Gray’s Best 2017

(River Travelers, by Chet Reneson)

ACCESSORIES & APPAREL: Patagonia Field Pant

patagoniapantWith the emergence of athletic, technical hunting wear in the past ten years, no apparel brand has had more outside influence on that trend than Patagonia. Which makes it ironic that they have largely sat out the market, preferring instead to serve their mostly non-consumptive base of skiers, climbers, surfers, and fly anglers. But now they are thinking of hunters—sort of. If you search Patagonia’s website for “upland wear,” for instance, you won’t find any products by that name. But there is no mistaking the birdy purpose of Patagonia’s new field pant, pullover, and shirt. This is despite the fact that the two-tone color combo for their excellent upland shirt doesn’t mention “hunter” or “blaze” orange, but instead is known by the more PC sounding “El Cap Khaki” with “Campfire Orange” sleeves. Whether Patagonia wants actual hunters to actually hunt in their new Field Pants ($99) ultimately doesn’t matter. What counts is that we now can, and should. Or at least warm-weather hunters should. These are not New England brush busters, but rather a perfect early season plantation shooting pant made of DWR stretch nylon with 500-denier nylon front panels that shed dew-laden broom sedge like… well, like water. Articulated knees, a gusseted-crotch, reinforced cuffs, zippered flat pockets, and double stitching throughout give the pant that streamlined, techy feel that Patagonia helped perfect. I suppose one could wear them to climb El Capitan or build a ceremonial sweat lodge, but they look like pretty dope bird-hunting pants to me. And for that I am stoked. Maybe even super stoked.