New Welder Outfitters Gear Evaluation! 

Our lifestyle demands the best of gear, and we've seen the best and worst.  We've just started this from Fall 2014, so check back for evals on more gear.

Guide & Owner, Shawn

  • Frog Toggs are notorious for their lack of longevity and wear and tear but, they perform as well as the high end stuff with low absorption and great wicking ability. I don’t use the pants when in the brush because they won’t hold up.

  • Red Ledge. Imported from Vietnam.. My camo paints are light weight, don’t absorb much moisture, and perform like the high dollar gear! However I have patched and plugged holes and they are pretty delicate. Priced right.


  • Smartwool: Wish they were less expensive. It’s the sock I always choose first from my drawer.


  • Danner. My newer imported 800 gram Pronghorn boots don’t perform as well as my old 400 gram (American made) Danners. The leather, it’s all about the leather. Quality processed leather does not absorb much moisture but, still breaths. Great leather boots don’t need Gortex, Low quality leather absorbs moisture, eventually making it’s way to your feet (on the day you most don’t want it to). I did wear a pair of lightweight Goretex Danners (imported) this fall. The performance was greatly improved with a wider fit and good performance.

  • Sitka: I used their mid-range Gortex pants and their gators (they’re great!). Not all of our guides wear the same Sitka gear but, they all seem to be wearing Sitka gaiters. We beat the crap out of gear and Sitka will break and tear like anything else. How they back their gear may be the ultimate test for Sitka.

  • Vasque: I bought my first pair in 1981. Never wore them out. They were the boot of my choice for 25 years. The (imported) pair I bought last year at Cabala’s killed my wide feet and I gave them up within a month. I miss my old Vasque. Please come back..


  • MSR: I know everybody out there has their Jet Boil but I’ve had my old Mountain Safety Research stove for 30 years (with a couple rebuilds) and it still cranks up the BTU’s with the best of them. Way to go MSR!


Guide: Karl Maser



I am going to start with boots, if they are not right, the rest is just details...


  • Alico. Italian leather, no gore tex. a pretty simple boot really, heavy leather, vibram soles and well built. add lots of water sealant, and I have found my perfect early season hunting boot. I use the Alico Tahoe, it takes some breaking in, but it should last, and is great in our mountains.

  • Obenaufs boot dressing. Great for leather boots.

  • I  am still searching for the best insulated boot....

  • Cabela’s Predator 1000 gram thinsulated boot has been my goto in the late seasons. It is warm, and hikes ok, it is big, heavy and sloppy to walk in, but did I mention warm?!


Shell, Gotta stay dry...

  • Sitka, Yeah it’s expensive, but it works, I use the stormfront pants and coat, they will keep you dry, in fact I waded across the white river (thigh deep) and stayed dry by cinching the pants over my boots. I have put holes in the sitka gear by hunting oak scub this fall, but  with  a little sewing and Tenacius Tape, they are as good as new.



  • Inner Layers:

There are a lot of choices here, but polypropylene or merino wool are mine. Smartwool has a great line of merino wool. but there is lots of competition now... Kuyu, Sitka, 33 below, as well as Cabelas and Bass Pro Shops. Just as long as you DON’T WEAR COTTON!! After a recent frigid dip in the river (and not getting hypothermia)  I can attest to these life saving fabrics; they breathe and are warm when wet.


  • Secondary layers:

Here again I am  all about synthetic or down or both, but I will also throw in electric. Sitka again makes a great insulating layer, it is also light.  There are so many inexpensive down option I won’t mention any makers,  but high dollar and low dollar both keep you warm. Gerbings Core Heat vest is my insurance policy in the late seasons, when you are chilled and you can turn on a heated vest, it keeps you in the woods.



  • I wear Bass Pro Shops Ultimate Hunter Merino socks. They are warm, durable, and reasonably priced.




  • Kifaru: I led backpacking trips in my youth, and fell in love with Mountain Smith packs, when my  MS pack bit the dust  I followed Patrick Smith to his new compnay Kifaru. Besides being a major supplier to the military, they make the best hunting pack I have found, and they are all made in the USA.