All things Pyke gear review...

ptwysocki

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2020
Messages
15
I'll apologize ahead of time for what will undoubtedly be a long-winded, rambling, off-the-cuff review of a few different products. If I leave anything unanswered, feel free to as herein and I'll do my best to get back to you. So far, it's only 1/2 through the season...but even with only 10-15 hunts under the belt...I think I have enough runs with this gear to know what's what.
  • Pyke Kiowa/Tongass shirt:
    • Being that I run a strap vest, I really wanted a simple no pockets type of shirt/jacket. I've run the Orvis softshell, which is also a great jacket and I highly recommend it. However, since temps have yet to drop below 35...I find myself reaching for the Pyke shirts literally every hunt. If its 50-60...all i need is a lightweight baselayer and toss the Tongass on top. If it gets between 30-50....I'll either add the Kiowa as an additional layer, or insert your favorable cool weather layering piece under the Tongass. Either way, they are proving to be extremely versatile pieces of gear. I was definitely hesitant when i first put hands on them about how they would hold up to PA thorn bushes and tough briars. To date, I've yet to have a single pull or loose thread show up on these shirts. They are definitely cut fuller, so maybe size down if you want a slimmer fitting profile. The sleeves are cut so that you can swing and mount your gun with ease and move unencumbered. I've found they breath extremely well while offering solid breaks from higher winds. All-in-all, there's a ton of tech and value packed into a very simply designed shirt. As mentioned before, I've worn this system literally every hunt since i first tried them. I don't have the pant system yet...but will definitely be purchasing them here in the near future.
  • Pyke Wingman vest:
    • waist belt: the suede lining really does make a difference for comfort. I feel it gives a nice layer of padding and almost grip against your clothing. Should also aid in the durability. As their site advertises, it's definitely a load-bearing system. PALS webbing makes it so you can customize with whatever you desire. Lastly, there's a large patch of velcro on the back which actually allows you to fine-tune the fit of the vest height on your back. Really nice attention to detail with high quality buckles, lashing clips to keep string from flapping around, etc etc.
    • game bag: When i first saw this vest, I was a little worried that the game bag would be 1) too small and 2) difficult to access. So far I've easily been able to pack in 4 large roosters. More than that and it gets tight. As far as access, the marine webbing on the side is just stiff enough to keep it open so it's easy to load game into the bag. You can tell Brent has spent time with game packs, as they designed one large rear pocket that runs up the entire back panel, as to keep the weight up and close to your body...as opposed to hanging off the bottom and pulling weight away on your shoulders. This allows you to stow away quite a lot of extra gear. There's also a hydration bladder on the inside.
    • shoulder straps: I thought the seatbelt material was a really great idea...and im surprised others havent tried it out before. It's obviously more than strong enough and I suspect will be very durable. With all of the weight being held by the belt, there's really no need for a padded shoulder strap. Again, really nice attention to detail with lashing clips, suede lined back/shoulder panel, and one-hand adjustable sternum strap.
    • Pockets/accessories: vest comes with a shell and all-purpose pocket. I also added in two water bottle holsters. The shell pocket, for me, is an ideal size. A lot of vests use super large and deep pockets. Perhaps many need a pocket this large, but i have yet to need that capacity. It easily carries 1-2 boxes of 12 gauge...and while pushing thick brush, I didn't get any type of debris in my pocket. The zippered all-purpose pocket has a nice sized main compartment and a front smaller pocket (fits an iphone 8 for reference). Again, nothing special here...simplicity makes a lot of sense to me in this department. What i did notice was that the zippers were really high quality and smooth to operate. Some vests use cheaper zippers and don't have a 'pull string', making you fumble around trying to open and close. I've found myself in other vests having to hold down one side while I pulled the zipper as to get the pocket to open. This wasn't a problem on the wingman, opening every pocket was very easy with one hand.
      • To me, the water bottle holster was the best part. There's a Velcro strap that allows you to adjust the size of the opening to allow for carrying any bottle type. shorter hunts? you can tighten it for a water bottle or camelback. All day hunt....and you can pack in a large Nalgene, adjusting it accordingly. I've found regardless of the size of the water bottle used, the pocket holds firm against the waist belt
    • Storage: When I first looked at the vest, I was worried that it wouldn't be able to accommodate a full day hunt. after all, I didnt see any pockets bolted on to the side/back/etc... I quickly learned that slim doesnt mean lack of storage...I just think they made their storage areas very efficient. I've ran a couple all day hunts and was more than capable of packing all I needed. Below is a list of items currently sitting in the vest:
      • leatherman
      • neck gaitor for cold weather
      • beanie
      • headlight
      • 1-2 boxes of 12g shells
      • 2 pairs of gloves
      • extra boot laces
      • 1st aid kit
      • dog boots
      • wallet
      • phone
      • lunch
      • meal/energy bars
      • compass
      • maps
  • anything left to be desired???
    • I'm usually pretty critical and fussy on gear. But I admit, I really believe Pyke knocked it out of the park on this. I don't know Brent, and have no affiliation with their company. Nonetheless, I'll be a long-time customer for sure and look forward to any other clothing systems they come out with.
    • On the vest, I think some PALS system on the back panel for those that really want additional storage on the back. For me, it would be nice to run a lashing strap for all day hunts where you might shed layers
    • For the pants/shirt...maybe some different color options? Do I care that much, no not really. But I'll admit, when you deck out in all Pyke gear, it definitely has a uniform look to it. While i see some value from a brand/company perspective in identifying a look as Pyke gear...I'm sure some guys might not want to look so matching head to toe. look good, play good, shoot great? who knows, i doubt it, but Ill take a great piece of clothing in hot pink before a lousy piece of clothing in color xyz.

All in all...I think anyone who's in the market for a vest/shirt/pants should give them a look. There's a lot of other great options out there, especially this year in the vest department. But you can be absolutely sure that Pyke pays significant attention to detail and really goes the extra effort to ensure good long-lasting quality. Plus, it's made in the ol usa. Lastly, all products are in stock and immediately accessible...or at least were when i ordered. Had everything 3 days after placing order.

regarding the rambling length of these reviews...you were warned!
 

ttubudd

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2017
Messages
34
Location
McKinney, TX
I picked up the Pyke Wingman vest this year and I agree completely with your assessment. Fantastic piece of gear for the upland hunter. Also really appreciated receiving a follow up email from Brent and going back and forth a few times, he seems like a great guy with a passion for making a great product.
 
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