No single piece of gear I use has changed waterfowling as much for the better as the layout or laydown blind. Before laydown blinds if you wanted to hunt anywhere with sparse cover (cornfields, the banks of ponds) you either dug a pit or lay in mud or frozen stubble and covered yourself with burlap and decoys.
In 1993 guide Ron Latschaw decided he was sick of staying up late digging pits for the next day’s hunt and invented the laydown blind, a low profile one-person blind that lets you hide in plain sight in perfect comfort. Field hunting immediately became more mobile and more practical. Landowners that didn’t want you digging holes in their fields would let you lay out in them. Since Latchaw’s first Final Approach Eliminator, blinds have gotten better and better, which brings us to the Cabela’s Interceptor Ultimate Layout Blind.
The Interceptor Ultimate is excellent in almost every way. It has a very thick waterproof 1000 denier PVC bottom that extends 10 inches up the sides of the blind to keep water out. That’s important, because waterfowling often takes place in wet, mucky conditions and a blind that lets water makes for a miserable experience. On one hunt last fall there was so much water standing in our blinds that when my son dropped a shell, it sank out of sight and he couldn’t find it.
And, the blind has two unique features: it goes together without the need to connect tubing and pin it together. Instead it uses rugged plastic hooks (pictured above) that you snap together, saving skinned knuckles and dropped pins in the dark, and it comes apart in the same way.
Also, it has – are you ready for this? — an ambidextrous cup holder. There are Velcro patches for the cupholder on the right and left sides of the floor. If you have ever tried to hunt geese and drink coffee simultaneously, you know this is major progress.
It weighs 17 pounds which is lighter than some and heavier than others, and while takes down easily, I would have preferred it to fold up to a slightly smaller size for packing.
Nevertheless, what Ron Latschaw started, Cabela’s may have come close to perfecting. $249 cabelas.com