As an avid bow hunter with years of experience in the field, I know that when hunting in warm weather, the right gear can make all the difference. And when it comes to early-season bow hunting, your clothing choices are crucial. You need gear that’s breathable, moisture-wicking, offers protection from insects, and blends seamlessly into your environment. Not to mention, it needs to be quiet enough not to alert the mature buck you’re hunting. If you’re like me, then this post is for you.
Over the past year, I’ve conducted extensive testing and reviews of four top-rated early-season bow hunting clothing systems: Sitka’s Equinox Guard, Huntworth’s Gadsden and Durham gear, Asio Gear’s Lightweight Pants and Hoodie, and FORLOH’s SolAir Lightweight Pants and Hoodie. In this comprehensive review, I’ll share my findings, rank these systems in different categories, highlight their best and worst features, assess their value, and help you choose the best early-season bow hunting clothing systems for your needs.
- Overview of Each Early-Season Clothing System
- Early Season Systems: How They Ranked
- Best and Worst Features
- The Best Early-Season Bow Hunting Clothing Systems
Overview of Each Early-Season Clothing System
First, let’s take a quick look at each pants and hoodie system:
Sitka’s Equinox Guard: Hoody & Pants
Known for its comfort and functionality, Sitka’s Equinox Guard offers a lightweight, breathable solution for early-season hunting. The Optifade Elevated II camouflage pattern is designed to confuse deer vision, making it an excellent choice for hunting in forested areas.
The clothing also features Insect Shield® technology, providing long-lasting, effective, and odorless protection against a variety of insects. However, the price point may be a deterrent for some hunters. From my personal experience, “The Sitka gear was extremely comfortable and effective in the field, but the high price point is something to consider.” Read the full review here.
Designed for early-season hunting in warmer climates, Huntworth’s Gadsden and Durham gear are lightweight, breathable, and offer excellent moisture management. The unique Tarnen camouflage pattern blends seamlessly into the environment, making it an excellent choice for hunting in various landscapes.
The gear is also reasonably priced, making it a great value for money. During my hunts, “I was particularly impressed by the breathability and moisture management of the Huntworth gear.” Read the full review here
*If the Huntworth Gadsden and Durham fit what you are looking for, I recommend checking them out at OpticsPlanet. They have great deals on them and other hunting gear on a regular basis.
My Latest Gear Reviews
- Exploring Sitka’s Equinox Guard: Hoody & Pants Review
- Asio Gear Review: Lightweight Pants & Hoodie for Bow Hunting
- Best Early Season Bow Hunting Pants for 2023
- Huntworth Early Season Gear: Gadsden & Durham Review
- Tethrd Skeletor Climbing Sticks Review: Lightweight & Durable
- 2023 Bow Hunting Gear List Breakdown (What I’m Carrying and Why)
Asio Gear: Lightweight Pants and Hoodie
Ideal for early-season hunting in areas with unpredictable weather, Asio Gear’s Lightweight Pants and Hoodie are lightweight, breathable, and offer excellent moisture management. The unique Raptor Camouflage pattern, based on an owl, adds a unique touch to their gear.
The pants and hoodie are also treated with the highest level of Durable Water Repellent (DWR) protection, making them a great choice for areas with frequent rain showers. From my experience, “The Asio gear was particularly useful in unpredictable weather conditions, and the unique camouflage pattern was a hit with other hunters.” Read the full review here
*I’m a big Asio Gear fan and frankly, you won’t find better prices or options than you can at AsioGear.com. If you want to check them out, I recommend taking a look at the pants and hoodie here.
FORLOH Insect Shield® SolAir Lightweight Pants and Hoodie
Perfect for early-season hunting in areas with high insect activity, FORLOH’s SolAir Lightweight Pants and Hoodie are equipped with Insect Shield® and Polygiene Stay Fresh and Odor Crunch technology, offering long-lasting, effective scent control and protection against a variety of insects.
The Deep Cover camouflage pattern is specifically engineered to deceive deer vision, making it an excellent choice for hunting in forested areas. During my hunts, “I found the Insect Shield® technology to be incredibly effective, and the camouflage pattern was excellent in forested areas.” Read the full review here
*If you like the 100% Made in the USA option that Forloh provides in their pants and hoodie, the best place to shop is right on their website. Check them out here.
Early Season Systems: How They Ranked
I ranked these early season bow hunting clothing systems across multiple categories and used my base review criteria for all of them. Here’s how they ranked:
- Best: Asio Gear Lightweight Pants and Hoodie
- Runner-Up: FORLOH Insect Shield® SolAir Lightweight Pants and Hoodie
- 3rd: Sitka Gear Equinox Guard Pants and Hoody
- 4th: Huntworth Gadsden Pullover and Durham Lightweight Pants
Now, let’s take a look at how they ranked in different categories:
Breathability and Moisture-Wicking
When hunting in hot or warm weather it is critical to have hunting clothing that can breathe and will wick moisture away due to excessive sweating. All four systems offer excellent breathability and moisture-wicking capabilities, but the Asio Gear Lightweight Pants and Hoodie stand out for their superior moisture management, followed closely by Forloh’s SolAir with multiple technologies that provide wicking and cooling effects.
Insect protection can be extremely critical in different areas of the USA. In the early season, the heat and your sweat bring on the bugs and it can be terrible You can treat your clothes with Permethrin, but there are other great options for doing this. Both FORLOH’s SolAir Lightweight Pants and Hoodie and Sitka’s Equinox Guard take the lead with their built-in Permethrin Insect Shield® technology. With this treatment, these clothes can keep you insect-free for up to 70 washes.
