The good old days might be gone, but we've never had it better.
I took my first duck--a green-winged teal--at age 13 with a cheap pump left by Santa. I jumped that duck from a creek a few miles from home, dumping it in the drink and then wrecking a pair of school shoes in my unbridled enthusiasm to retrieve it from the knee-deep, freezing water. It was a long walk home in cold, squishy sneakers. Those were the first in a long succession of ruined shoes--my luck always seemingly best while wearing the pair Mother had most recently invested in.
I'd read enough Robert Ruark to know duck weather when I saw it. Waking to fresh snow and sub-zero temperatures sparked an urgency to he near water that remains today. I would layer in a couple pairs of blue jeans, a sequence of flannel shirts, dual cotton tube socks and a ski mask to brave the elements. When Roswell's Country Club Lake and adjacent city runoff ponds (all normally off limits and absolute duck havens) iced over, desperate ducks were forced to my river. Berrendo Creek was cut into deep banks and lined with copious salt-cedar. Jump-shooting--my preferred mode of operation during my impatient youth--proved highly productive. On those raw mornings, 10-bird limits of bygone days were actually feasible.
But there was hell to pay. I returned home wet and hypothermic, enduring hot baths to painfully thaw numb feet and hands.
That has changed, of course. Gore-Tex and Thinsulate have taken the discomfort out of waterfowling. Base layers of space-age synthetics keep hunters toasty in the harshest conditions, when wind and flying snow and rain conspire to sap your body of life. Water-shedding outerwear shuts out the most miserable weather. Breathable waders allow you work up a sweat while hiking into a distant duck hole or tossing blocks, without suffering the consequences later. Rugged neoprene allows operating under the nastiest, iciest conditions. More efficient insulations create gloves that keep hands functioning without sacrificing dexterity, and modern hats keep heat in and the elements out.
Do I miss the good old days?
Sure, in terms of 10-bird limits and deadly lead-pellet shotshells. But do I miss all of the suffering? Never!
REALTREE Advantage MAX-4 HD is the culmination of Bill Jordan's years of experience designing and marketing camouflage patterns. Jordan has long realized the need for a pattern that offers maximum effectiveness in open terrain. Advantage MAX-4 HD was designed to meet the need--without geographical limitations. The pattern incorporates cattails, millet, milo, corn stalks, sunflowers, oak and maple leaves, cedar and oak limbs, plus a variety of other plant life into the largest camouflage artwork on the market.
MOSSY OAK The launch of Duck Blind ushered in a new era of camouflage effectiveness. Using digitally reproduced images of the exact types of cover found across the flyways and focused from a bird's eye view, Duck Blind took off in 2007. The pattern is built on a base background of true dirt colors, with different tones to represent wet and dry ground. Elements of millet, wild oats, corn stalks, phragmites, Johnson grass, soybeans and native grasses were added. The unique shadows enhance depth and create a 3-D effect, while the muted shades of brown, tan, gray and soft black break up outlines.
CAMO UNLIMITED Killer Kamo is comprised of six indistinctive tones, offering excellent concealment in a variety of landscapes. Killer Kamo is built on the same quality platform customers have grown to appreciate. Polyurethane-coated, UV-treated, rot/mold-resistant and 100 percent waterproof materials are used to ensure the life of all Camo Unlimited camouflage nets. The all-new pattern is offered in ultralight and military-style nets ranging from 8-by-10 feet to 10-by-20 feet configurations.
BASS PRO A Bone-Dry membrane makes the Canvasback 4-in-1 Wader Jacket or Parka 100 percent waterproof and breathable. Thinsulate Insulation (150 gram in body, 100 gram hood and arms), Taslon shell, ripstop honeycomb fabric at shoulders and articulated elbows provides warmth and strength. Each garment has a double storm flap, lined collar, adjustable cuffs with neoprene barriers, two large cargo pockets, magnetic chest, line hand-warmer, two zipped chest, invisible call and inner security pockets, plus zip-off game bag. Both are available in Advantage Max-4 HD and Mossy Oak Duck Blind camouflage, sizes small through 3XL.
