Product Review: We change gear to take Carhartt’s hunting wear into the woods
Spring is here and along with it comes the first hunting outings of the year for some hardworking outdoorsmen.
So when time off or the weekend comes around, Carhartt work clothes donned during the work week are exchanged for hunting clothes from one of the many name brands that specialize in such things.
It just so happens Carhartt knows a thing or three about hunting clothes.
They partnered with RealTree and now offer Carhartt camo clothing that’s just a comfortable, durable and warm as you’ll find anywhere else.
My review period for this was during cool, damp days in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and surrounding foothills. Temps ranged from the mid-20s to mid-30s in the early mornings to 50s and 60s by midday. Typical weather for late-spring, early fall outdoor adventures here in the Pacific Northwest.
My end goal was to have clothing that kept me warm while driving a Honda Pioneer 500 side-by-side into the hunting area when it was cool, yet keep me comfortable while walking, stalking, or sitting in a tree stand the rest of the day.
The medium-heavy 100-percent cotton duck material of the jacket and pants, along with the way Carhartt cuts them, look and, to touch, feel just right for such use.
The jacket is cut loose under the arms and across the shoulders so it’s easy to move even while layered up. The pockets are deep; the cuffs and waist elastic comfortably snug; the hood roomy enough to slip over the ball cap.
It also has two pockets on the inside, which comes in handy for keeping a cellphone, glasses or GPS secure.
Carhartt offers a cold-weather, quilted-flannel version of the same jacket. But this one, the RealTree Xtra Camo Active Jacket, has a lighter, polyester-thermal inner lining that’s just enough to keep the cool of the morning/evening out without being too bulky.
My only complaint is this jacket doesn’t do much to stop the cold from penetrating when you’re rolling down the road on an ATV, side-by-side or boat at 40mph.
So layering with that in mind is important if you are facing such conditions. But that was its only shortcoming.
On the plus side, the 100-percent cotton duck shell material doesn’t make much noise in the brush and is of a heavy enough weight to keep from snagging and tearing when one is pushing through ground cover.
Carhartt’s Active Jac is one that appears would last many, many hunting seasons.
The matching RealTree Xtra Dungaree cargo-style pants are just what I’d expected in both feel and heavy-duty quality. They are a loose-fit, straight-leg style, so I never felt pinched or tight in the thighs when kneeling to glass a potential hunting area, driving the side-by-side or walking the woods.
These pants would pose no issues climbing tree stands on the weekend and stepping up the ladder to run a loader or dozer during the week. They are sized correctly, too: You don’t need to select the next belt size to feel comfortable. (The same applies to the jacket.)
I like the the abundance of pockets in these pants and the way the seams are reinforced and the stitching heavy. When climbing over some downed logs and kneeling against rocks, these pants’ heavy cotton texture made me feel confident they were a step up in durability from the lighter weight jeans I normally wear.
Hand protection is also important. The DEX Gloves I wore when it was on the chilly side fit a little snug.
At first I thought that was going to be an issue. Not so. They are a combination of goat skin and cowhide (palm) with spandex so they protect your hands while giving full dexterity, hence the name.
That flexibility and the way they protect the fingers and knuckles makes them an excellent glove to wear while riding an ATV, driving a SXS, or running a piece of equipment.
The DEX Gloves are also supple enough to adjust binoculars, a scope, or ease off a shot when the weather is damp and cool.
The Carhartt camo cap is just like any other a quality baseball-style cap. The cool part is the Carhartt leather patch on the front seems to say, “Hey! I’m serious about hunting—and the clothes I wear in the field.”
None of the clothing I wore during this field test is waterproof or designed for prolonged cold weather use. But for general hunting/outdoor wear, Spring through early Fall, it’s a good fit in multiple ways – made here in the U.S.A, too.
Overall I like the direction of this brand’s camo outerwear: From a name brand aspect, RealTree has just as strong name recognition as Carhartt. That’s a good matchup.
The RealTree Xtra pants and jacket have a ruggedness to them that exudes durability one expects from the name Carharrt, all the while balanced with a softness and comfort level required by outdoorsmen.