- Best: Forloh and Sitka (both did excellent)
- 3rd: Asio (no treatment)
- 4th: Huntworth (no treatment)
I prefer hunting clothes that use a dual-action scent control methodology, but not all hunting clothing companies use this on their apparel. All four systems here offer some level of scent control. The Sitka’s Equinox Guard, FORLOH’s SolAir Lightweight Pants, and Hoodie, and Asio Gear with their moisture-wicking properties and anti-microbial technologies, provide excellent scent control. The Huntworth system also offers good scent control, but only with the Gadsden pullover. The Huntworth Durham pants do not have any scent control treatments. Forloh was the only brand to have a complete dual-action antimicrobial and odor-adsorbing (Polygiene Odor Crunch) scent control system.
- Best: Forloh (dual action scent control comparable to Scentlok)
- Runner-Up: Asio and Sitka have comparable technologies
- 4th: Huntworth
When it comes to camouflage, I prefer systems that use a disruption style versus a mimicry style of camo. If you understand how deer vision works, then you know that mimicry camo that has pictures of leaves and twigs on it cannot be seen by deer. They cannot discern that level of detail. This is why disruption-style camouflage that incorporates both micro and macro dispersion is far superior with its ability to confuse deer and allow you to blend into the environment you are hunting more effectively. All four systems offer effective disruption-style camouflage patterns, but the Sitka’s Equinox Guard and FORLOH’s SolAir Lightweight Pants and Hoodie stand out for their unique patterns designed to confuse deer vision.
- Best: Sitka (one of the innovators in this type of camo)
- Runner-Up: Forloh (advanced deer vision-centric camo)
- 3rd: Huntworth (very close to both Sitka and Forloh)
- 4th: Asio (unique Raptor camo built for tree stand hunting)
While all four systems are designed with stealth in mind, Huntworth’s Gadsden pullover stands out for its quiet fabric, but the Asio system was the quietest complete system overall.
Value for Money
Considering the features and performance of each system relative to its cost, the Huntworth Early Season Gear offers the best value for money for those on a budget, while the Asio Gear provides a high-end option with a lot of value. See below.
Comparing Prices and Value
|Sitka||Equinox Guard Pants and Hoody||$398.00|
|*Huntworth||Gadsden and Durham||$159.98 (Most Budget Friendly Option)|
|Asio Gear||Lightweight Pants and Hoodie||$238.00|
|Forloh||SolAir Lightweight Pants and Hoodie||$288.00|
Best and Worst Features
Each system has its strengths and weaknesses. Rating the best early-season bow-hunting clothing systems can be tough. Here are the best and worst features of each:
Sitka’s Equinox Guard: Hoody & Pants
Best: Excellent camouflage pattern, Insect Shield® protection, hip zip vents on the pants, and overall comfort. Plus, the hoody is the best of the bunch. Worst: High price point and the pants are a little heavy and might work better as an early-season transition into mid-season pants. The pants are some of the highest quality hunting pants I have worn though (I really like them, I just don’t like the price).
Huntworth Early Season Gear: Gadsden & Durham
Best: Excellent moisture management and value for money. The Gadsden pullover is extremely comfortable. Worst: Knee and backside protection in the pants can be noisy when walking through thick brush. The fit in the crotch is a little off.
Asio Gear: Lightweight Pants & Hoodie
Best: 100% Made in America, superior moisture management, hip zip vents, unique camouflage pattern, and Durable Water Repellent (DWR) protection, and the hoodie comes in a close second place to the Sitka hoody. Worst: Does not offer specific insect control and the double thigh pockets, while highly waterproofed, were not my favorite feature.
FORLOH Insect Shield® SolAir Lightweight Pants and Hoodie
Best: Both Polygiene Dual-Action Scent Control and Insect Shield® technologies and a highly effective camouflage pattern. Worst: The hood on the hoodie fits poorly and has a white backing that is visible when wearing. I usually wear a large and had to size down to medium and the hood still has a loose fit.
The Best Early-Season Bow Hunting Clothing Systems
Choosing the best early-season bow-hunting clothing systems ultimately depends on your specific needs and the conditions you’ll be hunting in. If you’re hunting in an area with high insect activity, both FORLOH’s SolAir Lightweight Pants and Hoodie and Sitka’s Equinox Guard would be your best bet. If you’re looking for superior moisture management, consider the Asio Gear or FORLOH’s SolAir Pants and Hoodie. If value for money is your top priority, the Huntworth Early Season Gear would be a great choice for those on a budget, while the Asio Gear provides a high-end option with a lot of value.
- Best: Sitka Gear
- Runner-Up: Asio Gear
- 3rd: Forloh (100% Made in the USA)
- 4th: Huntworth (best budget option)
In my opinion, based on my extensive testing over the past year, Sitka’s Equinox Guard stands out as the best overall system, despite its high price point. It offers a comprehensive set of features including excellent comfort, Insect Shield® protection, and a highly effective camouflage pattern.
The Asio Gear Lightweight system takes a very close second to the Sitka and has the best overall quality-to-value ratio. I really like both a lot. However, it’s important to remember that the best gear for you will depend on your individual needs, hunting conditions, and budget.
Remember, the right gear can make all the difference in your hunting experience. So take the time to consider all the factors and choose the best early-season bow-hunting clothing system that best fits your needs. I highly recommend following the links above to each individual review for more details about each brand and product.
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