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Thread: Made in USA products that work great

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Made in USA products that work great

    A recent thread about USA made binoculars turned into more of a discussion than I intended. If you do not value USA made products, or do not care where a product is made at all, that thread, and this one are not for you. Do not bother.

    Now for those who do go out of their way to buy products made in the USA, I would like to share what I have found, many of which have turned out to be phenomenal. This is not to say foreign made items are no good, that is for another day.

    The first I believe deserves the biggest respect, Lucky's Hunting Blinds, an incredibly hard worker in Ubly, Michigan, who custom builds ground blinds and tree stands. https://www.luckyshuntingblinds.com/

    I have had mine for 4 years now I believe. I'd like to start by saying I've hunted in all kinds of blinds from the dirt cheap "outhouse" to the Bull blinds hubs. Lucky's builds a blind that puts all other blinds to shame, with only one drawback. Lucky's builds a blind of tough canvas on a steel frame. For that kind of durability, it's incredible they only weigh around 25 pounds, maybe less. When you buy a blind, he will ask you how tall you want the windows, what features you want like draw blinds, window types, camo, etc. All personalized. He will work with you within reason. With that steel frame you get something no other portable ground blind on the market offers, and that is a solid shooting rest. There is a steel rod that goes across every window that you can use to support a gun. It works great. The height is great, I'm 6'5", and I can just about stand up (head cocked) in the 5'11" (now 6') model. Most blinds are either far oversized, or only tall enough to crouch in. Lucky's blind is rather tall and skinny, the way I like it. Being as tall as I am, and I also fumble in the dark, I hate most blind doors. Lucky's opens all the way from bottom to top, there is no material to trip over, and nothing to crouch under. The price he charges for these is surprisingly competitive. If you want the bare bones blind, you can get one for $300 shipped to your door. I would recommend the 6' two person model, which is what I have. I have the rope slide window openings which work great, very quiet, and I highly recommend paying for the slide mesh screens for the windows. If you only haul your blind out once and leave it set up, you can skip the bag, else the carry bag he sells works great.
    That brings me to the one negative of this blind, and the one area I still keep the Outhouse blind around for, and that is carry size. While light, the folded up blind is still 6' long. At first I worried about this. As the years go on, I find this is not nearly the problem I thought it would be. For the past 4 years I've taken this blind out on public hunting land for turkeys, walking in about 3/4 of a mile most days. The first year I got one day one, second year I believe the third day, third year I think first day, and this year I got one on the second day. That's hauling it in and out every day. I've carried this blind about 10 miles already just turkey hunting alone! For the late seasons like muzzleloader deer, that heavy canvas really works great. Nothing else short of hunting from a fish house is as warm. If that's not warm enough for you, he also offers removable plexiglass windows that open silently to really trap the heat in. I can't say enough good things about these blinds, and the company. They hold up great. I left mine out for a month and a half last year, with zero wear at all. Try that with one of the Chinese made nylon blinds.

    If anyone is interested, I'd love a second one in a shadow grass or similar camo pattern. He says he would need to buy such a huge amount of fabric he couldn't do it for just me. He even offered to build it if I provided the fabric. Maybe worth starting a group buy?


    Anyway, enough on that. The next is hunting clothing made by a company here in Minnesota.
    https://www.clarkfieldoutdoors.com/

    I own quite a few things from Clarkfield, but my favorites are my Hunter supreme jacket, and my long sleeve T shirts. There's not much to be said, they make simple, high quality clothing at fair prices. The long sleeve T shirts use nice cuffs, and a well fitting neck, plus they offer tall sizing. The hunter supreme jacket is nice and warm, super soft. Definitely not a rain jacket, but it wouldn't be nearly as comfortable if it was. Also in tall sizing.

    I'll just touch on this briefly, but the only built in USA binoculars currently produced that I am aware is Maven. They are Built in Lander, Wyoming of mostly Japanese components. Fantastic binoculars.

    These aren't hunting related, but there are two pants that have stood the test of time for me. One is the Carhartt double knee duck canvas pants. Not all Carhartt is made in usa, actually I'm not sure it's half anymore. They do make a double knee work pant that runs around $50, made in the USA. I buy when they go on sale. They even come with an inspection note in the pocket, you don't see that much anymore. Great tough work pants. I rotated 5 pairs for over 3 years before the crotch's started to wear. I sewed them back up, and ran them for about a year until I decided to start brand new. I'm now just over a year into 3 new pairs, and no sign of giving up soon.

