Also available in: French
As you begin shopping for hunting clothes, you notice that everything from tuques to underwear is available in camo. So, what are the main things to consider when selecting your hunting clothes? Learn more by reading this article.
Article written in collaboration with FedeCP.
This article will help you choose :
- A basic outfit (layering)
- The ideal camouflage pattern
- The quietest fabric possible
- The most relevant special features
Hunting clothes: Opt for layering
If you’re already an outdoor enthusiast, you know that multiple layers are essential to keep the cold at bay during physical activity. Forget the huge down coat and layer up instead. You’ll be able to adapt more easily to the varying temperatures of fall days and the walking and waiting that make up the hunt.
Rely heavily on technical undergarments, such as the well-known base layer. It repels moisture, keeps you warm and comfortable, the key to staying focused for long minutes, even hours, when the game is reluctant to show itself.
If you’re hiding and spend a lot of time sitting still, choose overalls before pants. The cold loves to seep in through your lower back when you’re sitting. For a fine hunt where you combine walking with spontaneous stops in the field, overpants with extra knee padding will work best for you.
For extremities, two are better than one. There’s nothing more comforting than starting off a stint in a blind with a new pair of dry socks. Also have two pairs of gloves: a thin one to maintain dexterity and a thicker one, ideally with a finger flap. Remember that any garment that directly touches the skin must have the role of wicking moisture. It should therefore be made of a breathable material like merino wool.
An overview of the layers
- Underwear pants and base layer (pants and long sleeve shirt) made of moisture-wicking stretch fabric
- A warm layer in one or two layers of fleece or merino wool
- A windproof and waterproof coat made of silent camouflage fabric
- Extremity accessories, essential for comfort: socks, gloves, neck warmer, toque
Count on an essential accessory: The neck warmer
One of the most versatile items already known to sportsmen is the neck warmer (buff). For hunting, in addition to keeping your ears warm or retaining sweat depending on the weather, it’s perfect for quickly hiding your face by simply pulling it up over your nose. Camouflage makeup is also a good option when it’s hotter, but you’ll love the versatility of the neck warmer when it’s a little cooler.
Hunting clothes: Camouflage patterns to target
There are all kinds of camouflage patterns available, each one more “effective” than the last. While the various brands do a lot of R&D and testing to find the optimal camouflage for any hunting situation, it is important to go with shades that are as similar to your environment as possible. Some are more greenish, some are more brownish, some are white for winter hunts. No pattern is foolproof; rather, it’s your ability to find the one that best suits your hunting setting depending on the time of year that will help you camouflage well.
Does every layer of clothing have to have a camouflage pattern? Not necessarily. Focus on the ones that will be visible first, i.e. your coat, and maybe one of the under layers if the weather is warmer. To avoid spending a fortune in your first hunting season, pick up a few pieces you already use for other activities, such as your fleece suit and jacket, as long as they are a solid, dark color. The same goes for your boots, gloves and tuque. This is especially true if you are hunting in a blind. Your clothing will be inconspicuous and the important thing is to blend into the shadows created by your shelter.
Have some hand-me-down hunting clothes that don’t all have the same camouflage pattern? Don’t panic, if the shades are the same, your hunting success will not be affected. Your movements will be detected by the animals long before your pattern layout.
Choose a quiet fabric
It would be silly to find the best hunting clothes and camouflage pattern possible, but to make noise once you start walking! Big game hearing is exceptional, so you need to choose your hunting clothes accordingly. The challenge in finding a quiet garment is to make sure it cuts through wind and rain, but doesn’t have any shiny, noisy plastic fibers. Gore-Tex is still a classic, but any fiber with a “peach fuzz” finish should be more silent.
Test before you buy: put the garment on and walk around to see if you can hear the fabric rubbing. Also rub an object like your game call on the fabric. Ideally, you would do the branch rub test, but if you are shopping in a store, you will already have a good idea of the quality of the fabric by running your hand over it. Don’t forget to do this test with your bib too.
Look for specific and practical features
Beyond the warmth and comfort of your hunting clothes, there are details you’ll appreciate once you’re in the field.
Plenty of pockets
Pockets take a lot! Even if you have a backpack, you’ll still want to keep certain items close at hand: ammunition, GPS, binoculars, rangefinder, snacks, forest tape, urine bottle, etc. Each item should have a place and be easily accessible. When you reach into the ammunition pocket, you will want to find only ammunition. Ideally, the waist pockets will open on top, vertically, rather than sideways, so that nothing falls out as you move. Make sure the pockets close with a simple flap, magnets, or a zipper or silent button. Avoid Velcro fasteners, which are always noisy to open.
Zippers for more ventilation
As you hike through the woods and stop at different blinds, you’ll be taking off and putting on your layers often. Make your life easier and minimize your movements. Choose clothing that has zippers in strategic places, such as pants that open at the bottom to fit over your boots. If you’ve chosen overalls, a zipper in the front can allow you to let out some heat without having to make big movements to remove the straps.
Wash your hunting clothes to remove odours
Before you wear your hunting clothes, whether they’re new or you’ve repurposed them from your outdoor wardrobe, wash them properly to neutralize odours. Specialized hunting detergents are absolutely odourless. You can also add baking soda to the load, especially if the clothing has a strong sweat odour or mud stains. Then hang your hunting clothes, outside if possible, to dry. Be careful what you do after you put on your hunting clothes: putting gas in your off-road vehicle or getting coffee at a restaurant are mundane actions that can leave unwanted odours on fabrics.
The bottom line: make sure your hunting clothes are comfortable
If there’s one thing to remember when choosing your hunting clothes, it’s comfort. The more comfortable you are, the more focused you’ll be on the hunt. It’s impossible to stay still when it’s cold and wet. So it’s best to be warm, even if the design of the garment doesn’t blend in perfectly with the surroundings.
Also available in: French