Hunting gear has evolved in the last fifty years. Here’s how it has adapted to meet our needs.
Hunter’s clothing must go through many rigorous tests before it is unleashed for use in the field. Hunter’s gear must keep you safe and warm; it must have places for attachments to clip on, and it can’t slow you down when you are moving through the undergrowth.
Hunter’s clothing has evolved in modern times to incorporate new technology and fabrics. However, it has always been tough, protective, warm, and versatile… and we can prove it. Let’s look back at the evolution of hunting gear over the last fifty years to find out what’s changed.
Fifty Years of Hunting Gear
Let’s look back at what they were wearing in the 70s as a starting point.
1970s Hunting Gear
Japanese and Korean canvas fabrics were big news in the 60’s and the start of the 70’s. Brands like Duxbak were selling briar-proof nylons that weighed very little but that were tough enough to do the job. Even so, they could not keep up with the influx of foreign fabrics in the marketplace. They slowly went out of business, along with several American made hunting gear suppliers.
Another company producing high quality hunting wear back then were Drybak. They offered clients their money back if their clothing didn’t keep them dry. This firm was eventually acquired by Brunswick. Gore-Tex was first invented in the 70s, a product we can all agree changed hunting forever.
1980s Hunting Gear
Deer hunting and fishing were the two main hunting sports of the 80s. Just like the bright colors and bold designs of day-to-day clothing, hunter’s clothing got big and bold. Camouflages were patterned, while sleeping bags, tents, and outdoor supplies were all outfitted in bright, eye-catching designs.
Of course, all the bright colors stayed in camp while the hunters went out in their imitation army camouflage gear. The 80s seemed to be the decade when hunting gear switched from all brown and green to actual camouflage, designed to stop them being spotted. Big brands of the decade were Columbia Sportswear, famous for fishing gear, and mullets were as much part of hunting gear as they were of daily life.
1990s Hunting Gear
Camo became huge as everyone cottoned on and realized how good an idea it was. You started to get camos for all seasons of the year. Cold Weather Hunting Clothes became a distinctive camo of their own.
The biggest invention in hunting gear of the 90s was in the buff, a tubular pull over that was designed by a Spanish motorcyclist who wanted to protect his head and neck in the cold weather. This piece of hunting gear quickly replaced any form of scarf, since it was snag resistant and came in light and heavy.
2000s Hunting Gear
The idea of being a minimalist hunter gained traction in the early noughties. A certain romance was attached to the notion of being able to bring down a buck with nothing but a bow and arrow. The multi-tool was first brought out to fill this niche, with the Pocket Survival Tool invented in the 80’s reaching its peak in 2001.
2010’s Hunting Gear
More modern hunting gear has focused on technology and how we can use it to better our game. Fabrics that could partially eliminate your scent became popular, as did the Human Energy Concealment System jackets that blocks up to 90% of a human’s energetic signature.
Ultra-tight microfibers, camouflage fleeces, and compression jackets, all became popular too. Let’s not forget the pride of place though. The good, old-fashioned parka really had its day.
2020’s Hunting Gear
Although it remains to be seen what the true best hunting gear of the decade will be, there are already some great products on the market. Camouflaged weaponry and optics are emerging as desirable, and we finally got round to making the tents and sleeping bags camouflaged, as well.
The remainder of this decade is going to be interesting in terms of technology and hunter clothing. We can’t wait to see what they come up with next.