The 8 Best Hub-Style Ground Blinds
If you do a Google search for hunting blinds, you’ll see everything from deer blinds to duck blinds, elevated to box, and more. Generally, there are three types of blinds: tree stand, freestanding, and ground. Gone are the days of the pull-apart, folding, fiberglass pole-style blinds, though you’ll still come across a few in your search. But anyone who’s ever used one knows that erecting one in the pre-dawn hours then breaking it down at dusk after a hunt is a test in patience—poles often snap, leaving the blind useless. Which is why hub-style ground blinds, which essentially work like a pop-up tent, have become a hunter’s preference and why more and more brands now offer them at competitive prices. To help you navigate the varietal world of hunting blinds, my focus here is solely on soft-sided, hub-style ground blinds for every budget.
The Expert: Nancy Jo Adams is an avid hunter and member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), where she has honed her niche in product testing and reviews of the gear she uses in the field. She has used the majority of the ground blinds she recommends here, for everything from spring turkey hunting in the palmettos of south Florida and late-season, sub-zero muzzleloader in Iowa to hog hunting at night in the swamps of Alabama and deer hunting in Northwest Kansas with wind gusts up to 32mph. To say she has put hunting blinds to the ultimate test would be an understatement.
What to Consider
Features will vary from brand to brand, but generally speaking a soft-sided, hub-style ground blind does not have a floor, has a quiet window system, is constructed of sturdy fade- and water-resistant fabrics, has a blackout interior, and uses a hub system for fast and easy setup. With these fundamentals in mind, you’re ready to start narrowing down specific features tailored to your personal hunting experience to find the best ground blind for you.
When choosing a hunting blind, think about where you’ll use it. If your hunt will take you to the green pines and hardwoods of the south, early or mid-season, look for a camo pattern that incorporates greens, browns, and blacks. If you plan to use your ground blind late season in the midwest, you’ll want a camo pattern with more tans and browns. There are even blinds disguised as hay bales, such as the Redneck Blinds Outfitter HD Bale Blind, for use in hayfields and harvested cornfields. The Ameristep Distorter K.O. blind on our list is unique in that its shape is not a typical square but rather one with roof and floor kick-outs, which help to break up its lines in the field. Most brands offer their most popular blinds in a variety of camo patterns.
Ground blinds come in a range of sizes. The smallest on our list is roughly 4 feet in width and height, the tallest is almost 7 feet high, and the one with the most floor space is 64 square feet. How you plan to use the blind will determine which size you need. If you are gun or crossbow hunting and using a tripod, you will need more floor room for the tripod legs. If you’re traditional or compound-bow hunting, you will need elbow room for fully drawing your bow. Window height is also important to the hunting method you choose, as it can affect weapon clearance and site visibility. The size of your chair will also determine how much floor space you’ll need. The tighter the blind’s interior, the closer you will be to the windows, which will reduce the amount of concealment you need for a more successful hunt.
If you plan to carry your ground blind to your hunting spot or you often move around throughout the day to follow the hunt, a lighter-weight blind is the way to go. Bonus if it comes with a carry bag. If you plan to set up your blind ahead of time and leave it in one spot, weight may not be as much of an issue. The ground blinds on our list weigh anywhere from 8 to 33 pounds.
Consider how many people might be in the blind at once to determine how much room you’ll need. If each person in the blind has a chair, backpack, weapon, or other gear, you’ll need enough room to ensure everyone is comfortable and that firearms or archery equipment can be used safely. Hunting blinds are commonly available for one to two hunters, but over the last few years, several on the market can hold as many as four or five. When shopping for a blind, check the manufacturer’s specifications regarding capacity.
How I Evaluated
I’ve used six of the eight ground blinds I recommend here. In addition to my own experience, I researched product reviews, ratings, and rankings and took into consideration each blind’s weight, capacity, size, availability, price, and other unique features. These are the eight ground blinds I recommend.
Our expert and avid hunter put these ground blinds to the test in the field, and these are the eight soft-sided, hub-style models she recommends.