The Ameristep Doghouse is a camouflaged, tent-like ground blind that keeps hunters out of site and mobile.
It comes with a basic backpack case for easy transport through the field to the deployment site.
The loaded backpack is 24 inches in diameter, two inches thick and weighs 14 pounds.
The blind is easy to set up and is 60 inches square and 68 inches tall when deployed, which is just enough room for two hunters seated on folding stools.
The exterior of the Ameristep Doghouse comes in two Realtree camouflage patterns. The colouration of these patterns seems best suited for the fall season before snowfall.
External ties around the blind may be used to attach natural cover and further break up its domed outline. The interior is entirely black.
The door and windows have quality zippers. The door operates easily and is generously sized to allow through a geared hunter.
The three observation sides have small porthole windows covered with camouflaged, replaceable, shoot-through mesh. These sides can also be opened with wide windows.
The openings can be adjusted easily with the zippers. The floorless design allows hunters to easily modify the natural ground conditions to minimize their noise profile.
The walls and support poles are made from quality materials. Our test blind resisted heavy scratching from tree branches. The weight of wet snow from an overnight blizzard caused the blind to understandably collapse. The unit popped back up on its own after it was brushed off. Only the upper dome poles needed a bit of readjusting, and we were back in action.
The blind is also a good wind shelter, even in freezing weather, when it is occupied and the windows are properly arranged.
It seems like a good idea to have shoot-through portholes, but the mesh prevented occupants from operating its zippers. To adjust the porthole zippers, one would need to go outside or tear the noisy interior Velcro that holds the mesh in place. Opening the larger windows may be properly done from the inside, but the camouflaged mesh does not cover them.
These design shortcomings could be easily addressed with mesh over the exterior of the full-sized windows that is attached with Velcro for easy replacement.
The two woodland camouflage patterns are insufficient for good concealment after snowfall. A third winter pattern would be valuable.
Packing up the blind is a quick and simple process. There is a trick to the final folding down of the springy walls, but the included directions are reasonably clear.
Kim Quintin is a Saskatoon outdoor enthusiast and knife maker. He can be reached for column content suggestions at [email protected]