Cold Weather Hunting Clothing

Cold weather often brings great opportunity when it comes to hunting, but it also proposes a number of different challenges for long-time and newer hunters alike.

When the temperature dips below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s cold even without wind. Try standing in one spot for an hour with minimal movement and soon your pulse will slow to a rate which cools down your body temperature, making the day feel 20 degrees colder. This is what many hunters are faced with during the later months of the hunting season, especially when they try to keep still from spooking game animals. No matter if you’re in a tree stand, spot & stalk, or hunting from a protected (or semi-protected) blind – Cold weather can ruin a hunt if you aren’t prepared.

Proper preparation and knowledge of the right materials to use will go a long way in keeping you toasty even on the coldest days up in a tree stand.

The first thing most hunters complain about is their feet getting cold. Here’s a lesson for you winter warriors out there – Heat leaves your extremities first.

It’s no doubt that perspiring while making it to your special hunting spot is a recipe for disaster. In lieu of this, you want to stay away from cotton at all costs. Yes, it’s comfortable and breathable, but it holds moisture which will keep you shivering all day. The best fabric to use in cold weather is wool, it doesn’t really matter which kind.

Ideally, you would want to slow your pace getting to your spot so that you don’t sweat at all, but how many of us have time for that? Wool is the greatest base layer because it wicks moisture, and still retains its warmth even when wet. Polyester is a good choice as well, but it’s not as warm as wool. Ultimately, it’s a matter of preference.

Wool socks, coupled with a well insulated boot above 1,200 grams Thinsulate will insure a comfortable outing. While some boots will offer the same relative warmth between 1,200 and 2,000 grams, it pays to do your homework and research the ones that are more expensive. They carry those price tags for a reason-they work.

Sorels are one of the best brands you can go with, and for those who get cold feet, maybe a brand that makes Iditarod boots would be better. Traditionally, wool liners have been in the spotlight but now that Thinsulate liners get up to 13mm thick, you may want to invest some time into researching how they wick away moisture. They just may overtake wool as the best selling insulator.

Luckily for us… feet aren’t our only extremities. Maybe a bit unluckier – it means we have more areas that heat easily leaves our body.

In terms of keeping your head and your hands warm, enough has been said about wool. Wicking water away will only take you so far, but in the real cold – you’re gonna want a very waterproof fabric like Gore-Tex, especially if there’s snow on the ground. This is very important if you’re going to be hunting from the ground, and don’t have a blind. Also, full body suits offered in Gore-Tex are almost twice as warm as a two piece suit because they retain the warm air heated by your body (though restricting movement to a small degree).

There are just too many products out there to mention, and it’s not possible to say which companies are the absolute best because everyone’s body is different, and requires a different level of insulation. Dressing in multiple layers with quality fabrics from companies that specialize in cold weather gear, such as Gore-Tex, Columbia, and Patagonia, will insure you don’t leave the woods early to warm up in your car.

We’ll do a follow up soon about our favorite cold weather gear – but for now – focus on getting the best for those extremities that loose so much heat from your core.


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