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The UA Ridge Reaper Raider HD Pants come in two hunting camo patterns as well as an everyday dark gray option. They’re designed to be an agile do-it-all hunting pant.
To get us a closer look, Under Armour sent Man Makes Fire two review units for testing. After wearing the UA hunting pants during Idaho’s archery elk season in September, this is what we learned:
UA Ridge Reaper Raider HD Hunting Pants Review
Wow. I did not expect to like the UA Ridge Reaper Raider HD hunting pants. I figured I would appreciate them for being a decent hunting pant with a cool camo pattern, but I was wrong. They are super freaking comfortable and the UA Barren Camo pattern blends well in a variety of terrain.
In fact, I was wearing the UA Ridge Reaper Raider HD Pants when I shot an Idaho public-land satellite bull elk late in the season with my bow. I’ll spare you the full multi-hour herd bull hunt story, but it involved dropping a bunch of elevation, hiking up higher than the drop, waiting for thermals to stabilize, then dropping back down through thick Idaho timber and brush. This was a heavy cover set with few shooting lanes, and the satellite bull that came into our calls hung up at 12 yards.
The bull had circled and had come in so that my buddy was 20 yards directly behind me. Not ideal. The situation resulted in the bull looking past me over the course of a solid 10 minutes, trying to spot the cow and bull that he knew had to be there. This timeline included a healthy, muscle-burning stint at full draw as I waited for the cautious bull to take just two steps.
As the minutes ticked by, shade receded and sunlight illuminated my face. I realized that I had to move my boot six inches so I could lean back into the shade before the bull saw an odd floating orb in the timber. At the tiny sound and movement of my boot, he busted away — but we managed to call him back.
I eventually got a new shooting lane and arrowed the bull at 21 yards. Of course, most elk hunters know that stillness is far more important than camo . . . but the fact remains: The UA Barren Camo pattern is a good pattern and it did not fail when I needed it most. I have zero complaints.
I’m now a fan of the Raider HD pants. You might be thinking: Is this guy a fan of the UA Ridge Reaper Raider HD Pantsbecause he shot a bull? Nope. I’m a fan of the UA hunting pants because they wore so well during the hard stuff — steep climbs and fighting through brush and deadfalls over multiple days of hunting.
UA Raider HD Features: The Fabric
The fabric is 91% Polyester and 9% Elastane, woven to deliver a 4-way stretch. The fabric is also quiet in the brush. It’s not as quiet as wool and not as quiet as pants with soft fuzzy face fabrics, but it’s definitely good. The fabric weave is tight enough to provide protection and help the DWR water-repellant treatment do its job.
The weight of the pant fabric is thick enough to wear during cool mornings yet breathable enough to be comfortable when the temperature or activity spikes. My hunting partner and fellow gear tester wore them on mornings that dropped into the 30s with afternoons that rose into the high 70s.
Under Armour smartly includes zippered hip vents to help you dump heat, and we very much appreciated these on the warmer days and elevation gains.
The most notable construction pattern in the Raider HD Pant is the curiously folded section of fabric over the knees. The fabric is essentially pleated in small folds. The design ensures flexibility of the articulated knees, but how does it feel?
You don’t notice the fabric when walking normally, and when you bend your knee, you don’t notice much either.
Under Armour says the design acts like lightweight knee pads, which is handy when stalking, but how good is it really?
The folded knee fabric “padding” is surprisingly effective! I could drop to a knee in the UA Raider HD pants on packed dirt and sticks and not worry about it. I could also drop to a knee to unhook the safety chains on a trailer on a gravel road without concern. Even kneeling on rock wasn’t bad.
However, the fabric folds aren’t as protective as the foam knee pads you’ll find in competitive hunting pants like the Sitka Mountain Pants (review here).
UA’s solution, however, does provide a nice compromise between lightweight hunting pants without knee pads and clunkier foam pads.
I believe any good hunting pant should have multiple, useful pockets. The UA Ridge Reaper Raider HD Pant pockets are different from any other hunting pant I’ve tested.
First, the main front hand pockets are super deep and super big. I was pleased and surprised — these standard hand pockets are easily twice as large as, say, a typical pant pocket. I could drop a large iPhone inside with total confidence, as well as light gloves, a headlamp, etc.
Second, Under Armour includes two large zippered cargo pockets — and this is where things get interesting. UA positioned these pockets up relatively high on the fronts of the thigh. Weird, I know. Most cargo pockets are lower and off to the sides.
I can’t figure out how these front-focused pockets are any better than more traditionally located side-oriented cargo pockets.
They are roomy with large openings and secure zippers. They work well, but they took me a couple of days to get used to. It’s not that they were a problem, just that they changed my awareness of the contents because I could feel, for example, my trusty Leatherman Signal in there. In other hunting pants, it tended to disappear from my awareness.
As near as we can tell, the pocket orientation offers no real benefits and no real drawbacks.
