Have you priced big-name hunting clothes lately? Sticker Shock City. We just found a high-performance camo brand that works great, looks awesome, and won’t drain our wallets.
by Phillip Bartolacci
No doubt about it—hunting apparel has come a long way in the last several years. Sure, camo patterns have evolved and advanced, but the changes that have made the real difference involve performance. Forget about those old heavy cotton duds that did nothing for heat retention or water repellency, and had the mobility and comfort of a potato sack. Advances in synthetic fibers and material construction have combined to give us hunting wear that is lighter, quieter, sleeker, and offers significantly better mobility. The problem is, many manufacturers are awfully proud of their products, and aren’t ashamed to charge a premium for the privilege of us wearing their brand.
A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to try out a new-to-us brand of camo clothing while on an elk hunt in Colorado. We needed clothing that would keep us comfortable across a broad temperature range, be quiet while we slipped through dry pine thickets, and offer lightweight mobility for those multi-mile treks each day. The outer layer jackets, pants, and gloves we acquired were from a company called Huntworth. Not only were we impressed with the quality and performance, we were impressed with the price.
In short, this is “wine and cheese” level gear for those of us on a “beer and bratwurst” budget.
First, let’s talk camo pattern. All of the Huntworth products come in the company’s proprietary Oak Tree EVO® pattern. It’s an excellent blend of photo-realistic woodland elements with muted splashes of brown, orange, and green that seems to work perfectly across many environments—from alpine forests to lowland swamps. Since we plan on wearing this gear throughout our eastern whitetail season, a multi-purpose pattern such as this is just the ticket.
For early through mid-season hunts, Huntworth has two mid-weight jackets we really like. Bowhunters will appreciate the Tactical Performance Fleece Hunting Jacket (model 9016-200T). This model offers a low-profile fit and features articulated arms that allow a free range of motion. It is perfect for drawing your bow without material bunching in the elbows. The main shell of the jacket has 260-gram two-way stretch performance fleece that is bonded to a 170-gram honey comb fleece. That’s plenty to keep the chill away, yet the jacket is light enough that you won’t burn up when the sun comes out. The Soft Shell Jacket with the full zipper (model 9072-200T) is also light and mobile-friendly. Sporting a 120-gram water-repellent polyester shell bonded to 230 grams of fleece, this jacket works well later in the season when the weather turns cold and damp.
Straddling the middle ground of cool autumn and frigid winter wear are the Soft Shell 1/2 Zip Pullover (model 9069-300T) and the hooded Soft Shell Jacket (model 9068-300T). As their names imply, both have a soft shell construction, and both come with two bonded insulating layers—200-gram tricot fleece and 260-gram berber fleece—for a combined 460 grams of insulation that’s bonded to a waterproof film. This breathable, waterproof film keeps out the wet stuff while large kangaroo pockets and a zippered chest pocket provide room to store your small gear.
For hunts that involve a lot of walking or climbing, we want pants that are light, stretch in all the right places, and are warm enough that we don’t have to pile on layers that weigh us down and increase effort just to get around. Huntworth’s Soft Shell Hunting Pants (981-20OT) ticked off all those boxes for us. The double-layer polyester shell offers just enough stretch to climb over logs or up into a treestand, and is bonded to a thick fleece layer to provide lightweight warmth. Wear a polyester base layer underneath these pants, if you like, and you’re good for a wide range of temperatures. These pants have a water-resistant treatment that is good for shedding light rain or snow, and include five pockets (two of which are large cargo side pockets). These saw us through two weeks of Rocky Mountain brush-busting without any hiccups.
While many hunting apparel brands include gloves in their portfolio as more of an afterthought than a serious accessory line, Huntworth specializes in performance hunting gloves. In fact, they have gloves for practically any activity, style, or need you can think of. Best of all, their prices are disproportionately low in relation to the quality and performance these gloves offer. Our favorites are the Classic Hunting Glove with the RaFlect™ Print Interior (model 1144-200T) and the Lined Stealth Hunting Glove with touchscreen-enabled fingertips (model 1095-300T).
The Classic glove is really slick because it uses two different linings to balance heat retention and reduce bulkiness. The palms feature a liner infused with RaFlect ceramic ink that reflects heat back to your palm without relying on bulkier insulation. On the back of the hand, where insulation bulk isn’t so much a factor, the gloves have a long-pile fleece lining. Other helpful features include a silicon palm patch for improved grip, water repellent treatment on the shell, a breathable and waterproof interior lining, conductive index finger and thumb patches for using touchscreen devices, and Microban® anti-microbial treatment to reduce scent.
The Stealth glove is all about “quiet warmth.” The outer shell is comprised of a stretch performance fleece that delivers a svelte compression fit and is ultra-quiet when brushed against other objects or materials. This glove also has a silicon-printed palm to maximize grip, is treated to resist water, and is touchscreen-friendly. For warmth, the glove is lined with a long-pile fleece so your fingers stay toasty even on those frosty mornings.
If you’re like us, finding quality and affordable hunting gear that sits in the same tent is a challenge. Fortunately for all of us, there is now a hunting apparel brand that believes high-performance, quality construction, and a polished appearance doesn’t have to break the budget. You can find these and other Huntworth items in the top-name sporting goods and department stores across the country, or visit the Huntworth retail locator for a store nearest you.
article copyright © 2016 HuntDaily.com; promoted by NTA Enterprise