As the remnants of summer fade into fall, hunters eagerly anticipate the arrival of hunting season. While most of October is relatively mild, the onset of cold weather for many begins in November and then the real frigid air hits in December.
But even the coldest temps and threat of rain or snow doesn’t keep avid hunters away. So the question is: do you have the right gear to ensure you stay warm and comfortable for hours outdoors?
Regardless if you’re a new hunter or a decades-long veteran, read on for some tips to protect your body and ensure you stay nice and warm on the hunt.
Protect your head, face and neck
You can lose a great deal of your body’s heat through your head, so it’s vital that you keep your head covered and warm. Wool and fleece provide the most warmth and should be your first choices when it comes to headwear.
Besides the cold, the other element you’ll commonly have to deal with is the wind, especially in the winter and colder months, which is why it’s imperative that you have protection for your face and neck as well.
When it comes to hunting, often the best and most versatile piece of headwear is the balaclava. These can be adjusted according to what you need protected, be that just the head, or the mouth, nose and face, and some are even wind-proof as well.
Your headwear, as with other clothing options, shouldn’t be too tight, nor too loose. You want it to fit snugly to help keep in the heat, but not so much so that it’s uncomfortable and hinders your movement.
A base layer
One of the biggest dangers of cold-weather hunting is hypothermia, which is why insulation is absolutely critical. Protecting your core is a key element, and a good base layer is your first line of defense against the cold and wind. You want to choose something that keeps the cold out and the heat in. These garments should fit tight against your body to help prevent body heat from escaping.
The other factor you want to consider is the weight of the materials. Consider whether most of your time will be spent sitting in the cold (heavier weight materials) versus more of your time spent hiking and stalking your prey (lightweight materials).
You should also consider placing disposable heat packs around your mid-section to help keep your core warm and prevent heat from being drawn away from your core where it protects your vital organs.
There are many outerwear options available, including jackets, hoodies, coveralls, and pants. Depending on your normal hunting conditions, you should consider choosing gear that has some level of water protection.
Note that most gear is some level of water-resistant, not actually waterproof. Because of the rigorous process and expense that goes into crafting something that’s actually waterproof, these items are quite expensive, so you get what you pay for. The more you’re willing to pay, the higher quality and more waterproof the gear.
Other factors to consider for your outerwear include the fabric’s breathability, as well as the ease of movement it allows. You don’t want to be hindered when it comes time to get into position to shoot or when you’re stalking your prey through the fields and forests.
Don’t forget the concept of layering. By wearing more than one piece of gear over another, you can take them on or off to better control your ideal temperature.
We all know that when on the hunt, steady hands are crucial, especially when bow hunting. The warmest gloves are usually big and bulky, but these hinder your ability to shoot. However, when you’re sitting out in the cold for prolonged periods of time, waiting for your prey, your hands can become so cold it’s almost impossible to use them.
So where’s the balance? Ideally, you want a pair of gloves that keep your hands warm, but that also fit tightly, enabling you to use them when the time arises.
Keep your feet warm
Your feet, much like your hands and head, are another body part where heat can escape. Start off with a good, quality pair of socks. Wool socks are a great choice because not only do they keep your feet warm, they allow moisture to escape as well.
There’s nothing worse than a wet pair of socks clinging to your feet, the moisture seeping into your feet, the cold spreading to the rest of your body, which is why you should bring more than one pair, just in case your socks get very wet.
Next, you’ll want a high-quality pair of hunting boots. These should be thick enough to keep your feet warm and dry, durable enough to handle rough ground, and provide enough grip to help you swiftly move across uneven terrain when you’re on the hunt.
Consider the Danner Pronghorn Waterproof Hunting Boot which features a waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX® lining and offers outstanding traction and insulation.
Don’t forget hand and toe warmers to throw in your gloves and boots and add another layer of warmth.
Preparation and the right attitude
With some good preparation and a positive attitude about the cold, you’ll be ready for a great cold-weather hunting expedition. When it comes time to prepare, look to CHIEF for all of your essential cold-weather hunting needs.
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