First Lite Clothing

December 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Gear & Reviews



Back to the Basics


I feel like, the older I get, the smarter I get.  I’m sure you can find people that would tell you I’m not getting any smarter, but what do they know? Most of them are still wearing their old, traditional camo clothing made from cotton, polyester, and even denim.  Over the last couple years, I have jumped on the band wagon and have been experimenting with some of these new high performance hunting clothing companies.  Let me tell you, there is some great high performance clothing for hunting on the market right now.


75 Degrees and the first Lite worked flawlessly!

One such company is a First Lite which is an industry leader out of the Sun Valley, Idaho area.  First Lite is one of the pioneers in high performance hunting clothing.  It all started by wearing merino wool clothing to give them added warmth and freedom of movement on the ski slopes.  They soon fell in love with the attributes of merino wool and wanted to use it on their hunting ventures. The problem was,  merino wool only came in black, so they were forced into wearing a cotton or polyester camouflage over their wool.  They had the same age old problem that most hunters have had.  All the warm clothing was big, bulky, heavy and didn’t breathe very well.  There is nothing worse than being sweaty, wet and cold while skiing and or hunting.  It is miserable and can even cause death!  The solution, start a company that builds state of the art hunting clothing out of merino wool in camouflage patterns.

As we all know it gets cold in Kansas in December! Well the First Lite work perfectly…


In 2007, Kenton Carruth and Scott Robinson owners of First Lite, set out on a mission to create clothing that would breath, is light weight and would not restrict the athletes movement.   It all started on the ski slopes and moved into the hunting industry.  From earlier archery season to late season, if you are cold weather deer hunting, they have you covered.  First Lite addressed each of these concerns and faced them head on to come up with what I feel is the perfect combinations for all your hunting adventures.

Texas Mule deer hunting! It can be 60 degrees one day and 20 degrees the next, as was the case on the day I harvested this great buck.


Let’s talk about the most important part of your clothing, whether it is early season or late season which is the first layer of clothing next to your skin.  Layering your clothing is the most effective way to achieve the perfect body temperature control in any environment.   The best material to have next to your body, hands down, is merino wool.  Merino wool is much smoother, finer wool when compared to the wool of an ordinary sheep. Not even all merino sheep have wool that is suitable for clothing, especially if it is next to your body.  Only the best merino wool can be used.  Traditional wool, as we all know, is very warm and itchy.  Merino sheep have much softer, finer wool compared to that of their cousin.  These finer strands of Merino wool eliminate the nasty itch caused by traditional wool.  As a matter of fact, when I received my first order of First lite I had to check the collar to see what it was made of.  It did not feel like any other wool I had tried in the past.  It was soft, elastic and fairly light compared to that of other base layers on the market. The collar, to my surprise, read 100% merino wool.


A huge attribute to wool is its ability to wick away sweat from your body.  It has the ability to disperse sweat into the millions of fibers and rapidly dry your garment.  The best part about this is, you and your garment remain scent free for longer periods of time.  Body odor is caused by bacteria growing and feeding off your body sweat.  No sweat, no body odor, the wool evaporates and dries quickly not giving bacteria time to grow.  I have tested this very extensively!  These high performance first layers are not cheap, so the average guy can’t afford to run out and buy one for every day of the week.  One base layer is going to have to last you multiple days of wicking away sweat and staying scent free.  Take my word for it, this stuff is amazing and worth every penny.  As Jim Shockey would say (I hope he doesn’t have this trademarked yet) “I trust my life to it”; it’s that good.  With First Lite’s first layers I can guaranty you that you have a much better opportunity to survive a night or two out in the cold, than if you weren’t wearing it.


