What Is a Hunter’s Most Important Item of Clothing?
In this article, we will be looking at the most important item(s) of clothing the hunter can have, and we’ll let you know why they are next to your essential fluorescent jacket. After all, you are not going to head out into the field in your birthday suit with a fluoro jacket on top, are you? Well, maybe you are, but for those of you with a bit more dignity you are going to need something a little more protective and a little more practical. This read is a must if you are wondering what to put on underneath that lovely orange jacket the law has you wearing.
This question is a difficult one that could be answered with something quite simple, but here are trendy tactical we don’t believe in simple answers to difficult questions. When you ask most people what the most important item of clothing is for the hunter 90% of the answers will be something about visibility. It’s true, the most important item of clothing for the hunter is a daylight fluorescent jacket and/or hat, usually in orange. An item of clothing in this color is a safety essential when hunting and fluorescent clothing keeps you visible to other hunters in order to reduce accidents.
Although wearing a fluorescent jacket is essential to your safety and a requirement by law, we feel this goes without saying. If you are wondering what the hunter’s most important clothing is, chances are, you already know that fluorescents are an essential piece of clothing. What we will be answering is what is the most important item of clothing for the hunt (visible safety aside).
The Most Important Item of Clothing for The Hunter
The answer we have for you today is probably something you didn’t expect but we feel that this is the most important item of clothing for the hunter and we will explain why in just a moment. The most important item of clothing for the hunter has to be boots. A good pair of hunting boots are an essential item of clothing for the hunter because when you are out in the wilderness all day on your feet you need something reliable, practical, and comfortable.
When you are stalking deer and elk it doesn’t matter what kind of environment you’re in, you are going to put in the miles. When you are up on your feet all day hunting and the prime opportunity comes along to take home your favorite game, the last thing you want to think about is your wet blistering feet. The hunter walks just as much as the hiker and arguably the hunter will venture through much more demanding wilderness.
The hiker may walk long distances up rocky mountainsides, but they typically do not venture off the trails. The hunter on the other hand, will go where the game are and 9 times out of 10 the game won’t follow the same trails as we do. You always hear about a high-quality pair of boots being the hiker’s best friend, and although hunting boots are highly regarded, they don’t hold the same high priority as hiking boots. Hunting boots keep you upright when hunting, they keep your feet dry, they keep your feet comfortable, and your ankles supported all day through the toughest of terrain.
Although we will not be reviewing any products in this article, we will tell you what to look for in a good pair of hunting boots that are reliable, waterproof, and highly durable. We can also recommend a couple of brands that are leading in the market by producing the best of the best in hunting footwear.
When you are looking for hunting footwear you have two options depending on the environments you will be hunting in. Your first options are traditional boots and your second option is a pair of high-quality wellington boots (rubber boots). The type of hunting footwear you go for ultimately depends on how wet your hunting range is and what you feel most comfortable in.
Hunting boots should be comfortable, warm, durable, and waterproof to some extent. We can recommend Kenetrek’s mountain boot range. Kenetrek produce unbelievably comfortable boots that provide support and comfort even when worn all day. They have a range of boots that feature high-grip flexible soles that give you stability and confidence over the toughest of terrain, and they are durable enough to take a beating all day in any environment. They sit high on the leg which is perfect for hunting situations where the range is sodden with water and their lace-up design ensures they stay watertight all day long.
Wellington boots (or rubber boots) should be warm, breathable, and fully waterproof. We can recommend le Chameau for there excellent rubber boots. They are a French brand that has been building waterproof rubber boots since 1927. These boots really are the best of the best and you can’t get much better (even from the brand ‘Hunter’). They feature a neoprene lining and they are highly waterproof and have extraordinary moisture-wicking qualities. Most rubber boots are completely waterproof of course, but they tend to make your feet sweat and collect moisture. When it is cold, the moisture buildup inside the boots make your feet freeze, and your ankles and toes chaff and blister. With a pair of Le Chameau’s, you will not encounter any of this and they are just as comfortable as a high-quality pair of hiking boots with incomparable protection from the elements.
Staying Warm and Dry
Other important items of clothing for the hunter are to keep you warm and dry. A high-quality waterproof hunting jacket to go under your high-vis jacket is essential for long days in the field shooting. The other item of clothing that will keep you warm and dry all day long is a suitable pair of hunting pants. Hunting pants should be insulative and fully waterproof but still breathable and highly functional.
Both of these items of clothing must help you conserve heat without trapping moisture, and they should not restrict your movement at all. A free-moving combo of a good hunting jacket and pants will provide you long-lasting comfort all day without being detrimental to your hunting experience. Although we will not go into detail about what the best hunting jackets and pants are in this particular article, we will help advise you on what to look out for in a high-quality jacket and pants for hunting. We can also recommend a couple of brands that are leading the market in hunting clothing right now.
During the colder months, your best bet is to layer up. You will want to start with a decent base layer that is fully breathable but great at retaining heat. Next up you should wear an insulative layer that is a little heavier than your base layer. This should be a fleece of some kind that helps hold the heat around you. Finally, you get to the external protective layer. This layer should protect your inner layers from the cold, wind, and rain. The external layers are what we will be looking at in this section. So, what makes a good jacket and pants for an external layer?
Your external layer (pants and jacket) should cater to your specific needs and weather conditions depending on where you live. If you get bitterly cold winters then you will need a jacket and pants that are quite heavy and on the other hand, if your winters are quite mild you will need a set that is lighter. No matter where you are located, you should find something that is 100% waterproof with plenty of pockets that you can use to keep essentials close to hand.
Both down and synthetic jackets are great, but you will find synthetics are generally much heavier. If natural down insulation gets wet, it loses its R-value and will become much heavier! Both types have their pros and cons and as long as you maintain and treat them regularly you should have no problem with leaks to the insulation. The main factor to consider is budget. Synthetic coats may be slightly heavier, but you will find they are much cheaper than their down-filled counterparts. Down coats cost a lot more, but they are lighter, more compact, and they hold heat more efficiently.
As for pants, you want something that covers the entire leg and the cuff of your boots to prevent moisture and debris from entering the leg. They should be highly breathable and fully waterproof with anti-tear qualities. A good pair of hunting pants will be made from a waterproof ripstop fabric that is exceptionally durable, functional, and unrestrictive for the best possible movement when out in the field. They should feel comfortable on the leg and natural when you are walking, so make sure you check sizing tables and ensure the cut is suited to your body shape.
There are plenty of hunting jackets available on the market, but it can be hard to know what’s good and what’s not. We can recommend Sitka Gear for the ultimate hunting jackets and pants. If your budget is a little smaller and you need something that is functional without breaking the bank, then we can recommend Kings Camo for their sensibly priced hunting clothing. Both of these brands are leading the market and they supply reliable hunting clothing that is made from the highest quality materials and are built to last.
To sum up everything in this article, there is no one piece of clothing that is most important to the hunter. Instead, the combination of high-visibility safety clothing, weatherproof outer layers, and rugged hunting boots all work together to create the perfect outfit for the hunter. If you are the serious hunter make sure you buy quality clothing items that are built to last. Definitely do not skimp on your footwear as you will depend on these for long days on your feet when you are tracking and hunting in tough terrain.