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Tested and Proven: How Problems Lead to Progress

Tested and Proven: How Problems Lead to Progress

The hunters were out for blacktail on Kodiak Island. The months of prep and planning were complete and the time behind the sights was plentiful. The duo had two tags, two seven-day ready packs, two bows and four pieces of gear still in testing. Their confidence was high.

But then the hunt came—and like many hunters find, there are just some things you can never plan for. Kodiak always has a chance of inclement weather, but they were not ready for record-setting amounts of rainfall. The steady downpour ensured that within hours, despite their best avoidance efforts, everything was completely wet out. Tents became waterbeds on the soaked tundra. Food was rationed—they’d already been forced to start consuming the one deer they’d managed to bag—and their exit window was closing. And in the end, the hunt had to be abandoned to avoid the risk of getting trapped in the storm.

Between heat, cold, fatigue and pain, no matter the hunt you’re on, no matter the preparation, you’re bound to encounter problems that need solutions. Train and e-scout and analyze to your heart’s content—in the end, something will catch you off guard.

That’s what we’ve found, anyway.

Obsessive consideration and brutal field tests produce a product that isn't just good on “as planned” hunts, but in the real, unforeseen, colder-than-ever-but-still-trying scenarios that pepper the journey to fill your tag.

Take our Attack Pant. Hip vents, quieter fabric, articulated knees and quick-drying material aren’t there for our love of over-engineering. It’s because hot, loud and constricted is a bad way to get where you want to go. These “features” are answers to the problems of heat, moisture, discomfort and noise. Problems discovered, primarily, repeatedly and personally, by an actual hunter testing the gear and facing them firsthand.

And then you have the cold: the element that, at its worst, is the most likely to make you throw in the towel. When we developed the Burner Parka, the goal wasn’t to make a warm coat—they can always be warmer, really. It’s because we had a firsthand experience where our gear fell short. Dozens of hours of testing brought the reality to the forefront: the coldest hunts need the warmest coat—one light and tough enough to get you through two feet of snow and come out dry. So we made it. Waterproof when the sun turns the snow on your shoulders to ice, highly packable and built to keep you warmest when the screaming crosswinds urge you to quit. Settle in and focus on glassing, shiver-free. We know it works because it’s been there and worse.

You can think about the beauty of the hunt all day long, but on the practical side of things, on the ground, hunting is about problem-solving. If you were too cold last time, what changes will you make for the next time? If you didn’t account for the fatigue of needing glassing knob #5, how are you adjusting your training regimen? And for every problem you account for, you know the more you hunt, the more you’ll discover.

Years of scouting, research, strategy and experience turn into hip vents and parkas and better plans for next time. Whether it’s your hunt or a story you hear from someone at the station, the lessons we bring back become the products of problems solved.

That’s the reality that every hunter knows and loves: the learning is never done.

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