By Karla Ledom
At Shot Show 2011, I visited the Alpine Products booth and was bedazzled by their new offering: the Gun Slicker. This gun garment is self contained – folding out of its carrying bag which doubles as the muzzle cover. Numerous times I’ve needed to protect a gun from the elements. In fact, I had just returned from a Texas hunting trip where I rode on the back of a 4-wheeler, gun strapped to my back, muzzle stuck in my coat’s arm and the rest of the coat wrapped around it. It worked, but the makeshift-hillbilly design lacked any sense of sophistication. Besides, I was cold while my rifle was snugly dust free.
Wow! How exciting to see a gun cover that may suit my needs! So when an unexpected New Mexico bear hunt came up with my friends Pat Hendrixson and John Hein, Gun Slicker rode along in my pack.
A never-ending drought plagued so much of the country in 2011 and New Mexico suffered along with numerous other states. When we arrived there in August, the seasonal monsoons gave a tremendous break for humans, plants, and critters. Small pop-up storms on a daily basis gave us little concern, but Gun Slicker still accompanied me. After several days of hunting, John and I requested to be dropped off for the day at a mountain site that we liked. Whiling away the hours, I sat in a likely-looking spot while John went off to scout and spot. Toward the afternoon he came back and as we were sharing a snack, the sky darkened for the afternoon storm. We didn’t think about too much cover, given the previous days’ brief storms. They only lasted a few minutes. We’d be fine.
When the rain started we scooted under a little pine tree and were relatively dry…..for a while. As the storm continued without sign of stopping, I put Gun Slicker to work on my rifle. John stuck his rifle down his Frogg Toggs’ pants leg which certainly was not comfortable, but it worked in keeping his gun dry. The storm’s intensity grew, dumping rain down upon us. The temperature dropped, then the hail started. My rain gear had been working ok but water began finding its way past snaps and buttons. Crouched in a fetal position over my pack to keep it dry, I began shivering.
I knew the storm would eventually pass and we weren’t going to expire in that short of time, but boy howdy was I uncomfortable. Then I remembered the space blanket in my pack. WooHoo! I drug it out and threw it over John and me. He dug out his space blanket and covered our packs. We were set for the rest of the show. Now protected from Niagara Falls and with appendages warming, we peeked out every now and then to see if it was letting up. There sat my .300 WinMag like a sentry, propped up on its rest, Gun Slicker keeping it dry. Once the storm passed, we uncovered ourselves and the guns. Both guns fared better than the hunters. They were bone dry thanks to Frogg Toggs and Gun Slicker.
Due to that trip experience, Pat and John got Gun Slickers for their gear bags and I purchased several more for my various hunting packs. At this year’s Shot Show, Dave Poppleton showed me the next model: a camo version made with silent fabric called Stealth-X. It’s due to be out in a month or so. I’ve added that item to this year’s Kar-Must-Have list.