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Review of StormKloth II Outerwear
Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Review of StormKloth II Outerwear

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We’ve tested numerous brands of hunting outerwear (intentionally and unintentionally) over the years and there are several things we look for. Comfort, Mobility, Durability and Value are among those attributes. After wearing this apparel in a variety of hunting situations and weather conditions this past season, the folks at StormKloth are getting high marks in this review. Be warned, we’re down right giddy over this stuff so continue at your own risk. “StormKloth II” refers to a second generation material that incorporates the introduction of fleece into the product for more warmth without bulk. The original StormKloth material was built for warmer weather and although they still offer it, we like the idea of one fabric handling a variety of weather conditions for full 3 season use.

Let’s take a look at the StormKloth II products we tested:

(Click on the Bold Headings to See Each Garment)

Jacket: Features waterproof zippers on the front, pockets and underarm vents. The hood features a built-in brim and draw-cord for a snug fit. The back waist has a longer tail with a draw- cord to eliminate drafts.
Pants: Feature a unique gusseted stride to deliver unrestricted movement. Gripping dots at the waist keep the tails tucked. These pants offer adjustable waist tabs, 2-snap front, 17” leg zippers, and 6 roomy pockets with zippers and storm flaps.

Beanie: Low profile design fitting snug and made of the same 4 way stretch material as the jacket and pants.

Gloves: feature hook & loop wrist closures to keep weather and water out. A tacky grip on the palms and fingers provide a secure grip and reduces hand fatigue.


Baclava: Snug, comfortable fit with soft fleece inside and air holes in front.


StormKloth II materials and the science behind them:

Stormkloth II is a 4-way stretch high-performance 3-ply fabric composed of an interlocking knit shell, a waterproof breathable membrane and a polyester fleece lining. That all sounds great but how does it work?


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The 3 layers of fabric that are utilized in StormKloth II products attempt to address the elements that most hunters are concerned with: Wind, Water and Temperature (both hot and cold). Here’s how we felt the StormKloth II material stacked up to these elements.


Wind: With proper base layers, we felt the StormKloth Jacket and pants provided superior protection from the wind. Ideally, we want the wind in our face as we’re sitting on stand. Anything above 5 mph however and things get a little uncomfortable when you’re sitting for hours. The Interlocking knit shell did a great job at blocking the wind and protected us from any associated wind chill.


Water: We like the phrasing that StormKloth II uses to describe the relationship between water and the interlock knit outer layer of this material. This kind of phrasing gives you an indication of what kind of company you’re dealing with; honest and direct without trying to play games with advertising. StormKloth calls these garments “Water Repellent” in an attempt to show how they deal with “moisture” and not a torrential downpour. We find that hunters sometimes confuse the use of such terms. “Water Repellent” is different than “Water Proof” so don’t expect this stuff to be the equivalent of full-on rain gear in Monsoon-type conditions! However, the StormKloth II material does an excellent job of keeping water on the outside of the garment and not penetrating the inner layers of your clothing. We wore these garments on stand during brief rain showers, fog and snow and our base layers stayed dry in all conditions. On one such occasion in late Firearm season, we were caught off guard when a snow storm pounded the mountain we were hunting. By the time we reached camp, the outer surface of the SKII fleece seemed soaked and we thought for sure our base layers would have to be hung up to dry. Not the case! Our base layers were dry and the outer layer of the SKII did its job perfectly by preventing moisture from penetrating. Any moisture that was able to enter was wicked back to the surface. The self sealing zippers aided in this factor. Not only do you get a barrier with the outer interlock knit layer to prevent the entrance of water, you also get a moisture wicking inner layer to keep the water away from your body should any find its way in. Because of all this, drying time is also reduced when washing, or in the case of our return to base camp, after an unexpected water soaked hunt.


Temperature: We found the fleece in StormKloth II to provide warmth in colder conditions but at the same time it didn’t cause us to get over heated on our way to the stand. The polyester lining and membrane wicks away moisture, whether originating from perspiration or water entering from the outside. Another nice feature is the addition of zippered underarm vents to further aid in keeping you cool in warmer temperatures.


Full 3 Season Use? If you’re looking for an all-purpose type hunting outfit that is going to allow you to hunt in fluctuating temperatures throughout the season, we would highly recommend taking a look at StormKloth’s offerings. The moisture wicking ability of the material combined with the warmth retaining ability of fleece make StormKloth a great choice for our NY weather. We could be hunting in 60 degree temps one day and 20 degree temps a few days later. The performance aspects of StormKloth II allowed us to not get “Sweated Up” on those warmer days while giving us that added warmth on the colder days. Of course, we would recommend a layering system underneath the StormKloth II garments in order to fully reap the benefits of this material.


