Hunting is mostly a cold weather activity, be it during the chilly months of fall or the frigid temperatures of winter. So it’s essential to have the right gear to stay warm, comfortable, and focused – not to mention alive.
You Have To Layer To Stay Warm
Layering is the best way to stay warm when you’re out on a cold-weather hunt. There’s a science to layering, but fortunately, it’s a lot easier to master than college chemistry. So strap on while we walk you through how to layer properly for cold weather.
The first layer of clothing is known as the base layer, and it’s crucial both for staying warm and staying comfortable. The base layer exists to keep you warm, but also to wick moisture away from your body and keep you dry and comfortable. High-quality moisture-wicking and insulating materials like merino wool or synthetic fabrics like compression fabrics are your best choice.
Insulated Jackets and Pants
The next layer is the layer designed to keep the warmth of your body as close to your body as possible, while also keeping the cold out. Insulated jackets and pants are great for this. Look for features like waterproof and windproof materials, specialized heat-retaining linings, as well as plenty of pockets for storage – you’re never going to be unhappy about having too many pockets.
Bib overalls or coveralls can provide an extra layer of warmth over your base layer and your middle layer. This is especially true of insulated versions of the same. One of the main things these can do that other types of garments can’t is to cover the gaps between, for example, your shirt and your pants.
Your feet are some of the most vulnerable areas of your body. You also want to keep them in good shape because you need them to walk on – enough frostbite and you’re going to be flat on your back praying for someone to come and rescue you. So how do you keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable when you’re out in the field?
Insulated Hunting Boots
The right pair of boots can make a world of difference in cold-weather hunting. In extreme cases, they can mean the difference between life and death. Insulated hunting boots offer warmth, and protection from the elements, but also an additional layer of comfort. Look for options with 400-800 grams of insulation, depending on your hunting environment.
Gaiters can be a hunter’s best friend in snowy or muddy conditions. If you’ve ever been frustrated about how dirty or damp your lower legs get on a hunt, you’re a prime candidate for a pair of gaiters. These will keep your lower legs and feet dry and free from debris while also providing an extra layer of warmth, especially if they’re insulated or waterproof.
In the event that you’re looking down at extremely cold temperatures, do not leave home without a pair of heated insoles, and consider having a backup on hand. Battery-powered heated insoles can be a game-changer. Not only will these insoles keep your feet warm, possibly saving your toes, but they can also help you focus on the hunt without distraction.
Headwear and Face Masks
Most of the heat of your body is going to escape through your head – that includes your face. So you need to have quality headgear to keep that heat trapped in your body. That’s going to make you not only more comfortable, it’s also going to make you safer.
Warm hats are great for cold weather, particularly if they’re going to cover your ears and have insulating material. Even better than that are balaclavas or ski masks, which cover your entire head as well as your neck. This can help you to keep the heat around your neck in as well.
Keeping Your Hands Warm in Very Cold Weather
Your hands are arguably the most important part of your body when you’re out on a hunt. So it’s important to keep them warm not just for you to keep your fingers safe from frostbite, but also to help you keep your hands steady during the hunt.
Insulated gloves are an essential part of any hunter’s wardrobe. Look for options with added grip, or even wear a pair of insulated mittens over fingerless gloves to allow you to use your fingers freely without interference from the gloves when you need them.
Disposable hand warmers are a great addition to your gear. You can tuck these inside your pockets or even your gloves to maintain warmth during long hours in the field.
Layer Your Socks!
Keeping your feet warm and dry starts with a moisture-wicking sock as your base layer to keep sweat away from your feet. These should be made of the same types of materials that you would want in the base layer of your clothing.
On top of your base layer, consider laying with insulated socks designed specifically for cold-weather hunting. Because they can take up some space, make sure they fit well inside your boots. Too many socks or too thick socks can make you need to size up your boots.
Finally, boot liners can provide an extra layer of insulation and comfort, ensuring your feet remain warm and dry. But remember: make sure that they fit underneath your boots!
The right gear can make all the difference on a cold hunt. When you have the right cold weather gear for hunters, you can embark on your winter hunting adventures well-prepared and ready to face even the most brutal elements.
What’s the one piece of warm weather clothing you would never leave the house without? Help other outdoors enthusiasts by sharing your favorites in the comments below.