Taslon oxford with Bone-Dry membrane makes the Canvasback Insulated Bibs 100 percent waterproof and breathable. They have a two-way zipper with a storm flap. The 150-gram Thinsulate and fully lined nylon taffeta body provide warmth. Features include chest, back and cargo pockets, non-slip shoulder straps, reinforced seat and articulated knees, contoured leg seams with stretch panels, full-length covered side zippers and two zippered micro tricot-lined hand-warmers. They are offered in Advantage Max-4 HD and Mossy Oak Duck Blind, with sizes small through 3XL.
BASS PRO SHOPS/REDHEAD
BERETTA USA Xtrema Parkas and Jackets are soft-shell garments made waterproof and breathable via Gore-Tex. They feature fleece neck liners, detachable hood keepers and no-skid shoulder gun rests. Waterproof zippers close the sleeve, chest and hand-warmer pockets. Pit ventilation zippers, gusseted adjustable closure cuff, tuck-in closure magnetic pocket flap, drainage-grommeted box-shell load reinforced pocket, side entry, extended back, bottom draw-string, hand-warmer-pocket controlled internal waist draw-string, and bi-swing back round out the other features. Offered in sizes medium to 3XL in Advantage Max-4.
The Stopper Jacket is made to wear alone during warm weather or as a liner system in conjunction with Xtrema jackets and parkas for warmth during the coldest hunts. It includes Wind Stopper laminate to keep elements out, plus fleece neck lining, shell attachment loops, non-skid shoulder gun rest, waterproof-zippered napoleon and hand-warmer pockets, pit ventilation zipper, knitted grip cuff, extended kidney warmer back, contrast solid underarm side panel and Beretta signature on back. They are available in sizes medium through 3XL in Advantage Max-4 HD camouflage.
Xtrema Bibs include Thermore Insulation to keep hunters warm and Gore-Tex to keep the wearer dry and comfortable even when sweating. Other features include attached and adjustable heavy-duty shoulder straps, channel quilted insulation, heavy-duty Vision two-way zipper, waterproof closure, napoleon and upper hand-warmer pockets, elastic side gussets, grommeted cargo pockets with waterproof zipper, Stride-Ease preformed knee, 18-inch over boot cover flange, boot closure tab and rear Beretta signature. They are available in sizes medium through 3XL in Advantage Max-4 HD.
The Xtrema Pant is designed for field or boat hunting. They include waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex laminate and quilted Thermore Insulation inside a quiet shell. They are cut to include a high-rise kidney warmer back, plus feature single-hand, easy-control waist cinch, heavy-duty belt loops, double-snap front closure, waterproof zippered top pocket, waterproof-zipper-entry cargo pockets with drainage grommets, stride-Ease preformed knee, 18-inch over-boot flange and boot closure tab. Look for them in sizes medium through 3XL in Advantage Max-4 HD camouflage.
BROWNING The Wing-Set Jackets weighs only 26 ounces, but provides big protection. A three-layer design combines a rugged nylon outer shell, water/windproof and breathable PreVent lamination with fully taped seams and warm inner fleece layer for comfort across a broad temperature range. Freedom sleeve construction and articulated elbows allow unrestricted movement. The jacket has two upper call and two lower pockets with zippers, detachable hood with draw-cord adjustment and a storm-flap-protected front zipper. It is offered in Mossy Oak Duck Blind camouflage, with sizes small to 3XL.
The Half-Zip Pullover is a lightweight, early-season waterfowling jacket designed to pack down tight when not needed. Made of Gore-Tex Paclite fabric, it is 100 percent waterproof and breathable. It includes an upper call pocket with zipper, adjustable hood with draw-cord and molded brim, WaterGuard front half zipper with chin/beard guard, adjustable cuffs, zippered, double-entry lower pouch to keep hands dry and ready for action, elasticized call holder and rear license tab. It is available in sizes small through 3XL in Mossy Oak's Duck Blind camouflage.
Using Gore-Tex fabrics and Gore Comfort Mapping technology, Maxus provides maximum comfort. Rugged soft-shell fabrics are placed on high-wear areas, and Paclite is used on areas requiring less bulk. The jacket is 100 percent waterproof and breathable. It includes a detachable hood, hand-warmer pockets concealing waist drawstring locks, front call, upper hand-warmer, inside security and lower bellows pockets. Freedom sleeves and articulated elbows allow maximum mobility. Look for it in Mossy Oak Duck Blind camouflage, with sizes small to 3XL.
