Brush Busters

Bush Busters | Shooting Sportsman Magazine

Pants for penetrating the puckerbrush

It’s a jungle out there. And a lot of gamebirds hang out in the nastiest parts of it. Hunters who want to tangle with them have to come dressed for the mess—which means clothing that can ward off things that prick and grab. Brush pants, especially, have to hold up where predators fear to tread. Not only do they need to keep wearers from getting scratched and bloodied, but they also have to be comfortable enough for all-day trekking in varied terrain. We donned pairs from five popular brands to see which would stand up to cover.


Avedon & Colby’s All-Terrain Field Pants wear like comfortable jeans but perform like a suit of armor. Made with a combination of 7-oz canvas for a softer feel and 10-oz canvas in high-wear areas, the pants are both water- and abrasion-resistant. Features include a button front closure, a French fly, eight oversize belt loops, waistline tabs for adjusting fit, an oversize crotch gusset, articulated knees and lower-leg button tabs for fitting into boots. A plethora of pockets includes two zippered back pockets, two large front pockets and two button front cargo pockets with zippered security pockets. These pants were easy to move in and virtually impenetrable to thorns front and back. They received bonus style points for doubling as streetwear.

Color: Khaki. Waist sizes: even, 32” to 42”. Inseam: 32”. Price: $199. Avedon & Colby.


Pyke’s Kiowa Upland Hunting Pants are very lightweight, having been designed for early to mid-season conditions and a variety of temperatures. They are made of a breathable stretch material and treated for water repellency. A nylon facing from the mid-thighs down and on the backs of the calves offers abrasion resistance. The pants have a snap front closure, two front pockets and, oddly, only one zippered rear pocket. The relaxed fit, stretch material and articulated knees made walking and climbing easy.

Color: October Grey. Waist sizes: even, 30” to 44”. Inseam: 32” (can be lengthened to 34”). Price: $210. Pyke Gear.


For those who prefer a traditional brush pant, Kevin’s Stretch Poplin Briar Pants offer a classic look. But looks are where tradition ends, as these pants are made of lightweight cotton Poplin with built-in stretch paired with a stretch-canvas facing. The few-frills pants have a button front, two front pockets, two button rear pockets and suspender buttons. The canvas facing is from the thighs down and on the backs of the ankles, and it resisted heavy briers—except when backing out of cover. The fit was roomy and comfortable, and the stretch material made for easy walking and high-stepping up hills and over logs.

Color: Khaki. Waist sizes: various, 30” to 44”. Inseam: even, 30” to 36”, or unhemmed. Price: $139. Kevin’s Catalog.


Gordy & Sons’ Men’s Lightweight Field Pants were designed for warm-weather hunting and feature a breathable blend of polyester and spandex that is moisture wicking and anti-microbial. The pants have a snap front closure with an interior button, a gusseted crotch, articulated knees and a heavier-fabric facing from the mid-thighs down and on the calves. There are two mesh-lined front pockets—one with a knife pocket—and two unsecured rear pockets. These roomy pants were comfortable for walking, high-stepping and wading into medium brush, but they offered little resistance to thorns.

Color: Brown (shown) and Olive. Waist sizes: various, 30” to 54”. Unhemmed. Price: $130. Gordy & Sons.


First Lite’s Men’s Sawbuck Brush Pants combine Corrugate four-way stretch nylon in the waist and rear with two-layer reinforced nylon from the mid-thighs down and on the calves. The lightweight pants are treated with a water-resistant finish and have a button front closure, two mesh-lined front pockets with knife-clip gussets and two unsecured rear pockets. The stretch fabric, athletic cut and articulated knees made for easy walking, climbing and bending, and the nylon facing repelled the most serious thorns—except when backing out of cover.

Color: Dry Earth (shown), Conifer, First Lite Cipher and First Lite Fusion. Waist sizes: even, 30” to 44”. Inseam: various, 30” to 35”. Price: $150. First Lite.

Photographs by Michael O’Neil

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  1. says: Reed Johnson

    How did you choose the pants you reviewed? There are some great brands you missed which are more affordable ( Mt. Khakis, Orvis, Carhartt).

    1. Shooting Sportsmansays: Ralph Stuart

      We had room to review five pants and tried to include a variety of styles and price points. In considering various brands, a quick search showed that Mountain Khakis was out of its Original Field Pant and Carhartt was phasing out its upland pants. Orvis’s offerings were no cheaper than the lowest-price-point pants we ended up covering.

  2. says: Danny H Lowman

    Out of touch with reality.
    Buy 3 pairs of cabelas or red head paints for the price of one of these. Most of us go to the field with a well worn $600 shotgun and a good pair of reasonably priced pants, not a $3k sxs, a land rover and designer duds.

  3. says: Jerry Smith

    Well, I won’t make any assertions about the price of a fowling piece a hunter goes afield with or how expensive are the clothes but, I have struggled for years to find upland attire that suits me. I should have purchased multiple pairs when I bought my last “approved “ pair from Dunn’s back in the mid 80’s. Except, I might have grown out of them by now….still looking.

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