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Best Hunting Clothes?
It's probably been beaten to death here on the threads but what's the best clothes I can get for hunting? I'm looking for lightweight and warmth. I hear a lot about Sitka Gear but don't know what to start looking for in their offerings. This is an opinion thread so please state your opinion and experience.
Go to Cabelas and you will find any kind of hunting clothes you can imagine. Take a pocket full of money though.
Your budget and type of hunting?
SITKA AND KUIU are both designed for "athletic" fit, they are tapered, longer sleeves etc. They are both expensive but I have never purchased any Sitka that was not on sale (deeply discounted). Camofire runs sales on it throughout the year. Also Stores that carry Sitka - deeply discount them at the end of the season. The down size to KUIU - they don't sell in stores, order online and sometimes back ordered.
Sitka is designed both for mountain hunting and tree stand hunting (different lines of clothing). Kuiu is mostly designed for Mt hunting. The camo is irrelevant - but the function of the clothing is superb. They were both made with bow hunting in mind.
That said, I have other brands as well, Cabelas has some great stuff they "brand". Many animals have been taken in plain wool pants and wool shirt.
Woodguy 65, I have taken lots and lots of deer while wearing blue jeans and a black and green wool shirt. Camo designs are for the hunter, if they think they are invisible the feel better. Use the wind and don't move and you don't need camo. You can find some real comfortable camo clothes with plenty of pockets to put stuff and that is why I like some of it. My wife has taken good close up pictures of deer and she doesn't own any camo. She wears her garden clothes and a carpenters bib to carry her camera and a handgun. She doesn't hunt but can shoot real well.
I too hunt whitetails in blue jeans. When I’m elk hunting though I wear Sitka. It’s more about functionality than anything. Wearing the same cotton for a week is a drag but wearing Sitka big game stuff allows me to wear one set of clothes for 8-9 days. It’s light, breathable, functional and doesn’t feel like your wearing rotting clothes after a few days. If you have the money give Sitka a try, it’s good stuff.
Shuteye...that's why I said "camo is irrelevant " That's why I also said, "Many animals have been taken in plain wool shirt and pants."
I'll suggest as far as value for your money, get regular clothing from a place like REI on sale, in brown, green, tan or black, and put it under a leafy suit. Sporthill pants, for example, with a pair of cold weather long underwear worked well for me in -33 weather this year, elk hunting in January. I have 2 pair of Sporthill pants that were on sale from REI for $25 each in an elk tan. You can't touch anything from Sitka or KUIU for that.
Hard to beat Predator.. esp. their Ambush bibs, very light weight and warm, I wear their G2 coat over it, I layer as needed under all .... all in fall gray ...
I don’t think there is a Best. However some are better then others. I myself like sitka. I have some kuiu as well as some cabelas clothing as well.
The attack pants from kuiu get great reviews however I feel there no different then other top end lines.
If I had one piece I think is great it’s the jetstream jacket from sitka. It’s a great jacket that can accomadate lots of temp ranges with some layering. When it comes to a puffy I give the nod to the kuiu super down. It’s a great light weight jacket that works awesome as an insulation layer.
Not sure what you hunt but if it’s just whitetails you can’t go wrong with the stratus line from sitka for a starting point. It will cover a lot of temps with layering. The pants are not a great option if the temps are above 50 however. There just to warm.
I do wear a solid color pant on some hunts. I really like the fit of kuhl pants. I haven’t tried them with a base layer under neath. Mainly on warmer hunts where a base layer isn’t needed.
One thing mention above is long underwear. To me that is one of the most important hunting items you can have. In cold weather you need a really good pair of long underwear and good boots. I spent a lot of those items and it is worth every penny. Actually, when I retired one of the girls in the office told me I was allowed a pair of safety shoes. I told her I didn't need them and we were only supposed to select from a limited supply. She had supplied me with work boots before so she had my size on file. The day I was leaving she brought a box to my office and told me to take them to my truck. I did and when I got home I found that the box contained the best pair of hunting boots I ever saw. They even have different liners you can put in and I haven't had cold feet since. They aren't safety boots, no steel toes but she got them through the system somehow. Great for stand hunting but I wouldn't want to do a lot of hiking with them.
