First Lite's new outerwear; Boundary / Uncompahgre jackets and North Branch pants
June 14, 20133 min read
First Lite wool for 2013 is coming out with a new line of outerwear targeted at complementing their existing line up of outstanding Merino Wool base layers. I have personally been a huge fan of First Lite Wool's Merino base layers for quite a few years now. When I heard that they were going to come out with a line of outerwear I was extremely excited to see what they would come up with.
The first addition to the line up is the Boundary Stormtight jacket. First Lite is pioneering a new fabric technology called Cocona Fabrics, the advantages to this are its extreme breath-ability and ability to manage moisture while at the same time when laminated to a dwr fabric being waterproof. The Boundary jacket is a lightweight packable rain jacket with plenty of pockets and pit zippers to add ventilation when hiking. I see this as being the perfect jacket for someone who hunts in extreme weather conditions with lots of rain or snow. There are lighter weight rain jackets on the market but I doubt any as durable and breathe as well as the Boundary jacket does. I got a chance a couple weeks ago to test this out on a wolf hunt and was impressed with it. The day wasn't to cold but the wind was blowing at 20-30mph and we had a quick steep hike to get on top of the ridge. I put the jacket over the top of just a Llano baselayer and started hiking. I purposely left the pit zippers closed to test out the ability of the fabric to breathe and was extremely impressed that by the time I got to the top of the ridge I had not overheated. Any other 100% waterproof jacket I have ever worn I would have overheated and needed to at least unzip the jacket 1/4 of the way through the climb. I think this jacket will be a perfect fit for someone needing a durable, breathable outler layer when rain and snow is going to be an issue.
The second addition to the line up is the Uncompahgre Puffy Jacket. Using the same Cocona fabric as the Stormtight jacket it will provide exceptional warmth and breath-ability at the same time. With a synthetic fill insulation and body mapping technology they put more insulation in key areas and less in areas that don't need like under the arms. The outer fabric has a DWR (durable water repellent) coating to make the jacket good for all but the worst rain and snow storms. With multiple pockets inside and out and the insulated hood this jacket has all the features that I am looking for in a lightweight insulating layer. I plan to personally use it this fall and its going to replace a few items in my pack. First with the DWR coating its going to replace my rain jacket, second because of it being so lightweight I am going to pack one less layer, most likely my Springer Vest and just use this when I need it. Lastly its going to make a great pillow or when needed will be one great extra insulating layer for inside the sleeping bag when the nights get really cold. This jacket for me will be a do it all piece.
The last item on the list is the North Branch Soft Shell pant. This is definitely not a pant geared for September hunting which if I am being honest I was really hoping for. The North Branch pant will be great for extreme weather conditions when the temps drop well below 30 degrees or for all day sits in a treestand in late November. They did put a zipper that actually runs from one leg up and over the butt to the other leg so you'll be able to get as much ventilation as possible when hiking to and from your destination. With built in gaiters it will also be great for hunting in deep snow.