Business Blog

Late-Season Camo Clothing Market Driven by Technology, Consumer Demand


Much like swiftly changing late-fall and winter weather, the late-season hunting apparel market is always evolving. Yet everything boils down to one basic request from hunters.


“They ultimately want to be comfortable,” said Jake Jacobs, senior product manager at Absolute Outdoor, makers of ArcticShield clothing. “Whether that is keeping them dry or warm, they want to be comfortable.”


To solve the cold-weather clothing puzzle, Absolute Outdoor works to identify and meet consumer demands while staying at the forefront of rapidly advancing technology. A large part of that involves incorporating new and better materials into late-season hunting garments.


“At ArcticShield, we are constantly reviewing new fabrics, laminates and components to make our apparel more effective,” Jacobs said. “Fabrics and laminates that perform better help keep the hunter in the field longer, giving them a greater opportunity of being successful. We work with both domestic and overseas suppliers to try to stay in touch with new developments. That requires our team to attend various trade shows and monitor the changes in the marketplace — not only in the hunting categories, but also other outdoor categories, like the ski market.”


But skiers and other cold-weather enthusiasts don’t worry much about blending in with their surroundings. Hunters must match their cold-weather clothing with late-season terrain, which can be open and barren or covered with snow and ice.

“Late-season hunting does require different gear, be it the apparel or the pattern that you are using,” Jacobs said. “Later in the season, a pattern that fits the terrain or area that you are hunting in varies greatly from early-season hunting. If it is a pattern that is versatile enough to be used throughout the changes in the season, even better.”


Sometimes, however, late-season hunting clothing must fit a niche because of state regulations or specific methods.


“In the region we are in, blaze (orange) requirements make hunters use blaze or blaze camo during the firearms seasons,” Jacobs said. “Blaze camo helps the hunter blend in a little better than just a solid blaze, giving the hunter the confidence he can still utilize an effective pattern yet being safe while in the field. Snow camo is still very effective in our region for late-season hunting or hunting predators in the snow.”


Of course, the best technology and camo patterns do little good if late-season hunters aren’t aware of them. That’s why Absolute Outdoor uses a multi-pronged branding and marketing approach to reach its core audience.



“Our branding and marketing communication efforts are focused on public relations and advertising,” said Mary Snyder, vice president of marketing. “We sponsor several outdoor television programs and run print ads in various consumer hunting publications. Our pro-staff program is comprised of knowledgeable, authentic ‘influentials’ whose target audiences follow them closely and want what they are wearing. In addition, we exhibit at national and regional consumer shows to promote the ArcticShield product line and brand. Facebook is also a very important vehicle for us to reach our target audiences and a great way to get people to share their positive experiences they have with our product.”


And it doesn’t hurt to license great late-season patterns from the world’s No. 1 camouflage company.


“Realtree continues to develop leading patterns that the consumers trust,” Jacobs said. “They promote heavily in the marketplace, as they are the leaders in camo. Continued support from them for their licensees (helps manufacturers) be as effective as possible.”