February 17, 2022
By Mark Demko
If you’ve ever seen an owl sitting in a tree, you know it’s extremely difficult to point it out to another person unless the bird happens to move.
Why? The coloration and patterns of the feathers allow it to blend seamlessly into the timber and shadows. Well, it’s this ability to remain hidden that provided the inspiration for one of the more versatile and dynamic hunting apparel collections to come out in recent years.
Launched in 2020, ASIO Gear offers a complete line of early-, mid- and late-season hunting apparel and accessories designed especially for another predator that likes to perch in the trees: the deer hunter. Founded by avid archery hunter Joe Miles, the South Carolina-based company designs its clothes with bowhunters in mind, with a focus on stand hunters. It all starts with the company’s RAPTOR CAMO pattern, made to offer optimal concealment no matter the landscape.
Based off the feather patterns and colors of an owl, RAPTOR CAMO offers a unique alternative to more landscape-focused camo patterns. The goal, as with the aforementioned owl, is to allow you to meld with the timber to avoid the eyes of wary whitetails and other game, especially when perched in or against a tree.
As for the clothing itself, ASIO uses high-end, lightweight fabrics with a four-way stretch design. Its early- and mid-season apparel is made from a 90 percent polyester/10 percent spandex blend (windproof, Sherpa-lined versions are also available), while the late-season pieces include PrimaLoft high-performance insulation, Sherpa-lined pockets and other features to help keep you warm.
All ASIO apparel is treated with a Durable Water Repellent finish as well as an antimicrobial agent to help with scent control. In addition to pants, jackets and hoodies, the company produces a windproof “Core Warmth Vest” that can be worn over mid-season layers in fall or under your late-season jacket in winter, helping keep you comfortable as temperatures drop. Other RAPTOR CAMO items include caps, hats, gloves, bibs and rain gear.
Where ASIO really stands out is in its focus on the little things that enhance the bowhunting experience, and it’s evident in every piece the company manufactures. For example, its jackets and hoodies feature a rangefinder pocket on the chest, providing easy access to an essential piece of gear at a moment’s notice, and an opening near the neck for your safety harness strap. The hoodies — available in early- and mid-season options — also come with a built-in face mask that slides up to cover your face or remains tucked away if you don’t wear the hood.
Unlike having the ability to remove upper body layers as activity increases, or temperatures rise, you can’t do the same thing with your pants. But, in keeping with its focus on catering to bowhunters, ASIO designs its pants to be both highly function and comfortable. This includes zipped vents on the sides that can be opened to allow for airflow and moisture-wicking channels to help keep you dry. Plus, six zippered pockets accommodate accessories and essentials.
I’m hunting with ASIO’s Mid-Season Collection this fall, and I recently put the midweight hoodie and pants through the wringer while checking trail cameras and stand locations. After wearing them for an afternoon, the first thing that stood out was how comfortable the clothing is, with the stretch fabric providing tremendous flexibility whether climbing into a stand or kneeling to check a trail cam. At no point did I feel constrained by the clothes, and that’s something that will be appreciated by any archery hunter.
ASIO also promises its clothes are quick-drying, and they are! Even though the hoodie and pants were drenched in sweat after my hike, they dried surprisingly fast, and I could have used them for an evening hunt if needed.
There’s no doubt ASIO Gear is a top choice if you’re looking for highly functional hunting apparel in a highly effective camo pattern. The extra effort the company puts into designing clothing especially for whitetail bowhunters really shows — in the quality, the practicality and the unique features of every piece. — Associate Editor Mark Demko