Fit and Mobility: Maybe it’s 4 way stretch fleece or the deep, zippered pockets covered with storm flaps, but we haven’t been this impressed with an apparel product in years! Not only does the Jacket and Pants allow for full range of mobility, but they’re down right comfy! The soft fleece is ultra quiet and the pockets seem perfectly placed. Another attribute of the StormKloth II material is that it will not shrink at all and has retained its original fit and shape after several washings for us.


Available Patterns: Our StormKloth II garments came in Realtree All Purpose HD and we found this open pattern prevented us from looking like a dark “Blob” on the ground or up in a tree. StormKloth II is also available in Advantage Max-1 camo and Blaze Orange.


Overall Value: At 90$ a pop for the Jacket and Pants, we realize that you’re going to want some opinions about this stuff before purchasing it. Feel free to visit www.stormkloth2.com to take a harder look. However, as previously mentioned, both Dan and I are 110% in agreement that StormKloth II will be our garment of choice for 2010. The combination of fit, performance ability, wind block, and warmth make StormKloth II a perfect choice for variable 3 season weather.


Our Marks on StormKloth II Outerwear:

Fit and Comfort: 5 out of 5: Imagine going hunting in your favorite pair of sweatpants and hooded sweatshirt, except for them being durable, warmer, windproof and water repellent!


Mobility: 5 out of 5: From the gusseted panels in the pants and jacket, to the 4 way stretch fabric, we found these garments to provide maximum range of mobility.


Durability: 5 out of 5: We had zero issues with stitching, buttons, or zippers on these garments.


Offerings: 5 out of 5: StormKloth offers garments in the second generation fleece material and in their original material (geared for warmer climates). They offer vests for layering and a full line of beanies, neck gaiters, balaclavas, leg gaiters and gloves. You can choose from 2 different camo patterns and blaze orange.


Overall Value: 5 out of 5: If you can’t tell by now that we HIGHLY recommend the StormKloth II products, go back and read the review again!

If you’d like to purchase some SKII, check HERE!


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Energy Shots – A Hunters Perspective
Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

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Energy Shots – A Hunter’s Perspective

 

Don’t get me wrong, hunting season doesn’t last long enough.  But if you’re like us, consistently hitting the timber mixed with a day job, quality time with the family and the never ending honey-do list can take a toll on the energy reserves of even the most hardcore hunter.  In other words, it doesn’t take long to feel drained during a hunting season.  I myself reach that “drained” feeling after about 2 weeks of getting up at O’dark-thirty and welcome a boost of energy from time to time.  We wanted to find out if the recent energy drink phenomenon could have any benefit to a hunting lifestyle, especially when you find yourself fulfilling your daily responsibilities in between hunts with little to zero time for a power nap! 

 

We found two companies that cared how their products were viewed by our hunting community. OnGo Energy and RedFin Energy shipped us out some of their product and we used each over the course of our 3 part season (Bow, Regular Firearm, Muzzleloading). 

 

A Look at the Energy Drinks:

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OnGo Energy Shots: A 2 ounce bottle offered in 3 flavors (Mandarin Orange, Berry Blast and Lemon Lime)   The “shots” are a blend of Vitamins and other substances known to increase and sustain energy levels in human cells.  Here’s the breakdown of the ingredients for OnGo Energy Shots:

 

Niacin – helps your body use fat and carbohydrates efficiently

Vitamin B6 – helps your body break down and generate amino acids

Folic Acid – healthy red blood cell production

Vitamin B12 – promotes proper nervous system functions

Amino Acids – promotes alertness, improves memory, and regulates mood

Taurine – enhances brain, nervous system and cardiac functions

Malic Acid - produces cellular energy

Glucuronolactone – reduces sleepiness and improves mental performance

Caffeine – boosts energy and heightens alertness

Ginseng – increases your resistance to stress, anxiety, and fatigue

Electrolytes – helps replenish your body

Contains NO SUGAR and ONLY 8 Calories

Click Here for complete Supplemental information on the back of the bottle:

 

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RedFin Energy: Also comes in a 2 ouce bottle that blends the following:

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B12

Folic Acid

Caffeine (comparable to 2 cups)

Taurine

Siberian Ginseng

Contains NO SUGAR and ONLY 4 Calories

For Complete Supplemental facts on this Product, Click Here!

