The technology and engineering built into today’s bowhunting clothing is unequalled — except maybe at NASA. Check out this selection of new clothing for bowhunters for 2011.
Bass Pro Shop's RedHead Tundra Fleece Bibs and Jacket
RedHead Tundra Fleece bibs and jacket ($109.99 each) from Bass Pro Shops feature a tough suede fleece exterior that resists burrs and sheds water like a duck. This rugged outer layer is bonded to a windproof, waterproof stretch membrane for all-weather reliability and easy-moving comfort. An inner layer of soft Berber fleece adds warmth and moisture management. The fabric used in the construction is "stretchy" and conforms to your body. The bibs have an adjustable harness system with hook 'n' loop closure; side stretch chest panels; full-leg reverse coil zippers for venting; two chest pockets; two lower handwarmer pockets; two rear storm flap pockets; and ankle cuffs with hook 'n' loop closures. The jacket has four outer pockets, one inside hunting license pocket, zip-off adjustable hood, and zippered cuffs.
Browning Hydro-Fleece Line
For 2011, Browning has reintroduced its Hydro-Fleece line. The new softer, quieter Hydro-Fleece fabric has an improved water-shedding treatment, Browning's new HMX bicomponent waterproof/breathable outer shell fabric, and an OdorSmart antimicrobial lining. Cold-weather models feature warm, quiet, and lightweight PrimaLoft Sport insulation. The updated Hydro-Fleece line consists of a PrimaLoft Parka ($300), Jacket ($268), Bibs ($210) and Pants ($175), as well as a Soft Shell Jacket ($232) and Soft Shell Pants ($198).
Cabela's Extreme Ghil-Leaf Fleece Jacket and Pants
Cabela's new Bowhunter Extreme Ghil-Leaf fleece jacket ($179.99-$199.99) and pants ($169.99-$189.99), with maple leaf shapes and realistic drape, is the first 3-D leaf system outfit attached to a true fleece base. It employs Scent-Lok's odor-adsorbing technology to help control your scent. The jacket's full-length pleated compression sleeves allow for layering underneath without worrying about bowstring interference. The contoured collar is high in the back to keep your neck warm but dropped in the front for an unobstructed anchor point at full draw. Cargo pockets have plenty of storage space for gear with two zippered side-seam pockets that can be used to warm hands or for storage. The pants have a full-elastic back with belt loops for a comfortable fit with room for layering. Above-the-knee zippers allow for easy on and off over boots. Two zippered upper slash pockets plus a single zippered cargo pocket and single rear pocket hidden between the leaves provide sufficient storage space. Also worth a look is Cabela's Super Slam fleece jacket ($149.99-$169.99) and pants ($149.99) with Scent-Lok. This outfit was some of the quietest outerwear I had the opportunity to evaluate.
First Lite Merino Wool Base and Midlayers
First Lite's merino wool base and midlayers are some of the "smartest" on the market. They keep you warm when it's cold, wick moisture, control odor, and are whisper quiet and super comfortable. Further, all First Lite wool garments are machine washable and dryable. New for 2011 are the Midweight Socks ($18), featuring a blend of 75% merino wool, 23% nylon, and 2% spandex; and the Kanab pants ($160). The one thing I really like about the socks is that I can wear them for several days in a row with no noticeable odor. The lightweight Kanab pants are excellent for wear on active, early season elk and mule deer hunts. Combine them with the Allegheny base layer pants ($69.99-$79.95) and you can stalk game or sit in a treestand comfortably down to near freezing temps.
Gamehide ElimiTick Series
Gamehide's new ElimiTick Series garments protect against ticks and other biting insects with no nasty sprays or odors. ElimiTick uses an Insect Shield repellent technology that bonds a manmade version of a natural repellent found in chrysanthemum flowers directly to the fabric's fibers. Gamehide claims the repellent will last through 70 washings. Made from a new polyester-based Clever Cloth that feels like cotton but is much tougher, the ElimiTick line consists of a Button-Up Shirt ($69.95), Five Pocket Pants ($79.95), Long Sleeve Tech Shirt ($49.95), hooded Cover Up Jacket ($59.95), Hat ($14.95), Gloves ($15.95), and a Facemask ($19.95). I have not had the chance to field test this product but know several reliable folks who have used ElimiTick, and they have assured me it does work.
Human Energy Concealment Systems (HECS)
Human Energy Concealment Systems' clothing uses a unique Energy Cloak fabric with specialized activated-carbon fibers woven in. The conductivity of those fibers is said to block up to 90% of the electromagnetic radiation created by the human body. This includes "camouflaging" energy and muscle movement of your racing heart at crunch time. Not only are accomplished bowhunters I personally know using this product but now divers and surfers have learned that HECS can help them be less attractive to sharks. The Pelagic Shark Research Foundation now endorses HECS, and land and marine military contractors are jumping onboard, too.The HECS suit now comes in charcoal grey ($139) for use as a base layer or for hunting from a ground blind when dark colors are appropriate. HECS also offers the suit in the original Next G-1 camo ($149). The suit, consisting of a shirt, pants and headcover, is extremely lightweight and breathable.
