Evolution of Hunting Gear

Gear utilized to hunt big dangerous mountains and access rugged remote backcountry has evolved drastically over the last century and gratefully so. To bag the trophy of a lifetime and live to tell the tale around future campfires, the pioneers of technical hunting gear had to be as tough as the nails in their boots, and the blood in their veins. To fully grasp todays innovations, and to gain a greater respect for the old ones, we aim to take you on a nostalgic journey as we examine the then & now of technical hunting gear.

In the Beginning

For decades, Oldtimers would use a string of pack mules and stout mountain ponies to hunt areas far from any road or trail head. Because the animals did the bulk of the heavy lifting, the weight of gear was not a big deal. Gear consisted of cast iron pots and pans, massive canvas tents, canned food, and heavy cotton and itchy wool garments.

Painting of A Hunter In America
Painting of a Hunter in early America

However, this method of hunting posed one big challenge. Livestock needed to be watered and fed daily. This meant camp had to be situated in close proximity to a good supply of mountain pasture and a hearty water source. This limited the areas where the old boys could set up camp. Consequently, these horse camps were not always near the best hunting spots, which forced hunters to venture out, sometimes many miles from base camp. This meant lugging a heavy canvas frame pack filled with heavy provisions. Then technology happened.

Early Hunter in Clothing with Supplies
Painting of early American hunter with mules and supplies

In the 1930s, a number of DuPont Chemical researchers led by Wallace Carothers were furtively creeping their names into the archives of history through a prototype polymer identified then as “fiber 6-6.”

Wallace’s squad originally set out to research commercial uses for polymers, which are large “building block” molecules that are now used in everything from hunting pants to rain gear.  Carothers and company made the polymer by combining hexamethylenediamine, a crystalline substance that easily bonds with acids, and adipic acid. They then pulled strands from the blend and spun them into plastic filament using a technique known as cold drawing.

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Three years later, DuPont’s manufacture facilities could spin up to 12 billion pounds of Nylon annually. The corporation originally tested nylon in toothbrushes, but ultimately focused on tapping the women’s hosiery market……hence the name nylons.

In 1941 the original polyester fiber called Terylene was produced. In 1946 Dupont purchased all legal rights from the British and came up with an additional polyester fiber which they named Dacron. Polyester launched as a group of polymers in W.H. Carothers’ laboratory. Polyester was first introduced to the American public in 1951.

Then one night in 1969, in a basement, Bob Gore inadvertently made outdoor exploits a lot more comfortable, and with that revolutionary discovery of Gore-Tex he also became the richest man in Delaware by creating the synthetic fabric which repels liquid water while simultaneously allowing water vapor to pass through.

Bob Gore Yanking on A Polymer
Bob Gore yanking on a PTFE, imitating how he discovered ePTFE.

Best of all, these new synthetic fibers and fabric inventions offered many of the same performance qualities: light weight, excellent insulation, water repellency, breathability and durability.

Technical Hunting Gear

It wasn’t long before mountaineering pioneers and outdoor junkies lept at the opportunity to craft outdoor apparel utilizing these newfound synthetic wonders. In 1965 North face was founded, followed by Patagonia in 1973 and Marmot in 1974. The revolution in technical outdoor gear had begun and was a foundational platform for the production of technical hunting gear. Consequently, it took the hunting industry 30 years before they took full advantage of the technical revolution. Maybe this was a blessing, considering many of the specialized fabrics invented almost 50 years ago, were even more scientifically advanced than before.

Once the hunting industry caught the technology bug, the rest they say is history. To say lightweight hunting gear has come a long way in the last two decades would be a gross understatement. Hunting gear is lighter and more resilient than ever and for the first time in two decades, hunters have choices. Lots of choices! Consequently, performance hunting clothing 30 years ago, offered very few options in concealment (camo) patterns. Who can forget Grandpa’s Woolrich red and black plaid pants and collared shirt? Sure, Paul Bunyan and old Babe would have been proud, but these bold and trendy patterns did little to conceal a hunter’s silhouette.

Woolrich Wool Hunting Clothing
Woolrich wool clothing, an early hunting clothing option

In recent years, all that has changed. Presently, there are some pretty dang good choices in lightweight hunting gear offered in a variety of camo patterns and performance features. Enter SKRE Gear. SKRE was founded in 2015 with the purpose of providing light weight durable performance hunting gear to hunters all over the globe. Operating as direct to consumer model, SKRE offers hunters a multitude of Extreme Layering Pieces with zero compromise in quality, and best of all, at a responsible price.

Layering System at it’s Finest

While SKRE cut their teeth on performance and durability, they simultaneously built the company on a bedrock of unmatched customer service. SKRE offers a no questions asked return policy, a sizing guarantee, and an unconditional lifetime warranty. SKRE gear is genuinely a brand that checks all the boxes and is a company hunter’s have come to rely on. When it comes to rugged durability and backcountry dependability, SKRE has your back.

Learn more about our layering system at it’s finest in the Early Season Bundle or Summer Bundle.
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