Like many other hunters out there, I assume that if I had more gear and better gear – I would be more of a hunter and a better hunter. I probably missed those deer right over the ridge because my pack doesn’t have a hydration bag, right? While I know that’s not logical reasoning, I still fall for it from time to time. Sometimes it just provokes me to waste money, but sometimes I find something that actually does take my game to the next level.
Up until recently, my camo selection was dictated mostly by whatever I could snag on sale at the local big-box outdoors store. But not to long ago I saw some photos that had me second guessing the sort of camo I had been choosing.The photos were a comparison between two guys in a hardwoods bottom, one wearing a popular mimicry-style camo pattern and the other wearing a more open style camo. The comparison photo, at a very close range, showed no real difference between the printed tree (mimicry) pattern looked and the open patterned one. However, from a distance of just 15 yards the mimicry pattern started to look like a black blob while the open, digital-looking, pattern was almost impossible to detect. It seemed like the open style camo blended into the surroundings while the mimicry pattern blobbed together and became more noticeable. I realize that being still, silent, and playing the wind are my best camouflage, but I’ll take every advantage I can get.
Before I knew it, I had launched into a research project that consumed several evenings. I looked at tons of pics, camouflage patterns, descriptions, comparisons, reviews and forums about what makes a camouflage pattern effective. I came across very scientific articles about the cones in the eyes of deer versus human eyes, and how that should impact our camo selection. I found guys who loved one pattern over another, and even guys who credited their pattern of choice with allowing them to get so close to animals they touched them. One guy claimed he touched a whitetail doe on the rump, and she kicked his arm so hard he lost fine motor skills in his fingers for a couple days from bruising to his forearm.
Eventually I came to the conclusion that I wanted to get away from the popular, printed mimicry style camos – but what should I choose? Based on price-points, pictures I saw of the camo in action, and the ability to find it at a trusted dealer I dealt with for other items, I decided to start my wardrobe shift with ASAT (All Season All Terrain) camo.
I had seen ASAT (All Season All Terrain) camo before, but never really paid attention to it. To be honest, when glancing at it on the shelves of the only store within 60 miles of me that stocks it, I figured it was a gimmick and went on my merry way. After doing my homework and looking at no less than 100 photos of the camo in action, I wanted some for myself. A random internet forum “guru” (most forums are full of “gurus”) suggested that if one had the rain gear and the 3D leafy suit, they would have almost every hunting situation covered. I agreed, and I could get both for less than a single jacket in the other style camo I was looking at. So I punched in my credit card numbers, and it was on order.
Once I got everything in, I was very eager to try it out and wanted to post my thoughts on here for any of you who may be interested in trying out something new.
1. It is a lightweight and easy to pack system. The ASAT Rain Gear & Vanish Pro 3D Leafy Suit combo truly is a versatile system. I’ve been keeping it in my truck this turkey season for quick after work hunts, and it’s working great. For longer trips, the rain gear comes with compact stuff sacks, and the leafy suit can be packed into one of the jacket pockets. The whole set, face mask, gloves, knife and water pack easily into my small waist pack. I’ll have no problem keeping the rain gear at the top of my regular bag during any season for sudden rain showers.
2. The 3-D Leafy Suit can be worn over just about anything. With a mesh base layer, and generous sizing, the leafy suit can be worn with jeans and a t-shirt underneath on spring days, or with a few layers underneath for cold winter mornings. The advantage to using it as an outer layer is that a person wouldn’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe to begin hunting – they can just wear the layering clothes they already have with the leafy suit on top. If it is raining, the rain gear fits nicely underneath the leafy suit adding depth to the dryness.
3. ASAT is a very effective camouflage in the hardwoods I typically hunt. The whole premise of ASAT having a base tan color is so it will reflect its environment, thus making it a versatile pattern. This is an attractive feature since it would eliminate the need for early season camo with green in it, regular season hardwood camo, brush/reed duck season camo, and tree stand specific camo. I can’t vouch for the other seasons as of yet, but in the thick woods where there is a layer of leaves covering on the floor, it’s very effective. As you can see in the pics, just 10 yards away and the ASAT seems very effective. Some seem to think it has too much tan in it when viewed at close range, but I do not see a problem here. These pics were taken in the open hardwoods behind my house – as you can see it blends in well from about 8 yards.
