The majority of hunting I do is for waterfowl, so most of my gear is waterfowl-oriented. Just makes sense, right? But I also like to chase turkey and big game when I have the chance. So my waterfowl gear needs to have a level of versatility to it. The pieces of the MST Guide Series do a great job of adapting to my changing needs.
As any hunter or outdoor athlete knows, layering is a key in staying warm without overheating. When looking at adding a good fleece layer, The MST Guide Bibs and MST Guide Zip Top were obvious choices for me.
First, they both have waterfowler-friendly features like a zippered chest call pocket to keep your calls warm during cold days or to keep your favorite call out and your back-up call tucked safely out of the way. The bibs also have built-in stirrups so they stay in place when wearing waders. However, the same stirrups stay in place equally well when wearing hunting boots for other types of hunting.
Both pieces are made with 8-oz., four-way stretch microfleece that's designed for freedom of movement without restrictions. The low-pile fleece also does a good job of wicking moisture away from the skin to keep you warmer during periods of high-exertion activity.
The cut of the Bibs eliminates the aggravating bunching and untucking you have at the midsection with similar garments. Plus, the open hole arms allow for unrestricted freedom of movement when shooting or drawing a bow.
The biggest test I put this gear through was on a cow elk hunt in Chama, N.M., in the fall. The weather conditions varied from cold during the morning hunts to fairly warm with dropping temperatures for the evening hunts. It was very easy to underdress for the evening hunts with the deceptive afternoon temperatures. By the same token, it was easy to overdress for the morning hunts with the climbing temps.
In both cases, I was thankful for the insulation and moisture-management properties of the fleece. The pieces did a good job of adapting with changing weather conditions as well as changing situations. One minute, we'd be hustling up a hill to glass, then sitting still for 30 min. or more. Next, we'd crawl through the New Mexico underbrush, only to lie still when we might be spotted.
During all this, my body didn't experience the typical "cold spots" you get with other layering systems. In fact, I rarely thought about it at all, and that's the true testament of a garment doing what it's supposed to.
Click this link to purchase: Drake MST Series