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Annual Deer Gear Review – 2015 edition

Annual Deer Gear Review – 2015 edition

As deer seasons are coming to a close around the country, the Heritage Hunters crew is weighing in on the gear that we have been fortunate enough to test over the past 4 months. Our Deer Gear reviews are somewhat unique in that we tell you about these products after we’ve had a thorough opportunity to test them and not before! In other words, these reviews are more of a testimony on the gear rather than a pre-season commercial. Anything and everything that a hunter might use in pursuit of the elusive whitetail deer is fair game for us to peruse, fondle and essentially abuse in an effort to see how it holds up over the course of the season. This year’s lineup did not disappoint and includes some items that will certainly be in our gear bag next year.  Some of the products are new to the market, some are new takes on an old classic and others are simply products that we’ve just learned about. As usual, please click on the photos to visit the websites of these companies and check out the gear for yourself!

Arborwear Double-thick Hoodies: Mossy Oak Camouflage

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It seems like we feature the Arborwear Double-thick hoodies every year in the Deer Gear review but when Arborwear announced that they were making these classic hoodies in a camo pattern we got pretty excited! As the name suggests, the double-layer thickness of this one garment takes the place of two or three in our pack to save space. The two (12 ounce) layers of pre-washed cotton fleece kept us warm and the Break-up Country HD pattern from Mossy Oak kept us hidden. The double-thick hoodie is the most rugged sweatshirt you will ever own and the button feature of the hood allows for extra layering without the tightness around the neck that other hoodies can cause. Arborwear.com is running a sale on these hoodies right now so check them out and take advantage of a great piece of gear!

Specs on the Pullover: $100
° 2-12 oz. Layers of Pre-washed, 100% Cotton Fleece

° Oversized Hood

° Gusseted Arms

° Snap Collar

° Vertical, Recessed Handwarmer Pouch

° Garment Washed

° Mossy Oak Break-up Country HD Detail Cotton Print

Specs on the Full-zip: $120
° 2-12 oz. Layers of 100% Pre-washed, Cotton Fleece

° Oversized Hood

° Gusseted Arms

° Interior Zip Pocket

° YKK® Vislon Zipper

° Vertical, Recessed Handwarmer Pockets

° Garment Washed

° Mossy Oak Break-up Country HD Detail Cotton Print

Volt Heat: Heated Fleece Vest: $170

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We have reviewed heated apparel before and would relate these types of items to using a cell phone. Once you get used to using it, it becomes a part of your routine and by extension, a necessity. If you find yourself without it, you’re naked and uneasy. So too is how we feel about these type of vests in cold weather. Once the temperature drops below 40 degrees, these vests provide the piece of mind and comfort to not only “ride the hole” as we call sitting on stand for long periods of time, but to enjoy the experience as well. Imagine that! You don’t have to be miserably cold while waiting on the deer. The COHO black fleece vest from Volt provides 3 zones of heat (2 on the chest and one larger zone on the back) from a 7.4v 2500mAh battery. The vest is noticeably lighter than previous brands we’ve tried with what Volt calls it’s “Zero Layer” heat system to eliminate bulk. We admit that the price tag for these vests do seem a little steep but they fall into that “seeing is believing” category of products. The vest comes with a battery and charger.

Approximate Battery Run Time per Power Level
100% High – 2 hours
75% Med/High – 3.5 hours
50% Medium – 5 hours
25% Low – 8+ hours

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Carbo-Mask: Carbon based Face paint: $6.99

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We are fans of wearing face paint while bowhunting. We are not however fans of rolling up to the Dunkin Donuts looking like an extra from the movie Predator and frightening the girl behind the window. For us, face paint has to go on easy and come off easy. Carbomask fits the bill in these two areas for us while adding an extra element of odor absorption.

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Carbomask is a clay based paint made from activated charcoal to absorb any odors coming off of your face. It dries very quickly to your skin and doesn’t have the glare that other face paints on the market have. We tried the color black in a 1.5 ounce single tube and found that it was plenty of paint to last the season. The design of the tube is useful as well and comes with a small amount of paracord to latch to your pack or hang in your truck. The price point of this paint is right in line with other paints on the market and will last beyond one season.

Milwaukee 3-in-1 Heated Jacket: $299

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Another product falling into the “seeing is believing” category of price and function is the 3-in-1 camouflage jacket from Milwaukee tools. We have tried out Milwaukee’s heated products in the past and there were zero issues with the products performing as advertised. This latest addition to their heated line allows for the use of a heated vest worn by itself, the camouflage hooded jacket worn by itself, or both the vest and jacket worn in combination.
Battery & Charger: The M12™ REDLITHIUM™ Battery is the same one used on many of Milwaukee’s cordless tools and is interchangeable with the vest/jacket combo. This allows for you to use multiple batteries, giving you the option to always have one on the charger when the cold weather hits.

Vest: The vest contains carbon heating elements and an adapter plug for the battery. The quality construction and thermal fleece lining of this vest struck us a little by surprise. You are truly getting three quality combinations in these two well-made garments. 5 pockets are on the outside of the vest and there is even a USB port on the inside of the vest to charge other devices. A nice little feature to charge your phone with for those long days on stand or out on the ice fishing. The 5 heating zones (2 chest, 2 hand pockets, and 1 large back zone) are easily controlled from inside the upper chest region and are adjustable. You can turn on all 5 zones of heat or you can turn on chest and back only or hand pockets only to conserve battery life.

Hooded Realtree Xtra Jacket: This outer shell features removable hood, easy thru-access to heated vest pockets, and an area to attach your hunting tag. The jacket is made from a polyester / spandex softshell that is wind/water resistant and the cuffs are adjustable Velcro. The great thing about this jacket is that it is the type of jacket that looks like it should cost $300 by itself in one of the big box stores. The thermal waffle lining, 2 deep chest pockets and 2 lower side pockets show how far Milwaukee decided to go to keep us hunters happy with this new product. The zippered thru-pockets allow you to reach underneath while wearing the vest and slip your hands into the heated vest pockets. The hood is removable as well.
Overall, the 3-in-1 Realtree Xtra Heated Jacket from Milwaukee is the perfect product example of the the saying “Necessity is the mother of invention”. Hunters who need to stay on stand longer in cold weather conditions will find this 3-in-1 Jacket a necessity for your next hunting season!

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Carhartt Insulated Camouflage bibs: $130

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Another new take on an old classic, the Realtree pattern cotton duck bibs by Carhartt might be the last pair of bibs you ever need to buy! These bibs are essentially the same style of bib as the tried and true classic duck bibs that Carhartt is famous for. They are tough as nails, quilt lined and are now available in Realtree to give you that extra edge in the deer woods. These bibs are surprisingly water-resistant as well and give you two buttons up the waist for ease of layering possibilities and fit. Another positive of the Carhartt name is that there is an array of size options including short, regular and big & tall. We put on some miles during our gun seasons and walk through some nasty terrain. The Carhartt Insulated Realtree bibs seemed to ask “Is that all you got?” each and every time through the brush. There are certain brands that have a reputation that cannot be questioned for quality and performance. Carhartt is certainly one of them. If you’re a fan of the classic style bib from Carhartt, do yourself and favor and grab a pair in Realtree for the woods next fall. You won’t be disappointed!

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