First Lite Corrugate Guide Pants
Here at S&S Archery we get a lot of calls from hunters asking for advice on products. Some of the questions are tough, “How should I tune my bow for broadheads?”, and some of them are super easy. One of my favorite easy questions is “What hunting pants do you recommend?” For big game hunting in the west my answer is always, First Light Corrugate Guide Pants. As with everything else at S&S Archery, we only sell what we use or have used. I am using the Curragte Guide pants now, but it wasn’t always that way…
I started hunting right after i got out of the Marine Corps. It was such a natural progression, i went from hiking for miles with a heavy pack and a weapon to, well.. hiking for miles with a heavy pack and a weapon. So naturally when considering what pants to wear, I would grab my camo utes (camouflage utility pants), and head up the hill. Sounds logical right? Well, as it turns out, maybe not. The utes would get wet and STAY wet, either in the rain or dew from the tall grass. And it took forever for them to dry out. They were loose, and baggy. I guess that was an attempt to be comfortable and allow movement. Yea, they did allow movement but the fit was horrible! I was constantly pulling them up and always needed a belt. Any kind of breeze went right through, which was OK in the summer, but during hunting season, that’s not ideal. As you can imagine i was rarely comfortable.
Fast forward to late 2015 and I have come a long way from the kid who was hiking up the hill in camo utes, flannel shirts and Danner pronghorns. These days I am usually backpacking in for 3-5 days, living off what’s in my pack. I wear a Merino wool base layer, technical polyester or nylon outerwear, and trail running shoes (that’s another story). Because in the backcountry you need every advantage you can get, especially when you are chasing deer and elk.
When you think about First Lite, you normally think about their Merino wool. After all First Lite was the first company to bring Merino wool to the hunting market. But in the last few years they have gotten really good at making outerwear too. So good in fact that Field and Stream chose the Corrugate Guide Pants as their “Best of the Best for 2015”.
The Corrugate Guide Pants are comfortable. If my wife would let me, I’d wear them everyday. The first time I wore them hunting I forgot to wear a belt. I was concerned because my old pants (from another high end
clothing company) had a tendency to fall after a while, just enough to cause me to be constantly tugging them up. Not a problem with the Corrugate Guide Pants. Suspenders are also an option as there are loops, 2 in the front and 1 in the back. But i don’t think these are necessary for the most part. The Guide Pants are made using a Duraflex nylon fabric that is lightweight, yet stronger and more durable than polyester. Nylon will stretch, and these pants do, but it has a resiliency that will hold its shape. Meaning that your pants will not stretch or shrink over time. And because they are durable, you can expect the Guide pants to last through many years of tough use. One feature that some guys like and some don’t, is the tapered legs. They are a great fit when you’re wearing gaiters or like me if you wear a low rise boot, or trail running shoes. However for guys who wear high riding boots, you may have a problem keeping the cuffs down over the boots.
Naturally hydrophobic, nylon will expel water, but when you combine this Duraflex nylon with First Lite’s 37.5 Cocona technology, you get unmatched breathability. Working with your Merino wool base layer, the 37.5 system pulls moisture from the inside of your clothing and releases it to the outside. (37.5 actually refers to the temperature and relative humidity where your body is most comfortable and efficient.) Unlike the Kanab 2.0’s the Corrugate Guide Pants are treated with a DWR, so while they are not waterproof, rain and snow will bead up and roll right off.
The Corrugate’s have 5 pockets. Two deep hand pockets in the front, I’d like to see these lower to accommodate wearing a pack. One zippered pocket in the rear, and a unique set of cargo pockets located on the outside of each thigh. Called 3d cargo pockets, one pocket is zippered and behind the zippered pocket is another pocket with a loose lid. The lid is just the right size to keep what’s inside the pocket, inside. I love this design, but i wish the cargo pockets were a bit bigger.
Like the rest of the First Lite gear, new for 2015 is the Fusion camo. You can checkout Steve’s review of the fusion camo here. We love it. Everything i have is Fusion and its been the best pattern i have used up to this point. ASAT is also a great hunting pattern. Dry Earth would be a good color for general everyday use, and just so you know, the Pine color is VERY green.
As I said these pants are comfortable. Very comfortable. Here are the pros and cons as i see them.
- I love how they stretch with your movements
- I like the tapered ankles
- I love the Fusion Camo (like the ASAT too)
- They are very durable
- Breathability ensures you’ll stay dry on that hike up the hill
- Out of the box nylon is not super quiet. they do get quieter as you wash them.
- cargo pockets could be bigger
Even with the couple negative points, these pants are my go to pants from August through late October/ early November. After that, add a pair of Allegheny bottoms, and hunting gaiters and you’re good for the rest of the winter. Give them a try this year, you won’t be disappointed.