Hunting Gear photo

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Merino wool, one of the softest and warmest of wools, is the current hot “performance fabric” for athletic wear for running, biking, cross country skiing and other active outdoor sports. Merino shares the virtues of all wool: it retains warmth when wet, it’s quiet, it wicks moisture away from your body.

If you think about it, it makes sense that sheep would be covered in the best of materials. I use to raise sheep and frankly, they are among the planet’s dumbest animals. Without great outerwear they wouldn’t have much of a shot at survival, even with us to take care of them.

Cabela’s Merino wool Diamantina jacket is a great early-season hunting layer. It’s made from 100% wool ingeniously spun into a kind of half-fleece, half doubleknit (Do you miss the doubleknit polyester clothes of the 70s? Me neither.) jersey material. It’s a very comfortable, warm garment that is great by itself on cool mornings.

If I still bowhunted I would be wearing it in the treestand this time of year. As it is, it’s my first-thing-in-the-morning dove jacket. The material stretches, making it very easy to move and swing a shotgun. It has two slash pockets and a vertical chest pocket for small odds and ends like grunt calls. Its muted, Cabela’s Outfitter Camo even make it a jacket you can wear around town. And you can wash it in cold water and tumble it dry. At $199 the Diamantina jacket is not budget priced, but that’s okay; tell youself you’re paying for the latest, greatest high-tech material.