Alex Broad – What are we wearing? Outer layers

March 02, 2012

In a layering system the outer most layer or shell is our primary defense against the elements.  At Hunters Element we call this our Barrier layer for obvious reasons.

Just like the rest of the layers in our clothing system we need to choose an outer layer that suits us and our style of hunting.  Bush stalkers want something quiet, alpine guys want something durable and light and duck shooters want camo.

Hunters Element has developed a wide range of Barrier layers to suit every hunting situation.  We believe your Barrier layer should be carried with you at all times, not only is your jacket there to keep you dry, but it could save your life if something turns pear shaped.  We like to think of these as a survival tool.  To be carried at all times, but only worn when needed.

Barrier layers need to be packable, light weight, quick drying, breathable and most importantly waterproof.  Most Hunters Element Barrier layers are made using 3 layer laminated fabrics.  This means there is an outer layer of fabric, a waterproof  / breathable membrane and an inner layer all sandwiched together.  The Inner layer is a tricot fabric that is primarily there to protect the membrane from wear on the inside of the garment.  It also helps to add a bit of strength to the fabric so its less likely to tear or rip.  Here is a diagram showing how the 3 layer fabrics are built up.  This diagram also shows perspiration and heat passing through the fabric and rain stopping at the outer layer:

The membrane in our jackets is an extremely thin layer with millions of tiny microscopic holes in it.  These holes are small enough that a “solid water molecule” cannot penetrate the membrane, however they are also large enough so that a “water vapor molecule” (which in its gas form is much much smaller) can pass through.  Making the fabric waterproof and breathable.  The trade off with these membranes is that they are extremely fragile.  Gorse, matagouri and blackberry are your worst nightmare, easily puncturing the membrane and causing it to leak.  Here is a microscopic photo taken of a waterproof / breathable membrane like the ones we use in our jackets:

We have tried our hardest to combat the membranes fragile nature with a variety of outer face fabrics in our jackets, however we are constantly trying to tread the fine line between durability and stealth.  A heavy durable outer face fabric is noisy, while a nice soft quiet one isn’t very durable.  We have several options in our Barrier layer range, from a nice soft jacket for bush hunters, a durable lightweight fabric that dries very quickly but is a tad noisy and our flag ship XTR Hydrafuse PacStealth fabric, which is a combination of quietness, durability, pack-ability and the ability to dry very quickly.  Its hard choosing a jacket that is right for you, so we have developed this chart showing all our jackets and their attributes to help choose a jacket that is best for your hunting:

We will be looking into our jackets in more depth in coming blog posts, as well as introducing a few new garments we will be offering this hunting season.

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