How did the Indians ever kill a thing without camo and scent free products?
Once I switched to Merino Wool, there was no going back. Doesn't smell like funk after a 3 day hunt, and has superior thermal regulation in varying temps.
I Don't worry about the camo pattern.
Best of Luck, Jeff
I refuse to buy Sitka anything. First Lite anything. Or KUIU anything when it comes to clothes. It is simply too high for me to justify. Does it work? I guess. But, so do others, at a much lower cost. Being that you aren't sure, I'd go at this with a mindset of buying quality, for the cheapest I could. Or, you are going to spend several $1000's trying to figure out what suits you best.
Base layers: Some swear by merino wool. I like it too. But, if t gets wet it takes a lot to dry it out. Being wool it does breath well but, if you are actively working up a sweat with a pack, it's never going to breath well enough to dry. So, I like polyester based stuff too. It's dang warm, doesn't typically regulate over heating as well as wool. But, it is highly breathable and dries easily. I think polyester based stuff is a bit warmer for weight too.
Clothes: I always use wool pants or a poly based pants. IT doesn't take much to keep your legs warm so, I see zero need for bulky insulated pants. If it gets that cold, I'm putting on bibs when I get to where I'm going anyways. I wear a wool or poly base light layer over my base layer on top. Usually wool. It breathes and regulates heat so well. The other layers depend on the temps. Do not forget a good down or primaloft vest and, a jacket with primaloft. With head gear and wool liner gloves, this will get you into the 20's setting. This gear is light, not bulky, packs well in a pack, and is warm. This will get you started and if you buy from vendors other than the elite hunting clothes manufacturers, You can get this stuff for a couple hundred dollars versus $2000.
Until you know what you want, be smart about it. IF you go this route, you are set to hunt anything in NA with the same clothes. God Bless
"Once I switched to Merino Wool, there was no going back."
merino wool IS the only way to go for base layer. Keeps you cool in the heat and warm in the cold. I like the first lite version personally. It comes in camo and you can wear as an outer layer when it's warm like on an early elk hunt or deer hunt. cost is secondary to my personal comfort when hunting but I too have my line....I was looking at $700 rain gear jacket recently and was questioning my own sanity.
The best thing about merino wool is it doesn't get stinky. I can wear the same merino base layer for a week of elk hunting without disgusting myself. Try that with synthetics. Same goes for merino socks, although I only go 2-3 days with those.
As for outer layers, my all-time favorite piece is a micro-fleece pullover from Day One Camo. It has an extra tall and wide neck that zips up and covers about half my face. It also has a built in strap on the chest to keep binos from swinging around. I've worn that thing for over 20 years.
My older Sitka 90% jacket is another go-to item. However, I think the quality of Sitka went south when they were bought by Columbia.
I started busing Kuiu clothing and could not be more pleased. Impressive gear! Their lightest weight Tiburon stuff is strong but has the weight of a hankerchief. Their regular weight Attack pants are the most comfortable I have ever worn. Expensive, but seems to be very much worth it.
Merino wool. Cotton kills...
Two different types of hunting clothes for me. Elk and whitetail. My elk stuff is Merino base layers and outerwear. The outerwear is Merino simply because I bought first lite. I don't think camo is essential for elk but unless there is a significant savings in solid colors, I buy camo. I wouldn't have issue with synthetic outers for elk but no cotton.
For whitetails I want camo. I personally feel it matters on pressured whitetail deer. I wear whatever is the most reasonably priced base layers for the temperature I plan to hunt. I don't care what the material is as long as it is warm or cool enough. Outerwear is whatever is quiet. I have been using cotton predator t's and pants for 10+ years along with insulated fleece day one bibs and fleece day one uninsulated jacket in Fall grey. If it's really cold I add a deception vest made by predator. This system has worked great for me.
Bonafide, the "best" clothing will depend mostly on what, when, and where you will be hunting. Clothing requirements for a whitetail hunt in December in Iowa are going to be vastly different than clothing requirements for a mountain goat hunt in coast BC in September.
