Contributors to this thread:
Cold Weather Clothing - Discuss Here
I'm glad I'm first...
You should diligently enquire, and buy only when someone can detail their system after this manner:
1) Hunting style (tree stand? walking?) 2) Hunt duration (1 hour? sunrise to sunset?) 3) Temperature expectation (down to 30F? -10F) 4) Wind expectation (calm? 20 mph?) 5) Comfort level expectation (painful? bearable? chilly? warm enough to nod off? hot?)
For example, with my system I can:
Tree stand sit sunrise to sunset, down to 0F, in 15 mph wind, and expect to be warm enough to nap, but hands and feet will be chilly. I'm an average metabolism guy.
I've come to this criteria after buying so much crap that was marketed with the usual superlatives I could puke.
This is one area where the innocent are continually preyed upon by marketers that understand the art of appeal.
"This system rocks! This new high tech system will keep you warm when the temperatures drop!" is the standard claim. It works every time.
That special camera sure does show how effective that system works and hopefully someday. I'll be able to get all of those pieces.
But...... Truth be told, I can't stand the Forest camo pattern. It's too dark and too green for my liking. I've read some of the tech behind it, but I would buy the Open Country pattern first before the Forest Pattern.
i don't like the pattern either....
bow shot, do you use the sitka system or are you using something else? I got sucked in to the arctic shield claims.. Now using wool and i like it but haven't had any grueling temps yet...
What battery heated vest did you decide on? How does it compare to a good down vest and any negatives?
The comparison is off. Left VS Right The Left has No head cover, the Right has a Beanie and Hoodie.
The Left has a Jacket and so doe the Right.
The left has wool long johns. The Right has Bibs. (Everyone knows that bibs are better than long johns.)
The left has pants, the Right has Merino bottoms
The left has no sweatshirt. The right has a hooded sweatshirt.
The left has no T shirt. The right has a marino T shirt.
The left has Lycra gloves. The right has marino gloves.
I am sure the Sitka stuff is great. But I bet if the Left guy put more effort to at least match the amount of layers he would be a lot closer. As he is now he is not "that" bad.
These are the perfect tool for a tree stand hunter. I wear light, comfortable hiking boots to my stand. Once in the stand, I quietly slip on my boot blankts. I can sit all day. My feet have NEVER been cold wearing boot blankets.
I use northern outfitters vatrix base layer system , it keeps me toast in below zero temps .. Plus i can throw on top any light camo i want to wear that day .
I'm one of those guys that sweats like a horse, and I had basically gotten to the point of packing in almost all clothing that I wore on stand. I would layer layer layer, as I never had a good outer system. I had good inner stuff, and basically just layered up
I had gotten to where I could do about 4 layers (merino wool base, Gerbing heated vest, Cabelas Wooltimate pullover and Cabelas wooltimate vest up top) and be non-freezing down into the teens. But it wasn't that comfortable, I would be chilled, just one step above actually shaking, but I could gut it out for hours, unless it was really windy, and I could still draw and shoot
This year I just got tired of packing in so many layers, so in mid-December I bit the dang bullet and bought the Sitka Fanatic stuff. I've only used it maybe 9 or 10 times so far, and only down to about 15 degrees (with moderate winds), but so far I really am pleased with this stuff
Now, I just pack in the Fanatic Jacket and the bibs, and wear merino wool top and bottoms from First Lite, a pair of Sitka 90% pants, and my Gerbing heated vest, and I'm good to go
And I've been warm. Not chilled at all. Comfortably cozy and warm
For my feet I have gotten to where I just use Icebreaker Merino wool socks, in 1000 gram LaCrosse rubber boots, and as long as my feet don't get sweaty, I'm good to go down to zero degrees. THe local granola "Dynamic Earth" store always has a buy-three-get-one-free deal on their merino wool socks, which I recently took advantage of
For my hands I wear thin Sitka Traverse gloves, and they are good down to zero if I have a pocket to stick my hands into
In reality, with that Sitka Fanatic Jacket, you don't even need handwarmers in the front pocket to keep hands warm. I would be comfortable with plain old jersey gloves at all temps with that jacket on, and when I lose my Sitka gloves (as will surely happen someday), I'll just go back to thin jersey gloves
I just spent the last 2 weeks bowhunting in North Dakota in temps ranging from 15 F down to -5 F. I use a simple system, which consists of: Top: Cabelas Polar Max top Fleece Jacket Cabelas Base Camp Fleece Vest Columbia Gallatin Range Monarch Pass jacket Bottom: Cabelas Polar Max Extreme Cold Bottom Columbia Gallatin Range bib Face: Cabela's Double sided fleece balacava Hands: Wool Glo-Mitt on bow hand and Camo Skinz glove on release hand, kept in belt muff until shooting Feet: 400 gram Thinsulate boots with Artic Shield boot cover
To me the biggest factor in staying very warm is the boot covers. My sits averaged 3.5 hours, and one evening I missed a doe, and got out to retrieve the arrow to ensure it was clean. I took off the boot covers, and since I only had an hour until dark, didn't put them back on. In that hour my feet froze, and they were warm up to removing the boot covers. My system is far from perfect, but I was comfortable every sit and finally tagged my deer New Year's day.
