Alex Broad – What are we wearing? Base layers

February 21, 2012

Arguably the most important part of a hunting kit is what you’re wearing.  From your head to your toes, every bit of gear is as important to the next and can make or break your trip into the hills.

At the core of every clothing system is your base layer.  Whatever you choose make sure it functions as you need it too.  A good base layer fits well, is comfortable and most importantly wicks moisture.  The wicking ability alone is enough to keep you comfortable for hours on the hill in miserable weather or the opposite, cold and damp.  The design team here at Evolve has had plenty of experience hunting all across NZ in a variety of conditions while wearing a variety of gear.  One thing has stood out, there are good base layers and there are some not so good.  There are some suitable for the 10 acre townie farmer which won’t be any good for the southern alps thar hunter.  Unfortunately the marketing machines behind some brands will have you believe otherwise.

A good base layer will wick moisture off your skin and transport it through to the outer layers of clothing.  This ensures you are dry, which also keeps you cool in the summer, warm in the winter and minimises painful chaffing and discomfort.

These days we are feed all sorts of jargon about base layers.  There are many converts preaching the benefits of natural fibres vs. synthetic fibres; however the key argument clearly is in favour of synthetic fibres.  If your hunting in damp conditions or working hard and sweating you need something to keep your skin dry, natural fibres just won’t do this.  By holding onto and absorbing moisture, natural fibres will keep you damp and cold, they will make your waterproof / breathable jacket feel as though it leaks and is clammy, they will also chill you to the core if you stop on an exposed ridge for a quick glass and not to mention gain weight by absorbing moisture, leaving you carrying unnecessary weight and even more stuffed at the end of a long day.

The one area where natural fibres have traditionally exceeded synthetic fibres is smell.  Sure in the past your old poly props have probably stunk to high heaven after a few days in the bush, but these days there are many treatments applied to synthetic fibres which are often superior in reducing the stench retained in the garments.  “Aegis” is a new treatment which treats the synthetic fibres on a microscopic level to eliminate odour.  The Aegis treatment will not wash out and has been proven worldwide to work extremely well.

The Hunters Element Prime Winter range of base layers is treated with not only Aegis anti bacterial treatments but also a wicking agent to improve the fabrics natural ability to wick moisture.

The fabric used in the Prime Winter range has been designed with a special waffle weave interior; this is brushed to increase its wicking ability as well as create a small parcel of air which insulates your body keeping you warm.  The exterior is cleverly woven to increase its surface area, this not only promotes wicking but also the fabrics ability to transport the moisture off your skin, into the fabric and then away from the fabric and into the next layer or into the air, leaving your base layer dry and more importantly you dry.

The Prime Winter has been cleverly designed to eliminate seams on pressure points and also utilises flat lock stitching to further reduce pressure and discomfort caused by seams.

The Prime Winter range has been designed to keep you dry and warm; however we don’t always want to be warm.  On a hot day the last thing you’re thinking about is keeping warm, this is where the Prime Summer range comes into play.  These garments have been designed much like the Prime Winter with wicking and comfort in mind, however a slightly looser fit and designed to take the sweat off your body, keep the sun off your body, and also provide an evaporative cooling effect to help keep you cool.

The Prime Summer is also treated with the Aegis anti bacterial treatments and the wicking treatments to further its performance as a base layer.  Check out the Prime Summer range here:

So there you go, a base layer for every situation.  The key part of every hunting kit, well designed and thought out to cover all your bases.

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