By Kirstie Pike
When it comes to hunting, appropriate clothing becomes paramount in any expedition. Thermoregulatory features become the key to not only success, but survival. Cotton is not an option for the hardcore female hunter and performance-driven fabrics become imperative. Utilizing outdated men’s gear become disadvantageous and layering systems are indispensable. So how does the female hunter know what apparel systems will provide the best performance for her hunting experiences? How does she determine what hunting apparel she should purchase among a sea of camouflage? A good place to start is by gleaning a clear understanding of the necessary performance features and fabrics to enhance comfort and success in the field. Baselayer Shirts – The Ultra Shirts.
Baselayers are key, and if you have ever spent time beating tracks across the high country, you will understand just how important it is to select a performance driven option over its cotton-based counterpart. Women sweat. Yes, it is a fact. Whether it is cold or hot, we sweat. Because of this, a polyester wicking system is imperative. Moisture must be wicked away from the skin and out to the external regions of the fabrics in order to cool and dry the body. Cotton fabrics trap the moisture to the skin and the fabrics themselves remain moist. The result is rapid cooling of the core, which is quite detrimental as the temperatures drop. The Prois Ultra baselayer shirts are engineered with 100% polyester birdseye fabric which wicks that moisture away from the core and maintains optimal thermoregulation. The Ultra Shirts are available in a number of styles which will accommodate most hunting needs. These shirts range from the athletic, Ultra Short Sleeve and Ultra Long Sleeve options to the more intricate Ultra Hoodie and Ultra Backcountry options. The Ultra shirts include thumbholes to maximize warmth and concealment. The Ultra Hoodie includes a hood to conceal and improve heat retention to the head and neck. The Ultra Backcountry is constructed with three compartments across the low back to stow soft goods or hold activated hand warmers across the flank region. It is important that the female hunter understands the intensity of her hunting styles and chooses baselayer options accordingly. Cotton is not an option here.
Pants- The Ultra Fitted and Pro-Edition Pants.
Again, cotton hand-me-downs are not appropriate when it comes to spending time deep in the woods or scaling the peaks. What then, are the most important aspects of a performance-based pair of hunting pants? Fabric is the first aspect. Heavy, polyester based pants are a must when in the element. The second aspect is durability- Prois utilizes a heavy 380gm polyester tricot which is very tough, but remains soft and pliable to afford maximum movement. The third aspect is silence. Prois achieves the ultimate in silence with our 380gm polyester tricot, combined with our magnetic snaps and articulated knee pleats. A cotton-polyester blend pair of hunting pants may seem like a great idea in the store, but think of it this way…this fabric is essentially the same fabric used in dress slacks. What may seem like a great bargain may not actually function in the elements.
Rain Gear- The Eliminator Series.
Rain gear is essential to many of our hunting experiences. Once wet, it becomes impossible to dry and warm the core. Not only can this be uncomfortable, it can be dangerous. With many options for rain gear available, it is important to look at what makes your rain gear more effective in the field. Simply purchasing an advertised set of ‘rain gear’ may provide you the basics, but if you are spending a lot of time in the wet climates, the Eliminator Series will offer you more. This series is engineered with our 5000/8000 waterproof, breathable laminate, with taped seams and waterproof zippers…these features are the meat and potatoes of all rain gear. However, Prois has added our unique ducktail feature which unsnaps at the base of the jacket to provide an extended ‘tail’ to the jacket. This allows the hunter to have a dry place to sit. It also aids in shedding water in heavier rain. Both the Eliminator pants and jacket are lined with our nylon lining system which eliminates that damp, tacky feeling inherent in many rain garments. The jacket includes an attached hood with visor and external drawstring, which maximizes peripheral vision when drawn tight. The pants include cargo pockets with pillow-top closures to keep contents dry. Boot zippers in the pants aid in easy donning, while elastic draw string in the cuffs hold the pants close to the boot. All this aside, one of the best features of the Eliminator Series is the soft, silent shell that keeps the female hunter stealthy, even in the worst conditions.
Cold Weather Gear- The XTREME Series.
When heavy, insulating layers are necessary, it is important to look at fabric composition, insulation materials and thermoregulatory features included in the clothing. It is often a shopper’s first response to gravitate toward the heaviest looking jacket or pants for the cold season hunts. Buyer beware. Bigger is not necessarily better and often the bargain price jackets are constructed with cotton-poly blended canvas. It is important to look for cold weather gear that has waterproof fabric. A few hours in a light snow can and will result in a soaked garment, ending the hunt early. Insulation material is key to warmth. Check for tried and true products such as Thinsulate or Primaloft which are engineered to maximize warmth while reducing bulk. Also, take some time to assess the silence of the garment. Remember, cold weather can stiffen some fabrics and this results in a higher noise factor. When it comes to performance cold-weather gear, Prois has covered all of these bases with the XTREME Series. We have engineered this line with a waterproof, yet silent shell. Insulated with 150gm Thinsulate, warmth is well maintained. The jacket is complete with our signature ducktail feature, attached hood with external draw cord and nylon inner sleeves to reduce drafting. The pants have been engineered to include boot zipper access, large cargo pockets with pillow-top closures and draw cords at the cuff line. This combination of fabric, insulation and features makes the XTREME Series a great choice for the cold seasons.
So with that, welcome to the world of Prois, where we believe women hunt intensely and deserve the performance gear to support their pursuits. It is our goal to help female hunters understand fabrics and features that will help or hinder their success in the field. In addition, we hope we can help shoppers wade through the sea of camouflage and obtain a solid grasp on what gear will work best for their hunting styles.