By: Robert Janis
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
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
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
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
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
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
Here are some examples of actual hunting
garments you may want to consider purchasing
before your next hunt.
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.
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
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
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
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
Some boots to consider for
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
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
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.