An 'Alaska Tough' Gun Scabbard Soft Rifle Case - Made in Alaska!
Like most people, I have a sense of pride when it comes to quality products made here in the United States. I think that sense of pride likely doubles when you find a quality product that is well thought out, easy to use, and is made in Alaska! The waterproof gun scabbard made by NOMAR down in Homer, Alaska, should definitely find a place in your gear pile.
We all have at least one gun scabbard or soft rifle case, and they are all generally the same. Nylon exterior, a few handles, maybe even some leather if you're up for spending a few more bucks or if you're taking your fine double gun to the range where you shoot a gentlemanly round of sporting clays with your old chaps. Seriously though, there isn't too much to the standard soft rifle case. The problems with these are that some of them are undersized for a scoped rifle or even an AR-15 with its protruding pistol grip and magazine, and they don't do well in wet environments. On top of all that, I haven't found them to be very robust.
I was thrilled to have NOMAR
contact me to see if I could check out their version of the gun scabbard product and see what I thought. I told Richard that if I don't like something that I'll either tell folks about the shortcomings or just not write about it at all. He seemed confident in his product and sent it my way. The timing was actually pretty good as I had a buddy who was going on a 12 day float up in Northern Alaska and gave it to him for a bit of field testing in an environment where this rifle case really shines...around the water.
The outer bag of this gun scabbard is made out of 18 oz. Seatarp that is sealed all the way around the edges and has an additional nylon edging for added strength. The end of the outer bag is several inches longer than the inner sleeve, which allows for you to seal the bag in the same way you would seal a dry-bag, by rolling the edge down tightly and clipping the ends together to complete the waterproofing.
The handle is ergonomically curved and comfortable in the hand when carrying a heavy rifle. The stitching that attaches the handle to the exterior bag is reinforced for durability as well.
The inner liner is made of a closed cell foam that has been covered with a silicone treated polyfleece. This stuff is super soft, like baby sea otter soft. Along with completely protecting the rifle from scratches and dings, the liner has over 4 square feet of total foam that boasts a 140 pound buoyancy rating! It will easily float any rifle that you can stuff in it and even might give you a helping hand to keep your head above water if you found yourself in a compromised situation out in the wilderness as well!
This gun scabbard performed exceptionally well on the float hunt and by all appearances appeared to be more durable and of higher quality than other waterproof rifle cases of similar design. A 16" barreled AR-15 with a 7.5" suppressor fit nicely in the case along with a larger scoped .375 Ruger as well. The case balances nicely when picked up by the handle with anything I've put in it. The one thing that could make this case a bit nicer is the addition of even a rudimentary shoulder strap to attach to any of the existing reinforced D-Rings that are present on both sides of the outside of the scabbard. Setting up and breaking down camp on a multi-day float hunt means hauling lots of gear from the water, up the bank, and back down the next day to continue the trip. A shoulder strap would make this a bit nicer to free up a hand to grab more gear, but a shoulder strap of whatever flavor you would like is easily procured by the end user. I can't hardly dock any points for the lack of the strap. After telling this minor detail to Richard down at NOMAR, he said he would include a simple shoulder strap for $5 or for nothing if you mention "The Alaska Life" when ordering. Great, now I don't have ANYTHING to complain about! I guess thats what happens when people go above and beyond with their gear.
Made in Alaska, waterproof, soft to protect your gear, swallows most typical hunting rifles, and durable...what's not to like?! From the back of a wheeler, to the back of an airplane, to banging around the bottom of a boat, this particular case has served well so far from North of the Brooks Range to all over Prince William Sound, and I look forward to putting it to good use for quite a few more years. NOMAR has been in this business since 1978 where they worked from a converted GMC schoolbus heated by a small woodstove with one commercial sewing machine. Since that time, they have grown their Alaskan business to 16 employees with over 10,000 feet of shop and manufacturing space. If their gun scabbard is any indication of overall quality of their products, I would be eager to check out more of their gear. It's likely to be top notch.
Feel free to check out NOMAR at www.nomaralaska.com