A new brand aims to bring American-made, high-end hunting apparel directly to hunters through both a physical storefront and an online presence.
FORLOH entered the hunting retail market last week, and the brand is ready to make waves. It brings a high-tech, family-friendly line to folks looking for something different in the outdoors.
And while the brand is new, it’s hitting the market with a major launch. It opened a physical store over the Fourth of July weekend in Whitefish, Montana.
Online, it launched a direct-to-consumer shopping experience. Menswear is immediately available, with both women’s and children’s gear coming in August.
The made-in-America brand offers advanced technology intended to make hunting more comfortable and hunters more effective. And it pushes top-of-the-line manufacturing techniques usually dominated by Asian manufacturers into domestic factories.
Consumers will see high-quality techniques like sonically welded seams, metalized yarn, hydrophobic down, and waterproof-breathable membranes built with “pulse plasma” technology.
And every last seam, ingredient, and stitch is built and manufactured in the United States, where the brand already operates five factories.
“A lot of people told me it wasn’t possible to build high-end, market-leading technical apparel in the U.S., but when people tell me things like that, I like to prove them wrong,” said founder Andy Techmanski. “FORLOH is here to show that it’s not only possible, but it’s also actually the better way.”
GearJunkie had the chance to catch up with Techmanski and product designer Robert Yturri. Their no-holds-barred approach to technology included a litany of technical specs we hadn’t heard before.
FORLOH: Brand-New Tech, American Made
FORLOH builds its brand on “systems” of apparel. Clothing systems for hunting aren’t anything new, but they do work. And in this case, it’s not the systemic approach that really levels up the field, but the tech within it.
The Deep Space base layer series incorporates Trizar technology used by NASA for atmosphere re-entry. The shielding material is heat-reflective and uses emissivity coupled with insulation to keep the wearer warm. The high-emissivity fabric re-emits heat back to the wearer.
It’s similar to treatments used on commercial windows that block heat from the sun on one side and re-emit heat from interior sources on the other. The brand uses this technology in its base layer. The material is also fast-drying and warming.
It’s also Polygiene-treated, as the carbon-based odor treatment doubles down on the already odor-fighting materials within the Trizar tech.
FORLOH Midlayers, Outer Layers
Step one layer away from the skin, and the specially treated Active-Dri U.S. duck down and “Perf-Weld” sonic welding combine in FORLOH’s ThermoNeutral mid-layer series, bringing a down series like no other we’ve seen here at GearJunkie.
The sonic welding component allows perforations at each weld, which allows the mid-layer to breathe while still being water-resistant. The baffles also hold air, reducing the loss of loft.
The brand claims that thanks to its welding and face fabric, its 650-fill down (the best it could source in the U.S.) will compete with higher-loft down in competitors’ products in terms of warmth-to-weight ratio.
Finally, the AllClima line is where the outer layer launches more tech stories. FORLOH’s first-to-market Airadigm waterproof-breathable membrane touts some big numbers: 22k+/mm waterproof and 32k g/mm MVTR (moisture vapor transfer rate) with a 0.15 CFM air permeability.
These ratings mean the fabric is very waterproof, yet also very breathable compared to a lot of the competition. And while we haven’t tested these products yet, it sounds promising.
How did Airadigm achieve such a high waterproof rating at the same time as an excellent MVTR? Well, it claims to have created a new manufacturing technique called “plasma vacuum technology.”
In essence, it uses a large vacuum to pull a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish through the garment, rather than layering it on top of the fabric. The result is an air-permeable, waterproof fabric that uses only 1% of the previous DWR needed to treat a garment.
It also treats each fiber of the membrane with DWR, resulting in the claimed air-permeability and waterproofness numbers. Also, with less DWR necessary, the clothing is softer, more pliable, and, for hunters’ sake, much quieter.
An Inclusive Line From the Start
Typically, brands enter the market with a men’s line, then slowly dip their toes into women’s lines with a small collection of gear here and there. Rarely do we see a true kids’ line in the great expanse of hunting gear. But on a hunt with his 4-year-old, Techmanski realized the need for a family-friendly kit.
“He was wearing different camo than I was, and he was worried that he’d stand out to the deer,” Techmasnki said, “If a 4-year-old can figure this out, why can’t we?”
Currently, women’s and kids’ offerings are on preorder, but full hunting kits for men, women, and kiddos will be available by fall 2020. And the company is looking to release 6,500 SKUs worth of product over the next 18 months.
FORLOH: A New Player in American-Made Hunting Apparel
The high-end technology comes at a price, with base layers in the mid-100s and outer layers pushing the mid-400s. But they’re not so far off from the prices of quality hunting gear currently on the market.
For the hard-hitting hunter, the tech specs look to be unlike anything else they’ve tried in the field. And with three camo types to choose from, hunters will be able to match their home terrain.
Of course, field testing en masse is on the direct horizon. This fall, FORLOH’s gear will hit the woods for the first time. For a new company, it’s a breath-holding moment. But Techmasnki’s crew has certainly put in the upfront effort to dial down on some wild technology and bring it to the forefront for hardcore hunters.
Most items begin shipping on July 17, with more items to come before the fall hunting season.