There's more to buying Australian-designed gear than patriotic fervour. A lot of hunting clothing made for foreign markets doesn't quite cover all the bases when you use it here. Lamellar's EcoACTive Breeze T-shirt and pants tick all the boxes, though, from price to practicality. You can tell they've been developed by an Australian hunter with experience in hunting equipment.
Lamellar is an Australian company, a business established by Tom Chan, who set it up in 2008. He quickly made inroads into the local hunting market, using the experience he'd gained working for other companies. As a result, you can find Lamellar gear in many gunshops.
The Breeze top and pants are made for warmer weather. They're light, airy and comfortable. The T-shirt is ventilated and the pants can be converted to shorts, but we'll get to that in a minute.
The quality is clear. From the high-definition printing of the ContraCAM Fade camo pattern to the reinforced stitching in critical areas, this gear is worth every cent and probably more. Lamellar hasn't used cheaper materials inside the pockets or skimped on the standard of the press-studs that secure the bellows pockets and waist. On the contrary, it has used things that work, so that the cinches that tighten the waist don't come loose and the knee protection ensures longer life.
It boded well for the review. Two of us used the clothing – Alex Juris and I, with Alex having had Lamellar gear for about a year now.
The T-shirt's stretchy material is something different. It's a bamboo charcoal fabric that seems very strong for its light weight of 118 grams per square metre. It also has a number of other good properties, chief among them the ability to wick away moisture very quickly, so your clothes stay dry most of the time.
The Breeze long-sleeve T-shirt (it's also available with short sleeves) is perforated, so you get a constant flow of air through it onto your skin. When you're sweating in the heat and there's a light breeze, it's almost like air conditioning as the wind blows through, not only cooling you directly but encouraging the moisture to evaporate from the quick-drying material to increase its cooling effect.
It works well. I chose a size that's a little tight fitting and I'd probably go a size up next time for a looser fit, but either way it works very well. The Breeze shirt is never any warmer than anything else in still, humid conditions but is usually cooler than other materials at other times.
And when you set out on a cold morning, knowing the day will heat up rapidly, the Breeze shirt is a brilliant underlayer to keep you warm. I'll often pull a wind-bucking shirt on top as I set out before dawn, especially in a cold wind, and once my body and the day warm up I'll remove it and enjoy the cool comfort of the Lamellar top on its own.
The long sleeves have thumbholes in the ends. It's a nice touch for two reasons: it can add a little extra warmth when the shirt's in underlayer mode; and it hides a bit more of your hands when you're trying to conceal yourself. Hands can really stand out in the bush.
It's a pull-over shirt but with a zip-up neck. Open it to keep cooler; close it to keep youself better hidden, as well as warmer when you need it.
Interestingly, some seams aren't stitched at all but are heat-sealed and effectively seamless as a result. It's a neat finish.
The pants use the same bamboo-based technology but the material is different, without the stretch or perforations of the T-shirt. In this case, the bamboo charcoal material is blended with 53% polyester. The breeze pants are 180gsm and designed for summer use. The lower legs can be unzipped and removed, turning the pants into shorts.
They have loops for a standard size belt, but a couple of straps and buckles on the sides allow you to cinch them tight around your waist, precluding the need for a belt.
The main pockets are made of the same material as the rest of the pants and are deep and secure. Two wallet pockets have flaps sealed with Velcro, so you'll never lose anything from them (this little feature is another example of the lengths Lamellar has gone to in ensuring a quality product). Each leg has a good-sized bellows pocket sealed by flaps with press-studs.
The big black knee sections are a heavy-duty material designed to add protection for both your knees and the pants when you're crawling around the scrub. They do the job well, and add a degree of water resistance. However, they also get quite hot in the sun, something you notice most when sitting.
The lower legs are zippered, so you can open them up for either cooling or to take the pants off (or even just the lower legs) over your boots.
Like the shirt, the pants dry very quickly, wicking away moisture. They may not be ventilated but the material still 'breathes'.
I had one complaint that Alex didn't. I have relatively long legs but Lamellar doesn't offer a long option in the pants. I've taken to wearing gaiters with them (and I've recently got a set of Lamellar's, which will be reviewed soon).
Lamellar's unique ContraCAM Fade is the lighter version of two shades in the range, but is the only one used on the EcoACTive summer wear. It's a photo-realistic representation of natural Australian bush, with a few tweaks such as the orange leaves that are designed to add a touch of safety by standing out to human eyes.
ContraCAM Fade contains all the main elements you need for good camouflage as a hunter. There are high-contrast sections as well as parts that fade into each other. There are relatively large blocks of light and dark bits, which provide the macro element that's the basis of all good stalking camo, and there are smaller details that help you blend into the foliage immediately around you.
Against a grass background, even the Fade can appear a bit dark and give away your form, but it's not alone in that – most hunting camo behaves this way, and the obvious lesson is to avoid open ground. However, the minute you're in scrub or hide your silhouette against a tree, the ContraCAM shows its full effect very well.
As you can see in the photos, it suits various bush very well. It's great against most trees and in dappled light or medium forest. ContraCAM Fade will genuinely make you all but invisible in many places. Settle down, keep still and there's no reason your quarry will detect you.
Even when I have been spotted, if I was careful the game frequently couldn't work out what I was and whether I was a threat. You'll see in the video review how exposed I ended up on one deer stalk, yet the animals stayed bedded.
Alex Juris spent more than an hour one morning watching a beautiful fallow buck in velvet. He was even able to follow it to different locations without being noticed.
"I was wearing the Lamellar clothing and, keeping the wind in my favour and using some light bushy cover, I was able to get some very nice photos of this lovely buck," he said. "On a couple of occasions he sensed something and stared in my direction but then settled and continued with his morning.
"It was excellent performance from the Lamellar camouflage."
Lamellar has got the ContraCAM Fade right. It works well.
The longer I use Lamellar's Breeze clothing, the more I like it. It is very comfortable and really does keep you cool in summer, especially that T-shirt.
Alex has always felt the heat more than I do, and he's been particularly impressed: "Lamellar's Breeze long-sleeved shirt and pants do keep me cool and comfortable when walking for hours in very warm conditions," he said. "If I sweat, it only takes a short break and the clothing dries very quickly."
I rarely see Alex out in the field in anything else these days.
As for the quick-dry quality, I like it most after I've been sitting on wet ground, whistling foxes, because a few minutes after getting up again that horrible feeling of a cold, clammy bum has gone.
The fact that the T-shirt doubles as an underlayer is a bonus when the weather cools down.
A couple of other good things: the fabric doesn't get chock full of grass seeds and both the pants and shirt – despite its ventilation – protect you from UV. The material doesn't get as stinky as fabrics like cotton after you've been hot and sweaty in it. It's also nice to know that bamboo is one of the most sustainable harvests anywhere.
The important thing is Lamellar's EcoACTive Breeze clothing, as I said at the start, meets all the needs of an Australian hunter. Overseas-developed gear rarely gets it so right. The Breeze pants and T-shirt are practical, protective, great in warm weather, wear well, are priced competitively and their ContraCAm Fade camouflage works.
|Description||Lamellar EcoACTive Breeze clothing|
|Prices*||Long-sleeve T-shirt, $69.95; pants, $129.95 ($119.95 in olive)|
|Manufacturer||Lamellar, 02 9516 2575, firstname.lastname@example.org|