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Firstlite Catalyst

Updated: Sep 20, 2021


In Michigan we hunt deer by ambush. This includes long hours on stand, and a spectrum of changing weather. For obvious reasons you need to be comfortable, but also your clothing must allow you ready for action when it comes running. Early season hunts can be mid-70’s and muggy, but later in the season freezing temps and snow are sure to become part of the story.

Twenty years ago, our clothing options were limited to a few choices. For the first couple weeks in October we’d wear long-sleeve t-shirts, and our winter options were the big brown canvas zip up’s or a mishmash of thermals and sweatshirts. The huge gap between these options would leave you either shivering uncontrollably or sweating in the stand like a wrestler cutting weight.

This isn’t the case anymore because we have so many fantastic options in hunting gear. There are some basic principals you must understand if you want to consistently get it right, and this means clothing yourself in layers. Here’s how to do it.

Start next-to-skin with a thin-wicking material, which pulls sweat and moisture away from the skin. Over this goes a mid-layer (I prefer two), then an insulating layer, and finally an external shell to block wind and precipitation (Gore-tex or similar). This concept works splendidly for other outdoor sports too, and applies to climbing, backpacking, skiing, etc.

Outdoor brands use polyester almost exclusively for their garments because its proven to be lightweight, insulating and wicking, all suited to aerobic activity outdoors. Poly is also sourced from repurposed materials like plastic bottles – a huge positive for the environment. Any drawbacks tend to go unnoticed until a few unlaundered wears, the point at which it begins stinking like a dirty gym locker. The positives usually far outweigh not smelling like a spring Lily. So what if your climbing partner stinks? No big deal. Sweat drenched clothes from your day on the trail making the tent ripe? Air it out. In certain applications, scent matters greatly, making it no bueno for hunters chasing after critters that possess incredibly sensitive noses.

Over the past several years, we’ve seen high-performance merino wool clothing come to market, lauding the merits of wool as nature’s most effective material for wicking and insulating, even when wet. Merino wool is all this, plus it’s incredibly soft and comfortable. What’s more, it doesn’t attract the same microbial activity as poly does when sweaty. Translation: no stink, (especially in those areas prone to maximum funk). FirstLight is a company doing a bang-up job manufacturing clothes for the demanding hunter.

Their merino base and mid layers serve as some of the most comfortable and functional hunting apparel I’ve owned. This starts from sourcing the b