Hells Canyon Clothing Range
- By Pete Moore
- 3 Comments
- Last updated: 21/02/2018
Browning have always offered clothing, initially and mainly to the shotgun market, with skeet vests and that sort of thing, but soon branched out into temperate and cold weather designs. My first encounter was the XPO series (Extreme Performance Outwear), warm, waterproof, comfortable and breathable in a choice of modern camo patterns, as well as green and blaze orange; for driven hunts, it’s hard to beat. It consisted of big and heavy parkas and over-trousers, along with gloves and hats. Currently, I use the latest version of the wildfowler’s Grande Passage coat and salopetts for the winter in MAX-4 camo and it has kept me warm, dry and comfortable in some seriously bad weather, plus a Blaze orange parka for the driven hunting.
Later, Browning added to their clothing line with a product range called Hell’s Canyon, which was a more modern, technical and lighter weight approach, with the addition of fleeces. As much as I like the full on XPO line, there are times when the weather is better, it can be a bit too hot and big and heavy to pack. Plus, more modern fabrics and materials can punch well above their weight in terms of protection and performance as the older designs, without weight or bulk penalties. Out of this grew their latest version, Hell’s Canyon 2.
Essentially, it’s a jacket and trousers in a choice of green, photo-realistic camo and the newer A-TACS AU Camo [Arid Urban] developed by Digital Concealment Systems. My set came in the AU pattern, along with a good selection of accessories; let’s start with the most popular item, the jacket!
The jacket is of a lighter build than the XPO parkas and made of Hell’s Canyon, threelayer water-resistant and ultrasilent fabric, it’s also wind-resistant, breathable, waterrepellant and anti-microbial. It features an Odorsmart treatment, which takes stealth to the next level, in that it will reduce or negate your smell signature, which as we know along with noise and movement is a powerful flight trigger for most game species. The shell is 100% Polyester, as is the liner and the material is warm but light.
It falls to just below the hips yet has a drop hem at the back to provide better protection. The cut is generous, even for a big old boy like me and with good long arms for easy movement and gun swing. Storage consists of six front zip pockets (three per side) vertically, with waterproof zips and extended pull tags. The top two have rubberised slots for radio ariels, inside left is another with a rubber aerial grommet. At the rear is a twin-sided poacher’s pocket and there’re zipped vents under the arms. The cuffs are extended over the back of the hands and adjusted by Velcro straps.
Closure is by a double-ended zip and there’s no storm flap, but a draw cord in the hem with the toggle adjusters inside the lower pockets. The collar is a stand-up type and offers good protection, the build does not have a hood, but the thinking seems be that the snood/Buff and Balaclava accessories will fill that role.
The trousers are identical in material, with front and cargo pockets on the legs, but nothing at the rear. There are seven belt loops with an extra wide one at the back on the high waist that offers good kidney protection. Buttons for braces are included and the closure uses a hook and button with a zipped fly. The legs are closed off with Velcro straps, so that you can cinch them to your boots. Both garments are well made, comfortable and quiet in use and available in small, medium, large and XL, XXL and XXXL
Complimenting the suit are a number of accessories. First, the Beanie/Quick Cover or Buff as it’s generically known, which is a multi-functional, cloth tube made of an elasticated 100% Polyester shell that can be employed as a beanie, neck gaiter, headband or Balaclava. These are good, and I have been using them for years now; the nice thing is that they are in the A-TACS AU Camo [Arid Urban] camo. Giving good protection against the elements and also acting as a face veil, it also blocks human scent to a degree.
Next, the Speed baseball-type cap, which is the quintessential modern shooter’s headgear. Made from a rip-stop, cotton/ polyester weave with a Velcro adjuster at the rear, quality is good. Plus, the Browning Buckmark logo is embroidered front and rear in dark brown, so it looks good too and adds to the camo affect.
Moving up from the Quick Cover, is the full face (Trailhead) Balaclava. Made from a 4-Way, stretch, 250-gram, heavyweight fleece, with a 90% polyester/10% Spandex fabric it covers the whole of the head leaving just a slit for the eyes. For both colder weather use and concealment it’s a useful item.
The Hell’s Canyon 2 range offers two types of glove, the Infinity is a light fleece build, but complimenting the camo pattern is the Phase Liner. The Polyester 92% Spandex 8% shell provides a lightweight stretch fabric for a perfect fit with good dexterity. The palms and fingers have a series of tacky rubber Buckmark logos in the surface on palm and fingers, making for a sure grip and there are comfortable extended cuffs. They are very light, and as the name says, more a liner to be worn under heavier items, but still offering good tactility, concealment and a bit of protection. Sixes M, L & XL.
In use, the suit proved excellent, offering a high level of comfort and protection from the wind and rain; factors keenly felt and appreciated when sitting up wet high seats in the winter months. Yet the build is light and flexible enough to make foot stalking easy too and the cut is generous. And for the full camo effect add in the Quick Cover or Balaclava and the gloves and you’re head to toe concealed. Pattern-wise, A-TACS AU Camo offers a brown/grey base with darker non-specific chocolate highlights and tiny flecks of green. The effect is excellent and as I have found over the years of being a camo nutter, these more ochre/yellow/ brown combinations do tend to work better with a lot of diverse terrains.