 

Now, as you can see, both of these energy products breakdown with comparable main ingredients which claim to help everything from red blood cell production (more red blood cells mean more oxygen carriers, which lead to more energy production for our cells) to enhancement of the nervous system and reduction of stress and anxiety.  Who doesn’t want all that?  Sustained energy, alertness, and some extra health benefits would all seem to be “no-brainers” in any of our daily lives right?

 

Our main goal was to see if these products made it easier to “keep going” on those days that started at 3:15 am and allowed us to stay as alert in the tree-stand on the last day of the season as on the first.  If you’re serious about hunting, you know the routine:  Typical morning hunt with a 20 – 45 minute walk to the stand, climb down at 10am so you can make it to your daughters’ soccer games by 11am, winterize the pool, put away the deck furniture, help your friend move a couch and be back in the stand by 2:30pm for the evening sit.  One of those days!  (You can substitute any or all of the above with any mixture of your responsibilities on a typical Saturday).  Here’s what we found with these two products:

 

Taste:  We only tried the Wild berry flavor from RedFin while OnGo sent all 3 of their flavors (Mandarin Orange, Berry Blast and Lemon Lime).  It’s only 2 ounces of liquid but the edge in taste goes to OnGo.  The Lemon Lime flavor was our favorite and surprised us in how good it tasted.  We found very little after taste with either of these products and although we liked the Lemon flavor the best, it’s all about preference.  None of them tasted bad to us, then again, it’s 2 ounces!   

 

Size: Two nice aspects in this category. First, these products are small enough to stash in your pack or pocket so you can “refuel” at anytime during the hunt.  Second, you don’t have to drink an entire 12 + ounces of liquid to get the same effect.  This can represent an issue for hunters who are concerned with how often they have to empty their bladder on stand.  2 ounces will not cause this concern.  These “shots” are compact and deliver the goods without the excess water associated with other energy “drinks”

 

Prolonged Energy and Alertness:  We didn’t experience a “boost” or “Jolt” of energy in the respect that we felt jittery after ingesting the product.  We did however feel like we could “keep going” and keep moving without feeling drained and tired between hunts.  In the example above of a typical Saturday where you try to fit hunting in with all the other chores of the day, we didn’t feel the need for a nap (something Dan has become accustomed to not getting with his young daughter) nor did we feel sleepy while on stand in the evening.  Our alertness seemed to increase as well.  Coincidence or not, Dan seemed to notice the deer “first”, more often this year.  Usually I’m the one to clue him in that a deer is moving toward our stand.  It’s an ongoing joke in our camp.  This year it seemed to be about even between us as to who noticed the deer first.

 

Side Effects:  Neither Dan or myself noticed any side effects to taking these energy shots during the season.  No jitters, no headaches, no allergic reactions, no sleeplessness, and no “crash” after the product was in our system for a while. 

 

When we took them:  The majority of our use with these shots came in between the morning and evening hunts.  We knew when our “drain” period was going to be during the day (between 11am and 1pm) so we took the shot somewhere in that time-frame.  This allowed us to stay alert on the evening hunt and not feel like dosing off.  We also tried them a few times before our morning hunts, usually on those days when getting out of bed was ridiculously tough.  On those particular occasions, we stayed alert but the product didn’t seem to cause any jitters on stand.  These 2 products work as advertised and they will be on our shopping list for next season.  Another aspect of these products that impressed us was that we didn’t feel any sort of addictive properties during our testing.  In other words, we didn’t take them every day, nor did we feel an urge to take them every day. 

 

The Effect on the Immune System: Over the last few years, I’ve been interested in the effect of B12 on the Immune System.  Not only is B12 linked to the production of healthy red blood cells for oxygen transport and subsequent cellular energy, it is suggested to play a role in cytotoxic (those cells in our immune system that destroy germs) activity.  Without getting too scientific and medical here, I’ve noticed a decrease in the frequency of my sickness over the last few years while taking B12 supplements.  It seems to me that ANY B12 supplementation is a good thing, and if that comes from an energy shot-type drink, bonus!

 

Final Thoughts: We wait 10 months for the start of hunting season and we want to feel energized enough to take full advantage of the time we have in the woods.  Not only will these “energy shot” afford you the ability to keep plugging away after your quarry, they’ll help you fulfill your other daily responsibilities without feeling drained during the season.  After all, as we like to say, “You can’t get anything if you don’t go!” and we found these energy shots to help us in getting up and getting out there.

 

 

For more information on OnGo Energy, visit: www.ongoenergy.com

 

For more information on RedFin Energy, visit: www.redfinenergy.com

 

 

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