As you can see, I personally, used the heck out of the Llano top, a 170 gram interlocked fabric base layer and the Allegheny 230 gram, mid weight bottom this year.  I tested them from ten degrees to ninety degrees Fahrenheit, and they performed flawlessly. As a base layer or my only layer, First Lite’s merino wool passed everything I could throw at it, including a smell test.  After three days of climbing hills, sweating and filming deer in ninety degree plus temperatures, I took the shirt off and asked my wife to smell it and tell me what she thought.  After a funny look and cautious smell her response was “what, it doesn’t smell like anything” I then told her that I just had taking it off after abusing it for three days in the field.  Her response was ” Wow, we should get you more of this”  I don’t no what she meant by that, but maybe after 12 years of washing my stinky hunting clothes she was ready for a positive change in the smell of my dirty garments.

I truly believe in this product. How people you know will strip down to their undies to show support to a great product. That would be me!


One of my favorite attributes to this base layer is it’s ability to stretch in all directions and go right back to its original shape.  A traditional garment would look like an over sized shirt at the end of four or five days of wear. These are breathable and have an articulate cut that allows for less restriction during movement.  What else can I say about these undergarments, besides they are the best!  If you are not a long bottom kind of guy, you need to try their Red Desert Boxers.  They are the bomb!  They are cut and seams are placed to prevent chafing and rashes, that you would normally get from tradition underwear.  I find myself wearing them even when I’m not hunting.  They are comfy!

A great management buck! I put this gear through its paces and I feel in love with. You can’t go wrong with First Lite gear. You have my word on it!


First Lite has all of their clothing in many of the popular camouflage patterns available on the market today.  If you are not a fan of camo, they also have them in a number of solid colors.  With multiple garment configurations and fabric weights in their first layers there is no reason for your core to ever get cold again.


This is not a paid endorsement, just my personal beliefs on how great First Lite’s products are.


PRO’s:  The best of the best. Breathable, light weight, wicks away moisture, and helps you remain odorless longer. Their clothing is everything you could possibly need!  They have me hooked!

CON’s:  First Lite is a little on the pricey side, but worth every penny.  Other under garments that compete with First Lite are similarly priced.

PRODUCT: I would like to see them expand their product line!  Maybe something that is water proof.  If it’s not raining you will need nothing besides what they offer, except for an excuse to get out in the field.

COMPANY: These guys are great!  I stopped in during an archery deer hunt and they treated me as if they had known me for years. Small company, with small company values. Order your clothes early as they do run out of certain sizes and colors.  They do sell their clothing on the retail market, so it can be readily available in your area.  Ask your nearest retailer for First Lite clothing.


One Great Season!

February 22, 2012 by  
Filed under the PURSUIT

Comments Off on One Great Season!

Chasing big mule deer is a year round job!

Being successful chasing mature mule deer is never a two week adventure.  To be successful you need to make it a year round pursuit!  You need to work so you can afford to hunt. Thats a bummer, I know. The fun part is being in the hills and experiencing the sights and sounds that only the vast openness of the hills can provide.  That’s right, the peace and quite, the sound of the whippoorwill singing his little lungs out, the bugle of an elk breaking the evening silence, and most importantly the call of the majestic mule deer.  The call of the majestic mule deer?  Yea, thats right,  the call of the majestic mule deer!

MB Ranch Kings awesome new shooting bench, one of the many new products I have been given the task of trying out! A new Wasatch rifle with Thompson’s long range scope, adorns the shooting bench

As we all know, mule deer aren’t very vocal except for the occasional grunt of a buck or the mew of the fawns or does trying to locate one another.  Most people have never heard a mule deer and probably will never hear one.  This call that I refer to is our internal call, calling on our souls to do what our ancestors have done for years!  Hunt and eat that wonderful protein. Hunting has evolved from a must to survive to an outdoor recreation needed to

Prototype of MB Ranch Kings new table to ground shooters rest!

help control the herds from disease and overpopulation. A sport, family vacation, sustinence , or just plan enjoying the great outdoors,  whatever your reason is, to be successful year in and year out you need to take it seriously.  You need to up your game!  If your are hunting just to enjoy the great outdoors and spend time with your friends and family and you don’t care if you harvest an animal, my hats off to you.  I think that is the major reason why we all hunt! However for me, its the challenge of harvesting a mature buck on his turf that drives me.  I’m talking about a buck that is at least a four to five years smart.

