Sunday, August 16, 2015

Game Gear Camouflage Review: Function and Durability

One of the main reasons I attend the Hunting and Outdoor expos are to find some outdoor gear that I haven't heard about yet through main stream media.  This past year I attended the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo in Salt Lake City and was introduced to some great new gear.  One of the new companies/gear I was introduced to was Game Gear's hunting clothes.  My first impression was that I liked the pattern that seemed close to a few other brands I was familiar with, yet different enough to give it a unique break up.  I sat and chatted with the people in the booth for quite some time and then moved on my way.  After the expo, it didn't take me long to decide I wanted to know more about Game Gear and their hunting clothes.  I checked into their company and decided I would do some research and share what I found with my followers!  One of the first things I will point out is that Game Gear has been making athletic clothing for over 72 years (Since 1943) so even though they may be new to the hunting/camo industry, they are well seasoned in making clothing built for active life styles!

I ordered me their Tala Mid Season System which currently runs at $230.00 for the following items:

Tala Shirt (BT3002LH50)
Tala Pant (SL3003H50) 
Tala Vest (WS3004H50) 
Heat Tech Shirt (H603S)
Heat Tech Brief (HT113)

Considering that some of the camouflage companies these days are selling their pants alone for prices between $150 - $650, the package deal from Game Gear is a great purchase considering what you get! The pants are polyester with a mesh liner and the vest is polyester with a fleece liner.  Both are stitched with 100 weight heavy duty thread to hold up to the elements while hunting.  The shirt is extremely soft and comfortable made out of a polyseter/lycra blend.

I received the Tala System around the first of May and have been hitting the mountains pretty hard testing out the gear.  I could have easily written a quick post in June stating that the camo was great and that I would recommend it to anyone looking for new camo, but I wanted to make sure to give the gear, and my readers, an in-depth review to make sure I wasn't just writing out of excitement of owning a new set of camo.

The pattern: 
At first I will admit I thought the pattern was kind of a knock off of the Kuiu pattern, but when I set them side by side to Kuiu, Sitka, and other brands of camo, I realized how all of them have similarities and distinct features which set them apart from one another.  As far as how it works in multiple settings, I will let the pictures do most of the talking while I just say that I'm glad that I finally own camo that I can wear in all of my hunting elements! I love how well the patter performs in everything from desert sage brush, cattails in the duck blind, and high mountain pines or aspens.  I would say the best performance out of the Game Gear pattern would be in the desert/sage brush, the aspens, and in the cottonwoods.   Be sure to click on the pictures to make them bigger. I also have lots of other pictures if you would like to see them in other settings please let me know in the comments and I can email you a few pics.

Aspen trees
Aspen trees with shadows


Rocky high country pines



Crawling in the desert
Kneeling shooting my bow in the sage

Sitting then standing in a tree stand





















Standing in the cattails
Here is my 411 on the Tala Pants:
The pants were comfortable, durable, and as with the rest of the camo, I like the pattern.  The pant waist band is built structured in the front and elastic in the back to give them a comfortable snug fit.  With the the way the waist is constructed, I could wear these pants without a belt and they would sit right all day long while hunting.  The length of the pants seemed a bit long when I first tried them on but when I put on my hunting boots I loved how they stayed low while hunting and walking through thick brush.  On the Game Gear website, the state how the length of the pants is "generous" to keep ankles covered while squatting or kneeling.  I would say that their design and purpose behind the longer pants was one thing I wouldn't have thought about when looking for a good fit of pants.  Another feature I like about these pants is how the knees are sewn differently than any other camo pants I have ever owned.  They are sewn angled which is a lot more aligned with the stance and movement involved with hunting.  It didn't matter if I was walking, running, standing, kneeling, climbing into my tree stand, or crawling the pants never bunched up, crawled up, or became uncomfortable.


The pants also have a mesh liner to "optimize air flow and breathability" as stated on their website. They also have two back pockets, two deep hand pockets, as well as two convenient zipper pockets on the thigh.  I will say though, that if you plan on hunting in cooler weather, it would be wise to wear thermals, or a warmer base layer, rather than what comes with the Tala System.  I ended up getting caught in a snowstorm while looking for bear mid May and needless to say my legs were pretty cold.  The pants are also water repellent and wind resistant.  Don't confuse that with water proof... Hiking in wet cold conditions, my legs still got wet when wearing these pants after hiking for a while.  If you are hunting in such conditions it would be wise to wear gators (Just like with most other camo/hunting pants).  I myself would like to see Game Gear make some water proof gators that they would offer as accessories for hunting in such conditions. 
 
Now onto the Heat Tech Shirt:
The shirt is very comfortable and extremely soft.  I won't go on an on about the shirt; I will just state that the cut is very supportive of the movement of both bow hunting and rifle hunting.  The material was a great match for hunting due to how fast it dries when aired out.  As I would hike around either hunting or scouting I would work up a sweat, stop for a rest and let me gear air out, and within just a couple minutes the shirt was dry and ready for me to comfortably continue on my way.  When in the cooler conditions the zipper zips high enough to cover the base of my neck securely to help keep the heat in and keep my neck warm.

Next up is the Tala Vest:
The vest is a great piece of gear which I really enjoy hunting in.  The vest has two chest zipper pockets as well as two hand pockets down by the waist.  The zipper is a high quality quiet zipper with a sturdy rubber zipper pull.  The vest keeps your warm and protects you from moisture without restricting the movement needed when hunting.  I enjoyed wearing the vest on all of my outings even if they weren't always outdoorsy just because of how comfortable it was.

Now to be fair, I will post the one concern I have/had...
I wore this system for quite some time and put it through some pretty good tests.  I feel the products are all built great and should hold up for any of the hunters out there.  I do wish the pants were a bit thicker/warmer... The polyester is a pretty thin material and it didn't seem to take much before my lower half started to feel the chill when the temperature dropped.   I'm not one to get cold while hunting so this was not a comfortable feeling for me while in the mountains.  The shirt and vest kept my upper body warm, while my lower half was a bit cold.  This could easily be fixed by wearing the warmer base layer offered by Game Gear so, I wouldn't say this would be much of a deal breaker when considering purchasing this gear, just something that is good to be aware of.  I want you all to know that I worked very hard to give the Game Gear as unbiased of a review as I could. If it wasn't for the the cold weather I wouldn't have anything to say in this section.

Sooo... to wrap this all up:
 To me,  the Game Gear camouflage is a great purchase for what you get.  For a company who has been building athletic clothing for over 72 years, it shows in their new line of camo! This is not a company who looked around and tried to copy what someone else was doing.  These people are hunters, athletes, and outdoors men/women who know what works, and who have decided to start marketing their line to hunters!  If you see me in the mountains this year you can bet I'll be wearing my Game Gear camo... but then again that's if you see me...