I recently had the opportunity to field test the Carhartt Upland Hunting Vest and Insulated Shirt . I had the perfect outing in mind to put them to the test.
I went up north with couple buddies to scout and set up stands in the deer woods we call home - Pine Island State Forest in northern Minnesota. This is the kind of place where you want your clothing to perform.
Since the weather was fair I wasn't even sure I'd need the insulated shirt, especially earlier in the day. I donned the vest as we jumped on the ATVs and navigated the logging road back to our hunting cabin. It was full of wet spots as usual, but we made our way back without getting seriously stuck.
The orange on the vest was just enough to feel safe in the woods as it was grouse season and thus we were required to wear some orange. I could already tell the numerous pockets would hold all I needed and not dump out the contents, which one wants to be sure of up in the bog.
We dropped our gear and headed out to build a tower in one of our hot spots. The vest kept my core warm while allowing plenty of freedom for my arms, which was perfect given the fall temps. I was able to carry things like nails and even tree steps easily while we worked, and I later climbed trees that I was scouting for possible stands with ease.
The main benefit I noticed was how well it kept my core warm while allowing freedom of movement for my arms. By the end of that day I had trekked miles through brush as we navigated roads flooded by beaver activity. We broke up part of one dam and made a new ATV path around another, and all the while I was never concerned about losing anything from the pockets. Up here in the middle of nowhere, that's peace of mind.
I did get shooting in on a grouse, and was impressed by the range of movement as I pulled the gun up. Wingshooters will find that ease of motion perfect for any type of waterfowl or upland game birds.
The next morning brought frost so I broke out the insulated shirt and it was just the ticket for keeping the chill off. We gathered firewood and did some camp maintenance before heading back to civilization. Again the relaxed fit allowed for easy movement while keeping me warm. It also features plenty of pockets.
I must say this outerwear has me pumped for deer season as I know it will handle the colder temps of November when we return. Plus I know it will allow freedom of movement at the moment of truth. What more do you need in hunting wear? Now go get 'em!
-Phred Nelson, North American Hunter