Luck, as we all will agree, seems to play just as an important role in hunting as knowledge and experience. That said, I truly think that to a certain degree we can help make our own luck. One important aspect of a hunt is the gear you choose, this includes outdoor clothing. As a professional big game guide I use simple basic “three layer” guidelines while dressing for time in the field. Layers are the best way to help manage your level of comfort in the wilderness.
One of my golden rules for wilderness comfort… or survival, is “cotton kills”. Cotton is a nice material for lazy afternoons, but really does not have any place in extreme conditions. Depending on geographic location, time of season, and type of hunt you should choose clothing accordingly.
The first layer is probably most important, this layer should be snug fitting and made up of material that will wick moisture away from your body. There are many hi-tech materials available on the market and most are pretty good. Traditionally wool was used, but a fella had to be a lot tougher then me in order to be able to deal with all that itching and scratching.
The second layer for me is typically a fleece of some kind. This is a great combination and for warmer days I hunt in these two layers. Fleece is a good breathable, light weight material and yet rugged enough for an outer layer during warmer periods.
The third layer, in general three layers fits most of my hunting but more may be needed in more extreme conditions, is the final one. Wind and water proof are what is important to remember with this layer. Hi-tech material is once again the way to go as most is light weight, rugged, and breathable. This layer may stay in a day pack until needed, just something to keep in mind while making a decision.
Three other additions that should not be over looked are a hat, gloves, and boots. These are just as essential as the layers of clothing and should be thought out.
Camouflage today comes in many colors and patterns, and most outdoor gear companies have added it to their products. Finding the proper match for each condition should not really be too difficult. I personally believe in a good cammo pattern but as long as the clothing I wear breaks up my body, how well it does its job is more important.
Do your research, some gear companies do a great job of marketing and cost a lot to purchase, I try to work my way through the fluff and find the best bang for my hard earned buck. Choosing the right clothing is a matter of comfort and how long you can comfortably remain in the field, but in extreme cases it could also be the matter of life and death. I have had the long cold nights stuck on the side of a mountain, it sucked bad… but ultimately I survived just fine. This was no doubt due to my choice of layers and being prepared. Choose wisely, dress for success, and watch you luck change as you spend more and more time in the field. Havin fun and huntin hard