Base-Layer Clothing for Hunting

By Tony J. Peterson

The key to comfort is contained in the first layer of clothing you choose.

When I think back to my early days as a bowhunter, I cringe for plenty of reasons.

The simple fact I had no idea what I was doing is enough to cause such a reaction. But I also remember the misery. I live in Minnesota, which means I bowhunt cold weather a lot. Back then, I didn’t own a single piece of decent hunting clothing.

I just threw on extra sweatshirts, jackets or whatever and made sure that my last layer had camouflage on it. What that meant was I was often cold and always bulked up.

I can remember shooting at a small eight-pointer in December when I was a teenager and watching as my arrow buried into the dirt three feet in front of his chest. My string had caught on all of my bulky clothes and thrown my shot way, way off. That buck would have been a trophy to end all trophies then, and I didn’t have a chance.

Today, my clothing system is much different and it is always centered on base layers.

Hunters now have lightweight, midweight and heavyweight options made from the best material available and are articulated to fit perfectly. They also employ serious technology like Polygiene to fight odor-causing bacteria.

The materials used in the latest wave of base layers are either wool or polyester. The latter seems like a strange choice, but I’ve gravitated toward it over the years because of the feel, fit and fact that it can also be made to wick away moisture.

I also look for base layers offered in a variety of sizes, particularly Tall. Since base layers are made to fit snugly they tend to creep up when you’re sitting down on stand. A Tall option doesn’t, which is always appreciated.

To reap the most out of base layers, I tend to choose options to match my hunting conditions and use them alone while slipping into my stand. Since they are moisture wicking, I know even if I sweat, I won’t freeze as soon as I get to my tree or my blind. Once there, I open up my pack and throw on a jacket, or maybe a vest and a jacket. On really frigid days, I might put on an extra base layer for added warmth.

All this adds up to a much higher level of comfort, the importance of which can’t be overstated.

If you don’t want to get busted on stand, and you want to wring the most hours out of your day actually hunting, you can’t get cold. If you do, you’ll fidget for a while, and then you’ll bail. That is an outcome that rarely results in a short blood trail and a stiff back from dragging out a buck. So get the proper base layers and make sure it doesn’t happen.


Read more from Cabela’s Deer Nation

Shop for Cabela’s cold weather camo here

Be protected from the cold in a fiberglass blind from Hercules Outdoor Industries

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