Building an effective layering system for your hunts is important, but having one that can adapt to all the hunting seasons throughout the year makes you that much more effective. While many options are available these days, it comes down to time in the field and finding what works for you. Having pieces in your arsenal that can be used in different climates is a huge benefit and something I look for when picking out gear. The Challis Fleece Jacket from First Lite could absolutely be a multipurpose coat that is well thought out and has the potential for a year-round piece.

First Lite Challis Fleece Jacket

First Lite Challis Fleece Jacket

When we parked the tracked side x side and set up the canvas tent, the weather was nice and sunny, hovering around the upper 50s. I wore only a t-shirt underneath the Challis as I pounded stakes, inflated air pads, and set up the Mr. Buddy heater as we settled in for a few days of Spring Bear Hunting. As I hiked out an old overgrown skid road that evening to glass, the temperature had dropped with the sun. I could still comfortably glass a hillside until dark while still only wearing a t-shirt underneath. See the Challis Fleece jacket here.


Cold Weather Glassing

The next morning, we woke to pounding rain, fog, and some decent wind. It was much colder, around 36 degrees. I opted for a light mid-layer under the jacket as we began hiking. We climbed up a ridge for a better glassing point, and I was starting to get warm as I gained elevation; I opened the triceps zips and could feel the heat dissipate instantly. They’re really quite effective.

Good Wind Protection

As we sat on rock spine ridge, the kestrel read 12-14mph consistently from behind my rock, no wind penetrated the jacket (I tested this with just a t-shirt on as well). The windproof claim holds true. We even had light rain showers come through, and the DWR worked well enough that I didn’t need to pull out rain gear or set up the tarp. As the day faded into evening, I pulled out my puffy coat and layered up. This combo would work in a lot of situations throughout the year. Over the course of the hunt, I wore the Challis hiking, cooking, shooting, and UTV traveling, all while staying comfortable.

Lunch break

A Multi-Use Piece

In my opinion, the Challis can serve as both an outer layer and a mid/insulating layer. However, I am a big fan of hoods, and I understand why there is no hood here, but I would love to see a hooded version of this jacket. If you are wearing the jacket with short sleeves, the material in the arms of the jacket gets a bit “sticky” if you are hiking, and I found it to be a bit unpleasant. This jacket is also a little on the heavy side if you are in a true backpacking situation. I would argue that there are lighter layering options if you are going deep on a hunt.

Almost to the top


At the end of the hunt, I was impressed with the new coat from First Lite. I had no fleece jackets like this in my system, but I do now. The fleece proves to be very quiet and while I do not have any other garments to compare it to, I would not hesitate to wear this piece while stalking with my bow. I will continue to test the multipurpose role I intend for it to play with upcoming hunts that range from August to December. As I learn more, I’ll update the thread below. Order yours here.

Comment or ask Brock questions here.

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Brock Akers
Growing up in hunting family, it was expected that Brock would take to hunting at an early age. Spending most of his childhood in the duck blind with his Dad, he was eager to take part in the harvest himself. Passing his hunter safety course at the age of 9 and taking his first buck that fall was all it took for him to be hooked. Between deer camp each October & weekend trips to eastern Washington waterfowl hunting, time was pretty much consumed. However education was stressed by his parents as the number one priority. He graduated from Renton Technical College in 2008 with a certification in Engineering Design & Technology and has been working in the design/drafting field since then. His current job allows for flexible dates which in turn means a generous hunting season. Aside from hunting in his home state of Washington, Brock also hunts a variety of species each year in Idaho & Montana while building points in several other states. Most of his hunting is done in the remote backcountry. This type of hunting really makes him appreciate the outdoors for what they are. You can find and follow along with him on Facebook & Instagram.