    The other pants that still get my business are Texas Jeans. https://texasjeans.com/ They are great quality, true to size jeans. At $30 a pair, they are a steal. All made in the USA. I don't wear Jeans nearly as much as I used to, but they hold up well enough. They are more of a soft fabric, which is very comfortable. They make one model for concealed carry. It's got inside pockets, that presumably hold a handgun. I cut them out, they are pretty much useless for me. What they do offer is a thick padded waist band which is nice. I still prefer the relaxed fit originals. Edit: I don't see that they still make the concealed carry model, which is too bad.

    A number of T shirts are made in usa, but many are overpriced. My favorites are Bayside and American Apparel. I believe both companies offer China made clothes as well, so beware. Bayside shirts have a bit longer sleeves than I like, and a bit roomy in the stomach, but are very comfortable. American Apparel shirts fit me better. You can often find these for around $10 per shirt, nothing wrong with that. I see Texas Jeans also makes a couple shirts now too, which I have not tried.

    Socks are surprisingly easy to find made in USA. Many stores carry multiple made in usa options. Most of them are good. I will say that I've come to prefer Fox River socks most of the time. https://www.foxsox.com/

    They make all different kinds, so you can find what you like. One I HIGHLY recommend to any cold weather hunter or fisherman is the Outdoorsox https://www.foxsox.com/outdoorsox-ex...calf-boot.html
    I have not found a warmer sock than these. They are mostly wool, no cotton, and thick. They are 75% as thick as most boot liners. Definitely not for the very active, but if you are going to sit outside, either ice fishing, or hunting, or whatever, these are it, as good as it gets. Add a thin liner sock and great boots, and you could use these socks in Antarctica.


    That's enough typing for now, I'll add to this more later.
    Last edited by megasupermagnum; 11-20-2019 at 12:06 AM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    It is hard to find American made products. It's harder to find American made products made with American made materials, lol. When you do find them, they are typically more expensive than foreign made items. Quality is normally higher though and most items have a warranty.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Love Life View Post
    It is hard to find American made products. It's harder to find American made products made with American made materials, lol. When you do find them, they are typically more expensive than foreign made items. Quality is normally higher though and most items have a warranty.
    Lucky's blinds I assume outsources some things like the rope, velcro, etc. For the most part they are made of american steel, with american canvas, and hand built. They build them for the same price or less than other high end portable ground blinds.

    Texas Jeans says they are 100% made in the USA, and they do it for $30 a pair! You can't beat that price, even for garbage from walmart!

    Maven binoculars are built with Japanese components, but come with a warranty you cant beat. If you break them, whether it's fault or not, Maven will fix them. Maven costs less than all other top dog optics brands.

    The idea that universally USA made products are more expensive is wrong. Maybe in the 90's after the politicians sold out our country, but not anymore. Some, we will call them "boutique" companies, gouge the heck out of buyers. These types of companies usually do not last long. Read the story on Clarkfield. They survived the recession by good business practices, and kept their prices low.

  4. #4
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    Plus one on Lucky's tent blinds. Have two of them that I put out on my acreage, just after Labor Day and leave them out till the end of February. No worst for wear. Have been using them since the early 90's...........when I lived in Michigan. Zipper on that original one gave up the ghost, last season...........fabric still good. I ordered a newer/larger model.

    Winelover

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    I REALLY like Knives of Alaska knives. I only have the Cub Bear version (well, 3 actually) but dang, these are some well made knives. All 3 I've bought are "shavers" out of the box, I've been really eyeing their Legacy model!

    Got to give a shout out to my Made in USA, Buck #110 knife. It has been tough as nails, easy to keep a great edge. I've done a few things with this knife (that I really shouldn't have) and it's never let me down.
    Bob

  6. #6
    Boolit Bub
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    thank you, very refreshing. I am going to check out the Texas jeans. does anyone know if Benchmade knives are still made in theUSA?

