For the last month I've been testing a number of Stealth Gear's products by putting them through their paces to see how good they really are. The first product that I really wanted to get out using straight away was their Square Nature hide. The hides I've owned have always been pretty poor standard; hard to assemble, can't withstand rough weather conditions and haven't been that comfortable. I received the hide just as I started my Black Grouse project so it was a perfect opportunity to get it out on the hills to see how well it works.Features:
- 4 x Side windows
- 4 x Mesh windows
- Can full open on the front
- Can have small window open on the front
- 8 x Pegs with 4 lines
- 2 x Tent-Pole
- Stand in seconds with pop-up springsteel system
- Ideal to be used with monopod or tripod
- Comes with carry backpack
- Heavy-Duty shower proof Polyester Fabric
- Height :1.52m
- Base length :1.52m
- Base width :1.72m
- Pack sizes H58cm x D5cm
- Weight Approx: 13.4 lbs / 6KG
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The hide comes in bag that you can carry like a backpack which makes it very easy to travel with, while walking I would have my camera bag on my back and then have the hide on my front and with this setup I was able to comfortably walk for many miles. Taking the hide out of the bag I would advise doing it slowly so it doesn't fly into your face due to the pop-up springsteel system which makes the hide stand in seconds. The pop-up system is amazing, I can have the hide setup in a matter of minutes. If you're getting to your location in the very early hours of the morning the last thing you want to be doing is spending 30 minutes trying to put up your hide when only having a couple hours of sleep. After you have put the hide in its square shape you need to put in the pegs to secure it to the ground so it doesn't blow away with the wind, you can also put in 2 poles to create the dome shape doing this secures the hide a little more and also helps with rain to drip down the sides and not gather at the top. I haven't used the poles yet as I didn't really need them, I encountered strong winds while up on the hill in the above image and the pegs did a great job at securing the hide to the ground.
The hide has a great camouflage pattern on it which really helps you blend into the landscape and they have also added a bit of foliage to the edges to help break up the hard edge for that more natural look. It's not completely waterproof but it is shower resistant so it is best to wear good waterproof clothing when it's raining. There are four windows on each side of the hide, with two different sizes for each which you can see in the image below. The smaller window has a camouflaged mesh screen so it's harder to see inside but it's also great for stopping bugs getting in like midges which we will get during the summer months. The larger window doesn't have a mesh cover but is good for more movement with your lens while in the hide.
In conclusion of this review I have really enjoyed using the Stealth Gear square hide over the last month, it's enabled me to get even closer to my subjects so I can capture even better shots. On Stealth Gear's website it says that this a one-man hide, I can comfortably sit in the hide with my gear and extra room to spread my legs out but I do think you could get a second person in the hide if you don't take too much gear in with you. One of the great things I realised with this hide is how comfortable it is when your out in the field for many hours, for the last few weeks I've been documenting the Black Grouse of the Galloway Hills and I've spent many hours waiting for them. To capture great shots of wildlife I believe you need to be comfortable, if you're sitting somewhere where you're fidgeting a lot or you keep getting pins and needles in your legs then you're going to miss shots because you are not fully concentrating on the subject. I would highly recommend this hide to any photographer who wants to blend into the background so they can get close to wildlife without disturbing them. I do wish it was a little bit more waterproof, I never got to test it in heavy rain but I do think the rain will soak through but like I said before if you wear good water-proofed clothing you should be fine. Also, it sometimes can be a little tricky folding the hide back into its bag but like many things in life practise will make it a lot easier and once you have the technique nailed it's actually quite easy. At around £99 this is a great price for a hide of this quality and I can see it lasting many years to come!
I hope you have enjoyed this review as there are many more to come in the next few months.
Make sure to watch my YouTube video review of this product by clicking HERE