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By: Robert Janis


Hunting Clothes

Hunting Clothing

There’s more to hunting than the firearm or bow and arrow. To be prepared for what you will encounter out there, you have to be wearing the proper clothing, too. Also, the proper clothing is meant to keep you warm, dry, comfortable, quiet, scentless, and it should be convenient to wear.

Just as is the case with just about everything, technology has come to the rescue to help the clothes you wear out in the hunt provide you with these necessities.

No doubt when you were a kid your mom would clothe you for the great outdoors with a layer of shirts, sweaters and finally the parka or coat to keep you warm from the cold and protected from the wind. What’s different today is that the shirts and outer coat are coming manufactured layered. They are coming out water proof, too and even treated with stuff so that your scent cannot be sensed by those things nature.

What makes all of this work is the new fabrics or materials being used to make the shirt, pants, sweaters, outer coat, etc.


Fabrics are coming with all sorts of names and performance capability. There are fabrics like Cordura, Gore-Tex, WindStopper, Polartec, Polynylux, Saddlecloth, Saddle-Lite, StormSeal, Thinsulate, and W3 Fleece.

So what do all these words mean?

Cabela's Scent-Lok® Timber Fleece 360 Jacket, Pants and Headcover
Cabela's Scent-Lok® Timber Fleece 360 Jacket, Pants and Headcover

Cordura is a dozen or so different fabrics that are made by DuPont. Cordura fabrics are made of nylon or nylon blends. What makes them good for hunting is that they can be made into rugged and durable clothing. The key words here, though, are rugged and durable. It is said that they do not offer a lot of thermal protection unless they are combined in the clothing with other insulated fabrics or layered.

Gore-Tex is something that is used to make clothing, but it isn’t a fabric. Instead, it is a fabric-like membrane made of Teflon that can be laminated between layers. The Teflon part of the combination makes the fabric waterproof, windproof and breathable. Again, the key words here are waterproof and windproof. In fact, Gore-Tex is seam-sealed to keep water out.

WindStopper is a membrane like Gore-Tex but does not provide the waterproofing. Garments made of WindStopper are not seam-sealed. So the rain, dew, snow dripping from the trees, etc. will get through.

Polartec is a technical name for Windblock, which is a laminated fabric with a layer of polyurethane film between the outer layers of double faced velour. The key to this fabric is that it is durable, quiet, water-repellent, windproof, and breathable.

Polynylux is a fabric that provides warmth and is lightweight and breathable. A winning fact here is that Polynylux is less expensive than the other fabrics. It usually comes as three layers--a knit outer shell, a urethane insulating layer and a nylon layer. This design traps in the body heat but allows moisture to escape.

Saddlecloth is another layered fabric. It has six layers. It offers wind protection because it is windproof, but it is also breathable, so moisture from the body can escape. It is also very quiet and feels like soft suede. It is constructed with an inner and outer shell made of DuPont Teflon, which blocks the wind but still allows moisture to escape. It also includes a layer of DuPont Antron Nylon micro-fibers, which protects you from water and also serves as a second wind barrier and a layer of thermal protection. There is also a layer that offers more water and wind resistance.

StormSeal is actually a layer of polyurethane which is laminated on to saddlecloth so it is waterproof.

Thinsulate is another one of those materials or “things” that is not a fabric but is actually insulated “materials” that are grouped together under the name “Thinsulate.” Used in everything from dress outerwear to hunting outerwear, gloves and sleeping bags, it comes in a variety of weights and thicknesses. The insulation is polyester and olefin blends, and some include recycled soda bottles.

W3 Fleece offers “warmth without weight.” Used for outerwear, mid-layer garments, and outer garment lining, it is 100 percent polyester along with windproof and waterproof/breathable laminates.

Hunting Clothes

Here are some examples of actual hunting garments you may want to consider purchasing before your next hunt.

RedHead® EnduraSkin™ Pants
RedHead® EnduraSkin™ Pants

There’s RedHead EnduraSkin clothing. This particular line includes scent control with anti-microbial technology that has a durable silver ion-based finish that prevents the growth of odor causing bacteria. Moreover, it also has moisture-wicking technology that pulls the sweat from your body away and toward the surface of the garment for quick evaporation. Price range is from $14.88 to $39.95.

Bass Pro Shops XPS thermals include PolarTec fabrics that keep your skin dry when you sweat. The good thing about this line is that they keep you cool and dry when it is hot, warm and dry when it is cold. Three weights are available. Price ranges from $26.95 to $71.95.

RedHead Expedition Fleece uses a technology that keeps you warm and quiet. Then you can wear a Gore-Tex PacLite rain suit to serve as a combination that also helps you keep dry and windproof. The PacLite is light enough to be crushed down to fit a very small fanny pack. The PacLite rain suit has a price range of $119.95 to $139.95. The Expedition Fleece runs between $79.95 and $109.95.

