is a lightweight and extraordinarily soft material. All of Sunset’s products are personally crafted in the USA.

Note:

You may notice small scars, nicks and blemishes in the skins. These are normal and do not detract from the product’s appearance or usefulness. To care for your new Sunset Creek accessory simply hand wash it in mild soap (no saddle soap), thoroughly rinse and squeeze the excess water out – do not wring them out. Once that is done stretch them back to their original shape and dry flat away from direct heat.

Initial Inspection:

As with all of my reviews the first task on the agenda is to thoroughly go over the product and see how well it was put together and functions – workmanship and design. The zippers ran smoothly from end to end with no hang-ups. Both pieces did have some loose threads at both ends of the zipper base material. I tried to remove the fraying ends but they just unraveled further. A few snips with a pair of scissors and the edges were cleaned up. The fix took five minutes, tops. Another item that caught my eye was the vinyl lining inside the smaller pouch. There were small rips in the vinyl right next to the belt loop stitching. Eventually these small blemishes will get caught and end up coming apart completely. The stitching was high quality on both and reinforced in critical wear areas – a definite plus!

When I first took the two items from the shipping package I was ready to throw them out immediately. The odor was terrible. I hung them on a set of antlers and forgot about them for a few weeks. When I finally got back to them I was totally amazed that the odor had reduced by at least 80%! A day or two more out in the sun and again the odor diminished even further. They are still not scent free but I doubt the odor would spook game.

Even before I noticed any odor or material fraying the softness of the material struck me. It is the softest leather I have ever put my hands on. It is actually hard to describe!

How much stuff can you get in these packs anyway? We all carry different items but I wanted to at least get an idea of their capacity so I started stuffing them with some of the items people often take into the woods. Following is a list of the items that fit into each pack without stressing the zippers:

 

Hunter's Camo Belt Pouch

Headlamp
Two C-size batteries
Pack of WildTech Trail Markers
Back-up Release Aid
8" folding knife
Full set of Allen wrenches


Hunter's Camo Hip Pack

Deer Call
Two-Arm EZ Hanger
Field dressing gloves
Digital Camera
Laser
Range Finder

That is a bunch of gear for just two small accessory packs!

Overall I thought that both pieces were very useful and any noted problems were small and did not have a performance impact. I still can't get over how soft and pliable the Deer Path leather is. If their jackets are made in the same way as the pouch and pack I will have to look into buying one! By the way, they make a whole host of leather products including wallets, purses, handbags, gloves, pants, footwear, jewelry and muzzle loading accessories.

Design: 4 of 5

As mentioned earlier the packs are useful and carry a tremendous amount of gear. The only change that I would suggest for the Hunter's Camo Hip Pack would be to make the bottom and sides rigid while leaving the top flap pliable. This may make it easier to handle and less likely to allow items to fall out when adding or removing others. It may however make it less comfortable to wear. Can't be sure though until a prototype is made.

Quality: 3.5 of 5

The loose and frayed ends of the base zipper material along with the torn vinyl are the reason for this score. Other than those minor items there were no problems at all.

Material: 5 of 5

The Deer Path leather is awesome! I will definitely be making more purchases from Sunset Creek, starting with that jacket!

For more information on the products reviewed here or any other items, contact:    Sunset Creek Deerskin

 

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