Gear Review: Duo of new camos for hunters, fishers from Mossy Oak

new camo agua and eclipse

New elements from Mossy Oak, Agua and Eclipse (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Mossy Oak, a leader in concealment for hunters of every species in the country—and beyond—has once again expanded its market. This time, they’re targeting two specific and often-overlooked groups of outdoors people: fishermen (and women) and ground blind hunters. We were able to get our hands on some prototypes prior to launch. Meet Elements Agua and Eclipse.

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The new Agua elements from Mossy Oak on display out on the water. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Mossy Oak Elements Agua
As many shooters and hunters are also fishermen, this new camo should be of interest. Mossy Oak jumped square on the bandwagon of the water-camo market, heretofore led by offerings from Kryptek and Under Armour. The new Mossy Oak Elements Agua is available in four color versions and numerous garment options. The brand is about more than concealment, Elements Agua is more a lifestyle statement, because you really don’t need camo to catch most fish. You don’t wear these patterns, the Huk brands, or any of the other “water camos” unless you love being in a boat, casting a line, and just being outdoors. Will they help you catch more fish? Probably not, unless you’re casting some pure blue salt flats for spooky swimmers. But you’ll look good doing it. The photorealistic Agua patterns are reminiscent of rippling H2O.

The Agua garments thus far entail polyester performance fabrics, some with cooling mesh backs and underarm ventilation built for warm weather fishermen who seek protection from the suns rays in addition to good looks. There are short and long sleeve tees, quarter zips, and neck gaiters. The first pattern to launch is the vibrant blue called Eclipse Aqua Seawater, with other versions in tones of black (Agua Blacktip), greys (Agua Manta), and red (Agua Crimson) coming soon, for those of us who don’t live with the deep blues of the Caribbean. As an aside, however, we’re not sure what or where Agua Crimson fits into the landscape.

Mossy Oak partnered with both Huk Perfomance Fishing and professional bass angler Kevin Van Dam to debut Elements. While the pattern is sweet and will doubtlessly appear on the myriad fishing garments now flooding the market, our primary interest here is guns, shooting, and of course, hunting. And Mossy Oak, the company out of Mississippi that has been hiding hunters since 1986, knows its market and is sharing the love with hunters, too.

Mossy Oak Breakup Eclipse
The Mossy Oak Eclipse pattern is the first of its kind made specifically for ground blind hunters. When execs at Mossy Oak learned the results of a True North Outdoor Marketing hunter survey showing that 64% of hunters use ground blinds, the direction was clear. Says Mossy Oak founder and CEO Toxey Haas, “With over half of hunters hunting from ground blinds where they are less exposed and hidden from natural light, we saw an opportunity to develop a pattern to help them hide even more inside the blind. Often hunters choose camo patterns for identity as much as effectiveness. Well, ground blind hunters now a have pattern for their hunting identity with Eclipse.”

A closer look at the Eclipse pattern (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

A closer look at the Eclipse pattern (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

The kicker with ground blind hunting is the interior of these pop up shelters is blacked out. So why not just wear plain black, as do some hunters already? First, that means sneaking through the woods in pure black to get to your hot spot, which means you don’t blend in at all with your surroundings, unless you hunt dark to dark. And two, if you’re in the blind with some of the “windows” open and other openings covered by the shoot-through type of camo netting, a black-only silhouette can also be defined from a distance. The win with Eclipse is that it’s not just black with splotches of Mossy Oak, but rather, it’s a complete darkened and faded-out camo with ragged areas of Mossy Oak Breakup. A closer look reveals the blacked out areas still show the branches, leaves, and underlying pattern of the Breakup.

Mossy Oak Eclipse disappears in a ground blind. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Mossy Oak Eclipse disappears in a ground blind. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

We tried out Eclipse in our Midwest ground blind and were impressed with the results. From distances of 5, 15, 25, and 50 yards, you could not see the hunter inside move to draw back the bow unless there was a bare face or hands. There was an exception to this though, several of the prototype garments we tested had either bold and showy logos that gave away the hunter’s movements or bright orange zippers that did the same at closer ranges. So if you’re buying some Eclipse wear for true blind hunting and not just casual fashion, seek out the versions without the orange, pink, or large logos.

Some of the Eclipse line is meant more for lifestyle wear than serious hunting (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Some of the Eclipse line is meant more for lifestyle wear than serious hunting. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Speaking of garment options, there are many, but all are budget-friendly and currently sold only at Walmart. The big-box limitation is both a blessing and a curse; some hunters prefer more technical garments from advanced outdoor retailers. Others have already embraced the bargain-store’s prices on what seem to be well-made garments with plenty of features, especially for the prices. We were able to try out prototypes of unlined cotton/poly cargo pants, poly-blend performance ¼ zip tops, a down-style jacket, soft cold-weather jacket, brushed pullover windbreaker, hooded sweatshirts, hats, gloves, and facemasks.

If you’re serious about hunting, you’ll need to pick your options wisely. The down jacket was not only shiny, but also noisy. As discussed earlier, the bright zippers and light colored logos on others are too flashy for the purpose other than fashion. But like the three little bears, there were some garments that were just right. The scent control cargo pants were soft, fit true to size and quiet, as did the gloves. The poly-blend ¼ zip pullover is a great warm-weather option or base layer, allowing ample stretch for movements like drawing a bow. The standard full zip softshell jacket and pullover type were both soft, quiet and comfortable. Scent control options in several of the garments are a big plus in a ground blind where hunters are on the same level as the game.

Another option from Mossy Oak that doesn't disappear in the blind. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Another option from Mossy Oak that doesn’t disappear in the blind. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Right from the get-go, Mossy Oak released the full line of Eclipse gear in sizes and styles for men, women, and children. If you favor the look and don’t care about hunting, they offer fashion options as well with splashes of lime green and bold pink. My local Wally-World also displayed Eclipse floor mats and steering wheel covers. The product just started shipping in August 2017.

Conclusion
While it’s fair to say roughly half of the Eclipse lineup and the majority of the Elements Agua offerings are more fashion and lifestyle accessories that hardcore concealment gear, Mossy Oak seems to have found a ready market. Especially with the Eclipse line, there are plenty of outfits ready for serious time in the ground blinds this Fall. Is Mossy Oak Eclipse camo a necessary tool for hunters on the ground? Not at all. But it is nonetheless a viable option, and at the price points offered in Walmart, this pattern is accessible and will sell.

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