GEAR TEST: Doyle's Huntin' Hoist - self retracting pull-up rope for treestand hunters
Sean McCosh (DuckBuckGoose) - PHJ FieldStaff
For years I've been using one of those "budget" pull up ropes made of braided nylon and a couple of cheap plastic clips. Although it worked (sort of), it has also caused me more frustration and got tangled more times than I care to remember.
I am always trying to eliminate variables which could cause problems during a hunt, so this year one of the changes I vowed to make was how I dealt with my pull-up rope. I wanted to try something new, so at the recommendation of a friend who had good things to say about a retractable pull-up rope called the Huntin' Hoist, I reached out to their manufacturer (Doyle's Deer Gear, Inc) and they had one in the mail and on my door step in a couple of days.
Doyle's Huntin' Hoist is 4 1/2 inch round, 1-inch deep circular product that has either a 30 foot long retractable woven nylon band or 30 foot braided polyester rope that retracts out of it, almost like a retractable tape measure or dog leash. It is very durable and has a strong "spring steel" belt clip that attaches easily to your belt or to the rail of your climbing treestand with an accessory strap. It also has a unique "Gear Cinch" which is designed to transfer the load to the rope, so the rope conforms to any shape you might wrap it around and cinches tighter as more energy is applied to it.
I tested the top-of-the-line model Huntin' Hoist (Model 5w30sf), which essentially just means it comes in camouflage and has the woven nylon band (vs. the thinner braided polyester rope option). Prices range from $24.99 - $31.49 on the Doyle's Deer Gear Inc. Website.
Field Test Results:
I've taken the Huntin' Hoist on dozens of hunts now and I must say, I have been very impressed with it so far. On my very first hunt I connected it directly to one of the linesman's belt straps on my HSS safety vest. That was a mistake, because it flopped around too much and wasn't held closely enough to my body. After that hunt, however, I've worn in on a belt on my right hip and it has performed flawlessly. The flat band of nylon "rope" retracts quietly and never once has it tangled or even come close, as far as I can tell. The Huntin' Hoist's "Gear Cinch" system works great and has been easy to use even while wearing light gloves or using cold fingers - both of which are par-for-the-course while bowhunting. I also like the fact that the entire "rope" section retracts into the retraction unit - so it isn't flopping around below my stand in the wind or getting tangled in my pack.
If you think about it, with a traditional rope you may also be leaving a little bit of scent on it each time you pull it up or let it down, because you touch just about every foot of rope with your hands. With this unit, you still touch the rope, but it retracts back into the unit, so it isn't exposed to the air or elements for very long. My old rope was always getting wet and smelling musty, or picking up residual scent from something within my backpack - which is yet another reason to consider a retractable.
If you hunt from a treestand and want a pull-up rope that's reliable, won't tangle and is easy to use under real hunting conditions, you should consider Doyle's Huntin' Hoist. It is one of the best additions I've made to my deer hunting "system" this year. I'd definitely recommend it to treestand hunters.
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