The AddHeat Vest has a soft, quiet fleece outer shell backed by a comfortable brushed tricot inner lining. It includes a bottom draw-cord to keep drafts out. The flexible interior heating elements are completely washing-machine safe and built to last. A stand-up, zip-through collar keeps cold breezes at bay. The AddHeat Power Pack is sold separately. The vest is available in Mossy Oak New Break-Up, Treestand and Duck Blind camo, and olive, with sizes small through 3XL.
CABELA'S Waderwise Jeans are made with flexible, bonded soft-shell construction. For damp mornings, the polyester face fabric is DWR-treated to resist moisture. Underneath, a layer of 320-gram Wind Brake Fleece traps warmth in waders or while in a chilly layout blind. Wader-friendly adjustable hook-and- loop cuffs and elastic foot stirrups hold pant legs in place. Belt loops, zippered fly, two front stash and two cargo pockets and two rear zippered pockets are included. Sized 32- to 44-inch waist, 32-inch length, in Mossy Oak Duck Blind or Olive.
DRAKE The Drake Old School Camo Collection is a limited offering of hunting apparel and accessories offered in Drake's uniquely branded version of classic "brown camo" worn by our fathers and grandfathers. Each item blends traditional styling with Drake's innovation. The line includes an Early-Season shirt and Eqwader Pullover, Fleece-Lined and Eqwader Jacket, Fleece-Lined Pants, Wading Vest, 4-in-1 Wader Coat and Insulated Bibs, Magnattach Down Coat and Vest and Waterproof Cap. They honor waterfowling's roots by offering the garments in the same sizes of other Drake products.
When Drake entered the youth market, the company committed to doing more than simply offering junior-sized clothing. The Young Guns program is an Internet-based tool where kids interact with other kids to learn more about waterfowling. The program is supported by the new Drake Waterfowl Youth line, which includes the Early Season Rain Coat and Pant, Mid-Season Eqwader Pullover, Strata Systems Coat and Fleece-Lined Pant, Waterproof Cap, Windproof Skull Cap and T-Shirt. All include Drake innovation also found in adult lines, but tailored to fit youngsters.
DRAKE WATERFOWL SYSTEMS
FILSON Filson Shelter Cloth Waterfowl/Upland Coat is a classic-look hunting coat constructed of water-repellent, wind-resistant 8.5-ounce cotton oil finish shelter cloth. One of its niftiest features is a front-loading, nylon-lined game bag with grommet drains. A shorter cut accommodates waders or hip belts. Comfort features include moleskin-lined collar with snap tab front, wool-lined hand-warmer pockets, right-shoulder shooting pad, adjustable snap cuffs and expandable bellows pockets large enough to hold a box of shells. The coat is available in otter green or tan, with sizes small through 2XL.
GERBING'S HEATED CLOTHING Gerbing Core Heat Heated Camouflage Fleece Vest maintains a just-out-of-the-dryer sensation. Powered by a small, 7-volt rechargeable lithium battery, the vest eliminates base-layer bulk, maintaining 135-degree body heat for 2.5 hours, or 85 degrees all day. Patented micro-wire technology is placed on the back and chest for intense heat transfer that helps maintain core temperature in chilly temperatures. Core Heat products include a lifetime warranty on the wiring. The vest is available in black or Mossy Oak Break-Up in sizes small to 2XL.
GERBING'S HEATED CLOTHING
JESSE'S OUTDOOR WEAR Jesse's Outdoor Wear offers quality custom embroidery services on hats, T-shirts, polo shirts and other garments. They will affix your company name and/or logo on your choice of a variety of hat and shirt styles, colors and camouflage patterns. Embroidery designs featuring Labs, retrievers, ducks, geese and other game species are available.
JESSE'S OUTDOOR WEAR
PROIS HUNTING APPAREL Designed for serious women hunters, the Pro-Edition Pullover is constructed of three-ply Pro-Edition fabric with soft tricot exterior, bonded wind-stopping laminate and a cozy micro-fleece inner layer for high-performance comfort and versatility. Its complex fabric eliminates bulk while enhancing thermoregulation. It is designed with a scapular drop pocket, housing-activated hand-warmers and built-in thumb holes in the cuffs. The pullover is offered in Realtree AP HD and Advantage Max-1 HD.
