Story and photos by: Aaron Thesing
Originally published on The Driftless Hunter
An Evaluation of the Aegis Cold Weather System
Location: Pelican Rapids, Minnesota
Earlier this year, I was invited on a trip to hunt my home state of Minnesota, something I've never been able to do before. I was over the moon at the chance to hunt rifle season there for a chance at a huge Northern Minnesota Whitetail. The hunt took place from Sunday November 8th 2020 until Friday November 12th. The hunt would be located In Pelican Rapids, Minnesota near Detroit Lakes, and regionally, Fargo, North Dakota.
This hunt required a myriad of clothing options for ultimate protection from the cold, and overall, comfort. I used the following equipment:
- Aegis Bibs
- Aegis Jacket
- Vellus Pants
- Vellus Jacket
- Cadog Jacket
- Briareos Gloves
- Kiska Beanie
- Spartan Ball Cap
- Wyot Balaclava
The weather experienced on this trip was absolutely mind boggling and extreme to say the least. My first day hunting I encountered 72 degree heat with 24 mile per hour winds. I wore my Vellus Pants and Cadog Jacket for this sit and was surprisingly cool and comfortable with little to no effect from the wind. The fleece is soft to the touch and quite light and I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was at cutting the wind, the bane of my hunting career. I can handle rain and snow, but I’m a big baby when it comes to hunting in the wind. Having already used the Vellus Pants and Jacketing system earlier this hunting season and knowing its capabilities, I decided to do a torture test on the Aegis Cold Weather Hunting System.
The terrain I was hunting in consisted mostly of hardwoods, marsh grass, lakes and ponds. The Bibs are lightweight and flexible and I really like the reinforced articulated knees which made crawling much easier than anticipated. The Aegis Jacket was also very handy to have in this environment; the outer shell did a great job at stopping the wind but more importantly, was roomy enough for me to move how I needed to, when I needed to, with little effort and little noise.
On my final day to hunt, I experienced the coldest temperatures of the trip at 8 degrees plus windchill. I bundled up using the entire cold weather system. Aegis Jacket and Bibs, Vellus Pants and Jacket, and Cadog Jacket. Stationary and sitting in one spot in the middle of several thousand acres of federal land, I needed to be layered up to defeat the temperatures. Rounding out my system were my 1600g rubber boots, the AlphaBurly Pro from La Crosse Footwear, and the Briareos Gloves and the Kryptek Beanie hats in both Highlander and Inferno patterns. I wore both hats simultaneously along with my hoods deployed - the wind was not a concern of mine in the slightest.
I was able to do an all day sit in single digit temperatures in the same spot I had been all week adjacent to a large lake on a hill in between two patches of large hardwoods where I could cover for 500 yards in any direction with my CVA Accura V2 LR Nitride .50 Caliber Rifle, topped with a Sig Sauer Sierra3BDX 4.5-14mm Rifle Scope, paired with a Sig Sauer Kilo2200BDX Range Finder.
If you are looking for a versatile camouflage system that will make you disappear, you need to look at Kryptek. I use the Highlander pattern for all my hunting in Wisconsin and Minnesota. It blends in with hardwoods, marsh grass, rolling hills, pines, corn fields, even sitting out in the wide open on top of a knoll against a tree this pattern will work because of its three dimensional nature, effectively breaking up your outline. Kryptek founders Butch Whiting and Josh Cleghorn did an amazing job designing this to be the most effective camouflage pattern ever developed, proven effective to defeat the human eye by the United States Military during the U.S. Camo Improvement Effort.
Before I made my initial purchase with Kryptek, I was floored by the prices of the equipment. Yes, I said that correctly. I consider my camouflage to be the single most important piece of equipment in my hunting arsenal, and that says a lot considering I have a $2,000 muzzleloader set up. Having a great and rugged weapon in my eyes, is essential, yes, though if you can’t sneak up on your animal, your gun is rendered useless. The only camouflage I trust my hunts to anymore is Kryptek. The prices on each item offered by the company are completely fair and justifiable. I work another job to support my hunting expenses and I earn my gear the hard way, the blue-collar way, and it’s because of that work ethic I treat my camouflage as an investment, one that pays dividends.
The way I look at it is this: if you can afford to go on an Elk hunt out West in Montana, Arizona, Colorado, or Utah, you can afford Kryptek Camo. If you are going on a Mountain Lion hunt, or trekking after Mountain Goats, Sheep, or even Kodiak or Mountain Grizzlies, you need Kryptek Camo. If you can spend hard earned money on hunts of a lifetime, don’t sell yourself short with over the counter camouflage from a local retail store; spend the money necessary for concealment and comfort for your trips. Your life may very well depend on it.
I think my favorite feature from the cold weather system would be on the Briareos Gloves. I absolutely love the pull strap. This is super crucial and well thought out. The cuff of the glove actually comes out flush with your Aegis Jacket sleeve, making them transition nicely without any exposed skin or drafts. I loved the articulated elbows and reinforced knees on the Aegis system, along with the zippered chest pocket on the left breast. Great spot for my range finder.
The only draw back I encountered was probably due to human error, but when I layered up completely for the coldest day of the hunt with Cadog, Vellus and Aegis Systems in play, I had a difficult time moving my arms. After closer examination why, I didn’t properly take into account to go a size bigger for each layer. Therefore this drawback was on me, not on the garments.
Overall, I am quite pleased with my purchase and I will be eager to purchase more gear for next year’s DIY Public Land Nebraska Mule Deer Muzzleloader Hunt. This clothing is warm. It is lightweight. It is an exceptional value. Buy it.