Great! Now I gotta go look at all the stuff I wear.
Pyrannah, I fell for the Arctic shield thing too...
I use a home-made hater body suit knock off. Basically just a zero degree sleeping bag with a wind proff cover added, and straps sewn in to hold it up for shooting.
For the hunt/weather/ conditions I gave initially, for pre to post light, I have on one layer of long johns, one layer of cheap fleece or wool with a good head cover. Army wool gloves and fleecy socks.
Man am I happy to be done being cold. And I got out of it cheap.
Man, we have some cold blooded guys on here. Ha! My system is this: Mid weight merino wool base layers from smartwool, thermal fleece pants, and thermal fleece pull over. Sitka Celsius bibs, Cabelas windshear henley and sitka celsius jacket. Sitka celsius beanie and a Cabela's berber fleece balaclava (sp?). Light weight merino gloves, fleece muff for hands. Muck boots for feet. I drop a couple handwarmers in my muff and one in each boot. I can sit for 4 hours down to 10 degrees if it's windy or -5 to -10 if it's not. If it's colder than that I break out the wool bibs and jacket and ditch the Sitka.
I have the entire Forest green Sitka outfit and I have not had any problems using it. I hunted every day in December in Minnesota and stayed plenty warm. I do use First lite garment underneath but the outerwear is all Sitka. I had a herd of elk walk right past me including a calf that fed between my legs as I kneeled facing a two cows and a big bull just 8 yards away so I am just fine with the Forest green color. It also worked well whether I was moose hunting in Canada, bear hunting in Wisconsin or whitetail hunting in Minnesota or Wisconsin. The only change I would make is change the pants to an elastic waste. Depending on my under lament sometimes I can't wear the pants and have to go to my old wool pants. Really a great product line!
I just invested in 14 pieces of Russell APX wear & up to now have been pleased. Has anyone used or tried the APX & how does it compare to the Sitka? Thx.
I have been very interested in the Sitka stuff.....seems as they have fixed the issues they had 5 years ago (or so) with being more of a pure western/mountain hunting clothing line.
I just need the cash!
I also do not like the camo....I know that it is the least important thing in the overall clothing features but I would LOVE to see Sitka team up with Predator or ASAT....that would be a match made in heaven!
I could see using the Forest camo in the elk woods in September and even early October in the midwest and east. But after the leaves are off the trees and/or there is snow on the ground......... to me it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Anyways, I'd like to see the camera used on the Heater Body Suit and see how much heat one would lose wearing it. Lots of guys swear by them.
Sitka, yes, pricy, but so worth it without the bulk. I'm with Bake, and use the exact same set up with a layer of Russell APG. I agree on the built in hand warmer on the Fanatic, truly, the Fanatic bibs and jacket design are well thought out. The two way zippers on the pant legs are great for cooling down or removing boots. I wasn't real crazy about the Forest Green until I wore it with the leaves down. I'm convinced the pattern works, no doubt about it.
Sitka in predator! Im sold!
Pat, what safety harness are you using with the Fanatic Jacket? I thought you used the SOP Supreme (not sure if name is correct, but it is like a vest)? That is what I use and don't see how you can access the hand warmer in the Fanatic? I love the harness, don't want to change it, but can't see being able to use the handwarmer part of the jacket. thanks,
Excellent article. Things have really improved. I hope to build up a new system using some of the Sitka gear over a few years. Retired recently so No way I could get it all at once. Mt system is improved over the past but still room to improve. I see though that the comparisons both used wool as a base layer. And what gloves on the Sitka side? I missed that.
