Many waterfowl hunting products have come and gone, precious few have had as much impact as the Layout Blind. Set back 20 years and imagine this. You find a bunch of birds in the middle of a field and you have to stay in the fence rows or maybe one or two low spots on the field. If you really had a glory spot where u knew the birds always went, you dug a pit to hide in. Hopefully u filled the hole back in after you used it or that farmer would have been PISSED.
Now we can put our blinds right in the middle of the field or where the birds are wanting to field or rest. We can put out decoys right around our blinds. Now we can hide in comfort, since these new layout blinds are REALLY comfortable. There have been some changes to layouts in the last 10 years that being that they have gotten bigger and more comfortable. I have been using a Redhead (Basspro shops) for the last 7 years. I paid $350 for it and have used it hundreds of times. I had some other backup blinds that i used for guests and I can say that the way they used to make those Redhead blinds was amazing. It’s too bad they don’t make em like that anymore. I jumped into one of the backup blinds I have called the ManCave made by Hardcore and then i realized how much more roomy and comfortable it is compared to my old one. So I am in the market for 1 or 2 blinds this summer.
There are 3 main types of layout blinds that you can purchase. Now there are many brands out there, so we are not going to talk brand but type. These may not be the official names but they describe the types of layouts that are out there. There are: Softsided, Rectangle, and Square.
The soft sided blinds are glorified sleeping bags with a back support system. There is a minimal or no internal frame. They are extremely light and compact. They usually fold up into a tiny easy to handle package so they take no space to store and can be easily transported into the field. They usually are the smallest of the three types of blinds. You will probably have to store some of your gear outside the blind since interior space is usually limited. They are very low profile and hide the best in the fields. The only downfall is since they are low they visibilty of the hunter is restricted. When I have hunted with my rectangle blind I have seen birds before the people in our party with softsided blinds. The great news is that they are usually the least expensive blind style.
Rectangle blinds are just that. They are shaped like a rectangle. I know you are thinking now,”For the love of …stop with the technical jargon!” These blinds have a rigid internal frame and the doors have an internal frame as well. This style of blind sits higher than a softsided blind. It allows one to store gear behind the seat and down by the feet. Some have suspended pockets to keep your wallet or SmartPhone in. Usually they have excellent pads that are off the ground so you can keep toasty warm. For smaller people they have excellent shoulder room. For a bigger built or bigger boned person like myself my shoulder tend to rub on the sides, add a few layers of clothing it can get a little snug. These units can fold down somewhat but with the internal frame, they are heavier, larger, and a little harder to store and move around. Since they are higher and larger, they take longer to conceal with field stubble and can cast a shadow
Here again with the overly technically description, these are more square that rectangle. The have similar advantages/disadvantages as the rectangle blinds but allow more shoulder space that the more narrow built rectangle blinds. These are not as ‘popular’ and will probably involve mail ordering since I wouldn’t expect to see retailers carry multiple lines of these.
I strongly recommend that you try out a blind before you buy one. I know people that have bought great online deals for brand name blinds and found that they weren’t comfortable for them. Try out a few that your friends may have then try to get similar models to what they have.You will spending some good time in it, so comfort is key.
Here are some of the things I will be looking for in my blind purchases this summer. I am not a brand-name shopper but I will look for something from a reputable dealer. I am looking for a blind with LOTS of stubble straps for easier concealment. I want some thing with zippers on the side to allow myself to reach outside of the blind to flag (this will be explained in future blog). I want a zipper at the feet to clean out the garbage, empty shells and mud/dirt that collect by my feet. If I can find one that has a zipper behind the seat, that’s a bonus. There needs to be a good seat pad since i plan on spending a lot of time in it over the next few seasons. I would like one that has a rubberized floor since they stand up longer. I am looking for something tough, since i plan on beating this up good.
Now for price, I plan on spending up to $350 for my main blind. I have bought cheap blinds ($150) for guests and they didn’t last the season. If you plan on hunting 1 or 2 times a season then a cheaper one will last you just fine. If a person spend up to $250 you would have a blind for many years of use.
I get it, you may be thinking that there must be some better alternatives to layout blinds, here is the only one that has proven to work. Everyone knows that you can sneak waterfowl dressed up as a cow or horse. I just don’t wanna be the guy in the back.