High Performance Hunting Clothing
We featured Browning’s original Hell’s Canyon line in our clothing reviews last year and overall, it fared very well, with intelligent design, quality materials, and great function. Now, new and just coming out for summer 2016, Browning has taken it up a notch with the release of their new Hells Canyon Speed line.
The mantra for this line is “Light, Fast, and Lethal”, and it lives up to billing. A few of our editors were able to test advanced samples of the Speed line for many of our 2015 hunts and we can say with ease that it definitely boosts Browning into the conversation when it comes to the upper echelon of performance clothing for serious Western hunters.
The camo pattern is a proprietary A-TACS camo. The fit, called a HeroFit, is an athletic cut meant to minimize bulk and weight. The Speed line is designed as an all-inclusive system – easy to understand and cover all bases.
There are three core sets of gear to keep in mind – the Javelin for extremely light, early-season hunts; the Backcountry for the core September/October hunts; and the Hellfire for more extreme high country and/or November/December hunts.
Some of our favorite things: 1) The diversity of designs and overall assortment of product allows for a tailored system to your hunting style and needs; 2) it enables you to hunt with full confidence in your clothing system; 3) extremely comfortable; 4) dense shell weave allowed water to bead/run off quickly; 5) extremely quiet materials; 6) quality materials for the price.
Could have been better: 1) a full-length zipper on the raingear would allow even easier on/off, 2) on a very nitpicky scale: the Shrike insulated jacket tended to lose form a bit in the washer. It was easily fixed by tugging on the sleeve when you put it back on. It’s still a great jacket and extremely warm.
Let’s take a look at some of the main pieces in the Speed line.
Backcountry Jacket: Lightweight and breathable, this 2-layer polyester/spandex soft-shell jacket is great for basic water/wind resistance. It has five total pockets, draw cord waist, full-length zipper with storm flap and beard guard, and open cuffs with internal gaiters. Sizes: S-3XL. Cost: $199.
Backcountry Vest: a solid, versatile piece to add some warmth to the jacket or to be worn on its own for more breathability. Built in the mold of the Backcountry Jacket with very similar specs. Three total pockets. Sizes: S-3XL. Cost: $169.
Backcountry Pant: This lightweight, breathable soft-shell pant is a 2-layer stretch-woven fabric bonded to a quiet stretch fleece. Designed to be durable yet comfortable, this polyester/spandex pant has articulated knees and a full gusset. It also provides solid wind/water resistance. It has five total pockets, all with zippers. Sizes (even): 30-44. Cost: $189.
Hellfire Jacket: The Hellfire is a more robust polyester/spandex jacket with removable hood, designed to span the entire gamut of weather fall can bring. It is a 3-layer soft-shell with a stretch-woven windproof/breathable/water-resistant fabric laminated to a soft, stretch fleece lining. It has body-mapped PrimaLoft insulation to provide maximum warmth without unwanted bulk. It includes two chest and two hand pockets, a draw cord waist, and full zipper with internal storm flap and beard guard. Sizes: S-3XL. Cost: $259.
Hellfire Pant: Built in the mold of the Hellfire Jacket – 3-layer soft-shell pant with fleece lining. It also has body-mapped PrimaLoft insulation. It provides five total pockets with zippers, and is engineered with articulated knees and a full gusset. This is an ideal November or high-country, colder-weather pant for active western hunting. Sizes (even): 30-44. Cost: $249.
Javelin Jacket: Designed to lightly guard against wind, sun, and a slight chill, the Javelin is an ultra-lightweight jacket to keep you moving fast. The shell is a woven polyester and features two zippered hand pockets. Sizes: S-3XL. Cost: $119.
Javelin Pant: The matching pant for warm/hot weather hunting. A light but rugged double-weave polyester shell with articulated knees and full gusset. It also has four total pockets and a zipper fly. Sizes (even): 30-44. Cost: $99.
Shrike Insulated Jacket: This polyester shell/body-mapped PrimaLoft insulated jacket is as warm as they come and comfortable. It has two hand and two chest pockets, elastic cuffs, a full-length zipper with storm flap and beard guard, and can be worn equally well alone as a shell or as a primary insulation piece. Sizes: S-3XL. Cost: $229.
Rain Slayer Jacket: A lightweight, packable rain jacket, the Rain Slayer is a 3-layer shell with Pre-Vent membrane laminated to a featherweight fleece lining. The seams are fully taped to add full water protection. It has a fully adjustable hood, watertight Velcro cuffs, draw cord waist, and full-length zipper with storm flap and beard guard. Sizes: S-3XL. Cost: $279.
Rain Slayer Pant: Matching pant for the Rain Slayer Jacket. Fully taped seams, packable, and waterproof. It has one thigh and two hip pockets, articulated knees, gusseted crotch, knee-to-cuff zippers for easy removal, and a zipper fly. Sizes (even): 30-44. Cost: $259.
The rest of the line: A very extensive system, the Speed line also includes the Trailhead Hoodie ($129), Phase ¼-Zip Top ($89), Phase Pant ($79), Plexus Mesh SS Shirt ($59), Plexus Mesh LS Shirt ($69), MHS ¼-Zip Top ($99), MHS Bottom ($89), MHS Brief ($44), Speed Cap ($20), Phase Beanie ($29), Phase Neck Gaiter ($24), Phase Liner Glove ($29), Backcountry Glove ($39), and Hellfire Glove ($69).