By Todd J. Helms
Capitalizing on the success of their Max series of camo patterns Realtree’s newest addition to the lineup is Max-5. As a huge fan of Max-4 for waterfowling I had a difficult time seeing where the camo colossus would be able to improve on the success of that earlier waterfowling mainstay. However, I was proven wrong. Max-5 takes the baton from its predecessor and runs with it. Incorporating many of the same features as Max-4 such as millet, cornstalks, oak leaves, various grasses and limbs along with contrasting lights and darks Max-5 is also, to my eye at least, substantially lighter overall. If there was ever a gripe about Max-4 it would have to be that it was a “dark” pattern turning into a dark blob when viewed at distance. The overall “lightness” of Max-5 helps to eliminate this issue and therefore breaks up the human outline at virtually any distance. Whether or not the light vs. dark difference was intended by Realtree or just a perception of mine is undetermined. Yet, one thing remains steadfast, Max-5 keeps hunters hidden from the wary eyes of waterfowl, period.
As an example of the effectiveness of this pattern and alluding to the company’s claim that the pattern was built “with waterfowlers in mind,” let me take you back to an October morning’s hunt from last fall. Now keep in mind I don’t like to be tied down by sitting in a “duck blind,” I like to be mobile when waterfowling. This has distinct advantages, for example, if I’m hunting a spot that isn’t quite “it,” I can pick up and move quickly and easily, thus, keeping me on that ever elusive “X.” However, this run and gun style places a premium on the ability of my camo pattern to keep me hidden as I don’t have the luxury of a blind to conceal me. Enter Max-5.
This particular morning was a bit slow and I’d moved a couple times trying to dial in the “X.” As mid-morning rolled around I was shaken from a daydream by the old familiar sound of air ripping over cupped wings and I glanced skyward to see about a dozen mallards swinging around for another look at my spread. As the birds banked and closed the gap I stood and fired. When the smoke cleared a brace of October greenheads bobbed in the river’s back eddy and my lab went to work.
So why does this particular hunt stand out? It stands out because of the fact that I had limited cover to hide in and yet, thanks to my Max-5 apparel, was still able to hide in plain sight and fill out a limit of green. That’s what Realtree intended for Max-5 to be able to do and it delivers regardless of location or time of year.