Swedteam 3 - Camo suit & gloves
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- Last updated: 26/01/2017
Swedteam’s Camo-Set cover suit is available in both Realtree’s tried-and-tested APG-HD pattern and Gore Optifade, but I went for the latter pattern because it’s the first time this has been offered by any manufacturer in a budget-priced product: Swedteam’s camo-set costs just £120, as compared to their premium /clothing-footwear/camouflage-clothing”>Gore-Tex suit (around £620), Beretta’s DWS suit (around £410), or Harkila’s Q-Fleece suit (around £405). Of course, it doesn’t offer the protection or refinements of a full Gore-Tex get-up, but it does give you a light and easily-packable top layer to go over your regular gear when you want a higher level of concealment, and a chance to try out the latest thing in camo design.
The pattern itself looks very “next-generation”, taking its cue not from the photo-realism characteristic of the market-leading civilian designs from Realtree and Mossy Oak, but rather from the digitalized patterns developed for the US military. In place of the regular pixelations and limited colour palette of the military patterns, however, Optifade shows swirls and distortions, colour layers aligned at irregular angles, and a complex range of shades and tones. Together these are supposed to make up both Micro patterns that work to break up your shape
and outline at close range, and Macro patterns that do the same at longer range. The colour palette, meanwhile, has been chosen to be particularly effective on ungulates (i.e. deer) which “lack the receptors for tones in the red spectrum”, with the result that they see the world “in shades of yellow, blue and grey”.
Consequently, it’s hard to judge by eye or from photos how effective Optifade may be from a deer’s point of view, and so far I’ve not had any encounters when stalking that might serve as examples for or against, so the jury is still very much out as regards its principal selling point. When it comes to crow or pigeon shooting, however, I wouldn’t recommend it, as both species seem to find it less than convincing, perhaps because, to my eye, at least, the design doesn’t really produce effective “Macro patterns” that break up your outline at distance.
As for the Camo-Set suit itself, this is made from a light but tough, silent and soft polyester fabric, and shows a generous cut, to go over your normal gear. Full-length, double-ended zip up the front of the jacket and long 16” zips up the sides of the trouser legs make it really easy to put on, and once on it’s as comfortable as your favourite pair of pyjamas, thanks to the softness of its material, the roomy fit, and an elasticated waistband and cuffs. The trousers have a high waist to eliminate drafts and avoid the discomfort of overlapping waistbands, and handy adjustment tabs with a generous strip of hook-and-loop material to take up any slack at the ankles. The jacket, meanwhile, is equipped with shock-cord adjusters in the hem and around the non-detachable hood to keep out drafts.
Storage is limited but sufficient, with downwards-opening side zips with fabric tags on the hips of the over-rousers giving access to the pockets of whatever trousers you’re wearing underneath; a pair of spacious patch pockets in the lower-front of the jacket, with sloping rearwards-opening zips with fabric tags and drop-down storm flaps; and a radio pocket in the upper left breast with a double-draw zip to keep the antenna upright and centered between the sliders.
Except for the hood of the jacket, which has a black mesh lining, the Camo-set is unlined. This keeps it light, but does leave the white backing of the Optifade material exposed. In practical terms this doesn’t matter as it only shows when you’re changing into/out of the suit or if you leave the jacket flapping, neither of which would apply while actually hunting.
Swedteam Optifade Accessories
To complement your Optifade gear, Swedteam also offer gloves, a balaclava-style Multimask and a baseball cap. The gloves are available in just two sizes: Large and Medium and even the latter proved too big for my size 8.5 hands, giving a gardening-glove type fit that was no use in the field. If they do fit you, however, you’ll appreciate the warm knitted cuffs, gripper-dot finish on the palms and finger fronts, and the handy double-sided carabineer clip to keep them together when not in use.
A better and cheaper solution is Swedteam’s Multifunction Scarf pack (around £15), which gives you three versatile neck gaiters made from a high-tech polyester microfiber material, in blaze camo, snow camo and Optifade.