When it comes to a mountain hunt in northern British Columbia, a quality clothing system is a game changer. Before even considering the camouflage pattern, you must choose a strategic layering system that will perform in the varied and rugged conditions. Performance is the first priority, camouflage is always second.
Luckily, numerous apparel manufacturers are now producing camouflage clothing built specifically for mountain hunters. Using the latest fabrics and manufacturing, technical mountain gear that was once reserved for mountaineers and skiers is now available to hunters. This clothing comes in a variety of patterns, often designed to suit specific environments. Discuss the best options with your outfitter prior to purchasing if you really want great advice.
In your base layer shirts, socks, underwear and long underwear, merino wool and synthetic materials have become the standards. On long, 10-day hunts like we have here in northern British Columbia, merino wool offers a distinct advantage. It’s natural odor resistant properties are perfect for long backcountry hunts. And high quality merino wool can effectively regulate body temperature in wide range of conditions, from hot to freezing cold. Odor resistance and versatility means you can pack fewer items on a backcountry hunt.
Modern synthetic materials are ideal for outerwear like pants, jackets and rain gear. because they are lightweight and quick drying. High quality synthetics will offer a high level of breathability, while still maintaining excellent insulation. You really can’t go wrong with modern synthetics. But don’t expect these items to be inexpensive.
When it comes to materials, you truly get what you pay for. You’re looking for a clothing system that’s lightweight, durable and high-performance. Whether it’s a merino wool base layer or synthetic outerwear, you can expect inexpensive gear to compromise in at least one of those areas.
Mountain Goat and Stone Sheep Hunts
Chasing goats and sheep takes place in high and often rocky terrain. You want to blend with high alpine grasses and rocks. The most important aspect of blending is breaking up your outline to avoid standing out against the backdrop. As a general rule, avoid big, solid blocks of dark color that will leave you looking like a human-shaped blob from a distance.
Of course many hunters have successfully harvested sheep and goats without camouflage. But there’s no reason not to use every possible advantage. After a few days of climbing and scrambling up into sheep and goat territory, you’ll be willing to accept any advantage for a shot opportunity.
First Lite, Sitka and several other brands produce apparel with patterns built specifically to blend in high alpine environments. First Lite’s Cypher pattern is great for high, rocky terrain. But we’ve been equally impressed with First Lite’s original Fusion pattern as a highly versatile camo. The Sitka Open Country pattern is also an excellent choice that’s versatile and highly effective in our specific environments.
Mountain Caribou and Moose Hunts
Mountain Caribou and Moose hunting may cover a much a wider range of habitat. These animals occupy both the timbered lowlands and the steep high country. But while sheep and goats often haunt the rocky peaks and talus slopes, moose and mountain caribou will generally stick to grassy slopes and tundra plateaus.
On these moose and caribou hunts, you will still benefit from a varied pattern that breaks up your outline. But here, the color range can be more flexible. Between spruce thickets, burned timber, grasses and tundra, you’ll find yourself amid greens, browns, yellows and grays. The First Lite Fusion pattern is a great camouflage in these environments, as are both of Sitka’s Optifade patterns, Open Country and Subalpine.
Keep It In Perspective
Ultimately though, camouflage should not be a primary concern on any hunt here in northern B.C. It’s much more important to remember that your clothing’s quality and performance trump whatever is printed on it. If you are warm, dry, and comfortable in the backcountry, the rest is manageable.