PROIS HUNTING APPAREL
STEARNS Stearns SOSpenders is a flotation device that doesn't get in the way or weigh you down. The World Class series boating stole-style inflatable features reflective tape on the cover and bladder for greater visibility. A safety whistle attaches to the chamber. A single point indicator window confirms the manual inflatable device's readiness. One size fits adults weighing more than 80 pounds and with a chest size of 30 to 52 inches. It is U.S. Coast Guard approved Type III, and available in Advantage Max-4 HD.
MAD DOG Mad Dog Growler Jacket has a waterproof/breathable membrane to provide excellent weather protection with a silent shell. Mesh lining and caped back allow ventilation. Other features include attached hood, elastic cuffs, two-way cargo pockets and snap-closed storm flap over front zipper. Non-insulated and insulated models (100 gram) are available. Offered in youth sizes small to 2XL and adult medium to 2XL in Realtree AP or Advantage Max-4 HD, Mossy Oak Break-Up and Dog-O-Flage Brown or Green. Mad Dog Growler Pants are affordable foul-weather lowers made to compliment the Growler Jacket. They are waterproof and breathable, with mesh lining for comfort. The outer shell is tough yet silent. Pants also feature elastic waist with draw-cord and adjustable ankle cuffs to keep cold wind out. They are available in youth sizes small to XL and adult sizes medium to 2XL. Made in light non-insulated, or with 100-gram insulation for colder weather. Look for them in Advantage Max-4 and Realtree AP HD, Mossy Oak Break-Up and MD's Dog-O-Flage Brown and Green.
MAD DOG GEAR
WHITEWATER STRATEGIC HUNTING APPAREL
DU Element Raingear is an Advantage Max-4 HD-cloaked suit made 100 percent waterproof and breathable by RainBlocker technology. Jackets include an attached/adjustable hood, full-zip storm flap front, zippered pockets with storm flaps, two cargo pockets with hand-warmers, elastic wrists with Velcro closure, adjustable draw-cord waist and grommeted rear license loop. Pants have adjustable side waist tabs with belt loops, zippered side and angled rear pockets, 24-inch leg zippers with storm flaps and double-snap adjustable leg closures. They are offered medium to 2XL.
DU North Winds Parka and Bib are covered in Advantage Max-4 HD, and constructed of durable, yet soft double-weave fabric accented with Rhino Tough fabric. Breathable RainBlocker technology is 100 percent waterproof. Removable liners are constructed of three-layer fleece with WindBlocker. The parka includes removable Bill Collector bird lanyard and chest pocket with three attached call lanyards. Bibs include several pockets with waterproof zippers, two D-rings for keys, calls and flashlights, knee-length zippers and reinforced seat and knees. Sizes range from medium to 2XL.
Offered with Advantage Max-4 HD camouflage upper with a teak bottom, the DU Wader Shirt combines Maximum Windblocker and DWR (Durable Water Repellency) weather protection on the top half (chest, shoulders and arms) with Micro-Fleece comfort and breathability on the bottom. The shirt easily tucks into waders to provide a superior fit and all-day comfort. A quarter-zip neck with fleece collar enhances all-day comfort. They are tailored to fit sizes medium to 2XL.
WHITEWATER STRATEGIC HUNTING APPAREL
UNDER ARMOUR PERFORMANCE APPAREL Under Armour's 3-in-1 Skysweeper Waterfowl Jacket and Bibs are made for extreme cold to moderate temperatures. The Skysweeper collection combines the company's Armourstorm 10,000/10,000 waterproof and breathable laminate with Armourloft Insulation to make them weather- and cold-proof. The jacket is loaded with features like storable hood, sling gripper, waterproof gusset cuffs and magnetic storm flap closures. Bibs feature PU abrasion panels, cargo chest storage, hand pockets and zip fly. They are available in Mossy Oak Duck Blind, sizes small to 3XL.
