Is Quality Hunting Gear Worth The Price?
Ultimately it depends on how you hunt, the duration, the area, effort put in, and how often you hunt in a given season. - Will Meyers
If you're a road hunter, spend even a third of your time on an ATV, a day hunter, early season tree stand hunter, weekend RV glamper and hunt only a handful of times per year (including outings with children) then possibly not. Simply put, the hunters mentioned above have not had the true experience to truly test gear (quality or not) to even have a say.
|"GUYS HAVE BEEN HARVESTING BIG ANIMALS IN JEANS AND FLANNELS SINCE THE BEGINNING."|
Although this statement is true, we can also say the same thing with our trucks? We have been getting through rugged roads in old trucks since the beginning too... does that mean we should stick to driving old stick-shift Fords with bucket seats, no power steering and street tires on 212,000 miles? Well, to give you the answer...no of course not.
We want dependability with confidence that it will last, worry free, and with ease so we can enjoy the experience, stay dry and warm. This is hard to understand if you are just going from point A to point B. But what about the hunters trying to get to point A, B, C, and D and then do it all again week after week over the next 3-4 months? You might need to have a little more dependability without hesitation that there is a risk it might not hold up. This applies from our old trucks exactly as it does with our gear.
Im sure I can vouch for most hunters who began hunting, we basically started with the bare minimum. This included; used clothes, hand-me downs, and cheap low grade gear that is warn and washed more times then we would like to know. But as we start to endure unexpected conditions, harsher environments, hunt harder country, and or for longer durations, we then start to notice how our gear is either working or not working. It is only then we can grasp the concept of why the random gear we were wearing isn't that effective. This is especially true with those that are not seeing the game they were anticipating and are now needing to work harder, stay out longer, spend more days hunting, and of course, my favorite.. endure the elements of mother nature. Oh and we cannot forget, this pertains to all public land hunters.. I can see where this might not apply for those that hunt on private land. If your getting it done with cheap gear... great but don't say its a hype when its clearly not for quality.
|Here Is What You Don't Know|
Simply put, quality gear allows fabrics to breath well and dry out quickly. It sheds water with DWR treatment and has double woven nylon rip-stop sticking allowing the fabric to bend, stretch, and function well for what your body endures on long hunts. The engineering behind quality hunting gear today is based off mountaineering and ski apparel which has been around for centuries. In addition they have added their own innovations to improve the gears functionality for a hunter in mind. From where it is stitched, to zipper placements, to quite zippers and buttons, to accessibility while wearing a pack, and how it functions for someone climbing, stepping over, and sitting / glassing, hunting gear has come a long way.
There is so much science that goes into the gear we wear today, it's mind blowing how well it improves our experience in the woods.
AND A LOT OF HUNTERS OUT THERE HAVE NO IDEA BECAUSE THEY HAVE YET TO TRY IT AND OR PUT IT TO THE TEST (IN THE ELEMENTS) TO ACTUALLY TEST THE PRODUCT. You cant hate on a Maserati if you have never driven one.
I need gear thats going to hold up in all conditions and last longer than I can. For some reason I like to compare it to cell phones. If you're old school and your old flip phone works for you for what you use it for, then great! Picture taking has low quality, doesn't function as streamline as an Iphone, zero apps, not waterproof, and storage is minimal. If that works for you.. great. But don't hate on the Iphone, especially when you have not been trained up to know how it works and or given it a test ride. I like to have 4K video, dual cameras, fully waterpoof, wide angle, and editing software which will enable me to fully capture the experience in which holds up in the conditions for what I use it for.
"I honestly feel most of the people who say it's "all hype" are also the ones walking back to the truck during a snow storm and or don't even get out of the truck during what they call "harsh conditions" to even test themselves on a hunt let alone their gear. So yes, of course its useless if your just going to sit inside your truck all day." Nothing wrong with that style of hunting but there is no reason for those type of people to bash on quality gear that functions the way I need it too. Ignorance is bliss. - Will Meyers
Here Is What Else You Don't Know-
Hopefully by now you understand and know what is GORE-TEX. For those that do not its a patient material that is both waterproof and breathable. In other terms the GORE-TEX membrane is an extremely thin layer of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE), also known as TEFLON.
