Times have moved on a little for the days of a pair of stubbies as standard wear in the bush. Maybe modern hunters are a little softer and need more warmth, maybe we got sick of having our shins cut up every time we bush bashed or maybe we realised that pasty white (speaking for myself) is not the most subtle of colours when it came to camouflage.
Whatever the reason, trousers are a great option for hunting. These are my thoughts on the Hunters Element Hydrapel Trousers.
Hunters Element is a Wellington based company dedicated to producing someone of the best hunting gear available in NZ. Run by Robert and a team experienced in all aspects of hunting, they produce gear that fits well, works well and looks good.
The Gucci of hunting gear.
Since Hunters Element new Veil Camouflage camo out and since getting my hands on some of it, I have been referring to it as gucciflage (reference here) – probably in my case as more of a compliment than in the movie, in my case basically meaning they produce gear that looks and feels like someone actually thought for a bit about how they fitted.
It’s likely one of the first things you will notice when you put on the Hydrapel Trousers. They feel more like a fitted pant and less like the generic baggy still you often get. They are a much slimmer fit that you might be used to. Again, almost giving the feel of being tailored.
I realise it’s a totally superficial observation – except in this case function definitely follows form – as the trousers also move well, not binding and getting bunched up as some trousers do.
After a recent trip to the Kaimanawas, the Hydrapel Trousers were dirty, muddy, wet at the edges and still keeping me warm and protected. Even the local Robin was keen to check them out!
One of the features I really like about the trousers is the zipped vents on both legs. These run from over top of the thigh down to the knee and do an excellent job of moderating temperature. When mobile I simply opened the zippers and never overheated, then zipped them back up in the evening to maintain warmth. With a set of 3/4 thermals under them, I was still comfortable during the brisk mornings (around 4° Celsius).
Keep it zipped.
I don’t think I could wear pants without zippered pockets into the bush anymore. Because I always have a minimum of a pocket knife, a torch and a lighter in my pockets, being able to secure the contents of my pockets becomes quite important. The Hydrapel Trousers don’t disappoint, with 2 well zipped pockets on the front. There are no rear pockets – but rear pockets have never really made much sense to me – you can’t put anything in them and then sit on them.
Would I change anything?
Well, I would call the Hydrapel Trousers water resistant, not waterproof. While water will generally bead off the trousers, if you sit down on a wet log, you are going to end up with a wet butt. I was partially wishing they had a seat patch like my Ridgeline Stalker pants – just to keep the butt dry when taking a break in the bush, but I also realise it could introduce noise and as they are these pants are most certainly quiet.
The only other comment I could make would be regarding the saturation of colours of the camo. It is really just a minor quibble though. I doubt the animals care.