I was lucky enough to attend the grand opening of Kuiu. Extreme clothing and packs for the hard core hunter.

To kill or be involved in the harvesting of big mature bucks year in and year out, you need to eat sleep and drink mule deer! Sometimes that means restructuring your whole life!  Finding a new job, making less money, spending less time with your family, early morning and late nights.  You need to treat it as if it is your job and you want to be the best at it.

Hanging with our neighbors at one of the shows, Pat and Nichole from Driven TV

When the economy took a down turn, I was forced into making a life change decision. I couldn’t afford to go back to school and a I wasn’t willing to move out of State and make less than half of what I was used to breaking my back setting tile.  So, I decided to focus my efforts on something I was good at and enjoyed, filming mule deer and creatively sharing it with others.  We are still living pay period to pay period, but at least I love what I’m doing and hopefully in the long run we won’t have to rely on my wife’s income to help support us.  Needless to say, the last year of my life has been an adventure.

Selling Outback Wildlife feeders at many of the largest sportsmans shows around the country.

It all started last year at this time when a good friend of mine was in a pinch.  He called me to ask me if I could fly down to Texas and help him out for a few weeks driving around the southern part of the United States delivering feeders.

Outback Wildlife Feeders headed to Colorado.

I agreed and little did I know it would turn out to be the smartest thing I have done in years. Over that three week period we talked about turning our passion for mule deer into a productive job for me. Filming all of our hunts and trying to make it on the big screen would be my new job! Outbacks microwave oven and barbecue/fire pits are a couple items I’m trying out! (pictured is the microwave)

A dream come true!  Little did I know over the next seventeen days I would work 16 hours days  with one day off driving from Florida to Colorado and everywhere in between. My idea for the show was to portray how hard we had to work at our everyday jobs to get this done. I knew I worked my butt off doing tile, putting in 60 to 70 hours a week and I knew Rick work hard, but I had know Idea how hard he actually pushed himself. Wearing many hats, Rick puts in easily over a hundred hours a week so he can support his family and chase mule deer four months out of the year.

Mr. Whitetail (Larry Weishuhm), Rick Meritt, and myself discussing the new show ideas over dinner.

Over the next month I will write on the awesome experiences, people, products, and opportunities I have been involved in over the last year. What a year it has been!

Texas mule deer hunting at its finest

January 28, 2010 by  
Filed under the PURSUIT


Rick Meritt and Donnie Starks harvested two of the largest deer to come out of Texas this year. Rick’s Deer gave the state record a run for the money, with a 214 inch typical frame and a gross score of 223 inches, it fell in to second place. If it wasn’t for the extra inline this deer would have smashed the state record typical score. 223 not to bad for a four by five.

Rick Meritt Texas

Rick Meritts 223 inch gross Texas monster

Donnie’s buck is no slouch with a gross score of 203 inches. It looks like someone might have been looking at the antlers during one of the shots. I’m not saying it was you Donnie, it’s just an observation!
Donnie Starks Texas

Donnie Starks’ Beautiful 203 inch Texas monster

Congrats to Rick and Donnie on two spectacular Texas mule deer. I’ve been looking at Texas now for a few years. Talk about a tough state to get some hunting rights in. Thanks Rick for the Pictures.  I don’t know if you were just sharing some of your success with me and the readers or just rubbing it in!  Regardless, thanks for sharing.

Gaines_Co._Bucks_2009_057You can truly see how big Rick’s deer is next to Donnies 203 inch monster

I had the pleasure of meeting Rick this year and I was not disappointed.  Rick is a true southern gentleman whose love for hunting mule deer has granted him the opportunity to hunt several different states and Mexico annually.  His passion for large mule deer is has taken him to the best mule deer spots out west.  However, this is Ricks first book deer.  It just goes to show you how hard these trophy animals are to come by. Congrats Rick on one of the biggest typical bucks I have ever seen.

Gaines County '08 016Rick’s 2008 Texas mule deer is 195 inch gross buck

I can’t wait until we start laying down some tape of these bucks as you harvest them!  Makes for some great memories.  Thanks again Rick!