UNDER ARMOUR PERFORMANCE APPAREL
BROWNING Designed specifically to wear under breathable and neoprene waders, the high-stretch polyester-fleece-blend Endurance Fleece Wader Pants offer a wide range of flex and comfort without binding, even after working up a sweat. Warm, soft fleece inside provides warmth and wicks away moisture. A smooth jersey face outer shell helps them slip into waders effortlessly. They include a generous cut, wide elastic waistband, zippered fly, tapered leg and elastic stirrups to prevent legs from riding up beneath waders. They are offered in Mossy Oak Duck Blind, with sizes small to 3XL.
BASS PRO Redhead Glacier Boots are ultra-dry, ultra-warm, 100 percent waterproof and feature vulcanized rubber and Span Tough upper construction and a removable liner filled with 1,200-gram Thinsulate Ultra Insulation. A full neoprene lining offers incredible comfort inside. Rugged ShurTrac outsole, EVA midsole and rustproof hardware makes them last several seasons. They are available in Mossy Oak Break-Up and in men's whole sizes 8 to 14.
BASS PRO SHOPS/REDHEAD
CABELA'S Millennium Hunting Waders are lightweight/breathable bootfoot waders with snug-fitting, lace-up boots. They have 400-gram Thinsulate Insulation inside 4mm neoprene, reinforced heels and toes and lug rubber sole. ASF 7001 four-layer Twin Sensor breathable fabric is extremely puncture-resistant. A camouflage neoprene yoke distributes weight evenly, and low-profile suspenders don't interfere with shooting. They include top-load chest pockets and fleece-lined hand warmer pockets. They are available in regular or stout sizes, 8 to 14.
DRAKE WATERFOWL SYSTEMS The EST Eqwader Wading System is a breathable chest wader, and the EST Boat Pant is a breathable waist-high wader for early-season hunts. Both are constructed of three-layer waterproof/windproof/breathable fabric to provide unmatched comfort during mild weather or in hunting situations with a more controlled environment. The EST (Early Season Technology) chest wader is designed with Vertical Magnattach call pocket with magnetic closure and mesh bottom for water drainage, and a vertical security pocket with waterproof zipper. An internal storage pocket with waterproof zipper provides safe storage for a phone, GPS or camera. Internal hand warmers on the back of the bib provide warmth. The waders have a large front cargo pocket with Magnattach closure. The adjustable BootLok system allows for customized fit of the boots. Durable [HD.sup.2] reinforcements are built in on the lower legs, seat and back of the boots. Knee pads and shoulder straps are reinforced. Made of new buckle-free neoprene. Six front shotgun shell loops provide easy access to reload.
DRAKE WATERFOWL SYSTEMS
FILSON Filson Heavy Weight Primaloft OTC Socks are constructed from a perfect blend of high-tech and natural materials--45 percent Merino wool, 45 percent Primaloft, eight percent Nylon and two percent Spandex. They are designed to stay in place even in sloppy waders or rubber boots, or during a long hike into a secret duck hole. Form fit with wicking action removes moisture from the skin. They provide ideal thermal insulation to layer under hip boots and waders, or wear alone. They are available in dark gray in sizes medium to XL.
HEAT FACTORY The Heat Factory Wader Sock is an above-the-knee sock designed for serious duck hunters who live in waders during the season. The Wader Sock features quality materials and workmanship, while Heat Factory's unique design allows foot warmers to be inserted into special pockets above the toes. Heat Factory produces air-activated warmers and accessories to keep hunters warm.
HODGMAN Wadelite Waders are ideal for early teal hunts, warm spells later in the season or active jump-shooting any time of winter. The lightweight, durable uppers breathe and allow free range of movement. They also include double-layer padded knees. The unique lace-up Muckbuster neoprene/rubber bootfoot design allows hunters to cinch boots around ankles for the best possible fit. A heavy-duty Taslon nylon outer shell and rubber-cleated outsoles complete the package. Boots hold 600-gram Thinsulate Ultra Insulation and come in Mossy Oak Shadowgrass, with sizes 7 to 13.
Three-layer construction with Horco-Tex CL Plus makes these waders waterproof and breathable, while the patented zipper design--including 100 percent waterproof Riri zipper--makes answering the call of nature in a duck blind much easier. They include two inside mesh storage pockets, adjust able X-style shoulder straps with quick-release buckles, Neo-Trek snug ankle-fit boot insulated with 8mm felt midsoles and cleated soles. Boots also include 600-gram Thinsulate Ultra Insulation. They are available in Advantage Max-4 HD, with sizes 7 to 13.
