We have previously covered why camo is not as important as people think. However, the clothing we wear hunting is important for another reason altogether: Comfort. Hunters like to think of ourselves as fairly grizzled and tough people when we are in the woods stalking game. The fact is, however, that for most of us we don’t rely on hunting for food. If we don’t kill the deer we’re chasing, our families will still eat tonight.
Keeping this in mind, comfort is going to play a large role in our enjoyment of the time we spend in the woods, our safety, and our confidence.
I don’t care if you wear all black or brown or whatever color camo you want. Start wearing technical Clothing.
Originally designed for a different type of outdoorsman (climbers, hikers, backpackers), this technical gear is now making its way to the hug world. You can spend hundreds of dollars per piece with great brands like Sitka, Kuiu, First Lite, or you can pick up Cabela’s and Under Armour brand gear at more reasonable prices. Even non-hunter outdoor brands like Kuhl, Arcteryx, Smartwool, Patagonia, The North Face, and Outdoor Research to name just a few, all make great technical clothing. What all these brands have in common are the fabrics that make up these garments. Listed below are some of the different options for technical clothing materials and why they are helpful:
- Synthetics (Polyester/Nylon) – These fabrics are known for wicking (drawing sweat away from the body) properties, and their ability to dry quickly. If you will be in a very wet environment this would be a great choice.
- Goretex (also synthetic but in a category of its own) – Breathable and relatively impermeable material used in outerwear. It keeps water and wind out, and when you sweat, the pores open allowing the garment to breathe. Great for wet and windy environments. Very expensive, but there’s no substitute for it when you need it.
- Merino Wool – Natural fiber from sheep. Thinner weave and more gentle (not scratchy) feel than lambswool. Excellent insulating properties. It does not dry as quickly as synthetics but does not lose its heat retention properties when wet. Excellent base layer material for cool/cold climates. Also, it is naturally odor-free, which is a bonus.
- Down – Natural feathers from geese. Extremely insulating while remaining lightweight. In cold climates where weight or insulation is a factor, you will want some down garments. It does take a very long time to dry out when wet so it should be worn under a waterproof/resistant outer layer. Some of the best winter jackets have a Gore-Tex outer shell with down insulation. Excellent warmth to weight ratio.
By carefully starting to plan out some technical gear purchases, you can build up outfits that will keep you warmer, drier, and happier while you’re outside hunting. It is much easier to stay in the treestand for an all-day sit during the rut when you are dressed right.
Start by picking up a lightweight set of baselayers (top and bottoms) in either merino or synthetic, a good pair of merino socks (whatever weight you want, i.e., mid, light, heavy), a long sleeve shirt and pants made of synthetic materials, and a Gore-Tex shell jacket. This versatile system would cover everything from 65 degrees down to the 20s. For colder temps, add a heavier set of merino baselayers and an insulating (down or synthetic down) jacket under your outer shell. The key is to layer and to be able to add on insulation or shed layers easily as the temperature changes throughout the day.
This will not be a cheap purchase. A lot of people will have trouble spending eighty dollars on a pair of pants for example. Think of your technical wear as gear, just as important as your weapon or blind. It will keep you safe from the wet and cold and exponentially increase your enjoyment of the outdoors. Ditch the cotton and up your hunting game with some new technical apparel.
Photo by m01229