Hunting Garments: Stealthy & Comfortable
September 22, 2010
What you hang on your body can have a big impact on what you hang on the game pole at hunt's end. These products will help.
By Bill Winke
Clothing is rarely mentioned in the same breath as guns or bows when talk turns to key deer-hunting tools, but it can play a huge role. Garments that eliminate scent help you stay undetected while walking to and from your stand or as you wait in ambush. Clothing that helps you hide gives you an edge when drawing a bow or shouldering a gun. And comfort is crucial when hunting success comes down to how long you can stay on stand.
Today's evolved camouflage, effective scent-elimination clothing and warm, comfortable garments can make your time afield more enjoyable and productive.
CAMO PATTERNS New technologies and better understanding have benefited camouflage just as they have benefited many other products in the outdoor industry. Methods for taking computer-generated images and placing them directly on fabric have enabled camouflage designers and clothing manufacturers to create garments with amazing detail.
Since introducing its own pattern late last summer, CABELA'S now does both. Its new Seclusion 3D, an all-purpose sticks-and-leaves pattern, performs well in a range of settings and is being used for many of Cabela's best private-label garments.
The secret to Seclusion 3D's effectiveness is its use of visual deception through implied depth of field. The pattern has three layers.
Cabela's Seclusion 3D Pattern
The base layer is neutral tan with blocks of subtle shadowing that blends well with most fall backgrounds. The middle layer is slightly out of focus. (Cabela's literature suggests there are six separate focal distances represented within the branch and bark images in this layer.) This out-of-focus layer gives the impression of depth, as if you're looking right through the pattern. The surface layer is highly detailed and is in sharp focus. It's composed primarily of images of branches, twigs and leaves.
Seclusion 3D is available in various garments. You'll find fully insulated waterproof and windproof parkas and bibs and lightweight packable rainwear. It's also available as an option in many of Cabela's micro-suede, as well as cotton pants, shirts and sweatshirts.
At NATURAL GEAR, the pattern has never changed. Why not? Because Mother Nature inspired this camo, and she certainly hasn't changed.
The Natural Gear pattern has a background of neutral tan that was chosen to match the color of a whitetail and other naturally camouflaged elements of nature. Blurry outlines of black overlay this background to give the illusion of shadow and depth, and patches of brown help it blend into various fall settings. The pattern is very open, which helps to keep it from "blocking up" (looking like a dark blob) when viewed from a distance.
Natural Gear pattern
Natural Gear is available in Natural, Evergreen and Snow patterns. Evergreen introduces a subtle green tint with overlaying evergreen boughs. The Snow pattern has a gritty-looking white underlying the company's standard foreground of blurred black shade, allowing the pattern to match many winter settings. This is my favorite pattern for winter still-hunting.
Natural Gear is more than a camo-design company; it also makes very good garments that are of high quality and styled to fit beautifully. Typical designs include a bomber jacket, archer's jacket, shirts of all styles, pants and bibs (insulated and uninsulated). Natural Gear also makes leaf-cut three-dimensional jackets and pants that offer the ultimate in concealment during deer season.
LEAF-CUT CAMO GARMENTS Camo clothing that provides a 3-D appearance has become very popular. The loose cutout shapes flutter and rustle in the wind like real leaves, and they break up a hunter's outline.
The product developers at QUALITY ARCHERY DESIGNS have taken this idea a step farther by offering a way to attach synthetic leaves to standard two-dimensional camouflage clothing. Called SneakyLeaf, the system takes two forms.
The first, Camo-Enhancer, consists of durable leaves that attach by black safety pins or adhesive patches to your clothing, bow, gun, stand, etc. The leaves are available in two color blends: All-Season and Fall Blend. The product comes in packs of 50 leaf pairs, giving you the coverage of 100 leaves. Each packet is quite affordable at under $15. You can also buy a SneakyLeaf Vine to mask a tree stand.
The second SneakyLeaf system is a cover suit with pre-set, rivet-like plastic snaps built into the garment. The snaps replace the need for safety pins, and they permit you to quickly and easily place the leaves exactly where you want them. The cover suit is a two-piece garment. The jacket has a hood and full facemask, while the pants have an elastic waist for easy on/off use. Both are made of lightweight mesh.
The SneakyLeaf system is amazingly effective and can keep you concealed from deer, whether you're hunting from the ground or from a tree stand.
SCENT-CONTROL GARMENTS By way of a hip-high overboot, the ELIMITRAX system keeps human scent from contaminating your route as you walk to and from your stand. I think most avid hunters know that as we move through the woods, we leave our scent on the ground and low vegetation. Deer smell this, become alarmed and are less inclined to use those areas freely in the future.
The Elimitrax system starts with a pair of pullover booties that extend to the upper thigh, held in place with stays along the side and belt loops at the top. These booties fit over any pair of hunting boots or even tennis shoes. To protect the lightweight material from abrasion while walking, there's also a pair of strap-mounted over-boot soles that can be put on and taken off quickly.
This year, the system has be
en taken one step farther, with the introduction of hand coverings called Elimigloves. They're intended to prevent scent contamination as the hunter touches branches, trees or grass.
The Elimitrax system is highly portable and easy to use. It can be slipped on for the critical last 200 yards to the stand and then removed. Last fall, I used my booties in the woods every day for a solid month without wearing them out.
The various products in the Elimitrax line are made of a special plastic that carries no odor of its own. Also, the booties are water resistant, so they're handy for making short stream crossings during a hunt.
CONCLUSION If there's truth in the old saying that you can judge a man by his clothes, it seems reasonable to say that you can judge a whitetail hunter by his hunting clothes. With today's many innovative garments and camouflage concepts, you have everything you need to disappear in the deer woods — and to do it in comfort.
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