Hunting Boots

Just like there are certain goals you want your clothing to achieve, there are goals you will want your boots to achieve. Remember these four things--fit, ventilation, insulation, and intent.

When you are out in the market looking for a good hunting boot, take the socks you intend to wear on the hunt to try on the boots. Fit is a very important thing. If you are trying on the boot while wearing your every day, common socks, then when you are out in the woods wearing the boots with your hunting socks, you just aren’t going to get the proper fit. Then you will be miserable the whole day.

Next, you want those boots to be insulated to keep you warm and dry. However, choosing the boot with the proper insulation will depend on the activity you intend to do. If you are going to stay in one spot for most of a day like in a duck blind or tree stand and the weather is 10 degrees, then you will need more insulation than you would if you were walking around stalking a deer. Boots that feature Thinsulate are a good choice because they offers a great deal of warmth and are not excessive on the bulk and weight side of things. Boots featuring Thinsulate include an insulation rating. Uninsulated to 200 gram is a good rating for a boot used early in the hunting season, and you intend to be active. 400 gram to 800 gram is a good rating for fall hunting. 1000 gram and up are great for hunting when it is cold and wintry with a limited amount of activity.

Of course, you are going to want those boots to be waterproof. Heck, you’re probably going to be hiking through snow or mud. A boot with a Gore-Tex lining will probably serve you well.

Next, you are going to want to consider the style of the boots. Style helps in terms of comfort. There are three basic categories--upland, multi-purpose, and high country.

Upland boots are constructed for lightweight walking. Under those circumstances they are comfortable and have a sole that sheds the soil for additional comfort for your stride and also assists in getting through heavy mud.

Multi-Purpose boots are what they imply. You can find a boot in this category that will work out for any category of hunting. These boots are durable, long lasting and offer excellent traction. Also, they come in a number of levels of insulation. In addition, these boots are said to have more support than Upland boots so they will be more comfortable when walking through tougher terrain. They also come with heavier lugged soles for better traction on different surfaces.

High Country boots are said to be ideal for going after such big game as elk, deer, sheep, etc. If you go after such game, then you will be walking through rough country; and the boots are designed and constructed to protect the feet against an ankle twist or some such thing.

Finally, if you wake up one day and are scheduled to hunt and the conditions are really sloppy--an awful lot of mud--or you intend to hunt in a region where the conditions are sloppy--creek, marsh, swamp--then you will want to have rubber hunting boots in your closet. Rubber boots can be separated into good, better, and best categories. Insulation is an option with most models. Boots that fall into the “good” category have an ankle fit design that doesn’t slip when you walk. Boots considered as the “better” category have an improved rubber outsole for better traction and support, and they are available with wider insulation levels. Finally, boots that fall into the “best” category have a more technical construction and perform better. They have a neoprene lining for warmth, wool felt insole to block the cold, and an EVA midsole and rubber outsole for more cushion and support for your feet and ankles.

Cabela's 1,200-Gram Whitetail Extreme
Cabela's 1,200-Gram Whitetail Extreme

Some boots to consider for purchase include:
Cabela’s Whitetail Extreme™, which includes a Gore-Tex Scent-Lok® seal that keeps your scent inside the boot, and a waterproof lining to keep you dry. The boot also features a combination of leather and nylon uppers for lightweight durability and abrasion-resistant heel, toe and sides to protect your feet from tough terrain. There is also 1,200 gram Thinsulate™ Ultra insulation to keep your feet warm and dry. A bob rubber cup outsole digs into the ground to assure good footing and traction and comfort is offered by a removable polyurethane foot bed and EVA midsole.

Irish Setter Elk Tracker GTX 12” includes a Gore-Tex® fabric lining, full grain leather upper, moisture wicking nylon lining, a comfort cork foot bed with memory foam and ScentBan™ odor inhibitor plus 600 gram Thinsulate™ Ultra insulation. It is durable due to a steel shank, Bulls-Eyes® Air Bob Aggressive outsole and carbon rubber outsole and premium leather Flex Welt construction.

LaCrosse 18” Alpha Burly Boot features rubber clad neoprene for ultra lightweight and 100 percent waterproof protection. It is naturally insulated with 3.5 mm of neoprene which provides warmth and is 100 percent ozone-resistant; scent-free rubber; Trac-Lite outsole; EVA midsole and foot bed. Fleece lining helps to keep your feet warm and dry and there is a fiberglass shank for ankle support.

Wolverine® Ridgeline Insulated Boots include 600 gram Thinsulate Ultra Insulation, Gore-Tex® waterproof membrane and waterproof nubuck leather/Cordura® upper. Constructed to be warm and comfortable, the boot also includes a soft removable cushion insole and a compression molded EVA with fabric wrap on the outside. Rubber lugs helps with the durability.

So, there you have it, a short primer on hunting clothes. Armed with this information, you should seek the advice of the salesperson showing you the products and decide what you want in your gear--warmth and comfort, dry and wind protected, etc., and then choose clothing that features the material or fabric and layering that provides you with what you want.

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