This year has brought more innovations in the ground-blind market than we've seen in a decade, with the all-new Mantis models from New Archery Products among those at the forefront of the blind revolution. Mantis blinds are, in a word, different — in how they look, how they work and how you'll be able to hunt from them. Considering that, it's no surprise the Mantis concept is the brain child of Keith Beam, co-creator of the original Double Bull blind that was largely responsible for the start of the ground-blind craze more than a decade ago. Rather than sticking to a conventional, five-hub blind design, Beam designed Mantis blinds from the ground up, with the goal of maximizing concealment and usable space.
One of the first things you'll notice when looking at the Mantis 3 is it has a much different shape than the average pop-up blind, thanks to its double-peaked roof and sloping back wall that does an excellent job shedding rain and snow. Once you step inside, you'll immediately notice this unique shape provides a lot more room for multiple hunters to maneuver, with 48 square-feet of total interior floor space. From a bowhunter's perspective, one of the best features is the generously wide rear wall that provides plenty of room to raise and draw your bow without your arrow coming anywhere close to the walls. And if you use a swivel chair, you can set it toward the rear of the blind and easily pivot to take advantage of shooting opportunities from any of the four main windows in front of you. All this was accomplished by eliminating the roof hub and rear hub and using a set of interlocking shock rods to support the bottom of the rear wall.
The one complaint I have about the Mantis 3 involves shooting while standing. There is a single upper window in the center of the front wall, but the sloping roof didn't allow my 5-foot, 9-inch frame enough clearance to shoot through it without my head pushing into the ceiling. NAP advertises the height of the Mantis 3 at 6 feet, 1 inch; but that's at the roof peaks, not in the center of the blind. Because the Mantis is unlike any other blind I've used, I actually had to read the instructions (gasp!) the first time I set it up. But once I got the hang of it, I found setup a simple process easily completed in under two minutes.
In addition to providing more usable space, NAP says the asymmetrical shape of the Mantis aids in concealment, as does the exclusive Wicked Intent camouflage, which features 14 earth tones on a large, repeating pattern designed specifically for a ground-blind application. Mantis blind fabric is thick, 600-denier, Oxford-weave polyester that resists tears, and NAP says will last for years. The blackened interior helps hide your movements, and the camo exterior includes numerous brush loops and tie-down points, as well as six stakedown points along the bottom. Front windows feature an exclusive Dragnet design with a series of vertical and horizontal elastic cords and 3-D camo strips that can be silently adjusted via hooks around the window edges. There are also mesh and solid fabric coverings that can be adjusted as desired, along with a pair of rear windows to take advantage of unexpected shot opportunities. The Mantis 3 weighs 22 pounds and comes with a carry bag, stakes and two tie-down ropes. The Mantis 2, a two-hub blind designed for solo hunters, weighs 14.5 pounds and offers 38 square feet of interior space.