Let’s talk about hunting pants. When you’re hunting, the last thing you want to think about is your pants, but if you hunt the backcountry days on end, all while living out of whats on your back, then you know how vital your pants can be in you gear selection.
First Lite is known for their merino wool hunting gear and their Kanab 2.0 Pants are no exception. They are soft, light and quiet, and they adapt well to any temperature. They retains warmth when wet, and it does not hold scent. No wonder guys have been hunting in wool gear for so long.
Let’s face it, an excellent pair of hunting pants are vital for so many reasons predominately because our legs are the things doing most of the work when hunting, especially when hunting on rugged mountains. On an extensive backcountry trip, a hunter is likely to experience a variety of weather, extreme chaffing at times, and a lot of sweat. At least those are a few reasons I prefer to select the absolute best pants I can find.
Merino wool excels as hunting gear for many reasons. First Lite originally marketed its merino products in the form of base layers, but then formed a pair of pants that are a game changer in the world of backcountry hunting.
I decided to give these pants a shot. I had been a fan of their base layers, so why not try these unique merino wool pants. I had used them heavily the past hunting season, in both California and Nevada, and I will tell you that I am very glad I gave them a shot.
The Kanab 2.0 Pants remain some of the most competitive pants in the hunting market, and I can clearly see why. They are extremely comfortable and adaptable to an extreme range of climates. I have worn these pants in the intense heat of a California late summer chasing blacktails, to hunting elk in the snowy mountains of North Eastern Nevada in Fall.
In the heat, they feel light and breathable, while in the cold, they feel warm and retain a fair amount of heat – especially when paired with some long johns. They really are a piece of gear that I enjoy putting to hard use.
Merino wool does not hold scent. This is because stinky bacteria cannot develop in the fibers of merino wool, the same way that it does in synthetic materials. This is probably the underlying reason I bought this pair of pants. I was tired of being able to smell my pants after a day of hunting in the heat. I could only imagine what the animals were smelling. Luckily, now I cannot smell my pants at all, no matter how hard I work or how hard I sweat.
These pants are fairly basic. Hand pockets, cargo pockets and a back pocket. As far as features go, they have built in drawstrings on the cuffs to keep brush and stickers out. They also have buttons halfway up the leg so you can roll them up into shorts when its really hot out, or you are hanging around camp.
These pants have really taught me that simple is not so bad when it comes to hunting gear. My favorite feature of these pants is the way they are supported on your body. They have a partly elastic waist band, and they come equipped with a pair of elastic suspenders. I never thought I’d be using suspenders until I was about 80 years old, but First Lite changed that for me. With these suspenders, hunting with a heavy pack is infinitely more comfortable than wearing a belt. There’s no rubbing of the hips and no awkward conflicts between your pack’s waist belt and the belt holding your pants up.
Though the pants seem soft, light, and thin, they remain fairly rugged. They are made of a course merino wool fabric, but infused with ripstop, much like a pair of military surplus camouflage pants. I have yet to get any rips, tears or worn down areas, but even if I did, the butt and knees are reinforced.
The only damage I have done to the pants so far has been from campfires – no, I did not burn the pants directly, nor was I set on fire. Sparks from campfires have landed on my Kanab Pants and put tiny holes right through the fabric. This is the only issue I have had with them so far, but unfortunately, I really don’t see a good solution for it. I carry a small sewing kit on back country hunts, and I have put it to use many times patching up tiny pin holes in these pants, in an effort to keep the tiny hole from spreading.
If you are looking for a solid pair of hunting pants that will thrive in a variety of conditions, give these a shot. I suggest these pants to the back country hunter, the spot and stalk hunter, and the ambush hunter. I would not suggest these pants to guys who are constantly crashing around in extremely thick brush – the guy who requires something thick and extremely rugged with some heavy padding.
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