First Lite for Elk Hunting?

Discussion in 'Big Game Hunting' started by Grayson Everett, Jan 28, 2021.

  1. Grayson Everett

    Grayson Everett Newb

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    Planning for my elk hunt in Utah last September...Buying gear I need or think I need, looking for input. Most of my hunting gear that fits me is for cold weather so I need some moderate weather stuff. Planning on buying a pair of cheap cotton BDU pants/jacket for backup. I know cotton kills, it's in case it's really hot. I'll probably bring my Michigan November "cold" wool stuff in the case as well. But I was planning on first lite corrugate jacket and pants. I'm a cheapskate, so I'm having a hard time justifying dropping almost $300 on clothes. I know the good stuff is important and I can afford it, I'm just cheap and have trouble spending money I don't have to. I do 1-2 western hunts a year and hunt here in Michigan a ton, so it'll see use. Tell me what you think.
     
  2. Mod-it

    Mod-it Die Hard Bowhunter

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    September changes quite a bit from the first two weeks to the last two weeks. The first two can have some pretty darn warm days and the last two can have some chilly mornings with frost (I'm in Idaho and hunt around 2500'-4000' elevation)
    The most important types of clothes I like to have for September elk is lightweight breathable clothes for when it's hot, quiet waterproof stuff for rainy days, and the lightest moisture wicking base layer I can find. Hot, sweaty, and/or wet will make for the most miserable conditions for you. I just layer cheaper cotton stuff for cold mornings and then shed it as needed.
    The most expensive will be good rain proof camo and a decent quality base layer.
    Depending on the area of Utah there may not be near the up/down hiking in elevation that I'm thinking of.
    Lightweight breathable shirts and pants can be had for a decent price, as can cheaper cotton stuff for layering on frosty mornings.
    I have a set of River's West waterproof camo that is good quality, it is fairly spendy stuff too though.
     
  3. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

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    I wear FL for most elk hunts. 90% of the time my primary pieces are the corrugate pants (flex, roomy, not to cold at 30 or too hot at 75, nylon and dry pretty quick), llano 1/2 zip (older piece, but the thinnest marino top-three new version is the Wick) and a Halstead 1/4 zip (older waffle fleece top the new version is the Klamath). Darn tough socks. Maybe $300.

    Other critical pieces, a generic down puffy when cold (morning sit or if a storm blows in), rain jacket (I had a nice goretex top that I lost, replaced it with a 32 degree jacket) - does double duty for rain or wind break. These two pieces stay in my pack most of the time, and I seldom need them if I'm moving.

    I'd skip the corrugate jacket...not rain proof and not really an insulation not wind proof layer. Instead of recommend:
    either buy a marino or aerowool base top like a wick (wool antibacterial keeps stink down, and warm if wet) or;

    Buy a warmth layer like the kiln or Klamath.

    Complement with other wool or nylon gear. For layers, but stay away from cotton!
     
  4. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

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    I'll add...
    IMHO - The best reasons for buying tech apparel are the features the materials offer:

    wool breaths (more so with lighter pieces), is naturally anti microbial, provides warmth even when wet. To me, the anti microbial feature for a layer at the skin keeping your sink in check for days, more for yourself and hunting partners - it's not scent control, but your sleeping bag, vehicle and person don't smell like a locker room on day 2 or 3, 4, 5 (OK about day 4 or 5 you're probably ready to run into town for a shower , but in a pinch rinse in a stream, wring out and hang over a bush while eating lunch). Wool is not terribly strong and does wear... This is where the wool blends help and why the former wool (Kanab) pants were a bust...and niche the obsidians try to fill.

    Nylon has good abrasion properties and dries quickly. The stretchy synthetic blends (lycra or other) hold water more than plain nylon... The corrugates fabric is a decent trade off giving 4 way stretch.
     