4. Zippers in all the right places. One feature I love about the ASAT rain gear, and especially of the 3D Leafy Suit, is the ease of putting it on. When you’re crouched on a tailgate in the dark, trying to shimmy on your final layers of camo, large leg openings and quality zippers are greatly appreciated. I don’t have any trouble getting the leafy suit on over my boots. The rain pants are a little more snug, but not difficult. I guess that is just a trade you make for keeping the moisture out.
5. Price-point. I got the ASAT brand rain gear, 3D leafy suit, facemask, and gloves all for about the price of a nice jacket from one of the premium brands. First Lite has some high quality wool clothing in ASAT that I am pretty excited to try in the future, but for now this was an inexpensive way to get into a new camo pattern and begin my wardrobe shift.
1. The rain gear is not meant for all-day sits in the rain. I recently wore my rain gear out for a turkey hunt where it rained for a solid 4 hours. Everything seemed good, and I really only felt wetness around my wrists where the rain was running down my arms and soaking through my glove cuffs. I blamed my gloves for my wet sleeves, but when I took the rain gear off I found that my shoulders and a spot by my neck had leaked through into my wool layer under the rain gear. It wasn’t soaked, but definitely wet. When I realized my wool jacket was wet, I inspected my rain jacket to find water drops collected inside the fabric. After examining the rain gear, I noticed that some of the stitching had small holes where the thread passed through the material. There is some kind of waterproofing plastic weld on the seams, but a few spots were missed at my shoulders and neck – I suppose letting water through. I had no problems with the pants, and only in those two locations with the jacket. I would say that as a packable system to pull out for sudden showers, the ASAT rain gear is going to do fine. I believe that is what it was designed to be and anyway. If you are looking for something you can hunt in during an all day down-pour, you may want to look at something else.
2. The sizing on the ASAT gear seems to be designed for shorter folks. I am no Yao Ming (at 6′ 1″), but I typically struggle with sizing so this is more my personal issue than a fault of ASAT. Most Large sizes are short on me, but fit me well in the girth department. Some clothing manufacturers offer their clothes for more athletic cut fellas, but not ASAT. Maybe there will be a Large-Tall option available soon? Until then, I would order an XL next time in the rain gear to get a little more length in the jacket. The pants work great in a Large. The 3D Leafy Suit was fine in a large, and it did not seem as short in the jacket [*the length difference is visible in the side-by-side pic above]. However, the face mask with the leafy suit is very snug on my noggin. Perhaps that is due to my above average size cranium, or perhaps they run small.
3. The rain gear is pretty loud when moving through brush. If you cringe at the sound of corduroy pants swooshing between the thighs of the fashionably challenged, then you may not enjoy the ASAT rain gear. It doesn’t make much noise if you move slowly in open areas, but if you move briskly or through some undergrowth and thorns, it’s going to make noise. I tried wearing the Leafy Suit over the rain gear to quiet the sound (the Leafy Suit is extremely quiet), but it only amplified it by grating against the rain gear’s fabric as I walked. This noise will not be an issue in rain or wind, but in the stillness of the damp woods I felt like I was dragging a plastic rake with me.
I would definitely recommend the ASAT Vanish Pro 3D Leafy Suit to anyone looking for a great do-all camo. I have really come to love being able to just slip it on over my jeans and jacket and hit the woods at a moments notice. I would suggest the ASAT Rain Gear as a light and packable option, but not for all-day sits with a lot of rain.
Well, I know this was a longer post than normal but I hope it was helpful to someone. I know how I like to research my purchases before making them, and a post like this would have been a great help to me when shopping around. Maybe it will be for you as well.
Was there a question you had about the Vanish Pro 3D Leafy Suit, ASAT Rain Gear, or the review in general that I didn’t answer? Feel free to leave a comment asking any question you have and I will try to answer it or point you to a resource that can.