By David Virostko, Hunting Consultant, July 2015
Since the beginning of time, there has been an age-old debate going on in the hunting world, and similar to arguing over which pick-up truck is better, this debate will more than likely carry on into the next century and then some. What is the topic of such varied opinions? Camouflage – which pattern is best, which colors are the most effective, which brand has more diversity, and so on. Now, I have heard these arguments rival the likes of any Red Sox vs. Yankees debate, but in the end, it really comes down to one thing, a hunter’s personal preference and loyalty for any particular camouflage will typically be based off the area or region where they are from, and understandably so. I mean, if you do most of your hunting above timberline at 10,000' and above, it really doesn’t make sense to wear a marsh or wetlands pattern of camo, nor vice versa.
Being a self-proclaimed hard core hunter for the past 20 years or so, I have to laugh when I look at my younger days in the field and the camo I donned. Back then, I didn’t care if it was GI Joe fatigues, the old “treebark” camo, or a mix of them both worn at the same time. While I highly doubt it was the camo’s fault for my failed attempts to close the deal early on in my hunting career, I am sure it didn’t help.
However, as with many of you reading this, I eventually became attached to one brand and one company that I felt was superior to all others out there. The reasons were many, and I felt their patterns best fit the terrain and areas I was continually finding myself in.
The company that I was drawn to was Realtree. I was originally a fan of their X-tra Grey and X-tra Brown patterns, but I was more than ecstatic in 2005 when Realtree announced the launch of their Western Camo campaign. This new camo pattern was called Max-1, and not only was it appealing to the human eye, but the blend and sagebrush pattern design literally allowed me to melt into oblivion in virtually wide open spaces. Being an avid hunter, I had yet to find a pattern that was better than Max-1. In addition, it was a pattern that you could also wear to the ball game, do chores in, or whatever you had to do and it wasn’t offensive like some camo patterns can be in these scenarios. Bottom line, it was the perfect all-around camo to wear and I have been a die-hard and loyal fan of Realtree’s Max-1 since 2005. This pattern has proven itself time and time again. Whether I was archery hunting Mule deer or chasing screaming bulls in the high country, Max-1 has been my go-to camo for all of my hunting scenarios.
You can imagine my utter surprise when I got a little inside info that Realtree was working on making my favorite camouflage even better. I first heard about Max-1 XT this year in Las Vegas at the annual SHOT Show. As I sat down with Realtree and looked over this new pattern, I was giddy. They had taken an already phenomenal pattern and made it even better by replacing the greens in the sage pattern with greys and browns. Basically, Realtree had created the ultimate late fall and early spring camo pattern to compliment their already-established western camo pattern.
"Our new Max-1 XT is a great update to the original Max-1." said Realtree designer and president Bill Jordan. "Printing technology just keeps getting better and better, allowing us to add more detail, increased depth, subtle coloration, and realistic shadows. All through development and testing, I knew we had a great pattern on our hands, but now that we’ve seen the final version in the field, in photos and on video, I couldn’t be happier with its versatility and effectiveness."
I couldn’t agree more with Bill. Shortly after the SHOT Show, I had the boys at Realtree send me some of the prototype clothing in Max-1 XT so I could get out in the field and see the results for myself. Fellow Huntin’ Fool consultant Garth Jenson and I headed out for a day on the Arizona Strip to see the effectiveness. Of course we threw in the coyote calls as well to see if we couldn’t fool a dog or two into rifle range.
Although the calling was a little slow (I am blaming it on Garth’s unhoned distress abilities), I was very impressed by the new Max-1 XT and how well it blended with the diverse terrain. Needless to say, there is no doubt that I will be adding some new camo to my closet this year.
The long and short of it is that Realtree’s Max-1 XT allows hunters to eXTend their hunt into all types of terrain. Max-1 XT blends beyond belief into the smallest amount of cover available. In fact, it works pretty well in no cover at all. It’s the perfect camouflage for any open-country scenario, but it is incredibly effective in woody cover too. Max-1 XT truly opens up new hunting opportunities for hunters everywhere. Look for Max-1 XT to be available this year with clothing manufacturers who are currently carrying Realtree’s stellar lineup of camouflage.
The debate on which camouflage pattern is the best will go on for time and all eternity, there is very little doubt about that, but as far as what works the best for me out here in the West and what will continue to improve and only get better in my eyes, it is hands down Realtree Max-1 and Max-1 XT. From the high country of Wyoming to the low-lying deserts of Arizona and everywhere in between, I have yet to find a more diverse, adaptable, and effective camo pattern anywhere.