Generally speaking, you can define your needs by stand hunting or spot and stalk hunting and whether you are hunting early, mid, or late season.
For stand hunting, the best clothing I've used is the Sitka whitetail line-up. There are various weight pieces and various layers that allow you to put together a system that will work from the early season to the late season. For early season I would do something Fanatic hoody with the Equinox pant. For mid season I might add a baselayer shirt and bottom to the early season system for some additional warmth. For late season I would get a heavyweight top (Fanatic Jacket for example) and bottom (Fanatic bib) and add it to the midseason system (probably lose the Equinox pants). I might also have a pair of heavy baselayers and lighter baselayers and throw in an insulating layer like the Celsius Shacket or Stratus Vest to add a little more warmth to any of the setups (early, mid, late).
It's a similar story if I was hunting in a more mobile fashion with respect to layering and having pieces that are versatile across the different seasons. For me, I prefer First Lite merino wool baselayers and get a lightweight pair and a heavyweight pair (note that these can be the same baselayers you use in the stand hunting set-up). To those baselayers I'd add a light to midweight pant (I like the Sitka Mountain Pant and the Kuiu Attack or Kuiu Alpine pant lately). In early season I'd ditch the baselayer pant. In midseason I'd add them. I'd also buy one heavier weight pant, like the Sitka Timberline pant that could take me into the later season with a baselayer. For tops I like something that I can hunt in or use as an insulating layer as part of the system -- like the Sitka Core Heavyweight hoody or the Sitka Traverse. To this I would add a puffy jacket (Kuiu Super Down or Sitka Kelvin) and rain gear (I like the Kuiu Chugach). That combination of clothes should get you pretty far into the season. For example, I just got back from an elk hunt in Colorado and the 2nd rifle can really offer conditions that are similar to early, mid, and late season hunts. I found myself wearing two merino base later shirts and Sitka core heavyweight top with Sitka Timberline pants (w/ a baselayer) most days. If I was cold I'd add a puffy to it and this kept me pretty warm. I also packed in a set of the Sitka Coldfront Jacket and Pants which were nice the first day of hunting when we had about 6" of snow on the ground.
If you are going to be hunting in a place where you don't have to carry your gear in, some heavier soft shell jackets might be nice as well (Sitka Coldfront, Kuiu Guide) to round out the wardrobe.
Can you provide some more insight into what kind of hunting you want these clothes to support?
Sportsman’s warehouse just came out with their line. killik. Cheaper than other high end clothing. I wanted something with brown tones for my desert ram hunt. Interestingly the long sleeve shirt is made from bamboo fibers. My Sitka merino wool is wearing out. Holes in it. I just thought I’d try something different and cheaper. The pants have room for knee pads like Sitka which I need. So far I’ve used it on deer hunts and like it. The sheep hunt will have some crazy temp changes. The guide said it can be 20 degrees in the shade and wind. You can go around the mountain and its 80 degrees.
Right now Cabelas is having a great sale on Berber fleece. I have the jacket and love it as it is very warm and I live in the Northeast. You can get the jacket and pants for $115 total now.
Wool, wool, and more wool.
Matt, I thought Gore bought Sitka. I didn’t know anything about Columbia.
I was surprised when you mentioned original 90%. Considering the original never had windstopper. I know that was the knock on it by a fair amount of people. The new version does have windstopper.
BEG great post on sitka. I just wish they made the mountain pants in a solid. I would buy two pairs because they would always be on me if I was in the woods.
The nice thing about sitka is if you decide you don’t want a piece for whatever reason. It’s fairly easy to sell and not take a huge loss.