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    In kinda the same purpose, think about buying local and supporting your community. I just made an appointment with a trusted local mechanic vs franchise oil change. Sure franchise is quicker and maybe a few dollars cheaper but local places need the business. With my LGS if they are within a reasonable dollar amount ( usually $20 or so) from what I can get off the internet then they get my business. Just realized the great work pants I get from Duluth Trading are imported. I got those after I stopped buying Levi's. Oh well I have enough pairs to last me awhile.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master rondog's Avatar
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    My biggest pipe dream is to own some land where I can put up a blind to hunt from - or better yet, several blinds.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by rondog View Post
    My biggest pipe dream is to own some land where I can put up a blind to hunt from - or better yet, several blinds.
    I know the feeling, except I already know the exact place... now split between the 4 children (my great aunt and uncles). My greatest hope is that it gets passed down to the next generation, instead of sold to a stranger.

    I forgot about knives. I'm a Buck Knives fan. Not all made in USA anymore, but many are. Everyone knows and loves the 110. I tried a number of knives from them. I learned that #1 I strongly prefer a folding knife, and #2 I need a belt sheath or that knife is not going to be in my passion for long. My all time favorite is actually a rather new model, the open season folding skinner. I bought their original model, the #546, when It first came out and loved it. I've been carrying it daily at work since I bought it. Last year they came out with a couple new versions with the very desirable upgrade of the lockback design (original was liner lock). The Wood handle is great too. This is the model #556. I do not carry this one daily, as the original 546 is much easier to open. I learned one thing though, if you don't hold the blade on the 546 when you put it away, that blade nub will catch, open the blade, and cut you. I about guarantee that is why that blade style is now discontinued. The #556 and #557 do not have this nub. Since I learned this lesson though, I've found this knife to be far superior to any other for one handed use. When not at work I carry the 556. Many ducks, geese, a single swan, and a handful of deer have been skinned and deboned with the 556.

  10. #10
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master rondog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petander View Post
    I like the "deer deflector" on the van! I need one for my pickup.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    My Nissan was made in Mississippi. My Ford was made in Mexico. Having an American brand name doesnít mean very much anymore.

    I used to buy Levis just because they were made in America. Iím going to have to check out Texas jeans.
    NRA Endowment Member

    Armed people don't march into gas chambers.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    I stopped buying Levi's went they went left politically.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Leather goods are quite easy to find made in USA. Many are hand crafted.

    One thing we all need as shooters is a good gun belt. I've had my 30 dollar gun belt for a couple years, and it has held up great. I have the steel core model, and even the GP100 is no problem at all. It has become my favorite belt period.

    https://www.30dollargunbelt.com/

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    Aha. No wonder the question on the Super GP100 Thanks for that link. I carry my M&P 45c and plan on carrying the Super GP 100. I do have a chest rig for my 10mm but just can't find a solid carry belt. Think I will order the steel core model.

    Ron

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrWolf View Post
    Aha. No wonder the question on the Super GP100 Thanks for that link. I carry my M&P 45c and plan on carrying the Super GP 100. I do have a chest rig for my 10mm but just can't find a solid carry belt. Think I will order the steel core model.

    Ron
    I never could like a chest rig. They aren't for me. I've belt carried my redhawk, it's fine, but I wouldn't want to do it every day. I love carrying my GP100 though, nice compact gun. My daily carry is my 3" SP101, which I forget is even there. The Super GP100 would work just fine on 30 dollar steel core gun belt. No sag, and holds firm for the draw.

  17. #17
    Boolit Bub
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    Just had my local tire shop order me 4 new Cooper Discoverer STT Pro tires for my truck. Yup American made. This is my second set of Cooper STT tires, last set was a different tread pattern. They wear even, road noise is reasonable, and lasted 60k miles. Ya the tread is silly aggressive but the all terrain tires load up with small stones and I get more flats.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    I never could like a chest rig. They aren't for me. I've belt carried my redhawk, it's fine, but I wouldn't want to do it every day. I love carrying my GP100 though, nice compact gun. My daily carry is my 3" SP101, which I forget is even there. The Super GP100 would work just fine on 30 dollar steel core gun belt. No sag, and holds firm for the draw.
    Just ordered one yesterday. Thanks.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    It frustrates me that within MY lifetime (which is not all that long) - EVERYTHING went from Made in USA to made somewhere else....

    I mean seriously - how often do I run into import towels that don't soak up water right....

    Then there is stuff like tools that *did* see quality drop off a ton.... I get it that cheap tools were cheap tools... But quality tools have to be good and properly made. Wrenches that don't fit the bolts or fit into the bolt clearance are a real problem....

    Or clothes.... Cheap foreign clothes often aren't cut right or sized right... My wife got me some foreign made shirts and the tags said they were right - but they were like 2-sizes too small AND the sleeves didn't meet up to the chest in the right place... These are trash....