I don't like the pattern at all. If they made it in ASAT or Predator, I would be buying some
Um, I have quite a bit of sitka gear and I got it for free or I would have taken some of it back. The bibs or pants do not hold up. I hunt in MD where briars are everywhere and those $270 bibs are pretty much destroyed after one outing going through a light field with a few briars snagging me. If you get any of the major brands and follow there recommendations you will probably be good and save yourself a ton of money. Not to be a jerk but since Sitka is a sponsor on here I am sure that helps with what is worn. No offense Pat. I am finding browning gear is becoming the best that I have seen for the price (heavy, quiet, durable). You can spent 70 dollars on an Under Armour hoodie that will keep you warm if its 70 degrees out or 70 dollars on something that is made quality and doesnt charge for the name. Also, sitka is a bit noisy. It has gotten better but it is noisy for again almost 300 dollars. For everyone who would say briars would kill anything. My scentblocker pants have held up for almost five years hunting in the same crap. No tears, no holes. They have taken an arse whooping and are starting to show signs of loosing the battle I am proud of them. My unbiased 2 cents.
Handwarmers and toasty toes.
Forget the layers. Get yourself a Heater Body Suit. Dress in comfortable layers so you don't get all sweated up. Sit in temps below zero with high wind and NEVER get cold.
It does not delay you getting cold, it PREVENTS you from getting cold. Best piece of hunting gear I have.
Killed 4 of my 6 deer this year while wearing it.
I use the Cabela's Wooltimate hunting pants and jacket, along with a good hood head cover and basic under layers (long johns, sweat pants, t-shirts) and I have tested this set up down to 10-15 degree weather with wind and am very satisfied.
I will very likely go with a HBS if my "bag" ever lets me down. Hasn't yet.
I just take it any time its below 30, and adjust the clothes that I wear on the body according to how cold its gonna get. And that always a very simple thing.
Have the newer Artic shield, quiet, and works good to me, but don't like the Velcro, Most people I talked to like it also, for warmth
Pat how does the sitka stuff hold up to thorns, briars, etc? I still wear wool. I wear wool power base layers and normally a wool coat. I LOVE good wool, but its not the best choice for an outer layer. Wind cuts through it.
I do well will Russell base layers, a couple layers of fleece/military poly, and the wooltimate line from cabelas. The only thing I dont like about the wooltimate line is that it is pretty heavy, the pants run about 6 sizes small, and the jacket is a bit baggy. It does a good job though and I am happy with them.
I really think the hand muff and ice breakers blankets are the best investment I have made in a long time...warm hands and feet go a long way.
I looked at Sitka wear today in a store. $399 for a dutch oven vest. I tried on some of it and where I groundhunt with a longbow, I found it to be too loud. I wear wool and for my style of hunting it works. I am a tracker and still hunter and my shots are very close, usually on a bedded deer in the snow. I also run hares with my beagles. Two days ago I hunted in -22 degree weather. I had on wool longjohns, an LL Bean river drivers shirt, a Johnson wool shirt, Johnson wool pants, and a wool vest with a windstopper lining on top of a Johnson wool coat. I also wore a beagle-wear hat and had on hand-knit unscoured wool socks with muck arctic pros and snowshoes. I was using my longbow and was plenty warm, even though I did alot of waiting for the hare to turn. When running my trapline I always wear wool. Get pulled headfirst into a river by a beaver you thought was dead on the end of a #4 and you will find that wool is a lifesaver when wet.
Good article. A few years ago I lost a lot of weight and could not stay warm during hunting season. I started buying pieces of Sitka as I found them on sale and can now stay warm. The Kelvin and Fanatic pieces keep me warmer than anything I've ever used.
The more I use my Heater Body Suit the more I enjoy cold weather hunting. I'm in Ct where it doesn't even get that cold but being able to shoot without a jacket on is a huge advantage.
I think the guy on the right has his zipper down.
Anyone use any of the battery-operated heated products that Cabela's makes? They use the same technology as Gerbing's heated products. I'm interested in the vest, but also curious to see how the back warmer would work.
I don't know how accurate digital car thermometers are but I was hunting this week in a place where the thermometer said -15 degrees.
I expected zero for the morning at worst. I had on a lightweight pair of red ram merino longjohn bottoms and Cabelas Microtex pants, lightweight firstlite merino top(full of holes), minus 33 midweight merino top, a polyester ASAT top thats about as thick as a hoodie and some kind of Sitka vest I got on sale. Think its a Celcius.
