When Mother Nature is spitting snow or throwing below-freezing temperatures your way while you’re out hunting, there’s nothing worse than discovering a product doesn’t work as advertised. Having the proper equipment can mean the difference between a pleasant and a miserable experience. When you’re at ease in the field, you’ll be able to tolerate the cold for longer and concentrate on the hunt, resulting in a higher success rate.
What to Consider?
The type of hunting you do will determine the equipment you require. If you spend much of your time sitting still in a tree stand or ground blind (also known as still hunting), you are not generating body heat the same way you would if you were moving.
Bulky or heavy items, such as a portable heater or full-body insulator, are a must have cold weather hunting gear. Similarly, disposable warmers, such as air-activated packs, are convenient to toss into a backpack for stalk hunting.
Another important consideration when selecting gear for harsh conditions is its construction—whether it can withstand rain, snow, or subzero temperatures—and where you hunt. Higher elevations with deep snow, for example, can put you at risk of hypothermia or frostbite, so you must be prepared.
Finally, fabrics are important not only for your comfort but also for the hunt. Wool, soft natural fibers, and other blended materials provide warmth and dryness. Cotton is a poor choice, particularly as a base layer, because it does not wick moisture and can cause your core temperature to drop.
Besides, nylon is extremely noisy and absorbs moisture rather than wicking it, making it unsuitable for hunting, as most wild game animals rely on their keen sense of hearing to survive.
Important Things to Have in Your Cold Weather Hunting Kit
Wader/soft shell pants
A pair of fleece-lined, soft shell wader pants are your best bet against the cold. Even out hunting in the woods, your legs need to be well-protected. Stretchy reinforcements around the knee and bottom of most wader pants help the fabric last longer. These pants also provide wind protection, keeping you warm even when it’s dry outside.
Softshell hunting jackets are lightweight, windproof, and ideal for dense brushy terrain. This type of jacket typically has two layers: a warm inner lining made of fleece and a waterproof and windproof outer shell.
Instead of wearing an additional middle layer, this dual-layer system allows you to concentrate on your hunting base layer. You also have more range of motion because you are wearing fewer garments for the same effect.
These jackets are also breathable, wicking sweat from the lower layers and allowing it to evaporate, preventing your prey from detecting your location.
Many hunters and outdoor enthusiasts can endure many discomforts, but freezing ears may send them home. One of the best headwear options is a fleece or merino wool neck gaiter. It shields and insulates your face and ears from the biting wind. It is also simple to remove from the ears while preventing a significant amount of heat loss from your body.
Aside from gaiters, hundreds of beanies and caps with ear flaps are made from the same insulating materials mentioned in the article. It’s entirely up to you, but when it comes to cold weather hunting, don’t overlook this area of the body.
Choosing the right boot for your winter gear kit is essential for avoiding injuries. Not only must you keep your feet warm, but you must also ensure that they provide adequate support for the activity in which you are participating.
Your primary activity determines the type of boot you should get. A neoprene rubber boot is your best bet for wading through snow or water. These boots extend halfway up your calf and keep snow and water out. Duck hunters and anglers benefit most from wearing neoprene boots.
Balaclava and gloves
Always make sure your gloves provide adequate grip and mobility. The ideal gloves for hunting, hiking, and farming are waterproof, breathable, and warm. Look for gloves with textured grips on at least three fingers (thumb, index finger, middle finger).
Besides, find gloves that allow you to expose your thumb and index finger when fishing. These typically have tips that can be pushed back to reveal a portion of your fingers.
Remember to bring hand warmers. Single-use hand warmers can be placed inside your gloves to generate heat through a chemical reaction.
Additionally, a balaclava (or face mask) provides adjustable protection when needed. A fleece balaclava can keep you warm whether you’re hunting, fishing, or simply spending time outside. A balaclava can also be worn under hats to protect your neck, cheeks, and chin from the elements.
Further, wear a beanie instead of a face mask if you don’t like face masks. While they won’t warm your face or neck, wool beanies will keep your head and ears warm.
Wool socks and toe warmers
Watch how winter anglers prepare for the cold to learn the best way to warm your legs and feet. They will almost certainly be wearing at least one pair of wool socks. If you’re concerned about thickness, opt for wool-blend socks rather than 100% wool socks.
Consider using a toe warmer if wool socks aren’t keeping your toes warm. However, always leave enough room inside the shoe for your feet, socks, and warmers.
Ideally, look for an expandable pack to control how much weight you carry. Also, make sure your package includes a hydration reservoir (also known as a “bladder”).
Thermal base layers
The more layers you need for maximum warmth, the lower the temperature. A good base layer is made of warm materials such as wool or fleece while remaining comfortable to wear. Cotton absorbs water and should never be worn in the winter, especially when fishing.
When shopping for a base layer, look for one that wicks sweat. The goal is to stay warm and dry, so avoid clothing that claims to keep you cool. Because these garments come directly with your skin, invest in odor-fighting layers.
Many of the major hunting seasons in the United States occur during the colder months, and temperatures can fall below freezing in some cases. You have two choices: stay home with a good book by the fire or use proper layering to bring meat back to the table.
If you opt for the latter, it is critical to layer properly in these conditions, using materials that control moisture and provide insulation. Depending on the weather, you will also need to be prepared to deal with rain, snow, and biting cold wind.