November 06, 2020
It seems a bit counter-intuitive, but to succeed in the camouflage clothing business, you have to stand out from an ever-increasing crowd of options. While there are many ways to do that, there’s one sure-fire strategy that will put a new brand at the forefront on the industry – source materials and make all of its clothing right here in the U.S.A. Creating a 100 percent made-in-America garment is not an easy task, but in today’s world, it’s a smart move, and one company that has made that commitment is FORLOH, an innovative new hunting clothing brand based in Montana.
Backed by apparel and hunting industry veterans, FORLOH set out to change the way hunting clothing was made, and often that meant sourcing material and manufacturing techniques from outside the world of the traditional garment industry. FORLOH incorporates technology ranging from aerospace to automotive, creating gear that does a better job protecting hunters from the harsh conditions we typically find ourselves in.
“We got fed up with how things were done, so we’re using FORLOH to help create the change that we want to see,” said Robert Yturri, a 30-year industry veteran who heads the company’s product development efforts. “We can make what we want to make, versus having to choose from off-the-shelf options. Don’t think of us as just a hunting apparel company. We want to offer a premium product made in the USA that really does come from the heart of systematic change.”
That change is quickly apparent from the moment you take a look at FORLOH’s core products. Gone are many of the names of legacy insulation and membrane brands that make up typical garments out of China and other off-shore locations. They’ve been replaced with newly developed technologies and materials coming from right here in the U.S.A, often co-created by FORLOH specifically for the outdoor market.
Deep Space Base Layers
One thing FORLOH didn’t change was building out their technology based on the proven three-layer system that hunters rely on in the face of ever-changing activity and environmental levels. This integrated system starts with a mid-weight Deep Space base layer built from four-way stretch Trizar yarn straight out of the NASA space program. Trizar captures heat from the body and wick moisture away from the skin. This regulates the hunter’s temperature, whether he or she is actively hiking or on stand.
Because scent-control is imperative to a hunter’s success, the Deep Space line also incorporate several layers of odor protection. Zinc fibers in the Trizar yarn, along with Polygiene Stay Fresh, create an anti-microbial treatment that stops body odors from building on the garment. To combat outside smells from being absorbed, FORLOH treats every Deep Space garment with Odor Crunch that all but erases foreign smells within minutes, an industry exclusive.
ThermoNeutral Insulating Layers
I’ve long championed a vest as being a hunter’s most important layering piece, and with FORLOH’s down vest, I’ve found a favorite. As part of their ThermoNeutral insulation line, which also includes a hooded jacket and pants, the down vest creates a lightweight, non-bulky insulating layer that can be worn alone over a base layer, or in conjunction with an outer water- and windproof shell for all-day, and all-season protection.
The ThermoNeutral vest and jacket are filled with 650-fill-power Activ-Dri duck down. The one knock against down has been its loss of insulation value when wet. FORLOH’s Activ-Dri treatment decreases the amount of water or sweat the down will absorb by more than 60%, while still maintaining its high warmth-to-weight ratio. The baffles are also sonically Perf-Welded in place, which allow perspiration vapors to vent out of the garment, yet prevents water from penetrating. In layman’s terms, this means the ThermoNeutral layer will keep hunter’s warmer and drier, even during periods of high activity.
AllClima Protective Shells
Many apparel companies claim their rainwear and outer shells are waterproof and breathable, but the latter is hard to measure, and frankly, hard for the average consumer to understand. In their AllClima series, FORLOH is the first-to-market with a new way to apply the durable waterproof treatment that average outdoor garments coat their fabrics with to repel rain from the surface. Instead, FORLOH uses something called Pulse Plasma that essentially infuses the fabric with a DWR finish, rather than just coating the outside. This not only greatly increases breathability, but also results in a significantly lighter garment that maintains all the shell fabrics quiet, flexible properties as well.
The Science of Camo
Rather than design a camouflage that just mimics sticks and leaves, FORLOH created camouflage patterns based on nature to effectively conceal hunters in a wide variety of terrain. Using Crypsis technology, the design’s background pattern and tones are color-matched to environments typically found in a big-game animal’s natural habitat. Additionally, bolder, contrasting colors disrupt the animal’s vision and disguise the human form against all backgrounds.
Currently, FORLOH offers two distinct patterns – Deep Cover and Exposed. As the names suggest, each is designed for a particular type of terrain. Deep Cover is most effective in timber, forests, brush and other heavily vegetated country. Exposed, as you might guess, is just that – made for hunting the open country that makes up a large part of the western U.S. A third pattern – Snowfall – is in development, and should be available by late season.
Inclusive Camo for the New Breed of Hunters
Perhaps most exciting is FORLOH’s approach to the changing face of the modern hunters. With hunting license sales increasing against a wide range of demographics, and a hyper-focus on the field-to-table movement with an interest in sourcing sustainable meat, a diverse group of new hunters have made their way into the woods. Along with the launch of a men’s line of camouflaged hunting clothing, FORLOH is introducing the same, advanced hunting apparel technology to women and children. This is another first in the industry, and one that definitely sets FORLOH’s tone as a disrupter in an otherwise traditional market.