Gear Review (Update) – Cartblind (Formerly Duck & Bucks Cart Blind)

Today SoCalHunt is revising an old gear review for what used to be called the Ducks & Bucks Cart Blind.

SoCalHunt originally posted this review in December of 2010 and it is still one of the most clicked on reviews or reports on the SoCalHunt blog so I felt an update was in order.  There have been a few changes over the years at the company, including some updates to the carts and a change in the name, so I figured it would be a good time to revise the review.  As far as the performance of the product it is still living up to everything I said about it in the original review so there won’t be a lot of changes in this review, just more of an update as far as the name of the product and the web address and such.  I will say that it is some of the best money I’ve ever spent on any hunting equipment for the marsh and I still feel that way.

Look! Out in the pond! It’s a boat, no it’s a cart, no it’s a blind….no it’s the Cartblind!

The Cartblind is a great combination of what a waterfowler needs out in the refuge marsh. It consists of a large decoy sled with wheels attached (which are easily removable) and a telescoping pull handle to pull the whole contraption with. There are also shoulder straps attached to the pull handle and to the sled that allows most of the weight to be carried on the hunter’s shoulders as the cart is pulled. Once to the hunting site there is a full camo cover that makes the cart into a very comfortable hunting blind.

The real beauty of the Cartblind is that you can load it at home, bungee everything down and the next time you have to take anything off of it is out at your blind or hunting site. Gone now are the days of loading everything in your truck, including the folded up decoy cart, arriving at the parking area, taking out the decoy cart and putting it together in the dark, loading all the decoys and equipment on it, bungeeing it all down, walking out to your hunt site, taking everything off the decoy cart, humping the decoys, guns and other equipment across the pond (usually 3 or 4 trips back and forth across the pond) and then repeating this in reverse order to go home.

The way we have used the Cartblind over the last few years is that we load it up at home with decoys, two smaller decoy sleds (which we find handy in putting out and picking up the decoys), blind bags, seats and whatever else we’re taking and then it goes in the back of the truck. When we arrive at the parking area for our hunting site we pull the cart out of the back of the truck, tuck the shotguns and camera box in under the bungee straps, extend the telescoping pull handle, throw the shoulder straps on and off we go to our hunting site. The 18 inch diameter, 4 ½ inch wide, airless tires make pulling the cart very easy.  One tip we’ve learned over the years is to cross the straps over each other across the chest so they don’t slip off your shoulders.

When we arrive at our hunting site, if we have happened to draw an island blind, instead of taking everything out of the cart and schlepping it across the water in 3 or 4 trips back and forth, the cart becomes a boat. We just push it into the water and it floats, even with all the equipment loaded on it.  It is rated to float about 200 pounds. We have found that, once it is in the water, it is easier to get out of the pull handle and push it from behind.

This has a couple advantages. First you can keep the (now) boat stable, even if it is loaded a little unevenly. Second you can push down on the rear of the boat which keeps the bow of it high so no water splashes in, and third, it actually assists you in wading through a muddy pond bottom as, by pushing down on it, it takes a lot of your weight off your feet so you don’t sink in the mud as much. Once you get to your hunt site, whether you had to cross the water or not, if it is a free roam area or there is no adequate prepared blind, when the cart is empty, with a few minor adjustments, it becomes a very comfortable blind.

To make the cart into a blind there are 4 “feet” that pull out and adjust for height at the end of the cart (which will become the bottom of the blind). Once these are adjusted (between 15 and 22 inches) to the proper height the cart is tipped up on end. When this is done the camo blind cover falls into place. The only other adjustment that is needed to complete the conversion is to adjust the telescoping pull handle to become a rear support for the blind. When used as a blind there is a back and butt cushion which makes it very comfortable to sit in. Our blind also came with a middle camo cover (not shown in our pictures), which you wouldn’t want to use for duck hunting, that would make it a good deer/turkey blind. In addition, if you move the top camo cover to the bottom and lay the cart/blind down it can be utilized as a layout blind also. If you find yourself in a shallow pond and the wheels are digging into the bottom the wheels can be easily removed by pulling a spring steel pin (no tools necessary) and just pulling the wheels off.  It might be a good idea to buy a couple more of these pins at the hardware store and carry them in your blind bag just in case you drop one in the field.

The only real disadvantage I have found with the Cart Blind is that it will only accommodate one person when utilized as a blind (so you’d have to take turns or flip for it I guess, LOL).  Although, in an area like San Jacinto, which has mostly prepared blinds, you normally wouldn’t need to use it as a blind.  Also it would be a two man job to load it or unload it from your truck, which is the way we originally handled it, but I solved that a few years ago by making ramps, such as a gardener uses to get his lawnmower in and out of his truck, which makes it a snap for one person to handle now.

The Cartblind comes in five different configurations now, which is a change for the original.  There are configurations for a “Buck-Cart” (for use a a ground blind for deer or turkey), a “Duck-Cart”, obviously for duck hunting, an “Ice Fishing-Cart”, for use as an mini ice fishing house (which I don’t think we here in Southern California have to worry about), a Goose-Cart”, for use primarily as a layout field blind, and a “4 Season Cartblind” which, near as I can tell by the illustration on their web site, looks like the old style “Bucks & Ducks Cart Blind”, which is what SoCalHunt has.  The “4 Season Cartblind” is going for $399 and the others are priced at $499.  It appears, as of the writing of this update, that only the “4 Season Cartblind” is in stock as they are asking a $199 deposit on the other four to “pre-order”.  Check it out at…

www.cartblinds.com

…for further information or to order one.

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