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Field Test: Best Rain Gear for this Year

Field Test: Best Rain Gear for this Year

Since we hunters are known to spend hours in the open, it's a given that we require comfortable, durable attire. While a little rain can never deter a truly hardcore hunter from taking to the treestand, soggy clothes chilled to brisk temperatures make for less-than-desirable hunting conditions. Luckily, there is a multitude of apparel options for the extreme weather hunter designed for the sole purpose of keeping you dry — and they look good too.

We picked up four of the best hunting rain suits on the market and closely examined each one with the help of our new intern Lisa. Since simply poking, prodding and stretching the gear wasn't enough, and the dry, arid summer at our home office didn't allow for much actual testing via Mother Nature's liquid refreshment, we grabbed a hose and a bucket and made it rain. Check out the results.

The Testing Process

Before we begin, here's a look at the rigorous training process to which each piece of gear was subjected, made possible with the help of our seasonal intern.

Cabela's Rain Suede

Ideally, rainwear should be waterproof, quiet, packable, lightweight and comfortable. All the better if it's affordable, too. Although Cabela's Rain Suede suit, at 3½ pounds, is a bit hefty for remote trekking, the majority of hunters simply want gear to shield them from the foul weather blues...without dehydrating their wallet like a prune. This is where Rain Suede shines, offering solid protection in a quiet package that doesn't cost more than a new rifle. The jacket features multiple pockets for storage, a large hood with visor, and a mesh liner to wick moisture away from the skin. The pants offer half-leg zippers for easy on/off access, an elastic cinch waistband, and belt loops and suspender attachments for versatile wearing options. Rain Suede provides good protection without costing a pretty penny.

Price: $240

Kryptek Poseidon

A new player in the market, Kryptek's slogan is 'Battlefield to Backcountry, ' which makes sense. The company was founded by a pair of military vets and hunters with the goal of offering top-notch outdoor gear at affordable prices. Kryptek's Poseidon top and bottom merge lightweight packability with squall-defying performance. The top is a simple ½ zip pullover with exposed hood. Nothing extra. Even pockets are left out in the quest for lightweight simplicity. Pants are similarly frugal and built from a 2½-layer shell with fully-welded seams devoid of manufacturing shortcuts. They feature leg zips to ease entry in case of immediate rainfall. The Poseidon's lack of features may dissuade some, but for high performance at a minimal weight penalty, they represent a great value in packable and durable rainwear.

Price: $400

KUIU Chugach NX

Named after and built to tackle North America's toughest terrain, KUIU's rainwear is made in Canada from the finest, lightest, and most durable materials. It's not the quietest raingear available, but that's about the only fault we can find for the Chugach, which features the lightest three-layer waterproof fabric available. When you are looking for the utmost blend of compressibility and water-shedding, check out the four-way stretchable Chugach line. The jacket sports twin pockets, a sizeable storm hood, full-length zip front, pit zips and Velcro adjustable sleeves. The lightweight bottoms fit like real pants and include side zips, an elastic waist, and an attached belt. Sizing runs true to size, so order one size larger if you plan on layering underneath, as a bulky underlayer makes for a tight fit.

Price: $550

Sitka Stormfront

Sitka gear is not for hobbyists. But if money is not an issue or you're an investment banker itching to complete your sheep slam in style, the Stormfront system — priced like a waterproof Armani suit in Optifade camo — is right up your alley. The jacket has pit zips and four pockets. In fact, it has all the bells and whistles you can think of, including a stowaway hood, articulated arms and elbows, and three-layer Gore-Tex shell with fully-taped seams for durability and waterproofness. The pants come with suspenders, an internal belt, and full-length side zips. Fit, finish, and performance are excellent for both articles of clothing. However, unless it's a handmade Italian leather jacket or comes with a Filson-like unconditional lifetime guarantee, [imo-slideshow gallery=173],000 for made-in-China rainwear is beyond ridiculous.

Price: [imo-slideshow gallery=173],150

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