I received an email the other day from one of the hot new clothing manufacturers in the outdoor industry. I have purchased a couple of things from this company, so, I am on their list. The topic of the latest email perked my interest. It was titled “waterproof warmth for extreme weather.”
Now, just know I have hundreds, nay, thousands of dollars’ worth of outdoor clothing. I have light gear for warm weather hunting and heavy gear for cold weather hunting. And, I have a whole different set of pants, shirts, vests, coats, boots etc. for fishing.
There is nothing worse than being cold and/or wet when out trying to enjoy a much-anticipated day in the field or on the water.
Not that it gets terribly cold or wet around here, but if you’ve ever done any hunting in Montana or Wyoming in late fall, you will know there are times when the weather conditions can only be described as extreme.
On at least three of our deer hunts in Montana during the past decade the temperatures have been below zero and the wind has been blowing when we left the truck to hunt. Those temperatures usually have followed a blizzard, so there is plenty of snow of the ground. Believe me, you have to gear up, and buck up mentally, before stepping out of the warm pickup on a morning like that.
No, nobody is forcing me to hunt in those conditions, but when you pay several hundred dollars for a license and tag, and you are taking vacation time off work to hunt, you want to make the most of it.
So, the title of the email definitely sparked a note of interest. I’ve hunted in what I would call extreme conditions. And, if this company made something that would help make my hunt in those crazy temperatures more comfortable, I am definitely interested.
If you’ve not kept up on the whole hunting clothing world, there have been all kinds of upgrades and innovations over the years. When I first started big game hunting in the 70’s, a red-checked wool mackinaw was what we all wore. Wool is naturally warm, even when wet, so the coat, over some layers, worked well. I haven’t worn my wool hunting coat in twenty years. Not that it wouldn’t still work in some situations, it is just the newer hunting gear I own is all Gore-Tex and fiber-filled for warmth and dryness.
And frankly, my current heavy-duty hunting coat has done just fine during those below zero hunts in Montana. Still, this new, waterproof, insulated parka being promoted in the email is made with the latest in technology and materials, making it less bulky and more moveable.
The email ad states that the new parka “is built for late season hunts that have you sitting on exposed glassing points or riding into howling wind and snow.” Hmmm, the person who wrote that copy must be a hunter. It is like they have followed me around on some of those hunts.
Reading all about the new coat definitely had me thinking that it was about time to try some of this new technology. With another mule deer hunt in Eastern Montana coming up in mid-November, when we’ll be faced with who-knows-what kind of weather, I could just see myself all decked out in this new technology. The company has pants to match, the email said.
The more I read, the more excited I was to place my order. Then, I got hit by a blast of cold reality. I’m not sure even their coat could have protected me from the chill I felt when I saw the price of the new parka. I had to rub my eyes, and clean my readers. Does it really say that the parka is $749? The matching bib pants cost $699. I had to go back and re-read the features. Did I miss the part where the inside is lined with mink and ermine? Is the zipper made of solid gold?
I’ve seen other new technology attire that retails for around $400, so I was kind of expecting the price to be up there a bit, but holy smokes.
Sadly, I will not be wearing a new set of hunting clothes into the wilds of Montana next month. My good old hunting coat will do just fine. I’ve worn it during some incredibly stormy, cold days and I’ve stayed nice and cozy warm and dry. Yes, it is a bit bulky, but that’s okay. And my heavy-duty wool hunting pants, lined with Gore-Tex, will continue to serve me well. I might look like the Stay Puft marshmallow man out there, but that’s fine. Sometimes the deer just stop and stare, trying to figure out what that big bulky beast is that is wandering around in the blizzard.
Maybe the new clothing technology will be like computers and televisions. Once it is out for a while, the prices might come down? Hope so, because it sure sounds inviting. Until then, I’ll make do with what I have.
Plus, there is always the option of staying in the warm truck, which, is more and more inviting each passing year.
• Rob Phillips is an award-winning freelance outdoor writer who has written the Northwest Sportsman column for over 30 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.