Hunting guides are often asked about the proper clothing to bring on a big game hunt. While the elevation and terrain vary drastically from region to region, one thing remains consistent: when you’re in mountain country, you must be prepared for changes in weather. From warm, sunny days to being freezing cold and wet, you could see it all on a single trip.
With such a wide range of weather possibilities, how should hunters prepare for a mountain hunt? The key is to dress in versatile layers that allow the hunter to adapt to hourly changes in weather. Here are a few simple tips for versatile layering.
First, organize your hunting clothing into three basic groups: base layers, insulating layers and outerwear. Base layers are anything you’d wear next to your skin, like shirts and long underwear. Insulating layers may include pullovers, vests, and down jackets. Outerwear will include your hunting pants, jacket, and rain gear.
As you pack for your hunt, start a list of gear that you have in each category. Make sure each group has options of varying weight and warmth that will allow you to adapt to conditions. Here is an example of a good layering system:
- Lightweight underwear and t-shirts
- Mid-weight long sleeve top and bottoms
- Expedition weight top and bottoms
- Fleece or wool vest
- Warm pullover top
- Down jacket
- Hunting pants
- Soft shell jacket
- Rain jacket
- Rain pants
No matter what’s on your packing list, synthetic fabrics and merino wool are the standards. Ditch anything cotton. Cotton provides no insulation when wet. It absorbs moisture and becomes heavy. Modern synthetics and merino wool wick moisture, dry quickly, and maintain their insulation properties even under wet conditions.
In fact, if you’ve made the investment in breathable boots and rain gear, you’ll render them almost worthless if you put cotton socks or cotton base layers underneath. Cotton will trap moisture and keep the breathable membrane from working the way it should. Materials that wick moisture will actually keep your Gore-Tex or similar gear functioning as designed.
Of course any system isn’t complete without hats, gloves, socks and a few other items. When it comes to socks, merino wool is hard to beat. It wicks moisture to help prevent blisters. We’d also remind hunters do not bring new boots on a hunt. If you’re planning to buy new boots, make sure that you hike some miles in them before your big trip. If they don’t fit correctly or cause problems, you don’t want to discover it when you’re out on the mountain.
For more information on our mountain hunts at Kawdy Outfitters, please explore the rest of our website at KawdyOutfitters.com. We offer outstanding adventures for moose, mountain goat, mountain caribou, stone sheep and grizzly. For details and availability, call us at 250-306-8624 or send us a message.
Written by Ryan McSparran
Ryan McSparran is an outdoor writer, a hunting and fly fishing guide, and very proud to be a part of the Kawdy Outfitters team.