High Country SKRE Gear Review by Brad Lowry

Summer is right around the corner here in Wyoming. This is the time of year when I like to reflect on memories from the previous season and begin to prepare for the upcoming season. Part of that preparation includes revising my hunting gear as needed to make sure I have the necessary tools to be successful for upcoming adventures. Honestly, I am a backcountry hunter, who spends the hunting season in high country above 10,000′ where the weather can change in an instance.

I am not looking for the latest and greatest hype or something fancy that catches the eye. Rather, I am looking for gear that performs exactly how I need it to, every time, with no questions asked. Every season I am putting my gear to the test. In the landscapes I hunt, it’s not an easy test to pass. Last season I decided to buy new performance hunting clothing from SKRE, based off reviews of hunters I trust. Not only did this stuff pass the test, it set the bar. I have worn every brand worth mentioning when it comes to performance hunting camo, and SKRE is the first system I truly feel is worth the money.

I purchased the following SKRE performance layering system:

Kaibab 170 Merino Wool Base (Top & Bottoms and Beanie)

Hardscrabble Vest

Hardscrabble Pants and Jacket

Neck Gaiter

Deadfall Gloves

Hardscrabble Gaiters

COMFORT and DURABILITY 

Upon receiving my new SKRE package, I tried everything on. I wanted to make sure everything fit as the SKRE website size chart said it would. I used their size chart to prevent having to send items back, though you can do so free of charge. Most articles were true to size, but I did size up a couple items as the chart recommended. The first thing I can say is SKRE is the most comfortable system I have ever worn.

Base Layers

The Kaibab 170 base layers are made from superfine wool that is insanely soft. I noticed whether I was sitting on a cold pile of rocks glassing at first light, or climbing endless elevation mid-morning, the base layer kept my temperature regulated and my skin dry. The breathability and odor control are second to none. On most early September days, the merino bottoms were not necessary.  This part of season I wore the hardscrabble pants, merino top, and the hardscrabble vest for 90% of the daylight hours. Temps varied from 30-65 degrees on average with the wind-chill occasionally dropping the temp a bit more. I always carried my hardscrabble jacket in my pack in case of a light rain shower, and to wear at first and last light when temps would drop. During the season, I walked over 200 miles in high elevations with sharp rocks, marshy meadows, pine trees and boulder fields, and wore this system the entire time, washing it on weekends when I was home.

Soft Shell

The MTN-X2 shell, of the hardscrabble line, not only kept my temperature perfectly regulated in all conditions but also made it through this rugged terrain unscathed! This clothing system was worn for over 40 full days in rugged terrain, countless hours in the snow and sagebrush and there is not one pinhole, loose stitch, or tear anywhere. Believe me when I say, I am HARD on my stuff! With SKRE offering a lifetime warranty on their gear, I was probably even harder on it knowing if anything failed, it would be replaced with no questions asked. Before this, I have never even had a pair of hunting pants make it through a season without basically needing replaced. The multidirectional stretch technology also makes the Hardscrabble line hard to beat when it comes to mobility.

Accessories

The Summit camo pattern blended perfectly in both the timber and the high rocky terrain. It also kept me hidden in the sagebrush flats while predator hunting. The Hardscrabble shell stopped wind in its tracks, but remained highly breathable. As the season progressed and temperatures dropped, I found myself adding the Neck gaiter, Deadfall gloves, and Hardscrabble Gaiters in to the mix. The neck gaiter is made from ibex 170 wool, provided great insulation as well as concealment and odor control, and did not cause chaffing like a lot of neck gaiters tend to do. The gloves were very warm for amount of dexterity they provided. They blocked the wind effectively and kept my hands dry. The leather grip on the palms provided great traction as well. The Hardscrabble Gaiters were made to be very durable. They were very easy to put on and remove and did their job well. I think the gaiters are slightly noisy due to the durable material they are made from, but I have no other complaints with them.

CUSTOMER SERVICE and VALUE

If basically flawless performance is not enough for you, let’s talk about warranty.  SKRE has a lifetime warranty on their performance gear. A few companies offer a lifetime warranty on their gear, SKRE is the only one I have dealt with that LIVES BY THIS PROMISE.  You can’t go wrong with a company that manufactures outstanding performance gear and stands behind their promise to their customers with no questions asked. I have talked thoroughly with SKRE’s owner and providing the best customer service in the business is his priority.  I saved the best for last! After reading this review you are probably thinking to yourself, “man, this gear has got to be pricy”. Well guess what, it’s about 1/3rd of the price as anything in the performance class!

Editor’s Note: This review was sent to us by Brad Lowry, who is a verified customer.