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Gear Review: The battle of the brush pants.

A breakdown of the best new to market brush pants available today.


It is no secret that upland clothing has been calling out for innovation and with brush pants being one of the few things the majority of upland hunters universally need, this is the area I was hoping to see improvement in first.


Old school brush pants have a boxy fit, look dorky, and can be uncomfortable. The areas where previous incarnations of the brush pant were lacking were in the fit and technology departments. Previous brush pants had a one fit-fits all approach, with most being tailored to the slightly larger guy, leaving guys with chicken legs like myself look like they are swimming in a pair of pants. The technology used in older versions was simple. Simple construction and simple materials which left me wondering why they hadn't adopted to better technology like the rest of the outdoor gear world. With brush protection the key purpose for these pants, it meant that they were heavy and never looked great, so a seamless transition to the bar after your hunt became harder - If you wanted to blend in with the crowd that is.


Below, In order of release to market, I break down the newest offerings to the male upland hunter and my thoughts on each model. I am first a foremost a Chukar hunter, so keep that in mind as your needs and experience with these products may differ.


Orvis Pro LT Hunting Pants

Last year Orvis introduced their Pro LT line, consisting of a new upland shirt and a new pair of brush pants. This was their first model to incorporate a variety of new technologies (If you don't count their waterproof ToughShell line). I wore the pants for the entirety of last season so I had a good grasp of how they perform in varied situations.



The pants are constructed with 'Synthetic stretch-woven Cordura with hydrophobic fibers for better moisture control' and feature a slight articulation in the knee making their movement more natural. While they mention 'stretch' in the product description, the pants themselves are not overly stretchy but still remain comfortable enough to climb the Chukar hills - a necessity for me. They are coated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) to protect from dew covered grass and light rain, however keep in mind that this does not mean waterproof. I found that the DWR coating on this particular fabric did not hold up for the whole season, so an aftermarket treatment would be necessary to retain the water resistance.


Additional features include a reinforced knife tab on each front mesh lined pocket, a single zippered back pocket and a somewhat odd cell phone pocket that seems like a good idea but not really necessary. Their two-tone look means you'll look a little odd at the bar after your hunt, but all in all they are a decent looking pant.


The pants are built with warm weather hunting in mind, so with that comes less weight, more breathability but also less brush protection. If brush protection is what you're after, these are not for you. They are however the perfect pant to accompany you early season on the Chukar hills or a September Sharptailed Grouse mission.


Size offerings

Waist 32-46

Inseam 30-34


Fit - ★★★

Construction - ★★★★

Technology - ★★★★

Brush Protection - ★★

Looks -★★★


Best use - Early season hunting where briars and thorns are not an issue.


First Lite Sawbuck

The Sawbuck brush pant is First Lite's first offering that directly caters to the upland community and one can only hope that they are testing the waters for future upland specific products. I wore these for the majority of the 2019/20 season and they have performed far beyond my expectations.


Their construction was well thought out with all the features you'd need and none that you don't. There's ample articulation in the knees, stretchy fabric exactly where you want it and ample brush protection in the areas you need it most. All this topped with a DWR coating that lasts, means this pant was a home run in my opinion. While they do run hotter than the Orvis Pro LT, they are not too hot to be worn early season yet still warm enough to be used once winter comes around. The single toned 'Conifer' color looks great and could pass as a regular hiking pant, meaning you won't look too out of place walking into the local bar after a hunt.


Size offerings

Waist 32-46

Inseam 30-34


Fit - ★★★★

Construction - ★★★★★

Technology - ★★★★

Brush Protection - ★★★★

Looks -★★★★


Best use - The all-season work horse, built for a variety of terrains and conditions.


Pyke Gear Kiowa Pant

The youngest company on this list, hailing from Michigan is Pyke Gear. Pkye's founder Brent told me that his core goal was to bring technical gear to the upland market and he's off to a great start!


These pants were super light and comfortable and almost felt like you're wearing a pair of jogging pants. Like some of the other pants on this list, they incorporate both stretch and a DWR. While they won't protect you from the nastiest of brush, there's more than enough protection for the average hunter.

They ditched the normal two-tone look of brush pants, meaning they look like hiking pants, however I wasn't too keen on the grey and felt they could have a more fitted look - just a personal preference.


Size offerings

Waist 32-44

Inseam 30-34


Fit - ★★★★

Construction - ★★★

Technology - ★★★

Brush Protection - ★★★

Looks - ★★★


Duck Camp Brush Pant


The first brush pant offering from Austin based Duck Camp was the most stylish of the bunch. A tailored fit and single tone pant meant that this one looks just as good walking around town as it does chasing your bird dog through the uplands.

They are constructed of a durable Cordura fabric that's tough and can fend off whatever prickly bushes you throw at it. The fabric is so thick however that it does restrict movement a little while climbing the chukar hills. If you're primarily hunting flat land however, I think you'd have enough range of motion to hunt in comfort.


While the pant doesn't really work for me in the Chukar hills, it is comfortable enough for every day use and looks great. I'd definitely recommend these to the hunter that stays on flat land, or the person looking for the


Size offerings

Waist 30-44

Inseam Regular and Tall


Fit - ★★★

Construction - ★★★★

Technology - ★★

Brush Protection - ★★★★

Looks -★★★★★


Best for: The flatland hunter that appreciates style.



OVERALL WINNER: First Lite Sawbuck


After wearing all of these pants for extended periods, they all have their strengths and weaknesses but if I were to pick one pair to wear for the entire season, it would be First Lite's Sawbuck - almost flawless in their execution!



WORDS

uplndr - Adventures in upland hunting, fly fishing, overlanding and mountain life in the Western United States.