When you decide to take up hunting for recreation, your focus immediately shifts on the bits and pieces of gear. You know you need to acquire the right weapons and accessories, adequate boots for the terrain, tech gadgets to help you out with the lighting and safety, handy multitools like Leatherman, some of the best torches, first aid kit, food supply and water.
And then, you need to pack all of these things neatly in a bum bag. Feel like anything’s missing? While you’re not wrong in making a checklist with these essentials, you shouldn’t overlook clothing.
Most hunters make the mistake of leaving out clothes from the basic hunting gear, simply because of sticking with the thought that people used to hunt for centuries without any special outfits. And yet, the fact this clothing is created for the sport means it comes in handy with the hunting success, since even though most animals have poor vision, they can still make out shapes that are rather unusual for their habitat (especially when moving).
In addition, such clothing also serves for your protection from the elements. Let’s take the practical hunting shirts as an example – they’re designed for the diverse and variable climate conditions so as to keep you comfortable at all times when you’re out and about. In other words, same as with the jackets and pants, the shirts too have their purpose, and you can find various designs to suit your needs, from base layers, to mid and outer layers.
How to Choose Hunting Clothes?
While brands and price are both important aspects, it’s just as crucial to consider the characteristics of the specific items that would be of most use to you.
Weather – Given that these items are created for protection from the weather elements, it’s necessary to take the climate into account when shopping. Think of it this way: why would you choose a warm long-sleeved hunting shirt if you’re hunting in a region with mild climate? Instead of helping you out, it would make you feel uncomfortable and ruin your hunting experience altogether. The same goes for choosing light items when it’s cold and you risk freezing!
Waterproofing – Related to the aforementioned aspect, waterproof properties of the clothing are essential so you stay warm and dry. Depending on the terrain you choose for hunting, you might have to acquire a full outfit with such properties, from the pants and jacket to the hunting shirts.
Design – With this one, I’m referring to an item as a whole, specifically the fabric and the features. If you want to make the most of the items you buy, make sure they’re not made of fabrics like cotton because they don’t provide the needed comfort outdoors, as they don’t dry easily, they’re not that breathable and they trap moisture.
A great fabric that you should focus on is polyester due to its useful properties, like being lightweight and quick drying. Additionally, you could also benefit from polypropylene, silk and merino wool if you’re up for something natural, known for the comfort, moisture-wicking and odour neutralising. As for the features, pay attention to the zippers, collars, cuffs, pockets and compartments; you need such that are easy to use, provide protection and storage!
Pattern – When choosing camo clothing, you can’t forget to think of the pattern. Just as it can help you hide, it can make you stand out when you pick the wrong one! The first thing you should be aware of is that there are mimicry and breakup camouflage. While mimicry comes in patterns that resemble natural elements (e.g. branches, trees), the latter doesn’t exactly.
To be able to blend in properly, and count on catching game, you’d have to decide on the pattern based on the region where you intend to hunt (e.g. think if it’s more woodland or marsh) as well as the season (winter requires snow camo) and type of animal you’re after.
Layers – When hunting in regions with colder climates, or during the colder days of the year, you can’t skip on layering. Same as with any outdoor activity, the layers of clothes would provide you with the necessary warmth.
Choosing next-to-skin items requires the thought of comfort, so again merino wool and polyester are the ideal options. As for the shirts for hunting, and outer layers like jackets and pants, you ought to consider insulation too which comes from thermal and windproof properties.
Blaze Orange – Though it may not be a necessity by law in every region or country (make sure you find out all the info you need of the specific region to prepare well beforehand), truth is blaze orange is a necessity for your safety.
You could make it part of your gear through your jacket, or accessories like a hat, for example. If you don’t find it that crucial, just think of all the rifle accidents that happen and you’d change your mind. Better safe than sorry!
As a final note, along with taking all the care with shopping for the clothing, remember to also take care of your smell because some animals can become aware of your presence just by their sense of smell!