Hunting is unarguably one of the least favorable outdoor activities during winter when temperatures plummet to sub-zero degrees. The frigid conditions can make your skin feel too numb to keep up pace with prey. Worse yet, you could easily succumb to hypothermia or frostbite.
However, you don’t need to worry about missing out on hunting in winter merely on account of the chilly weather. All you need is the right winter hunting gear.
In this article, we look at the five cold-weather essentials every hunter ought to have. But first things first.
How to Choose the Best Cold Weather Hunting Gear?
The outdoor supplies market teems with high-quality cold weather hunting gear offered by well-reputed brands like Skre Gear. But as you shall find, picking the right gear for you may not always be a walk in the park.
First and foremost, determine whether you’re a frequent or occasional hunter. Knowing what type of a hunter you are can be key in choosing whether to buy or rent gear for your next cold-weather hunting exercise.
Next, research brands carefully before ordering cold-weather hunting gear from them. One best practice when looking for a hunting gear brand is to insist on a company that has been in business for a reasonably long duration, typically 5+ years. Online reviews from previous clients may also paint a clear picture on the quality of products and services to expect from a hunting gear brand.
Understanding the hunting methods you normally use is another tip in choosing the best cold-weather hunting gear. Are you the type of hunter who spends most of his time sitting idly waiting for the right game to come along, or the kind who actively goes after prey? The former constitutes still hunting, and the latter stalk hunting. Stalk hunters generate a considerable amount of body heat than still hunters. Therefore, they require less bulky clothing and can cope without full-body insulation. As a hunter on the move, you’ll be more comfortable with portable gear like disposable warmers.
It’s also important to consider the material that your hunting gear is made from. Insist on fabrics that can offer maximum insulation from the cold while also keeping precipitation at bay. That’s especially if hunting in higher grounds with a bigger threat of hypothermia or frostbite.
Most importantly, be sure to go for materials that provide a seamless blend between weatherproofness and comfort. Wool and natural fibers are preferable as they provide insulation while also repelling moisture. Avoid cotton due to its poor moisture-wicking properties. Nylon is undesirable, too, as it simply absorbs moisture instead of wicking it.
5 Essential Cold Weather Hunting Gear
1. Soft-shell Jacket
Soft-shell hunting jackets, as the name implies, are hunting jackets noted for being incredibly soft and plush to the touch. They’re also smoother and provide better ventilation than their hard-shell counterparts.
A high-quality soft-shell hunting jacket can provide the right degree of insulation needed to combat winter’s frigid conditions. Since these jackets are also excellent at regulating airflow, you can wear them during extended hunting durations without worrying about skin irritation.
Soft-shell jackets also tend to be lighter than hard-shell ones. You can have them all day long without feeling like you’re being weighed down by extra baggage.
2. Thermal Base Layers
Base layers refer to the additional layers of clothing you wear to insulate your body during freezing conditions.
A base layer is typically worn underneath regular clothing. That way, it prevents cold air from penetrating your skin from the outer clothing.
Now, a thermal base later basically refers to base layers made from thermoregulating materials like wool and fleece. Besides their thermoregulating properties, thermal base layers should also possess moisture-wicking abilities. This allows them to keep your skin both warm and dry.
3. Woolen Socks
A thick pair of socks can come in handy while hunting in the dead of winter. The socks would serve you better if they were made from wool.
If you can, insist on socks made from merino wool. Merino wool is renowned for its incredible moisture-wicking and thermoregulating properties. Socks made from this fabric will keep your legs warm and cozy even when the ambient conditions are unbearably cold.
You could also supplement your merino woolen socks with toe warmers.
4. Insulated Boots
Cold-weather socks will only serve their purpose if matched with the right pair of boots. Therefore, it’s equally imperative to exercise due diligence while shopping for winter hunting boots.
Height is among the top features to look for in cold-weather hunting boots. Consider boots with shafts that average 8 to 10 inches. Such heights will prevent snow and other forms of precipitation from falling inside the boots.
You might also prioritize boots with reflective layers. These layers increase warmth by reflecting heat back to your feet. And needless to mention, check underneath the boots to ensure it comes with nubby, widely-spaced treads. This will ensure maximum grip while navigating wet or snowy landscapes.
5. A Pair of Gloves
Hands and feet normally bear the brunt of weather extremes. That’s due to their higher exposure to the elements.
So, as you secure your feet by investing in a proper pair of boots and socks, give due consideration to your hands too.
In addition to keeping your hands warm, the right pair of gloves should also provide maximum grip. A good hand grip is particularly useful when hunting with a rifle.
Cold weather hunting can be tough but not entirely impossible. Feel free to bookmark this article as your guide the next time you’ll be planning to go hunting in winter.