Spring 2017 was the first time I hunted black bear, the first time I had been to the Idaho central mountains and my first experience with high-end hunting apparel. Like many, I wrestled for months with my decision in which brand to try. After a successful Rocky Mountain elk hunting season, I knew it was time to upgrade the clothes I was wearing and of which I had been so demanding. Many friends and family offered input as to which company provided the best value.
Discovering Skre Gear
By chance, I discovered Skre Mountain Gear, one night while surfing the web. The company was new and fresh. I read reviews that were available online, and to my surprise, all were positive. I visited Skregear.com and found that they were offering their 20% off sale on all gear. Prices were very competitive as they were without the discount but with the sale price, I decided to make the leap of faith and try a relatively untested company.
I tested the Hardscrabble Jacket/Pants and the Wasatch Crew Top for seven days in the rugged Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness located in Central Idaho. For those unfamiliar with the Frank Church, it is widely considered the largest and most remote wilderness in the lower 48. One can quickly become lost in its expansiveness for days and days in a sea of mountain tops and valleys and not see a road or another soul the entire time. To get the most out of this hunting trip, I was going to rely heavily on my new hunting clothes from Skre.
I can say that I am thrilled with my purchase.
Six Inches of Fresh Snow
We set out in search of spring bear and wolves. The first night on the mountain, it started storming, and we awoke to six inches of fresh snow and a very brisk 17°F temperature. Ascending the hillside to our baits was laborious in the new snow, but I was impressed with how comfortable I was in my new Skre gear. The jacket was light yet warm. The pit zips were very nice to dump heat. The pants were comfortable, durable and silent as I encountered almost every mountain terrain the Idaho central mountains had to offer. I spent half of the hunt in a tree stand and the other half spotting and stalking.
One day as we hiked to 10,000 ft and as we started glassing the mountain wind combined with sweat quickly became uncomfortable. I put on my Hardscrabble jacket, pulled the included hood over my head and cinched the pull chords, so it fits comfortably around my face. My hunting buddy who was wearing another brand of hunting camo quickly became jealous as I was able to glass on top of the rocks comfortably. The pants showed no signs of wear from sitting on the jagged limestone all day.
Pants with Side-Vents
As we hiked home, the side vents on the Hard Scrabble pant became my favorite feature and left me wondering why other companies had not incorporated the same design. Regulating body temperature is very important when all you have for clothing are what you are wearing and able to put on your back.
The camo pattern blended very well with all backdrops in the mountains from scree littered mountains faces to mountain pine behind my tree stand. While we did not see many bears or wolves, the mountain goats littered the canyon walls. I practiced my stalking skills by getting within 40 ft of a mature billy.
Closing the Gap with Mountain Stealth Pattern
The mountain stealth pattern broke up my silhouette and allowed me to close the distance undetected. Scent control was excellent, and I did not develop any significant body odor. Every night upon returning to camp I would change clothes, spray my camo down with a scent minimizer and in the morning my clothes had no residue of odor from the previous day.
I am pleased that I chose Skre and will be purchasing more of their line in the future. We did not harvest a bear or a wolf but the seven days in the backcountry proved an experience of a lifetime thanks to the quality of my gear and especially for my Skre mountain gear.