I'll tell you right now, I love me some Sitka gear. I was never a fan boy, especially at the prices they charge, but I wound up getting an opportunity to get some discounted through work, and I can't say enough good it. Their stuff is great for breaking the wind, and extremely comfortable. I spend a bit of time every year in the backcountry elk hunting, and I really like my Sitka. I have one of their mid weight jackets, and some of their pants. I plan on investing in more of their stuff in the future. If you do go the Sitka route I would highly recommend the Timberline pants. Great stuff. I'm sure KUIU is great as well, and if I didn't get such great discount on Sitka through work, I would probably be wearing some of that too. I also really like the First Lite Chama hoodie. It's a great liner type shirt and seems to work well in most conditions. If I start to get hot I strip down to that, and if it's cold it definitely helps insulate. They don't seem to last forever, but I think that's the nature of Merino wool. I usually wear a base layer t shirt, then the Chama, then a hooded sweater or my Sitka jacket. Has worked great so far, and I've been in some pretty extreme mountain conditions. I agree for the most part camo is not an end all be all, but like someone else here once posted, if you're going to spend money on good clothes why not buy some with a camo pattern. I do think there have definitely been times when camo has helped me. Even if it's only 5-10% it's worth it to me.
I have the ascent pants and last year I was crossing a fence I didn’t get my right leg over and hooked one barb next to the knee pad. It went bad from there and I ended upon the ground hanging there. I thought that these were ruined. Just a small hole that wasn’t worth fixing. Tough, tough pants.
"Matt, I thought Gore bought Sitka. I didn’t know anything about Columbia."
You are correct, my mistake. I was thinking of another one of my favorite brands, Mountain Hardwear, who got bought by Columbia.
I still think the quality of Sitka has dropped since the original owners sold it. For example, I had one of their original caps that I loved and wore out. When I bought another, thinking it was the same thing, it was completely different and of inferior quality. That may be an anomaly, but I seem to recall comparing another piece that had been "value engineered", as well.
Don't get me wrong, I still think Sitka is a quality brand, but I think it's overpriced relative to other offerings on the market. My next camo purchase will probably be some of the KUIU stuff.
Are you sure it was the same "cap"? They gave about 10 different styles of beenies.
One thing I hate about Sitka is they don't list the name of the item anywhere on the garment. I have a ton of their stuff and couldn't begin to tell you the name of any.
Gonna be for stand hunting here in Pa, I already have a hidden wolf woolen setup for late season that I use(have used for years) when it gets really cold, I use predator spring green for early season when the leaves are still on trees. Pretty much looking to bridge the gap between the two when temps vary from day to day from upper 30's into the mid to upper 50's. My current base layers is under armor, I have two different one's, one for early season and the heaviest one they offer for late season which work very well and they both wick away moisture. I currently use a Cabela's setup with said base layer depending on the temp for the day. I also add an olive drab British military commando sweater as a second layer on a chilly day for added warmth. The main negative of using this outfit (heavy jacket & bibs) is the bulk, they are very bulky and when I'm trying to bow hunt I have had the unfortunate experience of the string catching my fore arm on the shot leading to a miss which I don't want to happen again. I don't want to raid the piggy bank but I will spend $$ as needed to get a good quality setup that will last me the next decade or so. I should also add that I'm a bigger guy, I'm 5'10" and weigh 260-270, workout a lot and so I have a lot of bulk myself, could never get a suit to fit normally because of my build is considered "athletic" because of my wide back and shape. My cardio isn't what it used to be when I was a wrestler because I'm now in my early 40's and have had a knee replacement already so I'm relegated to weight training and riding the bike for my cardio. Hope this helps. Thanks
"Are you sure it was the same "cap"? They gave about 10 different styles of beenies."
I'm speaking of the baseball style cap. The original design had a deeper dome, longer bill, and a nice metal clasp for the size adjustment. The newer style is shallower, shorter bill, and a velcro adjustment. The newer one doesn't fit my head nearly as well, and I hate velcro on any hunting clothes.
Going to go with the Stratus jacket and pants along with the merino core crew top and bottoms.
Bonafide, for a good all around whitetail set up you can’t go wrong with that. I think the stratus gives you the widest range of temps to work with.
To give you idea when I had my stratus set. I would wear a transverse top, fanatic hoodie and stratus jacket. I could sit fairly compfortable to the mid to upper 30’s in that. Sitka is speedy but great gear.
Matt, I have been a mountain hardware fan for a few years. I didn’t know Columbia bought them. Have you noticed any changes in there products? I think the last piece I bought was my phantom 15 degree bag and that was in 2015. I love that bag. I have been in low 20’s with it and warm enough in it.
Mountain hardware is good stuff....I own a lot. I get it for 1/2 price.