Since I was in high school in the late 1960s, I have been a pretty serious backcountry hunter. Later, for over 20 years, I was a consultant for one of the leading makers of waterproof/breathable membranes used by outdoor clothing makers in the world. I say all that so you’ll understand that I have some deep background and experience in both the manufacturing of, and practical experience with, the evolution of technical hunting clothing and footwear.
So in the summer of 2016 when I was invited to the Minnesota farm of Scott Schultz — a 60-something life-long hunter who has traveled the world and worked for decades in the hunting clothing business — for an exclusive unveiling of his new technical hunting clothing line Pnuma, I was stoked.
“Hunters have specific needs when they head afield,” Schultz told me on that visit. “They need to stay cool when it’s hot, warm when it’s cold and dry when it’s wet. Sometimes we face all those needs in the span of a day — sometimes in the same hour! Hunters also need their gear to be silent, tough and keep them concealed. When those expectations fail, the results can range from leaving the field early to being life-threatening.”
“Pnuma apparel is designed to exceed expectations on every hunt — no matter what conditions hunters face,” said David Strandberg, Vice President of Pnuma. “Each piece of Pnuma apparel performs a specific task. Purpose-driven design and engineering is what we do exceptionally well. From our unique IconX zoned thermal regulation and muscle supporting base layer, the quality of our Merino wool, our waterproof insulation, fabrics that cool and warm depending on conditions, an all-weather Porelle membrane with a game-changing MVT (moisture vapor transfer) rating of 120,000 — most of today’s top-end garments have an MVT rating of 40,000 — and the best zippers in the world made by YKK; every aspect of Pnuma apparel is designed to deliver hunters a system that will keep them safe, dry, warm or cool.”
I recently spoke with Schultz about Pnuma’s first year, and asked him how things were going.
“Pnuma is going very, very well,” Schultz said. “The business model is aligned with today’s customers and how they shop. We are getting thousands and thousands of visitors to our online store everyday; hunters are also following us on Facebook (@PnumaOfficial), Twitter (@Pnuma_Official) and Instagram (@pnuma_official), #MoveInTheSpirit.) It’s working very well.”
That business model is simple — build no-compromise quality clothing and market it directly to the customer via the internet. “You won’t find Pnuma in retail and big box discount stores,” Schultz said. “This gives us two big advantages. Retailers can’t make demands on us to change designs or lower the quality of our gear to meet requested price points and required margins, so we remain in total control of product quality. We build stuff to meet the needs of our customers, not retailers. Best of all, since we’re not selling through retail we’ve also removed retail markup from our pricing; markups that frequently double the price of apparel.”
The past year’s customer comments have verified Schultz’s beliefs. “In everything we’ve done so far, from apparel models and styles to design and fabrications to our exclusive Terra camouflage pattern, has turned out to be exactly what we wanted,” Shultz said. “On our consumer surveys, we’ve received a rating 4.8 to 5.0 (on a scale of 1-5) on every single item. All things considered, it’s been a home run.”
On that trip to the farm, Pnuma clothing impressed me so much I wore it almost exclusively on all my hunting trips from then through this summer. I experienced everything from warmer-than-usual fall Midwest whitetail hunting to near-zero degree temps on a late November deer hunt in Alberta to near-100 degree days turkey hunting in Sonora, Mexico in April and hunting Axis deer in mid-June in South Texas.
Pnuma Performance Log
The accompanying pictures tell part of the story, but here are a few examples of the different tasks I asked Pnuma garments to do for me:
- In Alberta, the sun was already below the horizon when I had to run several hundred yards, then flop down, set up shooting sticks, and quickly make a 335-yard shot with a rifle.
- On a 100-degree, high-humidity June day in south Texas, I both sat in sweltering brush blinds and did some spot-and-stalk bowhunting for wary Axis deer. The breathability of the Pnuma tops, and tough-yet-quiet construction of the Tenacity pant were just what the doctor ordered.
- Hunting with both a crossbow and compound bow, I sat in ground blinds and treestands for whitetails in Kansas, Oklahoma and north Texas, and found the garments breathable and, just as important, super quiet. The ability to layer up also helps control the bulkiness, an important factor when bowhunting.
There’s more, but here are some salient points. First, the pants are very briar and tear-resistant and move with your body. Because all Pnuma garments are custom-fitted to you, the knee pads are in the right place on your knees, not down on your shin bones as is the case with other high-dollar technical pants I’ve worn. Second, the form-fitted tops also move well and quietly with your body, critical when being stealthy. Third, all this stuff is tough. I beat it to death, actually trying hard to make it fail. I ran it through washing machines and dryers a lot as well. Never experienced a failure. And the zippers work as advertised, eliminating another of my pet peeves with some other products.
And get this: Pnuma is so confident of its quality, the company offers a one-of-a-kind lifetime guarantee. “We hold ourselves and our products to the absolute highest standard of manufacture and performance,” Schultz said. “We are so confident our apparel will get you there and back we will fix, repair, or replace it — for life. It is one thing if you are selling a garment that gets light use, but it’s another thing when that product goes up and down a mountain, up a tree, over fences and into the bush. Pnuma is built to be beat up and keep going.”
Are you serious about your hunting? Then you owe it to yourself to visit www.pnumaoutdoors.com and check this stuff out.
Featured image: My Waypoint Jacket helped keep me toasty warm without added bulk during many hours of sitting in ground blinds that let the wind inside.
Alberta Whitetails (November 2016)
Texas Axis Deer (June 2017)
Mexico Gould’s Turkeys (April 2017)
Texas Whitetails (December 2016)
Oklahoma Whitetails (November 2016)
Nebraska Whitetails (November 2016)