Hunter's Specialties Scent-A-Way TEK 4 Base Layer Clothing in Women Sizes
In 2010, Hunter's Specialties entered the scent-control clothing market with Scent-A-Way TEK 4 base layer clothing. TEK 4 contains nylon threads permanently encapsulated in pure silver -- up to 33% more silver than other silver-based clothes -- that are woven into the fabric. The odor-controlling properties last for the life of the garment and require no special care. Besides wicking moisture, this fabric's unique thermal property keeps you warm when it's cool and cool when it's warm. This year TEK 4 is available in specially designed women's sizes tailored to fit the female form. The women's line consists of light and heavyweight base layer tops and pants ($54.99 each lightweight/$69.99 each heavyweight) in Realtree AP HD with pink accents, black high-cut briefs ($10.95), gloves ($14.99-$24.99), caps ($12.99-$19.99), socks ($14.99-$19.99), and headnets ($14.99-$19.99). Also new are solid black TEK 4 Tactical clothes for military and law enforcement personnel or for ground blind hunters.
Magnus Eclipse Clothing
Magnus has branched out from just making broadheads with the introduction of its new Eclipse clothing -- reversible wear that goes from large format, non-situational Ground Swat Tactical camo to black for hunting from a blind. The Reversible Long-Sleeve T-Shirt ($34.99) is preshrunk and fade resistant, with a rib-knit collar and cuffs for added comfort. The 6-Pocket Pants ($39.99), while not reversible, offer an adjustable waist, zippered front, and drawstring cuffs. The two side cargo pockets have a flap closure to keep things firmly in place. The Reversible Fleece Jacket ($59.99) has a drawstring waist for a precise fit, two hand pockets on both the camo and black sides, and a microfleece lining. Lastly, the Reversible Hood ($14.99) is a full facemask made of a stretchy material for a comfortable fit.
Prois Pro-Edition Generation-X Jacket and Pants
The Prois Pro-Edition Generation-X Jacket ($219.99) and Pants ($149.99) are designed for women who want more from their hunting clothes. Both are constructed with a wind and water-resistant fabric and tricot lining. Highlights include scapular pockets between the shoulder blades for housing chemical handwarmers, a deep lumbar pocket across the back for holding soft goods or additional handwarmers, a zippered arm pocket, extended hood, deep hand pockets, and a zipper "garage" at the chin to reduce chafing. The midweight pants are also wind and water resistant with a warm microfleece lining and ample room through the hips and thighs. Deep cargo pockets with magnetic closures, boot zippers, elastic drawstring with cord stop, articulated pleats at the knees, and back pockets with pillowtop closures round out the features of these comfy pants.
Russell Outdoors APXg2 L4 Lightweight Jacket and APXg2 Lightweight Vest
Russell's new APXg2 L4 Lightweight Jacket ($129.99) and APXg2 Lightweight Vest ($99.99) flesh out an already complete layering system. Do not let the ultra-lightweight fabric fool you. It will keep you toasty and dry while providing protection from wind and water. These thin but warm midlayers are made of 100% recycled polyester with 100-gram PrimaLoft ONE insulation in the body and 60-gram under the arms and across the back. Cut for mobility, both have a drawcord at the waist, roomy pockets, and an insulated chin guard. The jacket's sleeves are articulated with elastic cuffs.
Scent-Lok Head Hunter Jacket and Pants
Scent-Lok's new Head Hunter Jacket and Pants ($199.99 each) are produced with the company's most advanced scent-control fabric. At the core is the soft-shell, synthetic outer fabric that keeps moisture and wind in check but still allows for ease of movement and quiet performance. Key design features include articulated hood, shoulders, elbows, and knees that improve both fit and agility; waterproof zippers throughout the jacket and pants to keep wind and moisture out; zippered closures on the wrists and forearms to reduce bowstring interference; a safety harness strap slot and license holder patch on the back of the jacket; and zip legs on the pants. They are available in your choice of Realtree AP HD or Vertigo camo. Scent-Lok also redesigned its BaseSlayers with carbon technology with new styling, fabrics, and fit. Level One BaseSlayers ($39.99 each for top and bottom) have a single-layer, moisture-wicking fabric protected by a permanent antimicrobial treatment.
Sitka Gear Fanatic Jacket and Bibs
The Fanatic Jacket ($369) and Bibs ($329) from Sitka Gear, featuring GORE's Optifade Forest camo pattern, are geared for hardcore bowhunters. When you first examine these clothes, it's like opening the door to a Cadillac. The jacket's diagonal zipper, which allows room for a kangaroo pocket, keeps both hands together to conserve body heat and keep them ready for shooting. In addition, this design keeps the top of the zipper on your shoulder instead of underneath your chin. The fully-articulated arms, knees, and seat eliminate bulkiness and make the garments very comfortable for extended sits. The jacket also incorporates a strategically located grunt tube slot and rangefinder pocket for right-handed archers, making this an excellent jacket for whitetail bowhunters. Other notables include 130-gram PrimaLoft insulation, WINDSTOPPER fabric, removable hood, internal wrist gaskets to seal in warmth, full side zips on the bibs for ventilation and easy on/off, and cargo pockets for important gear.
Under Armour Ridge Reaper Softshell Jacket and Bibs
If you think Under Armour only makes high-tech base layers, you've been snoozing. UA's new Ridge Reaper Softshell Jacket and Bibs ($249.99 each) are 100% waterproof, breathable garments made with quiet ArmourStorm fabric and odor-reducing Capture Scent Technology. Made for active bowhunters, the jacket has large pockets for storage; zippered pockets and cuffs; and textured, rubberized elbows. The bibs have all the same features as the jacket plus textured knee patches for crawling. The long side zip on the bibs makes for easy on/off over your boots. The new Ridge Reaper Early Season Hoody ($129.99) and Pants ($119.99) are lightweight, wind and water-resistant, have a nice feel, an athletic cut, and Capture Scent Technology.