Hunter’s clothing is about more than just style and functionality. If you are going to be out in the bush for days on end, you need gear on which you can rely. You need clothing that’s rip resistant, that doesn’t start to stink, and that won’t rustle and give away your position. It’s not just about the prey, either. It’s about your own comfort. A hunter who is chafing, soaked with sweat, or limping from blisters, is a hunter at less than maximum efficiency.
If you want to be the best hunter you can be, you need clothing that keeps up with you. We put together this short guide to things you should keep in mind before you buy your new hunting clothing to help you out. It’s far too easy to buy the wrong thing and end up cutting a good trip short. Here’s how you can avoid that and buy clothes that help instead of hindering you.
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9 Considerations to Make Before Buying Hunting Clothes
Regardless of what you are hunting, the following things can make it easier to catch your prey.
1 – Be Terrain Specific
The old-timers in hunting would go out into the wild in denim and a shirt. Now we know better. We realize that animals can recognize patterns that are out of place in their surroundings and can therefore be scared easily. If you blend in with your terrain, you minimize the risk of that deer or buck knowing that you are there. Look for terrain-specific hunting clothes.
Terrain-specific hunting clothes means wearing greens and browns in forests, field, and meadow patterns out in the plains, and even black and browns in some terrain. Matching patterns and colors gives you a better chance at concealment.
2 – Dress in Layers
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The best way to dress on the field is in layers. In winter, add extra base layers. In summer, take the top layers away. We particularly enjoy a merino wool base layer and a waxed top layer for waterproofing. The idea of layering means that even if you fall in a river, you still have a couple of dry layers to stop you from freezing. It’s the only way to dress in the field.
3 – Think About Silence
The reason we like that top layer to be a waxed waterproof jacket instead of a vinyl one is silence. The waxed jackets give the same waterproof finish, but don’t have as much rustle to them. You’ll probably never find a truly silent jacket, but definitely consider the noise a piece makes before you buy it. This should go for all your hunter’s clothes, not just your jacket. The vest, for example, should be softer fabrics.
4 – Be Weather Appropriate
There’s no point bringing a snowsuit to a July hunt. You should try to match the conditions to the hunter clothes that you buy. This extends to your gear, as well. If you buy a summer sleeping bag for a winter hunt, you are going to be cold. Try to keep the weather in mind when you buy your hunter’s clothes. Even if the reports say sunny, take a waterproof layer. You can always leave it in the blind if you must. The Idaho Fish and Game Dept has this advice.
5 – Consider Camo Carefully
We said be terrain specific above, but if you are really into concealment, then appropriate camo might be right for you. Camo is a little different than dressing to match the terrain in that it also accounts for weather extremities. You would select a cold-weather camo with lots of white for a snowy environment in the mountains in winter, for example. On the other hand, a burnt yellow is best suited to the scrublands of high summer.
Camo can apply to the head, body, and pants. You can camo all your kit if you want to, but it does get pricey. Keep noise reduction in mind, too. Some of the camo outer layers can rustle.
6 – Buy Quality hunting gear
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Our hunting clothing can save our life when we need it. If we wear warm layers with both heat retention and water resistance factored into our outfit, we better protect ourselves while we are in the field. Buying better quality hunting gear increases the chances that you can rely on that gear to keep you warm and dry in even the harshest circumstances. Buy good quality and you don’t have to second guess yourself.
7 – Prepare for the Worst
Even if you are going hunting in a busy area in the middle of the high season, be prepared at all times for things to go their worst. It’s far better to put up the tent with extra gear in it and leave it there while you hike out than it is to be underprepared in a freak snowstorm. Always keep this in mind when you buy hunter’s clothing. Assume it is worst-case scenario and you become injured and stuck out in the bush overnight. Could the clothing you are buying keep you warm and dry till morning? If not, don’t buy it. Buy better.
8 – Think about Comfort
You are going to wear these clothes out in the forest, mountains, or plains, for days on end. No hunter wants to be putting fresh clothes on at -5 degrees in a tent, so be prepared. You need gear that is comfortable primarily. Nothing should chaff or rub. Merino wool base layers are soft next to the skin and will wick away up to 30% of its total density in moisture. If you want to be warm and dry, go for Merino.
9 – Staying Scent Free
This is where it gets tricky. Animals can smell you. If you have been in the same hunting clothes for three days across harsh terrain, you’re going to whiff. Another reason experienced hunters favor wools is that the lanolin smells of sheep. Besides this, wools wick away sweat and the natural oils in the fabric help keep the stench to a minimum. Of course, if all else fails, you buy some deer spray and hope for the best.
Are You Hunt Ready?
Have you made the above considerations in time for your next big hunt? Make sure your clothing – and your equipment – can last that distance and help you land a catch.