    Or how about small outboard engines.... It's a crying shame that ZERO small outboard engines are made in the US anymore.... Look at the ALL the lessons that were learned that we threw out... Multiple cylinders to get you home if one conks out... Independent electrical systems if one goes wonky.. Fully waterproof everything.. Tested and prove.... Rugged durable designs that would still get you home WHEN there was trouble.. Now - super heavy stuff that's not as rugged.... One cylinder engines using lawnmower parts that fail when they get wet... Solid state stuff that fails dead - it doesn't fail to a lower performance.... Etc....

    My problem is that I am tired of being their QC inspectors for them...

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I was trying to keep this more firearms/reloading/casting related, but there are some good outboards out there today. I don't know how small you mean, I wouldn't think those Coleman brand units are very good. 4 years ago I was shopping for a boat and motor. Something I could use to fish all of Minnesota with, which on the big lakes like Leech, Lake of the Woods, Rainy, etc. can mean 10+ mile rides to a spot. I've always been good at working on my own stuff, never worked as an auto or marine mechanic, but was always doing those kinds of jobs. I was never happy with a carbureted outboard of any kind. You could get them to run right sometimes, but they were never perfect. Average fuel mileage was around 4 MPG. That's great on my local lakes, a 5 gallon can got me all I needed.

    When I was looking to upgrade I took a hard look at what was out there. Since I was looking for something around 50 HP, wanted to keep the boat light, I definitely wanted to stay with a 2 stroke. That's a whole can of worms I won't get into now. Johnson and Yamaha still offer carbureted 2 stroke's as far as I know, however, I really wanted to get into the new fuel injected engines. Against what many people believe, fuel injection has proven to far and away more reliable than a carburetor. What It came down to for me was a Mercury or Evinrude. It was an easy decision for me, and I went with Evinrude. As you say with the independent electronics, I took a close look at both. I don't know if it is still the case, but at the time Mercury engines were all electronic, and all connected. What this meant is that a simple bad battery would leave you dead in the water. They could not be pull started. Evinrude on the other hand was a stand alone unit. You can pull start them. I went over the Evinrude E-tec with a fine comb, and they are fine machines. Everything is waterproof, no extra safety junk, 2 cylinders (I'm not aware of a one cylinder though), and an electronics design that is supposed to get you home no matter what, although at a snail pace.

    Now in the real word, the E-tec has proven to be the cats meow. I ended up buying a 40 HP 2009 model, and it is on my 16' Lund aluminum boat. There are some great features to the engine that I won't get into here. It's not overly heavy, maybe 20 pounds heavier than my previous 1984 Johnson 40 HP. Reliability has been outstanding. Every spring I turn the key, and before it even makes a full revolution it is purring. And it does purr. That direct fuel injection makes these 2 strokes run smooth as can be. This one even has a muffler that makes it nearly silent in the water at idle. Fuel mileage is outstanding, I don't even worry about it anymore. I put a 12 gallon tank in my boat, and I've never got it past half way in a multi-day trip. I'd guess it's close to 12 MPG at cruise. Adding oil is a joke. The reservoir holds maybe a quart. It goes through less than a cup of oil per 12 gallon tank. I actually consider this a drawback, as I prefer pre-mixing my gas. That's the only bad thing with these direct injection engines, is if your oil pump quits, there is nothing you can do but fix it. Since gas never circulates through the crank, you can't pre-mix the oil. While I have not had to work on this engine beyond maintenance, I am not worried at all. If you cannot do your own work, anything marine costs an arm and a leg. The only things that the engine itself has that is beyond what a carbureted outboard has is a computer (they call the EMM), a high pressure fuel pump, and 2 fuel injectors. I really doubt the EMM will fail, it's rare. While the high pressure fuel pump and injectors are expensive, almost $300 per injector and almost $300 for the pump, they are very easy to replace. 2 bolts for the top injector, likely just a few plastic screw to remove the cowling, then 2 bolts for the bottom injector. Same with the fuel pump. Everything is out in the open on this engine. It's not like my old Johnson which I needed to clean the carbs yearly. It took a special wrench, and tiny hands just to take those off.

    Anyway, the Evinrude E-tec is a great outboard, better than they used to be, and still 100% built in Wisconsin.
    Last edited by megasupermagnum; 12-04-2019 at 08:26 PM.

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