By: Chris Woodburn
Why do we need rain gear? That’s the first question we need to ask. For me, it’s simple. Do I want to be wet and miserable, or do I want ot be dry and somewhat sustainable in the elements. There are some folks out there that decide it’s not needed, or they decide cheap is the way to go, and others who’ve hunted Roosevelt elk in the great northwest and understand rain gear is vital to your comfort and in some cases, your survival.
My first time out hunting the costal range of Oregon I quickly realized, it would be nice to be dry… However, I was a newb in the search for the rainforest wapiti and quickly realized, this climate is wet. It was mid November and the rain was in full force. My buddy Craig and I woke up early in the morning, around 4:30 am, put on our blue jeans, flannel shirts, jackets and jumped in the rigs with a fresh cup of coffee headed off into the coastal range, somewhere around Siletz Oregon. The goal was to get to a landing, where logging activity happened a few months earlier, allowing new vegetation to sprout, offering a fresh feeding ground for elk. After we found the spot, we parked and waited in the dark early morning for a little light before heading off foot searching for the bull of our dreams. The air was wet and cool. Ok, it was cold, wet and in general, awful!
Most mornings we’d have multiple rigs drive by, just checking on spots, but one thing to be certain of, it would be raining while we wait. I suffered the first complete season with basically no rain gear by today’s standards. I had cheap set I purchased at our local Bi-Mart store. After 30 minutes in the elements I was completely drenched, and shivering from the cold. Those times in my life are what I call “learning opportunities.”
Today, I try to make sure I have really good rain gear, and one may ask what does it mean to have really good rain gear. There are a few pieces of criteria I look for or assess in my search for rain gear:
- Dryness; does it keep you dry during rain?
- Breathability; what ventilation options are available?
- Pockets; are there sufficient pockets available?
- Weight; since I generally hunt archery seasons, how much does it weigh?
- Noise; is the rain gear quite while moving through the timber?
As reviews would have it you compare the gear. However, I have personally used every level of rain gear on the market and I can tell you
from experience you get what you pay for. Example, I’ve used the cheap Bi-Mart gear, Columbia, Sitka and FORLOH. Each have their pros and cons, but on thing is for sure, if you want to be comfortable, dry and use the gear for multiple seasons you’ll need to spend the money. We were lucky enough to land gear from FORLOH, for our last elk season in Nevada. If you haven’t heard of FORLOH, or seen their products they’re a relatively new player in the USA made outdoor clothing market. I’ll try to lay out my thoughts around their rain gear and hopefully you’ll find the information useful, just in case you’re on the search for new outdoor clothing, or even some new rain gear.
Here’re the specifics and what I determined through a lot of use:
- Keeps you dry
- Fair number of pockets, storage
- Quiet when on a stalk
- Solid construction
- A little heavy
- Limited access to first/second layer pockets
The FORLOH rain gear is very nice, but at a bit of a high cost. The FORLOH jacket sits at around $299 and the FORLOH pants are $379. Yes, that’s expensive, but remember the criteria used to evaluate the gear, and also keep in mind it’s made in the USA. The gear is well constructed, solid material, which is very important
if you plan on hunting in areas with really wet weather. I was lucky to have the gear in my pack while elk hunting in Nevada during the past season. We were caught in the middle of a massive thunderstorm and the gear saved my bacon! I was able to quickly pull it out, put it on over my clothes without having to take my boots off. It kept me dry. This gear would be a solid choice if I was hunting moose in Alaska, searching New Mexico for elk at the end of the monsoon season, or rifle hunting the west coast of Oregon or Washington.
Some construction details for this gear are unparalleled with any other gear I’ve ever used. Some examples of construction quality and technology used to make this gear are: Airadigm™ Pulse Plasma, provides waterproof protection and exceptional breathability. Military grade Ripstop nylon for proven durability. Zipper vent flap on the back and underarm ventilation, for comfort and thermoregulation. Asymmetrical “wrist hood” cuff with quiet hook & loop Velcro enclosure, providing added protection to the backs of your hands. The list of construction and quality components goes on and on, and I will say they seem to have put an immense amount of thought into making their gear.
So, a question one may ask, “how do the cons affect my willingness to spend my hard earned money on this gear?” To be perfectly straight with you, the only con that would keep me from buying the FORLOH rain gear is the price. If I had plenty of cash and cost wasn’t a barrier, I’d be sure to have this gear in my bag. On the other hand, if cost was a challenge I would collect bottles, cans, or make a every attempt to build up my loose change pile to go and buy this gear. It’s just that good. As for the weight of the gear, yes that was another con, no problem. If you knew me and my propensity to carry heavy packs, you’d know I’d be ok carrying a little extra weight, if it meant I’d be more comfortable. The other cons can be wrapped up pretty simply by saying they didn’t impact my hunt or ability to keep me dry, so I wouldn’t really need to consider them when buying the rain gear. Note: I used the FORLOH’s men’s medium size, which fit my roughly 6-foot 185 lb. frame perfectly.
If we need to boil the FORLOH rain gear down to a single word, it would be IMPRESSIVE. FORLOH did win me over, as I’ve used many different types of rain gear, such as the SITKA pant and FORLOH just seems more solid. When you pull it out of the package you know it is well built, tough and going to work. Go check it out and their other products. They’ve come onto the clothing market strong with some great gear. Watch for some other reviews coming out soon. Let us know if you have any questions, we’ll reply as soon as we’re out of the woods.
Where to buy: FORLOH website.
Thanks for checking out the article and I truly hope you found the information useful. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. You can go see a live description of this gear on our YouTube channel below.