For hundreds of years hunters have worn wool because it's warm, quiet and durable. Now it's also camouflaged. In 1980, King of the Mountain introduced the first camouflaged wool.
Today at least seven manufacturers market such products. Wool is still with us in a world where synthetics dominate because wool sheds rain naturally, can be woven to be wind resistant, keeps moisture off your skin and, when wet, still retains 60 percent of its insulating properties.
Before you rush out to buy wool, however, you should realize that not all wool is created equal. "Virgin wool" means the wool is fresh from the sheep that donated it. "Worsted wool" means the fibers have been tightly twisted. "Woven" camouflage means the camo pattern has been woven into the garment rather than printed on. "Pre-shrunk" typically means it won't shrink when you get it wet, and sometimes that you can wash it rather than dry-clean it. Here are four jackets worth checking out.
1. Bowman Jacket
King of the Mountain's Bowman Jacket is made from 100 percent virgin wool. The jacket is loose enough for drawing a bow or to wear more layers underneath. The Bowman has a windproof and scentproof liner and the camo pattern is woven in. The jacket is machine washable. ($406; 970-962-9306; www. kingofthemountain.com)
2. Camwoolflage Jacket
The Woolrich Camwoolflage Jacket (style 6394) has a zipper front with a storm flap, a drawstring hem, adjustable button cuffs, two button-closed external pockets, one internal pocket and a hood. The camo on this coat is printed on. This coat is machine washable. ($99; 800-995-1299; www. woolrich.com)
3. Timber Mackinaw Outfitter Jacket
Made from 100 percent wool, the Timber Mackinaw Outfitter Jacket from C.C. Filson has a zipper front, drawstring hem and two pockets. The only caveat is that this coat must be dry-cleaned. Its advantage is that its timber pattern is woven in. ($174.75; 800-624-0201; www.filson.com)
4. Weatherproof Wool Parka
The Weatherproof Wool Parka from Weatherby is wool on the outside with an itch-proof lining on the inside. The parka has articulated double-layer elbows, an adjustable hood, hand-warmer pockets, two cargo pockets and button wrists. It's machine washable and the pattern is woven in. (From $200; 805-466-1767; www. weatherby.com)