The Archery Trade Association’s annual show is billed as a chance for industry buyers, sellers, and go-betweens to do business, network, and introduce new products.
A rookie ATA exhibitor said plainly:
“You haven’t done squat in this industry until you get invited to exhibit at the ATA.”
And he’s right. Eat Elk Meat’s staff was on hand for the 2024 Archery Trade Association Show as product manufacturers and vendors from all across the archery and hunting ecosphere squared off to pique interest in their latest and greatest offerings.
True to its word, 2024 was no different for the ATA. We got the low-down on the new flagship bows, new-fangled camo companies, and enough hunting blind and broadhead companies to make us sick.
ATA shows have it all – from groundbreaking “best” new products to gimmicky ones that make you ask yourself’ wtf’?
While it’s hard to give our readers a recap of the entire circus that was ATA 2024, here’s our top three takeaways from ATA 2024:
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Who Impressed Us The Most?
New For 2024:
Xlite29 and Xlite35
Building on the 2023 Xlite platform, Xpedition Archery may change the game for ultra-light bowhunters with their Xlite 29” and 35” axle-to-axle offerings in 2024. We were fortunate enough to get our hands on these bows and take them for a spin.
Right off the bat, you can tell Xpedition Bows are different. They caught our eye right away at the ATA show.
At first glance, we thought it was Mathews, as the center-cut look of the risers was familiar. But after another look, we could tell these bows were different. Then, after picking one up, we could tell these bows were…really different.
With IBO speeds similar to many of the other big-name 2024 flagship bows, the weight of the Xlite is what sets the Xpedition apart in the saturated bow market. Xpedition has separated from the pack and is doing things their way.
As Quinton Liebl, the Head of R&D, proclaimed,
“We’re not trying to compete with all the other big brands. And we get it; it’s expensive, but we want to create the best product possible. A product that’s better than any other.”
He’s right; the Xlite is more expensive than any bow I’ve tested, but if you’re a serious bowhunter looking to take things to the next level and extend your range, the Xlite may be the new top dog.
Xpedition claims the weight savings are from their risers, made from a material they’re super proud of: Magnite™.
What’s Magnite™, you say?
We aren’t exactly sure because Magnite™ is a proprietary blend of lightweight alloys and carbon nanoparticles. It’s lighter than aluminum and stronger than carbon fiber.
So far, we’re impressed. What stood out to me was the Xlite’s unique draw cycle, which puts the brunt of your exertion earlier in the cycle and then levels out until the back wall. It’s hard to describe how different it is until you shoot one, but it’s smooth as silk.
You can only tell so much under optimal conditions inside an archery range. So, we’re getting one or two of these bows to test them on several hunts to see how they perform. Check back with us later this year after we put them to the test in the field.
2024’s Best Product At ATA Goes To – Xpedition Archery.
What We Didn’t Like At ATA 2024
It’s the ATA for crying out loud. Standards should be the highest, especially when they go divvy-ing out awards. We weren’t impressed much with several of the award selections this year, and honestly, a few left us scratching our heads.
None so much as the “Best New Gear” award that went to Twisted Iron Hunting and their Tedrad Ultimate Duffel Bag. We checked it out, and yeah, it’s not a half-bad travel bag, but is it innovative? Hardly. Groundbreaking? No.
Again, we aren’t here to punch down on anyone. The Tedrad looks and feels like an excellent water-resistant bag, and yeah, it’s worth being at the ATA because of its price point, but is it the best new gear? Nope.
I’m just spitballing here; if Twisted Iron Hunting were to redesign that bag with Dyneema and include welded and watertight seams, I’d pay triple the amount for that same design. It would withstand more brutal conditions, be way lighter, and be thoroughly watertight.
Correct me if I’m wrong in the comments below, but THAT would be worth ATA’s “Best New Gear” award. Nam’ Sayin’? It wasn’t just this award. In our opinion, several left us quite confused. Check out the complete list of 2024 awards over at the ATA’s website.
So, the 2024 lousy award goes to – The ATA Awards.
Something, something, science…
Something, something breaks up a deer’s vision.
We may be missing something here; please let us know your thoughts, but I don’t see myself walking into the woods wearing this. Not public lands, at least, or anywhere I might get seen by somebody.
I hope we eat crow and people love this clothing. The pattern aside, their gear appears to be quality and repels water, which is a huge plus. But, the pattern leaves much to be desired (at least for us.)
Again, and I know you’ve all heard this 5 billion times – Your grandpappy shot more deer in a red and black checkered shirt than you likely ever will.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
2024’s WTF Award goes to – Whitetail Forensics.
2024 ATA Honorable Mentions
We’re loving the new Spot Hogg Stuff. Nothing is groundbreaking here except the same quality we’ve grown to love with their tough-as-nails, no-slop, no-nonsense sights–now with a removable and interchangeable sight tape dial that lets you quickly swap between arrows, etc.
I’ve seen these around (we recommend them in our best e-bikes for hunting article), but I was finally able to catch up with the owner, engineer, and all-around solid dude for a little meet and greet at the 2024 ATA.
We love our Bakou Mule, but in snow and sand, washouts are common. The Rungu dually has solved the problem with two front tires that ate through as much as 10” of snow and were crushing the Bakou in side-to-side comparisons on the sand.
We can’t wait to test one of these bad boys out this year, and who knows, maybe we will switch to Rungu for 2024.
We’ve been looking for a Vortex killer for a while, and hey, I will stick with my Vipers for now, but Hawke seems to be making some excellent stuff for the price points they are offering.
We linked up with their marketing manager, Brett, at the ATA, and he gave us the lowdown on their entire catalog. We’ll test some of their stuff this year for in-depth reviews. Subscribe to our email list if you don’t want to miss anything.
That’s a Wrap From 2024’s Archery Trade Associations Annual Show
Stay tuned this year for gear testing and reviews from some of the brands listed above like Xpidition Archery, SpotHogg, and RUNGU and Hawke. You can always check out the blog or subscribe to our email list for other insider information on hunting gear, outdoor insight, and exciting giveaways.
Some Gear Reviews You May Find Interesting
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Rocky Talkie Review: Field Tested in the Rugged Outdoors
Bakcou Mule Review: An Ideal eBike for Elk Hunting?
KUIU ULTRA Merino 120 LT LS Crew-T Base Layer Review
Zamberlan 980 Outfitter Review (By a Colorado Hunting Guide)
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Mystery Ranch Metcalf Review (After 30 Days in the Elk Woods)
Last Updated on January 22, 2024
Josh Riley lives in Colorado with his wife, Mary, and their three wild and crazy children. He’s an avid hunter, fisherman, backpacker, elk meat connoisseur, and international traveler.