LACROSSE FOOTWEAR LaCrosse Teal Waders are designed for early duck seasons so hunters are comfortable in warmer weather. They are affordable for the duck hunters looking for a low-priced wader. They are available in brown, with 400-gram Thinsulate Ultra Insulation, or Mossy Oak Duck Blind camo, with 600-gram Thinsulate Ultra Insulation. Both versions are lined in nylon fabric for tear resistance, durability and easy on and off. They are available in whole sizes 7 to 14.
Brush-Tuff Hunting Waders are heavyweight 5mm, fleece-lined neoprene waders with abrasion-resistant, bi-directional facing to protect against punctures. Boots contain 1,200-gram Thinsulate Ultra Insulation and TracLite outsole for sure grip in slippery mud. Other features include attached shotshell holder, suspender buckles that create a belt when folded down, hand-warmer pockets with cargos and double-stitched seams. Brush-Tuff is available in Mossy Oak Duck Blind and Break-Up, in whole sizes 7 to 14.
Brush-Tuff Extreme ATS waders are made with heavy-duty 5mm neoprene lined with fleece. With a 1,600-gram Thinsulate Ultra Insulation-lined boot-foot design and fleece-lined hand-warmer muff, these waders are ultra warm. Abrasion-resistant, bi-directional facing, reinforced knees and double-stitched seams makes them extremely durable and puncture-resistant. An aggressive ATS outsole system provides sure footing in muddy settings. An attached shell holder assures back-up shotshells are in fast, easy reach when the action is hot. Offered in sizes 7 to 14 in Mossy Oak Break-Up camouflage.
Mallard Waders are constructed of 100 percent waterproof rubber-over neoprene to stretch, yet be highly tear-resistant. Made with 1,000-gram Thinsulate Ultra Insulation wader boots to keep feet warm. Several versions are offered, including an Advantage Max-4 wader, Mossy Oak Duck Blind Hip Wader, and an expandable version with an extra 16 inches in the torso and more roomy thighs. Chest waders and hip waders are available in sizes 7 to 14, and youth sizes 8 to 13.
FILSON Not every duck or goose hunt includes bitter-cold temperatures. The slim-fitting, non-insulated men's Lightweight Shooting Glove delivers excellent handling qualities even when wet, while also providing superior, all-day comfort, sure grip and dexterity during early teal or warm hunts.
These brown-hued gloves include double-stitched thump construction and are made from Grade-A sheepskin. The elastic wrist keeps debris out and sports an embossed logo. They are offered in men's sizes medium to XL.
Merino Wool Goatskin Gloves are tough-skinned, cold-weather wear. They include super-soft, no-itch Merino wool gloves stitched inside of Filson's rugged goatskin gloves to prove both warmth and flexibility. Goatskin wears longer, and the gloves include leather binding, wing-cut thumb and elastic wrist. Treat them with Filson's Oil Finish Wax to make them water-resistant while handling wet, icy decoys. They are offered in sizes medium to XL.
The Wetlands Hunting Hat has an oil finish shelter cloth shell for maximum water repellency, while a Mackinaw wool lining provides superior warmth. Earflaps can be worn in three positions: Folded and buckled above the bill, pulled down over the ears or pulled over a coat collar and buckled under the chin. It includes a low-profile crown and 2.25-inch duckbill, cotton sweatband and four ventilation grommets. A small green Filson logo is embroidered over the left eyebrow and it features Advantage Wetlands camouflage. The hats are available in sizes large and regular.
The Wetlands Insulated Cap is a six-panel baseball crown hat. Oil finish shelter cloth provides maximum water repellency, while polyester quilting lined with black nylon, and concealed Mackinaw wool earflaps provide warmth. A soft, brushed cotton lining rests inside of the earflaps. The elastic band assures a snug fit with earflaps up or down, the three-inch bill keeps eyes shaded on bright days. A small green company logo is located over the left side of the brim. The caps are available in sizes small to 2XL.
Source Citation:Meitin, Patrick. "Warm and dry.(Clothing & Waders)(Buyers guide)." Wildfowl 24.4 (August 2009): 154(8). Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Collection. Gale. BROWARD COUNTY LIBRARY. 13 Oct. 2009
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