WELL-WORN: UPLAND GEAR GUIDE
RECOMMENDATIONS FROM SCOUTLANDS' RANDY REDBERG
Every hunter has their favorite, go-to hunting shirt or pair of pants. I always say the best gear or clothing are the ones you never think about during the day. After a long day of hunting, if someone asks me about my boots and I have to think about how they felt or performed, I simply reply, “They must have been great, because I never thought about them.” Every hunting season, I am enticed through great marketing to try something new. Most of the time, however, I end up going back to my old favorites. I have hunted with my Filson strap vest for over 25 years. I don’t remember how I first found out about the company, but I do remember that day when my vest showed up in the mail and I took it out of the box. Its quality was immediately apparent; it was built well, from the leather straps to the oiled tin cloth. Not many pieces of gear reveal their quality like that right out of the box. Filson has done a great job maintaining their high standards, which allows them to guarantee their products for life.
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to field test a lot of great gear: from shirts and jackets to boots and pants. If a particular product hasn’t worn well, it didn’t make our photo shoot. It’s important to remember that some items aren’t intended to take on nasty thorns and wild blackberry vines. I look at clothing and gear as tools and try to make sure that I’m using the right tool for the right job.
A good shirt is important in staying comfortable, especially if you walk a lot when you hunt. I really like wearing a moleskin shirt if I am not hunting in nasty brush. Moleskins are soft and comfortable and give you just enough warmth from the wind and cold. Filson, L.L.Bean, and Orvis all make a high quality moleskin. One of my favorite canvas cloth shirts is from Eddie Bauer. It has held up well and is one that can take on some nasty brush.
I classify pants into three weather categories: warm, mild, and cold. The lightest pair of pants I own are from Patagonia, which are great for warm days but don’t do well if you take them through the brush. Mild weather pants include Orvis’ Missouri Breaks Briar, Filson Single Tin, and Mountain Khaki’s Field Pants. My hands-down favorite warm weather pants are the Sharptail Hunting Pants from Orvis. The heavy-duty construction wards off bull thorns, cactus, and wild rose thorns and the thoughtful design keeps you comfortable. My Oil Finish Single Tin pants from Fison are great as well.
My favorite lightweight jacket is the Eddie Bauer Sport MicroTherm Stormdown Field Jacket. It’s lightweight and just warm enough on a cold day. If you aren’t going to be walking too much, Filson makes great jackets that stand up to a lot of wear and tear and will keep you super warm.
As mentioned earlier, I really love my Filson Oil Tin Strap Vest. It does get a little warm at times, but that’s why they created the mesh strap vest. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with the trap vest. It will definitely stand the test of time, and it only looks better with use—and even some abuse.
When I opened up the box and pulled out my Waterproof Uplander Boots, my first thought was, Wow, these are amazing. The leather was the best I’ve ever seen: it was thick and yet surprisingly soft, like I had already broken it in. These boots are definitely on the heavy side, but they are well worth it. My Danner boots with air bob soles have also been great. For a lightweight option, I suggest the Irish Setter Waterproof Mitchell II Upland Boots.
For colder weather, there’s no better choice than Schnee’s Pac Boots. These hunting boots will stand up to the wet and cold, yet are easy to wear all day. For standing in the mud and water all day, I go with my Muck Boots or Le Chameaus.
Filson’s line of hats are a solid choice. Their Oil Tin hats wear well in extreme conditions and come in a variety of shapes and styles. For a camo option, I’d recommend our hometown favorite from Cana Outdoor.
Everyone has their favorites, but hopefully you will get a chance to wear some of these products on your next adventure and start your own collection of well-worn gear. Share your Well-Worn Gear with us on Instagram using #wellworn and tagging @scoutlands.