Apr 11, 2012, 1:01 AM EDT
By Bill Miller
In assembling my kit for the upcoming trap shooting league season, the last piece of gear I thought I’d be excited about was a new shooting vest. After all, I have a rack full hanging in the basement – some I bought, some the result of attending charity shoots, etc. How much could change about shooting vests to get me excited?
Turns out, a heck of a lot. First and foremost is the source of the vest – and in fact a whole new hunting and shooting sports and dog sports line of clothing – Eddie Bauer. Yes, you read that right – Eddie Bauer!
My only exposure to the Eddie Bauer brand recently was when my wife dragged me to the shopping mall because she said I needed clothes that didn’t make me look like a hermit mountain man. (Fact is, I kind of like looking like a hermit mountain man because it keeps the riff raff at bay.)
Anyway, I don’t know if you’ve been to an Eddie Bauer store in a while, but it’s got pretty much nothing to do with hunting, fishing or shooting sports as we know them. It’s all about “fashion” if that’s what you call the rags kids wear half-way down their …. The stores and the brand had moved so far away from the outdoors I know, I’d pretty much forgotten Eddie Bauer became famous outfitting American sportsmen and sportswomen with top quality hunting, fishing and field gear starting in 1920!
Then this new Clay Break Premium Shooting Vest showed up as a sample, and it’s blown me away. Whoever designed this and built this vest for the new Eddie Bauer Sport Shop line really knew what they were doing. It fits like a shooting vest should. The pockets are well thought out and all in the right places. The pockets, including the pouch in the back all feature Velcro closures to keep them from sagging and snagging and fouling up a proper gun mount. There’s Velcro on the waist adjustments, too, to keep them from flopping around if you’re fortunate enough to need to cinch them up. It’s in a great muted “Acorn” color so you don’t look like a circus clown with a shotgun. There’s a unique little, leather accented turn-up collar for just a bit of style.
I have a couple of target vests that are my “go-tos,” but this new Eddie Bauer looks like it’s going to jump to the front of the line. They sent a Sporting Fleece jacket, too, that is every bit as interesting and well-designed as well.
As much as I love the new shooting clothes I’ve seen so far and look forward to their new bird hunting duds, what’s perhaps even more exciting is the Eddie Bauer brand getting back to its roots in the hunting, shooting and dog sports world. Eddie Bauer and his wife Stine were first and foremost outdoors people – the kind of outdoorspeople we run with. Eddie Bauer started Wanapum Kennels in Oregon back in 1960 and in 1974 was named Retriever Breeder of the Year. The original Eddie Bauer was always “our kind of people.” Though the brand that carried his name seemed to have drifted away in the last couple of decades, from what I can see it’s coming back in a big way. Check out the new Eddie Bauer Sport Shop on-line and watch for an all new site for their new hunting lines come late summer.
Welcome home Eddie Bauer!
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