Do Carhartt Relaxed Field Pants hold up to the challenge of bird hunting?
My first pair of upland pants left me desiring more. I became tired of leaning to and fro, walking stiff legged as taut as if I were the Tin Man. More what, tough? My old Browning pair remained stiff, hot, even cumbersome whilst busting through brush. I sought out to find a pair of upland pants that would help me to move through various terrain and questionable cover with ease. My quest for my ideal field pant of 2019 led me to the glamorous lights of Scheels. The sheer size of Scheels can be overwhelming. Those red glowing letters have a way to draw you into a land of consumerism, and want. My plan was simple. Buy upland pants and only upland pants.
Quickly I found myself wandering down the row of shotguns and shells. Somewhere, my “simple” plan faded away. Thankfully, my next turn guided me to the upland clothing section. The options were at first overwhelming. The Carhartt Men’s Upland Relaxed Fit Field Pant fit each category. Coming in at a price range around $65, the Carhartt pants by no means will break your savings account. The Quick Duck canvas fabric is light to the touch and durable. The pants use a traditional closed button design with a zipper fly with a catchy blaze orange stitching. The full-front chap, with a half-leg chap in the back are a light sage grey color. The remaining pant is colored in an autumn dusky brown. The chaps allow for ease of mobility. The right pant leg features a slashed style pocket lined in blaze orange that may fit smaller phones. Carhartt missed a perfect opportunity to place a bright blaze orange zipper here. If you want to keep your keys in a safe spot, this pocket is not the place. You’ve been warned.
The first big test for the Carhartt Relaxed Field Pant came not after a day hunting birds, but of field processing a whitetail deer. The pant legs were deeply stained in a rich crimson. A simple wash with a Tide pod performed the trick. I ran a normal cycle in the wash on cold with one Tide pod, threw the Carhartts into the dryer and voila, clean and dry. Honestly, I was surprised at the ease these pants were cleaned.
Further pushing the limits, I set out with my friend and bird hunting mentor Edgar Castillo. We were in pursuit of bobwhite quail; what we found instead were brambles. The legion of brambles came to life in our attempt to make our way through the vast entanglements. With each passing “rip” sound coming from the brambles I was certain the field pant chaps would tear, exposing my legs to the evilness of these thorns. On clearing multiple patches, my Carhartt pants and legs were none the worse for bushwhacking our way in search of a covey, not a single laceration on my legs nor torn fabric marks on the pants.
Joe Ferb, a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) found, “when walking through areas with small thorns there is still some
discomfort. A tighter weave ripstop nylon would fix this issue very easily.”
The early morning public bobwhite quail hunt blanketed Edgar and I in fog. Moisture resided along the brush and various cover. The water-repellent finish, for a time, actually beaded away moisture. But approaching the two hour mark my legs were cooled by the water that penetrated through the material. As the weather cleared and warmed so too the residual water that soaked into the field pants.
Overall the Carhartt Relaxed Field Pant has performed quite well. The pants were broken in and relaxed from the start. My ease of movement was never hindered, nor did my legs become overwhelmingly hot. The limited drawbacks being the senseless use of a side pocket without a zipper.
Ferb also noted in our conversation regarding the Carhartt pants to be “the most comfortable upland pants I have worn.”
I would recommend having a pair of snap-on chaps to use over these pants if you prefer to keep small amounts of water off your legs.
If you want a good pair of upland pants to start out your bird hunting journey these Carhartts are a wonderful place to start your pursuit.
Erin Woodward is a novice bird hunter. He was born and raised in Kansas where he currently resides with his wife and three children. Erin can be found during the fall and winter months venturing across the Great Plains in search of wild game. Spring and Summer are reserved for fly fishing for trout, and making the best homemade ice cream with his family. A member of Back Country Hunters and Anglers, he holds the value of public land access in great esteem for all hunters and adventure seekers alike. His hunting adventures are documented @pursuit_nature