With numerous hunting and fishing lines, the private brands of Academy Sport + Outdoors bring high-tech outdoor gear to the general public.
Don’t pass up Academy Sports + Outdoors equipment if you shop in the Hunting / Fishing area; he really delivers. I spent 2 days chasing doves and fishing the Rockport, TX salt marshes, testing it from head to toe.
As a Hunt / Fish editor here at GearJunkie, I know a lot of gear intimately. And I’ll be honest: I couldn’t afford it personally. I certainly couldn’t have bought it, say, as a kid interested in fishing or a college student living on ramen.
So when given the opportunity to test equipment that’s wildly – and I mean savagely – affordable, I jumped at the chance.
I’ll explain the basics of the brand, both the hunting and fishing kits I’ve used, and why I think this is one of the most unique pieces of equipment around.
Who is Academy Sports + Outdoors?
If you’re unfamiliar with Academy Sports + Outdoors, the parent company of Magellan, you probably don’t live in the Southeast.
The brand boasts several private labels, and each strives to put the best gear in everyone’s hands, with affordability in mind. Magellan outside is her clothing line. Other private brands include Yildiz shotguns, H20 Express peach, Marine Raider and, more recently, the acquisition of Redfield optics.
In Texas, I was able to test more than Magellan. We fired Yildiz shotguns and sunk H20 Express rods and reels. Everything worked to a point where I would expect it to cost a fortune.
But this is not the case. I want to highlight the best brand items I tested during the trip, which turned out to be the ultimate testing ground for such things.
5 Academy Private Label Coins Are Worth Your Hard-Earned Money
OK, I’m starting with something that isn’t technically the Magellan brand, but it’s an exclusive shotgun brand within the Academy private label family.
I shot a bunch of Yildiz guns, and the 20 gauge HP Legacy ($ 480) turned out to be my favorite. The aluminum alloy receiver reduces the weight of the pistol and the recoil is less than expected with such a light pistol. The laser engraved quail in the gun enhances the appearance of this extremely affordable shotgun.
If you prefer a steel receiver, you can upgrade to the HPS series for an additional $ 70. The HPS series is available in 12 gauge, 20 gauge and 28 gauge options, while the HPS series is available in 12 gauge and 20 gauge.
For anyone who wants to add an over / under to their hunting game but might not have the money to go big, you get performance and style for under $ 500. What could be better than that?
Magellan Eagle Pass Lightweight Hunting Line in Veil Flagship Camouflage
You might be familiar with Veil camouflage and not even know it. Well-known brands like First Lite, Prois, Simms and Kryptek use the company’s high-tech camouflage technology in their clothing.
Magellan’s Flagship Veil camouflage is designed to fit into the landscapes of the South East, but I’d dare say it would fit in the West as well. And their light hunting tanks, shirts and pants look every part of their much more expensive brethren from other brands.
I had been doing elk hunting archery in a 90 degree Montana heat and after trying the Magellan line I wished I had had it the week before.
Each piece is light as a feather while still retaining a feeling of durability. Thoughtful details like roll-up pants, extra pockets and ventilated backs and sides go into every garment. Although it comes in multiple camos, I love the premium look of the Veil flagship.
It would take a real camo to distinguish the fact that you paid $ 15 for a long-sleeved crew rather than $ 90. And then you’d be allowed to brag anyway.
Here’s what I wore throughout the trip:
Younger I might have laughed at sun shirts, but these days I can’t get enough of them. And the extremely soft and comfortable Magellan Outdoors Pro Gaiter Hoodie ($ 35) is among the best of them.
With a built-in gaiter, zip pocket and sun hood, it’s about as technical as you need it to be. Mesh panels and a polyester / spandex blend keep you cool and comfortable.
And for $ 35, you’ll be protected from the sun’s rays, extreme heat, and bank account anxiety.
My favorite fishing gear on the trip was the thoughtful and comfortable Magellan Pro Waders ($ 150). Yes, they are designed for men, but over the knee boots can definitely be unisex.
The highlight of these over the knee boots for me is that an internal belt system helps with fit and comfort, and the fleece handwarmer pockets are a nice touch. The stretchy side gussets allow for a bit of extra space or air, and the woven polyester doesn’t make me feel like I’m in a rubber suit.
For $ 150, these are possibly the nicest budget over-the-knee boots I’ve worn. And tbh, they’re up there with the most expensive.
Fishing shoes have never been a big concern for me. But I loved wearing them and found myself reaching the Pro Angler Fishing Shoes ($ 50) even in the relaxed moments of the trip.
I had no issues with chafing, the self-draining design worked wonders in the rain and the ocean, and I didn’t slip on the boat deck on day two.
Besides, they are cute. And you can expect more colors and options in 2022 from this great range of fishing shoes for men and women.
Final thoughts: more to come from the Academy’s private labels
I had the opportunity to sit down with the Academy’s private label product team and see (and test) some of their upcoming gear for 2022 and through 2023.
This is good stuff. It can be difficult as an equipment publisher to constantly try out expensive equipment that I know I personally would not be able to afford or financially justify; I can’t imagine dropping $ 800 on a pair of over the knee boots.
But I never felt like I was unprepared. And we have gone through the whole range. Huge storms, heavy rains, and strong winds seemed to find us in every corner of Texas. And every once in a while, I felt prepared, comfortable, and ready for the next step.
The Academy’s private labels may not yet be suitable for all activities. You Probably won’t chase bighorn sheep in their gear like you would in some of the big ticket stuff.
But the Academy is a great starting point for people who hunt and fish recreationally or are looking for an entry point to enter the world of sport.