The fit of the UA Raider HD Pants are spot-on and, like I said, comfortable. You can credit some of the comfort to a midweight do-it-all hunting pant that errors toward lightweight fabric — but part of the comfort definitely comes from the 4-way stretch. It’s very good.
Under Armour also offers a whopping 30 size configurations with four different inseam lengths to choose from. The 36″ inseam option is perfect for tall guys like me, and the waist options range from 30″ to 44″. Under Armour has made an impressive investment in sizing to let you dial in the fit.
As a fit comparison, Sitka’s Mountain Pants — which are also excellent — only come in 14 size options. The KUIU Attack Pant, which I’ll be testing soon, has 24 size options.
The overall fit is what I call athletic. I have big thighs and the Raider HD gives me plenty of room without being baggy. In fact, the thighs and hips fit particularly well. The lower legs have a slight taper, but remain open enough to easily slip over the top of your boots. For colder weather hunting, the fit has just enough room for a lightweight or midweight base layer.
Under Armour doesn’t market this, but in case you’re wondering, the Raider HD Pants have a gusseted crotch. The gusseted construction definitely helps with agility and comfort, particularly when you’re scrambling over a deadfall.
For some reason — and you can see this on the UA models on the Under Armour website — it seems as if UA positioned the fabric folded “knee pads” a little too high up the thigh and not low enough down the leg. Both of our review pairs had 36″ long inseams and the reinforced knees covered our knees when we knelt. Maybe the reinforced knee positioning isn’t as good in the shorter inseams — I don’t know. My only quibble would be to make this a total non-issue for anyone by extending the reinforcement down one more inch . . . or simply lowering the position of the reinforcement altogether. With this adjustment, I think everyone’s knees would hit the sweet spot every time, even if they’re crawling around and their pants ride up a bit. If you’re concerned, consider choosing the next size up on your inseam length.
One of the reasons to choose a hunting pant is for its available camo patterns. Most modern camo patterns are pretty effective these days, but it’s also nice to choose a camo pattern that’s right for the terrain you hunt most. In addition, you might simply prefer the look of one camo pattern over another — and that’s ok.
In our experience and opinion, the Under Armour Barren Camo pattern looks fantastic. Not only does it perform in North Idaho hunting situations, it looks great at camp — and it’s different enough to be enjoyable in more public places.
In terms of performance, both patterns seemed effective. I could almost disappear 20 yards from my hunting partner in either pattern without effort.
UA Barren Camo on the pants, UA Forest All Season Camo on the Raider 2.0 Jacket.
In bright-but-filtered light against evergreen.
In bright-but-filtered light.
In timber in the shade.
Lots of Complimentary Hunting Clothes
Under Armour has ramped up its hunting clothes options considerably. UA now offers a wide range of shirts, jackets, pants, base layers, boots, and cold and wet-weather camo hunting gear. In previous years, I thought Under Armour lacked size options and type of clothing options, but UA has now filled in most every gap.
Basically, if you’re going to build out your hunting camo over time, you’ll be able to cover most conditions with Under Armour now.
There is a lot of excellent hunting pant competition these days. This is great for hunters, no doubt about it. For our purposes, we tend to focus on western big game hunting pants — which, of course, are frequently picked for use in the Midwest and East, too. Either way, once you choose a great pair of hunting pants that fit well . . . you’ll never go back to cotton pants or baggy camo. If you’re interested in the UA Ridge Reaper Raider HD Pants, here are a few comparable competitive alternatives to consider:
Sitka Mountain Pant — One of our favorite hunting pants is the do-it-all Sitka Mountain Pant. It’s a bit warmer and slightly heavier than the Raider HD Pants. The main benefits include its many excellent pockets and its removable foam knee pads. Does it have any drawbacks? Not really — but we do wish it had zippered hip vents like the Raider HD vents.
KUIU Attack Pant — KUIU’s do-it-all Attack Pant has been a KUIU hunting pant fan favorite for years. It boasts a lightweight stretchy fabric that includes a gusseted crotch and articulated knees. One key benefit is its wide range of color choices. KUIU offers it in three different camo patterns and eight different solid colors for everyday use around town.
First Lite Obsidian Merino Pants — First Lite’s Obsidian Merino Pants blend the odor control of merino wool with a bit of ballistic ripstop nylon, polyester fiber, and spandex for stretch. The primary benefit is the merino wool, which is very quiet in the brush. In addition, merino wool reflects less light than most synthetics, which means the Obsidian Merino Pants are a good choice if you expect to hunt frequently in full sunshine. The main drawback is that you need to wash it in cold water only and refrain from drying it with heat in your dryer so it doesn’t shrink.
The UA Ridge Reaper Raider HD Pants are a versatile early to mid-season hunting pant with a fantastic fit. The overall build quality is excellent, as is the camo pattern. And this is worth saying again: The comfort level is awesome — as you might expect from the 30 size options. Very highly recommended.