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  5. Oldcarp

    Oldcarp Die Hard Bowhunter

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    We bow hunt elk in Utah around 9600 feet to 10000 feet. Our hunt starts in the middle of August and ends in the middle of September. We set up a base camp. So I can take a couple different sets of clothes. The majority of the time it is cold in the mornings and warm in the afternoons. Of course this year was was fairly warm but I still had two days that it snowed on us.
    I do have a pair of Sitka pants and two of Sitka thin base layers. I have a little bit of kings Camo. I have two pair of the ridge pants and one pair of the preacher pants. I also have the quarter zip. Also a set of their rain gear and a halofil (not sure how to spell that) jacket that compressors very tightly for fitting in my pack. Like WI704 said the tech clothing dries a lot quicker and stretches with you. I know it is more pricier. I am a cheapskate. So I look for sales or find somebody selling something used. Five years ago I would’ve said you’re crazy for spending that much on clothing. But after buying my first pair five years ago I was sold.
     
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  6. Hammer1171

    Hammer1171 Weekend Warrior

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    I've hunted Colorado mid September the past 11 years. Mainly spend my time around the 9500 to 10500 elevation range. I use FL as my base layer and middle layer. The days can stay from high 30s and get up to 80. FL is unbeatable for breathability and warmth and light enough to shed then pack when mid day temps roll around.

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  7. SheddingLightTravis

    SheddingLightTravis Weekend Warrior

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    I went in 2019 and had the first lite kiln top and obsidian pants. I loved the shirt. Warm enough to keep me good in early mornings. Some days it would be a little hot and I would take it off. I had a tan Marino wool T-shirt from Black Ovis that worked fine. The pants did not do super well. But I think they’ve rebuilt them in their new design and they may be more durable than what they were.

    They are expensive but I will say having the Marino wool technology was nice because I didn’t have to do laundry but one time in 10 days. Just one less thing to worry about. I will definitely look into black Ovis merino if you want to save some money though.


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  8. trial153

    trial153 Grizzled Veteran

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    Haven’t been a fan of first lite due to durability and figment issues that said they make a decent line of clothing.
    They are currently running a sale…now is a good time to pick some stuff up
     
  9. joedirt216

    joedirt216 Newb

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    Badlands has some nice gear for early fall hunting that I use here in Montana, fairly reasonable and lifetime warranty, they also have marino long johns!! I love em'
     
  10. Wedes

    Wedes Weekend Warrior

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    I will say this I have the new foundry’s from them. They are much more durable (due to the fact of Material different than merino which is awesome but not durable as an outer layer) and maybe the best hunting pant I have ever worn. They are similar to my crye precision combat multicams. The have front thigh pockets which are where pockets should be and if you don’t agree you clearly have never tried them, breathe well, zippers on the side to release heat, stretch well, and fit perfect. I have used them for scouting, in PNW where are to get to the clear cuts you have to push through rainforest with blackberries and all other thorns grabbing them. They have done very well. Temps in the 80s. Looking forward to actually hunting with them.


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  11. Ridgerunner3

    Ridgerunner3 Grizzled Veteran

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    Was hoping to find a good review on those before pulling the trigger. I have their obsidian pants and I don't feel like they are tough enough to just go through the bush in them. Always worried about Brian's pulling them.
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  12. Wedes

    Wedes Weekend Warrior

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    I have the obsidians. Great pants but you are right the briars are rough on them. The merino wool is not tough.

    The other nice thing about the foundry’s. If you have the zip off thermals, you can literally put them on and off without removing boots or pants.

    The zip off thermals from firstlite is one of the greatest cold weather inventions for hunting


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  13. trial153

    trial153 Grizzled Veteran

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    Increased durability for FL pants are a good thing, because quite frankly they sucked for money vs wear they shown after a single season. Seams pulling, holes and crotch coming apart.
    First lite was great with the CS at the time however they really needed to put that effort into quality control.
     
  14. SheddingLightTravis

    SheddingLightTravis Weekend Warrior

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    I got super jacked to see the 30% store wide sale last week. Planned to pick up some of the Courigate Foundry pants. I had the obsidians and and those would rip apart at the mere sight of a briar. I loved the merino for all the other reasons but after patching 10 different holes I gave up. Come to find out the sale is on “almost everything storewide”. Should’ve known they would discount their newest product but a guy can hope.

    Id still like to get those foundry’s. The knee pads would be nice for saddle hunting and they seem to be way more durable.


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