After decades of printing camouflage patterns on substandard clothing, hunting brands have become leaders in the development of technical outerwear. And now they are starting to push these clothes into the mainstream space, both making their hunting clothes available in solid colors and creating entire lines dedicated to everyday activities. Here are some of the latest and greatest tech gear from hunting brands that you can wear wherever you want.
Sitka Gradient Hoodie ($ 199)
Sitka, based in Bozeman, MT, started the high-tech hunting apparel trend in 2005, and is now best known for prescribing complete layering systems designed to carefully manage the way moisture moves through. through every room, keeping hunters dry and comfortable in both static and active pursuits in extreme weather conditions.
The Gradient Hoodie is from Sitka’s waterfowl range (duck and goose hunting takes place on the water, in winter). It is composed of an inner layer of very swelling Berber fleece laminated to an exterior of tightly woven DWR treated polyester. Not only is this sweater warmer than a traditional fleece, it is also considerably more weatherproof and breathable.
Sitka originally planned for the room to provide waterfowl hunters with a quick-drying insulating layer that would not compress (and therefore lose its ability to insulate) because it was hidden in blinds. The hoodie is cut very thin and features thumbholes for easy layering under a bouffant or shell. But it turns out that all of these perks end up working just as well in the city as they do when camping. Take one size larger if you have a wider frame or prefer looser clothing.
Men’s Under Armor Outdoor Polartec Forge Full-Zip ($ 90)
A fleece that’s not only warm and durable, but made from recycled fabrics so you feel great wearing it. Quick-drying and breathable, with water-resistant coatings for added durability.
Forloh Airalite Rain Jacket ($ 379)
The designers of Forloh saturate the individual fibers of the facial fabric of this jacket with vacuum DWR. The result: With a water column of 35,000 millimeters and a water vapor transmutation rate of 35,000 grams per square meter, the Ariralite is both more waterproof than any other breathable hardshell and capable of evacuating more humidity in your body in a given period of time. The company also claims that its DWR coating will last the life of the garment.
Lightweight, incredibly breathable and totally bomber, the Airalite will work just as well in winter as in fall. It also uses a RECCO reflector, a lifesaving technology built into the vest that emits signals that can be picked up by first responders wearing an active detector.
All this makes the Ariralite one of the most efficient technical hulls on the market. And Forloh makes his clothes in America, for both men and women.
Sitka Kelvin Aerolite Jacket ($ 299)
Product development for Sitka’s big game (mountain-centric hunting) is led by John Barklow, who trained special operations forces in extreme weather survival, before moving on to designing clothing for these soldiers. . Under his leadership, Sitka’s cold weather gear focuses not only on insulation, but also drying as quickly as possible if soaked, and staying warm when wet.
Enter the brand’s new Aerolite range, which uses new synthetic insulation from Primaloft that is partially woven into Aerogel. Originally developed by NASA, airgel is the lightest and most insulating material known to man. And as used here, it gives this insulation the ability to trap air, and therefore stay warm, even when compressed.
All of this to say that the Aerolite jacket is thin, dries quickly, works amazingly well inside a layering system as the weight of the outer garments will not reduce its insulating ability.
Firstlite Women’s Wick Quarter Zip ($ 95)
Made from a blend of super fine Merino and 150-weight nylon, the Wick is extremely comfortable against your skin and wicks moisture to the outside, keeping you dry and comfortable. My wife picked this refill for a bird hunt in September which hit 70 degrees during the day and dropped below zero at night. Layered appropriately, this top kept it comfortable throughout and fits so well that you could easily mistake it for a less technical fashion garment.
Firstlite Women’s Brooks Down Sweater ($ 265)
Do you know how the baffles of some down jackets make it look like they’re half empty? Not in the Brooks, it’s absolutely stuffed with 3.5 ounces of ultra-light, highly compressible, DWR 800 treated down.
Fill power is the amount of space that a given variety of down is capable of filling, in cubic inches. So in the Brooks you have 2,800 cubic inches of down in a lightweight, packable jacket.
It’s fitted with a hood designed to fit your head perfectly (instead of a helmet), it’s comfortable, easily layered, and looks great in this understated green color.
Alpine Gaiter Stone Glacier SQ2 ($ 129)
Gaiters keep snow and rain out of your boots by wrapping your calf in weather protection. Or, at least, they’re supposed to. Because they’re so low to the ground, gaiters are exposed to everything from spike points to rocks and brush. Every pair I have ever worn quickly turned into holes. Not the new SQ2s.
The driving force behind the development of modern high strength fabrics is sailboat racing, where large budgets combine with high speeds. Why? You don’t go anywhere without an intact sail. And the SQ2 take advantage of two materials originally developed for this discipline: X-Pac and Dyneema. X-Pac is an incredibly tear resistant reinforced nylon laminate and is used here to form the part of the gaiter that covers your boots. Dyneema is 15 times stronger than steel. You know the fabric version of it from premium backpacks and ultralight shelters, but here Stone Glacier uses it to form the strap of the boot. You will not wear through this strap no matter what you are going through. The SQ2 makes the most of this strength by attaching the Dyneema to the X-Pac with a sturdy aluminum buckle and nylon webbing, distributing the load over a wide area.
All that strength and reliability should work just as well for climbing a mountain as it does for snowshoeing or just taking a winter hike.