Replacing the popular Dirty Bird line, in 2016 Browning introduced their Wick Wing waterfowl gear and this awesome hunting gear skyrocketed to become our most popular duck hunting clothing and gear. Wicked Wing was an overnight sensation, well at least in terms of hunting gear. Let us clarify that statement. If you have duck hunted for 10 years or more, you are probably familiar with the Realtree Advantage Max4 camo pattern, currently the improved Max5 camouflage. Realtree introduced the Max4 camo at SHOT Show in Orlando, FL in 2003. We know because we were there. Well the Max4 pattern, like Browning Wicked Wing, had some serious and well established competition. Notably for Max4 were MossyOak Shadowgrass and Realtrree’s own Advantage Wetlands. However, when introduced in 2003 the Max4 pattern drew some early attention and quite quickly became the #1 waterfowl camo pattern. Understandably, you may not agree with our declaration, but according to our sales and observation of our supplier’s commitment to stock/inventory levels which were 3 to 5 times higher quantities for Max4 than other waterfowl hunting camo patterns, Max4 was a firm leader by 2010. And, by quickly we mean that the Max4's rise to hierarchy was a 5 to 6 year journey during which the Max4 camo pattern smoked everything that the competition could through at it. But, Browning Wick Wing literally became our leading duck hunting jacket and hunting bib in a single season – that’s about 6 months. Only the introduction of the Realtree AP camo, with its 2 – 3 season rise to the top, comes close to matching the Browning Wicked Wing’s rocket ride to hunting gear stardom. By the way, while as of Jan 2018, Max5 is still the top waterfowl camo pattern, MossyOak Blades gained some solid ground in 2016 and 2017. It’s tough at the top, and 2018 will test the sudden rise of Browning’s Wicked Wing.
One must wonder, just how did Wicked Wing find such broad and overwhelming popularity and so quickly. Browning is not a new player in the waterfowl gear market. In the 90s and well before there was a Wicked Wing, Browning battled for market share with rivals like Columbia Sportswear and Herters. Perhaps you were chasing ducks in the 90s and remember that Browning had a license to use the Duck Commander Duck Calls logo on their waterfowl gear of the time. And, it seems to this writer that Browning was possibly the first to use that licensed logo on clothing. The license for Duck Commander clothes past to ICON, aka Drake Waterfowl, in about 2005. After only a couple years, Drake dropped the Duck Commander logo. Too bad, because that line sold well for us. Moving on, after Browning discontinued the Phil Robertson relationship, they fumbled around for a couple years and then brought out their Grand Passage waterfowl gear. This line saw limited success, possibly because it was available in only the “not so popular” MossyOak DuckBlind camo pattern. Browning stuck with the Grand Passage plan throughout the years when Realtree Max4 climbed to #1. Not a good period to offer the far less popular DuckBlind as the only option. Then in 2014 Browning got it right, they introduced the new Dirty Bird line with a number of new innovative pieces and 3 camo options: Realtree Max4 (which was changed to Max5 as soon as same was available), and MossyOak Blades & Bottomland. A new line with a catchy name, new innovative pieces and popular camo patterns. I suppose that it is easy to see why the Dirty Bird line ignited a bright spark.
Then is 2016, after some legal issues with the Dirty Bird logo/trade mark (seems somebody else had the idea first) created a need for a new name; Browning changed the line to Wicked Wing. For, Texas Fowlers, the Dirty Bird spark became the Wicked Wing blaze. In that year the Wicked Wing 3 in 1 Parka out sold almost all of our other duck hunting jackets combined. And, the Browning WW insulated bib was an even bigger hit. 2017 saw a continued rise in sales. Other manufactures, such as Drake Waterfowl and Banded continue as strong competitors, but Wick Wing seems to have secured a place for Browning in the waterfowl market for years to come.
The continued success and sales growth of Browning’s new Wicked Wing jewel is in part a result of the aforementioned innovations, styles and popular camo options. But, there is more to Wicked Wing than just the initial spark of 2016. Wicked Wing hunting clothes are judged by many duck hunters to be the most functional and comfortable clothes that ever stepped into an icy, cold duck boat ride, laid flat in a snow covered corn or barley field or turned its back to the blackest, strongest, wettest cold front that ever blew down from the Arctic. And, there are very good reasons for their favorable opinion. Browning designed and constructed the Wick Wing line for ergonomic comfort, maximum warmth and to be the most dependable waterproof attire in the field. Our experience as a retailer and the incredibly low return rate on Wicked Wing gear confirms that Browning met and surpassed these goals
First Browning designed every Wicked Wing piece with ergonomically correct features. Minor ergonomic related adjustments that sometimes seem insignificant but once in the field these features make a great day a not only great; but extremely comfortable day as well. Features like angled pockets where your hands are most likely to be. And, raglan sleeves that, in addition to minimizing shoulder leaks, allow for maximum unrestricted motion and eliminate the rubbing that shoulder seams cause. Articulated or pleated design in areas associated with joints and movement also improve comfort and mobility. Underarm arrow gusset style designs for a fuller range of motion and less restriction. And, they vary the cut of each piece, such as regular fit or athletic fit, to match the piece's intended wearing options. Comfort and freedom of movement, bingo? But what protection from the elements? All the free movement in the world is not going to be comfortable if you’re wet and cold.
Waterproof was not an issue for Browning when they introduced Wick Wing. For years Browning’s PreVent waterproof membrane technology has been a leader in dry all day. PreVent is found in all Wicked Wing waterproof pieces and in addition to being 100% waterproof, PreVent is also windproof but highly breathable. With taped seems and PreVent technology, Wick Wing keeps even the worst foul weather at bay. And, the windproof characteristics means that the wind chill factor will have far less impact on your warmth, comfort and length of hunt. However, as the morning warms or you become more active, the high breathability allows internal moisture to escape keeping you drier, warmer and more comfortable on the inside.
For warmth Browning had many options and choose the superior insulating performance of Primaloft Sport water repelling fibers to be the insulating media in their Wick Wing attire. Primaloft Sport offer numerous advantages over other insulating materials and Browning wanted the best for the wicked weather that Wicked Wing was created to tame. Primaloft is treated to resist water and therefore remains drier and warmer. But, because it absorbs much less water than its competitors, it also dries much quicker than other insulating materials which, once again, means a drier, warmer day. And, the specially engineered fibers of PrimaLoft are designed for maximum warmth, premium loft, and softness. PrimaLoft fibers are the finest fibers found in an insulating material. These fine fibers allows for a more compressed material thus improving the insulating efficiency and wind resistance as well as reducing bulk and noise created from movement.
And, to make the best insulating material even better, Browning Wicked Wing incorporated Browning’s Varatech design concept. Varatech is the feature that maximizes the Wicked Wing’s unrestricted movement which in turn minimizes exertion, while not compromising warmth and protection from the elements. Simply stated Varatech focuses on core areas such as torso, where insulation can provide a more significant impact on warmth and less impact on mobility. While other areas such as extremities where overheating and perspiration may occur receive highly effective yet lightweight and highly breathable insulating layers that are laminated. Thus the concept of capturing heat where the body is producing the most heat with less impact on mobility.
Browning Wicked Wing got it right and is in the field with hunters that know what it takes to get in a full day of warm, dry, comfortable duck hunting. Get you Wicked Wing and hunt like a pro.