Gear Reviews

First Lite Tag Soup Sale Purchases and Review

It’s on, we are in the midst of First Lite’s annual Tag Soup Sale! First Lite’s annual Tag Soup Sale offers 20-40% off of all of their products to make room for over 30 new products that are slowly being debuted at various shows, conventions, and social media.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I think First Lite is an outstanding company. Not only do they have great customer service, they also support conservation through a partnership with Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, which is an awesome non-profit that you should check out as well! In addition, their women’s gear isn’t “shrink and pink,” they put thought into what the women’s gear should be. It’s the same quality as the men’s gear just in a women’s cut without the frills or added colors. Naturally, I had to take part in this amazing sale. I saw my opportunity to purchase several pieces that I already own in a few different colors and prints.

I bought the Women’s Larkspur Full Length Bottom in Cipher, the Women’s Lupine 170g Merino Crew in ASAT, and  the Alturas Women’s Guide Pant in Dry Earth. I own all of these pieces already in either their Fusion print or colors Sage and Goldenrod (which is not offered anymore) and have worn them on almost all of my hunts and a few scouting trips.  The Larkspur and the Lupine are both Merino wool. I have worn my original pieces so much that I could only see benefit from adding to my kit.

My original Larkspur bottoms have a few holes in them where they’ve been nicked but the nicks  remain small and still function well as a base-layer bottom. The new Larkspurs have proven to be the same quality as my original ones and I love them! I haven’t had anything in the new Cipher pattern that was released at the beginning of 2017 and I have to say I was impressed with how it looks in person. I think this pattern would be good for the end of deer season or for hardwood or more western environments, but for now I’ll stick with the Fusion pattern for the majority of my pieces.

I like how the Larkspur fits. The length falls just slightly above my ankles and I often layer my socks underneath them so there are no gaps where skin could show so I don’t get cold. They are also thin enough that they fit comfortably under my hunting pants and my non hunting clothes as well. I’ve actually worn the larkspurs to work under my slacks on some of the very cold days that we’ve had in WNC this winter. I don’t think that they’ve added any additional bulk and they do a great job of keeping me warm. Merino in general does a really great job of regulating body temperature. I’ve worn it scouting, hunting, and in an office where the temperature fluctuates without notice and I’ve always been comfortable.

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The Lupine I ordered in ASAT which will no longer be used by First Lite and can still be found discounted on their website. It’s pattern is very unique and I know there are folks out there who swear by the pattern and are really upset that First Lite will no longer be making pieces in ASAT.  I think their Cipher and Fusion patterns offer great concealment no matter the terrain that a person is hunting.

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I love that the Lupine has thumb holes. For the longest time I didn’t understand why clothes were made with thumb holes, and I think at a certain point in time it became “fashionable” to have thumb holes on your sleeves. Thumb holes actually serve a great purpose though! When layering they are amazing to use so your sleeves don’t bunch up when trying to add layers to your base layers.

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It’s weight is great for early season because it breathes really well. I wore my lupine by itself at the beginning of deer season as a top and felt comfortable through muggy September hunts. I’ve worn other “wicking” fabrics that people would probably associate with workout attire and they feel heavy, don’t breathe well, and if you’re sweaty for any amount of time you start to smell which is terrible for deer hunting. The Lupine breathes, doesn’t feel heavy, and because it’s merino it doesn’t smell. To be honest, I didn’t wash my merino after every hunt and it never smelled.

The Alturas Women’s Guide Pant are probably the best fitting pant I’ve ever tried on in terms of women’s hunting gear. They are advertised as fitting true to size on the First Lite website and I used their sizing guide to pick what size I was going to order my pants in. I chose a small since I generally run a 4 – 6 in jeans, slacks, skirts, etc. and the Alturas fit perfect! I’m short AND curvy. Finding pants that fit me in the hips and thighs while also fitting in the waist is a constant challenge. But, the Alturas  weren’t five miles long in the legs, unlike some pants that I bought at a big box outdoors store. Although, I am 5’ 1” and they are still about an inch or two too long but it’s not enough for me to feel like my performance is hindered by excess fabric.    

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They are made from a super durable nylon but remain light and flexible for hiking, climbing, etc. Half of the waistband is elastic so I don’t get that awkward gap in the back of my pants where stuff can fall in if I sit down. There are belt loops for a belt as well as loops for adding suspenders that First Lite also sells. These pants are finished with DWR(Durable Water Repellent), they aren’t waterproof but they have kept me significantly more dry than other camo pants that I own that aren’t treated at all. They have strategic tailoring around the knee that offer the utmost flexibility and movement for a hunt.
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There are six different pockets. Four of these have zippers. There are two on the front, and on each leg there is a cargo pocket with an additional pocket that has a zipper. I think the pockets are a great size too they aren’t too big, like some other pants that I own where it seems like the manufacturer has overcompensated or put a pocket that goes on the men’s pants on the women’s cut. They also aren’t too small, like most pockets on basically any bottom made for women, ladies you know the madness I’m referring to…

The only consistent negative review for these pants online is the length. For me it’s not an issue but I can see how for the average height or taller woman how these pants could be too short. Some may argue that you can wear gaiters over them but I know the struggle and frustration when you feel like a piece of gear is not performing the way it should be. I think if First Lite were to truly make a change to these pants it should be offering it in a few different inseam sizes to encompass all sizes and needs.

Generally when I wear all of these layers together for mid season I actually tuck my Lupine into my Alturas pant. I do that in part because the last few years have been TERRIBLE for ticks and I’m less likely to find one on my torso if I tuck my shirt in but, I think that the combination of the Lupine and the Larkspur will hold the Lupine in place without riding up or getting bunchy.

I’m so thrilled with my purchases. I’m glad I’ve added these pieces to my kit and I know they will serve me just as well as my previous purchases.

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