First Lite just dropped the Trace System, a hot-weather clothing kit with a slew of proprietary fabrics and odor controllers, all in the name of keeping hunters cool when temperatures rise.
Inspired by feedback from whitetail hunters in the American southeast, the company said, the Trace kit is “purpose-built for hunts when humidity and temperature both crest 90.”
As a longtime central Texas dweller, I can say beyond the shadow of a doubt — that’s swampy. Too damn swampy to wear long sleeves and pants, unless they feel especially light and airy.
Glassing in August is brutal just about everywhere. Chasing pronghorn across the arid plains, trekking toward a bugle in early September heat, or just hunting where the temps never really drop — staying cool is tough. With so much of the hunting apparel targeted at keeping you warm, it can be hard to find durable gear that’s up to the challenge of keeping you cool.
The Trace System consists of a quarter-zip top and pants. First Lite deploys high-tech fibers with hybridized names to meet the challenges of summer in the woods.
KineticGrid — believe it or not — seeks to promote breathability. The “micro-porous technology” keeps the “microclimate” between it and your skin dry, First Lite says.
Interestingly, the tech results from subtractive manufacturing. A thread of yarn goes into the fabric during production, but heat treatment later melts it away. “This creates a porous material that allows airflow while retaining structural integrity and durability,” First Lite explains. The company also claims the fabric is quiet.
From there, the Trace gear gets a durable water repellent (DWR) treatment, plus an odor control additive called HeiQ. (If your hunting buddies can smell you from a mile away, so can a whitetail.)
The low-profile designs aim to keep snags at a minimum while you pick your way through the undergrowth. And tight weaves seek to keep the bugs out and resist punctures.
Pockets are engineered thoughtfully — First Lite places the Trace pants’ top and side pockets for easy access in a seated position, and the pullover’s pockets are supposed to sit out the way of your bino harness.
Finally, there are extra breathability and comfort touches. There are vents on the inner and outer thigh of the pants, and a thin collar built to deter the bugs but not trap in the heat. The pants get an integrated belt to lay flat under your pack’s hip belt. And there’s a built-in knife sleeve in one pocket.
The Trace pants and pullover each come in multiple camo patterns and solid colors, in six sizes from S to XXXL. The quarter zip is $100 MSRP, and the pants fetch $150.
“Whether you are hunting South Carolina’s August whitetail opener or baking in an archery blind waiting on an antelope,” First Lite says, Trace gear looks to keep you cool and dry.