A Lifetime Field Test: 3 Outdoor Brands That Have Stood the Test of Time

Some outdoor products fail long before they should, while others seemingly never wear out, even after decades of hard use. Here are three outdoor brands that continue to impress the author.

A Lifetime Field Test: 3 Outdoor Brands That Have Stood the Test of Time

Dependable clothing helps hunters stay comfortable in the field. One of the author’s favorite choices during spring turkey season is Gamehide’s Elimitick clothing.

I’ve been hunting since the late-1970s, so I can speak from some experience regarding a few outdoor brands that have stood the test of time. As teased in this article’s title, I will highlight three companies. Further, I’ll detail the specific gear items that continue to perform after decades of regular use.

 

Gore-Tex Rain Gear

I own several rain suits featuring Gore-Tex lining. Some of these garments are designed for fishing, which means they keep me dry but aren’t totally quiet. (Fishing rain wear doesn’t have to be silent to be effective.) Some of my Gore-Tex gear is camo but still noisy; it’s designed for waterfowl hunting. The most expensive of my Gore-Tex gear is camo and quiet; it’s designed for pursuing wild turkeys and big game, where silence is golden.

My oldest Gore-Tex rain suit is a camo jacket and pant that is too noisy for big game hunting but works great for duck hunting and fishing. I received it as a birthday gift in April 1982, and I still wear it regularly. It’s hard to believe, but all the zippers work in the jacket and pant, the seams are in good shape, and it still keeps me dry while hunting or fishing in the rain. Note: The brand of my vintage Gore-Tex rain suit is 10X, but I can’t comment on the current lineup of 10X gear. I think the brand has been acquired a couple times since my rain suit was made, and I haven’t tried any of the newer 10X gear.

The author’s 10X brand rain suit featuring a Gore-Tex lining was bought in 1982 and still works well in the fishing boat and duck blind to this day.
The author’s 10X brand rain suit featuring a Gore-Tex lining was bought in 1982 and still works well in the fishing boat and duck blind to this day.
Gore-Tex gear is guaranteed to be waterproof, wind-proof and breathable.
Gore-Tex gear is guaranteed to be waterproof, wind-proof and breathable.

Gamehide Camo Clothing

When it comes to hunting clothing, Gamehide is far from the most expensive. In fact, I’d consider it a value brand. That said, I have Gamehide jackets and pants that are at least 20 years old, and I continue to wear them each year. Some of the garments are lightweight Elimitick shirts and pants designed to repel ticks (top photo), some of it is midweight gear I wear during deer season when air temps are 35 to 65 degrees, and I also own a heavyweight parka and bib for colder situations. The midweight garments I wear most often have been redesigned over time, and best I can tell, the replacements are the Gamehide Slammer Jacket and the Slammer Pant.

Gamehide Slammer Jacket and Pant
Gamehide Slammer Jacket and Pant

FYI: Gamehide also makes my favorite hunting hats and neck gaiters. Specifically, check out the Knit Hat (CH1) and Drizzle Knit Hat (CHW). Price is $19.95 and $24.95, respectively, which is a steal.

The author (left) has worn Gamehide clothing to pursue everything from crows to caribou for more than 20 years, and now his teenage sons are relying on the brand, too.
The author (left) has worn Gamehide clothing to pursue everything from crows to caribou for more than 20 years, and now his teenage sons are relying on the brand, too.


LaCrosse Rubber Boots

I’ve been using and abusing LaCrosse rubber boots since the early 1980s. During warm-weather turkey and deer hunts, I rely on the uninsulated LaCrosse Grange, and then change to warmer LaCrosse Burly boots when temps are 60 degrees or less. These boots hug my feet due to their ankle-fit design. I tuck my pants into the boots, which means I can cross shallow streams and swamps without getting wet.

Important note: During warm-weather hunts, especially spring turkey season, I find fewer ticks due to the combination of LaCrosse Grange boots (smooth rubber) and tucked-in pants. And when I wear Gamehide Elimitick clothing (see above) with my Grange boots, my tick encounters are almost always zero.

Uninsulated LaCrosse Grange rubber boots have been keeping feet dry since they were introduced in 1957.
Uninsulated LaCrosse Grange rubber boots have been keeping feet dry since they were introduced in 1957.

When late-season conditions are at their worst and it’s brutally cold, I wear LaCrosse Iceman boots (below). These are also my boots of choice during the ice fishing season in my home state of Minnesota. I bought my Icemans in 1987 and even though I wear them hunting or ice fishing dozens of times each year, they are still going strong.

LaCrosse Iceman boots will keep your feet warm and dry in the worst hunting conditions imaginable. The author wears his pair ice fishing, too, often with the Yaktrak Diamond Grip system (right) for sure footing on glare ice.
LaCrosse Iceman boots will keep your feet warm and dry in the worst hunting conditions imaginable. The author wears his pair ice fishing, too, often with the Yaktrak Diamond Grip system (right) for sure footing on glare ice.
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