Many things in my life have called to me. Fashion is not one of them. To tell the truth, since the pandemic has turned me into a full-time distance worker for about two years, I can count on one hand the number of different outfits I have worn. But when it comes to clothes made for hunting, I have an experience.
There was a time when I had a whole room dedicated solely to hunting gear and that room was locked up to the ceiling with every kind of camouflage you can imagine. Specifically, I had a lot of what you would call high-end hunting clothes – those kinds of things where you have to hide your bill from your spouse after you buy a pair of pants.
But are expensive hunting clothes really that good? Is the old saying “you get what you pay for” really true? Well, here I will tease the answer a bit: Yes. And no. Let’s begin.
Who makes the most expensive hunting clothes?
To begin, we will only look at outfits made specifically for hunters. There are many high-end outdoor clothing that can be used in the woods, but are not really traded with hunters. Some of them really work. But I do not want to disturb the waters here, because most of those brands are likely to be unknown.
When I think of high-end hunting equipment, there are some brands that immediately come to mind. The first three for me are Sitka Gear, Kuiu and First Lite. In all fairness, I have not worn every single item produced by these three companies. But I have used many of their devices to inform a fairly educated opinion about their value-for-money ratio. I also want to say that I have no loyalty to any brand. My favorite items are the ones I know how to perform regardless of the name on the label.
Why I got rid of most of my hunting clothes
As I said above, I once had a mountain with hunting equipment. Today, everything you use in a hunting season fits in a single plastic bag. This covers both the spring season of the turkey and the entire deer season. I spent everything I had, assessed if it really served a purpose, and reduced it as much as possible. Then I carved it even further before settling on just a few pieces that could be used separately or combined to cover any weather conditions I would face.
I did not allow the price to dictate what remained or went, nor did I worry about the brand name, the kamo pattern or the social media buzz. I just looked at what he performed, what he had proven to be consistent, what he was comfortable with, and what the price was worth.
For example, if I only had a single jacket, I needed it to be comfortable, warm enough to cover most of the season, durable enough to last a few years, and it had to hold the wind and some rainfall level. . If I was going to wear only two pairs of pants, those pants had to do a lot of things and do them well.
Anyway, I ended up holding about a dozen different items. Some pairs of pants, a set of tails, two jackets, two hoods, two sets of base layers (one medium weight and one heavy), etc. And here’s what I discovered: Of those 12 items, eight came from above – the end producers. I also discovered that when I increased the cost of all the cheaper pants, jackets, sweaters, base layers, and various other items I had purchased over the years, I realized that I was actually spending more on cheap things.
Here’s what hunting clothes I wore
When deciding what to keep and what to share, I based my choices on real-world experience. One of the items I chose to wear is the Stratus jacket from Sitka. This thing is insanely expensive ($ 359), and is easily the most expensive hunting gear I have ever bought. But she took the place of the other four jackets. It is quite easy to get dressed in early October and on cold spring mornings chasing turkeys. It blocks the smell without sounding like a bag of potatoes. It keeps me light rain and it is calm. In other words, it is worth every penny.
I had cheaper jackets with similar features but those jackets had flaws. If they were windproof, they were rigid from the lining used to block the wind. If they were waterproof, they were noisy. If they were destined for colder weather, they were great. There were always exchanges with mid-priced outfits. Not so with Stratus.
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I also wore the Sitka fanatic Hoody. Again, at $ 189, it’s expensive, especially considering it’s really nothing more than a base coat. But, again, that base coat has surpassed anything else I have used, and is super versatile.
Kuiu guide pants made the cut for the same reasons listed above. They are versatile and have resisted everything I did to them. At $ 179, they cost about twice as much as most of the other hunting pants I own. But they have also been proven to be twice as durable, twice as comfortable and offer more than double the performance. I hated paying for them, I really did. But, they made the pile “held” for a reason.
Over the years, I found lower priced clothing to perform poorly. The pale camouflage, the general lack of durability, and little or no resistance to the weather meant that I had stumbled into buying another piece of cheap hunting clothes much sooner than I should have.
Verdict: Are Expensive Hunting Clothes Worth It?
With all this, I will just stop by saying that you always get what you pay for, simply because it is not true. One piece of clothing that made the cut for me was a basic vest worn with Sherpa by Mossy Oak. At $ 50, it’s a lot less expensive than any Sitka, Kuiu or First Lite vest. But I love it. It is warm, calm and ideal for what I use it for. It does its job without any weaknesses. In this case, I got a lot more benefit than the price would indicate. One item that did not make the cut was a set of tails that cost about $ 600. They were good. Were $ 600 beautiful? No chance.
The bottom line, however, is that in many cases, high-end equipment, indeed, offers greater long-term value. Of course there are bargains to be made and a high price does not automatically mean high performance on the field, but for this hunter, the verdict is: Cost is often an indicator of performance. Not always, of course. But often so much that I do not dismiss a product just for the price.