Essentials

Hunting and fishing gear for sportsmen who demand the very best.

Outdoor Life Online Editor

1. Russell Moccasins PH II
The PH II is perfect for warm-weather hunts where your stalking skills are at a premium. Moccasins with crepe soles (below) are the quietest and the most traditional. I opted for brown Vibram Air-Bobs on the pair I took on two African safaris last summer and couldn't have been more pleased. They were quiet and provided good sensitivity, and the tread gave good traction when scrambling up steep hills. Best of all, Russell custom fits its boots to your feet for the very best in comfort. ($238; 920-361-2252; www.russell moccasin.com) -John Snow

2. Hardy Angel TE
The rods and reels in Hardy's Angel TE series are proof positive that the traditionalist British House of Hardy has entered the techy high-performance arena.

The four-piece, five-weight rod is extraordinarily fast in action and capable of extreme distance as well as accurate shorter casts.

Twin Rulon brake pads on the matching large-arbor reel are activated by a large-dial drag-adjustment wheel-use your fingers or palm. The reel has performed flawlessly in extremes of heat and cold.

Larger six- and seven-weight models in rod and reel are also available. (Rod, $1,235; reel, $730; 800-847-6787; www.cortland line.com) -Jerry Gibbs

3. Swarovski PV-I 1.5-6x42
One of the eternal debates among sportsmen is over the single best caliber to use for big-game hunting around the world. Once you settle the matter and come up with the answer-it's the .416 Rigby, by the way-you'll need to top it with the right piece of glass. Swarovski's PV-I variable-power scope would certainly be one of my top picks. At 1.5X it's perfect for dangerous game. Cranked up to 6X, it offers ample magnification for longer shots. The scope also has an illuminated reticle for hunting in low light. ($1,643; 800-426-3089; www.swarovskioptik.at) -J.S.

[pagebreak] 4. Fisknät Lake Net
The Fisknät (it's Swedish for fish net) Lake model perfectly integrates traditional hand craftsmanship with contemporary technology.

The landing net's 11- by 16-inch bow is laminated ash and walnut; its 7-inch handle, lovely laminated purpleheart plus ash and walnut. The bag is made of a rubber mesh that won't damage fish skin and resists tangles for quick release. ($84; 253-537-7183; www.fisknat.com) -J.G.

5. Bass Pro Buzz Off
New insect-repellent clothing from Bass Pro beats back bugs without all the hassle. Called Buzz Off, this new line has repellent bonded right into the fabric and is also rated UPF 30+ for sun protection.

Available colors include blue, tan, orange, white and aqua ($44.95). Pants, made of 100 percent oxford nylon, feature zip-off legs with lots of pockets. Colors include khaki or olive ($49.95).

Bass Pro is also offering Buzz Off-protected 100 percent cotton T-shirts with long or short sleeves in ash or white ($17.95 to $19.95), as well as caps ($19.95) and RedHead socks ($12.95). (800-277-7776; www.basspro.com) - Todd Smith

** 6. Van StaAl Saltwater Reel**
Van Staals are the world's only spinning reels with frames and spools machined from aluminum. Their internal parts are crafted from stainless steel and titanium and each reel is hand assembled. Designed for saltt water, the reels also serve anglers targeting the toughest species.

The oil-filled gear case and inner drag workings are sealed and totally waterproof. There are no bails to break, fail or snap back during hard casts with heavy lures or weights. Five sizes are available in gold, silver or black finish. The middle-size VS 200 (right) holds 400 yards of 15-pound-test line. ($619; 918-831-6891; www.vanstaal.com) -J.G.

7. Empire Rifles Legacy
For those looking for a bolt-action with a pedigree, you can't do better than a rifle built on a Mauser action. Its strength, accuracy, elegance and reliability have earned high praise since the German army started using it in April 1898. Today, New Hampshire-based Empire Rifles is importing Model 98 actions from Dumoulin- Herstal of Belgium and producing quality custom-made rifles with them.

Empire's Legacy rifle starts at $3,495 and is available in calibers from .257 Roberts to .500 Jeffery. (603-469-3152, www.empirerifles.com) -J.S.