To take care of your GORE products it's imperative to machine wash warm (40 C / 105 F) using liquid detergent, rinse twice, with minimal spinning. Once it's dry, tumble dry for 20 minutes more to reactivate water-repellent (DWR) treatment. Its even recommended to dry clean these products. You cannot treat your quality hunting gear like your regular machine wash cottons. Caring for your GORE-TEX garment will keep it preforming the way it did when you first bought it. I HAVE TALKED TO A LOT OF POEPLE WHO SAID THEIR EXPENSIVE GEAR DID NOT HOLD UP LIKE IT SAID IT WOULD and it was the result of not knowing how to care / treat their product correctly.
If you have something nice, take care of it... for it will take care of you. For example, if I owned a Daytona Race Car you can sure bet I will store it correctly with a cover and use the correct oil in it.. for when its race time I want that thing firing on all cylinders and running to it's best ability!
Lets talk PimaLoft Insulation for example. It's the most common material in high-end gear especially when it comes to packability and being lightweight. A lot of hunters have no idea what this material is. For those that have been living under a rock, it's a synthetic microfiber thermal insulation material made up of yarns manufactured with 100% polyester or 45% Polyester fibers and 55% merino wool. The yarns are originally used in socks, sweaters, base layers, pillows, comforters, and mattress toppers. Today, outdoor hunting markets are now using Primaloft in all it's outdoor wear including base layers, mid-layers, outerwear, gloves and accessories. Its been around since 1983 and it's now today most common thermal insulation used to keep hunters warm and comfortable with excellent breathability without the weight and bulk of cotton and fleece.
Few other proprietary blends of material to consider are Merino Wool, Gold Down Blend, Polartec Alpha, and Rayon Polyester, and materials coated in Nikwax. The list goes on but this is what I stick to for hunting gear.
I grew up in a ski town with an elevation of 5,853 ft, which sat between the rugged Pioneer Mountain Range and vast deep canyons of the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho. Skiing in these mountains was something I grew up doing, climbing these mountains and backpacking in was something I experienced all my life. Weather changed on a dime, hot to cold, sun to hail storms in a matter of minutes. Layer clothing and shedding different pieces was essential in staying dry and allowing your body to regulate properly when burning calories. Theres a lot of people out there that don't ski in cold temps when its actually the best time to be out.. same as hunting. These people do not have the best of gear to withstand the wind, rain, or snow and their toes and hands are the first to go. Thus they stay inside and never leave the warmth of the house.. thanks to them its back to back powder turns for me all day!
When I look at buying a quality pair of pants or jacket, i'm not looking at the price tag, I'm looking at the experience I know I'm going to have and the negative one I know i'm going to avoid having. You can't put a price tag on that. Especially when you've been a situation you'd pay anything to have the proper gear that instant. - Will Meyers
Here are a few other things to consider.
Product warranty a company needs to stand by their product and warranty 100% back if you're not satisfied or happy with their product.
|If anything malfunctions, falls apart, or is defective in not holding up in which it is intended to do, then it should be under warranty and will be replaced and fixed at no cost to you.|
|Customer Service should be efficient, customer oriented, mainly human.. being able to talk to someone on the other end about your piece to answer any question you may have or how it works is key. Also to tell you that they will take care of you.|
Like I stressed from the beginning, ultimately it depends on how you hunt, the duration you hunt, and the area you hunt. Also, how often you hunt in a given season can also matter.
You can't listen to a bunch of Eastern Hunters giving advice about Western Hunting. You cant listen to me telling you about hunting in a tree stand in the winter of the Mid West. I have a hunting partner from PA who moved here 5 years ago and was soaked to the bone on his elk hunt because the gear he choose wasn't suited for the weather we had. After our 4 mile rainy dirt-bike ride back to the trucks he was completely soaked. Although wet, my expensive gear held up exactly how it was supposed too, and unlike him I didn't look like I fell in the river.
SO IS IT WORTH IT?
Depends on the type of person you are and how you hunt. If you ask me personally... 100% its worth it. Do yourself a favor and educate yourself on the quality gear to know what you might be missing out on. The investment on good quality gear is priceless in the conditions and terrain I hunt. I've tried to go with the cheap gear and it just didn't hold up year after year. I've now run the same $200 pair of pants for 5 years! That is $40 a year on pair of POS that I have to replace year after year. And I'd be lying if I said it was 5 years.. I sent them back on the 4th year and they gave me a new pair to use on my 5th for free! Again, quality products are backed by quality companies that have quality customer service. I have no complaints about the gear I spend my money on and I have zero questions and doubts whether it will hold up for my hunting style.