A look at whether expensive hunting gear is worth the hefty price tag
A $700 hunting jacket. A $400 pair of hunting pants. $300 boots. $200 high-end gloves. Yowza.
I've made some ridiculous purchases in my life. Who hasn't? I've also made some pretty good purchase decisions. Hopefully you've had at least a handful of those, too. When it comes to hunting gear, there's no shortage of hunting apparel options. These days they have camo patterns for early season, late season, and everything in between. Sometimes there are specialty patterns for whitetail fanatics, and another meant for serious bowhunters seeking elk in the backcountry, etc. So, how do you tell the difference between what's worth the price and what's all hype?
For starters, let's look at some of the common players. The outerwear you usually see TV hunting show personalities wearing during their fancy private land hunt in Montana or Wyoming. You've got Sitka Gear, Kuiu, Under Armour, Crispi, Badlands, Onca, First Lite, and the list goes on and on. Each of these brands tends to cater to a specific market with a certain degree of overlap. Retail price tags on these brands span the entire range, but the top of line series for all of these manufacturers is well into the hundreds of dollars for a complete set up.
Let's face it. The gear is high tech offering the best in insulation layers, abrasion resistance, high-quality breathable fabrics, and water-resistant and windproof technologies. This clothing is super comfortable. And just plain looks awesome. But it's not cheap. There is a treasure trove of junk brands available on the market for less than par performing clothing. But at what price does it start to make sense?
Fortunately for the everyday hunter, there are some good options to pay attention to that can help you pick up some better baselayers and midlayers, maybe some bibs, or a new jacket with merino for your cold weather archery outings this season. Many of these brands have discount, clearance or outlet pricing. For example, Kuiu offers high performance gear using a direct-to-consumer model. No markups for 3rd party retailers. Better yet, their online outlet has items discounted to as low as $1.00. Check it out here. Other online retail sites like camofire.com and blackovis.com offer steep discounts. Camofire recently had Sitka gear jackets listed at 65% off. That's better than industry pricing for those of you paying attention.
Dropping a cool grand or more on a single setup of hunting clothes is not in the cards for many of us. Yes, the technology is awesome. It'll probably keep you warm on the coldest days and prevent every last bit of our smell from escaping. Maybe the softshell technology of that expensive jacket gives it better water repellent qualities than a dedicated rain jacket. Maybe that fancy layering system and outerwear keep those hunters warmer than my old jacket that is starting to have zipper problems. That's all well and good. And more power to the guys that swear by their favorite brand.
Is expensive hunting gear worth the price? At the end of the day that's up to you. The older I get, the more I realize you get what you pay for. That said, there are better options for my hard earned money than a $700 jacket. At least at full price.
Want another good idea for how to get yourself some nicer gear? Check this out.
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