First Lite Fusion Camo Review
“Trust your camo.” I have heard this said many times, but up until recently, it never really resonated with me. This may sound funny, but I don’t think I have ever really TRUSTED my camouflage. Not that I didn’t like it, I loved my camo. I think it was just that though. I wore it because that is what you were suppose to do………and it looked awesome. Who doesn’t love camo? It didn’t change my thoughts on how I stalked animals though. Honestly, even though I have always worn camo, I really have gone about doing things like I wasn’t wearing camo. This caused me to maybe be more careful than need be and might have cost me opportunities in the past.
My dad always told me when I was a kid that you want to wear something that breaks up your outline, so that the animals will have a harder time detecting you. Back then, that meant a checkered flannel. So, as history has shown, I have just worn the camo that looked best to me. I am going to repeat that. I have just worn the camo that looked best to ME. Did you catch that? There is a difference in what we see as humans and what our quarry sees. No matter how good something looks to you, doesn’t mean that the animal ISN’T going to be able to see it, which is our goal right? We want to appear invisible, especially us archery hunters.
So, now we start thinking about the science of camouflage and how it works. You have two different types of patterns. Micro patterns and Macro patterns. A Macro pattern is going to make it difficult for things to see you at far distances. These are larger camo patterns. A great example of a Macro pattern, in my opinion, is ASAT(all season all terrain). A Micro pattern is going to make it difficult for things to see you at close distances. These tend to be very detail orientated and are smaller. Realtree Max-1 is, in my opinion, a great Micro pattern.
The Birth of Fusion
Traditionally, First Lite has always taken other company’s camouflage and put them on their gear. Last year they actually came out with their own camo pattern though. It is called Fusion and so far, I have been blown away by it. They worked on this project for 2 years before putting it on the market. 2 years of researching, testing, and developing. The fact that they put that much work into this, is just a testament to how much First Lite cares about their product. They could have just thrown a bunch of blotches and leaves on a shirt and called it good. Good is never good enough for this company though.
How does it work?
You aren’t going to find a bunch of trees and leaves on this stuff. Instead, it is a mix of shapes and colors(9 to be exact) that absolutely decimates the human outline. Fusion employs both Macro and Micro patterns, meaning that it doesn’t matter if you are at 30 yards or 500 yards, you are going to be concealed. It also is meant to be worn in a wide variety of terrain. This was super important to me, because I hunt everywhere from the desert to the pine trees and need something that is going to cover me in all of those situations. I love camo, but don’t want to have 14 different sets laying around the house.
Something unique to Fusion is its “Crackalature.” The feature almost makes it look like the pattern has been shattered to some degree. If you stare at it for long enough, you will see what I am talking about. The cracks in the pattern mixed with the light and dark colors make certain parts of the camo look separated, if you will. Yet another aspect in distorting the human body. Because of this, you aren’t going to get any color blobbing and those animals are going to look right through you.
Fusion uses carefully selected color and algorithms based on nature. What does this mean? It means that you are going to create a level of focal and depth confusion to your quarry. Both depth perception and peripheral vision is going to be scrambled due to the high contrast between all of the colors and the general chaos that is the pattern.
When I first heard that First Lite was coming out with their own camouflage pattern, I was so excited for them. They make amazing products and deserve their own amazing pattern to put on those products. My first impressions of Fusion were as follows: “Wow!”……..”That looks amazing!”……..”Now, I am going to have to replace all of my current First Lite gear with Fusion!” I loved this pattern right when I saw it. Once I saw photos out in the field though, I was floored with how much it made the wearer blend in. The chaotic pattern seriously does a number on your visual senses.
I recently got to test this new pattern out on, what I would consider, one of the most wiley big game animals that walks in the west. My brother and I did a backpack archery hunt for our famed coues deer here in Arizona. I knew that Fusion looked great and all, but I couldn’t wait to get it in front of these little desert whitetails. It would be a perfect animal to test this pattern out on. If you don’t know anything about coues deer, let me just say that they are one of the most high strung animals that I have ever been around. A very skittish and very jumpy critter all the way around.
On our way into our spot we jumped up some does probably 60 yards in front of us. As coues deer do, they jumped up and ran about 10 yards or so. After that they stopped and continued to look in our direction. About 30 seconds went by, before they actually started walking towards us feeding! We hung out there a bit and then decided to just walk through and get up to our camp. So far, impressed.
Fast forward to the next morning. I spot a big buck off in the distance and decide to make a run at him. On my way up to this buck I stumble into a doe. Right now, I am at 30 yards. We had a pinion juniper in between us at the time. I got low and moved around the tree to get an even closer look and hopefully set up for a shot on the buck in the area. Now, I am at 20 yards and this deer is looking right through me. A few minutes go by and she just calmly walked off. WHAT!? I have never been that close to coues deer on the ground, not in a blind, without them busting me. Unfortunately, the buck wasn’t with this doe.
Next, I move up the hill after my brother signals to me that the buck is above me. I make it to the top of the hill and the wind shifts on me. Once that happened I saw the buck slowly walk out of my life. Then though, I heard something to my left. Keep in mind, that I am out in the open, not in the cover of vegetation at all. There was a deer standing 10 yards in back of me! This deer stared at me for a few minutes, jumped back 10 yards, then came back to me even closer! Now, she is at 8 yards! She eventually just walked by me calmly and did her thing. If that isn’t impressive, I don’t know what is.
After what happened on that hunt described above, I was 100% sold on Fusion. Not only does it look great, more importantly it performs great. Never have I been more impressed with how a camouflage pattern worked and I now have a whole new level of confidence when I am out there. The saying mentioned above, “Trust your camo,” truly resonates with me now and I can definitely say that I trust this camo. The anticipation of the coming season is even greater and I can’t wait to get this stuff out in front of more animals to see how they react or don’t react to it. You can learn more about First Lite products at www.firstlite.com.