I wasn't sitting but still hunting, however I was real impressed that I stayed warm. Just my face and hand were frozen.
For whatever its worth, I was happy with it.
I am a die hard wool guy because of being so quiet,how does the sitka gear compare to the wool for quietness? I am in the process of trying to replace my bibs,anyone hunt with the sitka bibs in temps around 0.I was thinking about the grey wolf bibs but I have not ordered them yet as this article has caught my attention. I pack my bibs and jacket in to my stands and need the ease of a full length zipper on the bibs for easy on.
I don't know about you guys. But, I just priced it out. $1250.00 +, that is a lot of money for camo. I have been using my Winona camo since it came out in the 80's. I even found a place that had left overs a few years back. I got 2 jackets and 2 pants. for under $100.00. The only other thing that I added was a heater body suit. I even went to the factory outlet in Grove City, Pa. for Under armour in the heavy weight. Got it half price. I have stayed warm in all of it. I do like the Winona pattern.
This time of year the Sitka stuff will be going up to 35% off on the net if you can get your size. Last spring I got the Fanatic jacket, Incinerator bibs and a Kelvin vest all at really good prices. Best gear I own and was not cold in the late season.
In December I made a Heater Body Suit knockoff from a 40-60 degree sleeping bag. I sewed some cheap camo fabric on the outside and added a #10 zipper. I was only able to use it a few times. One day at 8 degrees I hunted with it along with a hooded sweatshirt, some Cabelas long underwear, jeans and a pair insulated boots. I was toasty. Never even wore gloves inside it. And before this I always had cold hands and feet.
This one was kind of a prototype. I am considering making another one and add a windproof layer under the camo. On one really windy day I could feel the wind come through a little. I would also like to use a winter camo pattern next time.
Obviously these aren't for the still hunter but for sitting in a tree they are awesome.
PS: I thought I should add that I have all of $50 invested in my knockoff. Yep, I am cheap...make that thrifty!
Marketing hipe, sorry to be brutally honest. I mean even the Flir image is skewed because the guy on the right has an extra layer with the hoodie, and I know that's not meant to compare brands, but not apples to apples IMO.
In your 0-20 category you have 5 top layers. Are you saying you don't have any restriction or range of motion issues whatsoever? I have a set of Day One insulated ASAT wool high waist pants and parka. I have never needed more than 2-3 layers underneath. I typically have my UA Cold Gear, then a poly layer of underwear on top of that followed by a military type sweater. I don't think the one I have is wool because it's ribbed and stretchy, which is nice because it creates air pockets. It's gotta be in the singe digits for me to wear the sweater because it's just too warm. So when it's in the teens up to 20 I just have two layers on top.
I like wearing the UA Cold Gear because it's slippery. It's like adding another layer of skin without creating friction and makes putting on that second form fitting layer without bunching up the first layer.
The only time I have ever been cold in my Day One ASAT wool is when I was sitting one cold November morning on the saddle of a ravine, the temp was about 10 degrees, I was facing downhill and the wind was blowing up through the ravine. The wind was blowing through the zipper of my parka making my belly cold, but only where the zipper was. I only had two layers underneath and was quite warm everywhere else. All the parka needed was a flap underneath the zipper.
I really can't say anything bad about Day One because they are bow hunter friendly clothes. For us Wisconsonites, they have the license holders and the parkas have sinch straps on the forearms, so you don't have to wear an arm guard to keep your clothes from catching on your string. It's also nice when you buy clothes that they hem the pants to your inseem, which Day one does on their high waist pants. I have a 28" inseem, which is why I don't like bibs. They make bibs for 6' people so they are just too bulky or the shoulder straps are too loose. I did sew buttons on the insides of my Day One high waist pants to include wader suspenders. I also remove all the velcro from the hight waist pants and parkas and replace them with buttons. I use buttons for the bino holder and closure at the top of the hight waist pants.
Nothing is quieter than wool especiallt in the cold morning when it is still out and ever little noise is amplified. I like my sija gear for warmer temps and active hunting. For long sits its a merino base layer and wool outer clothing.
I should note the insulation layer in the Day One ASAT wool has Windstop. Without it, I agree that wool alone is not warm.
I will also add that Mukluks are much warmer and really lightweight compared to Mickey boots. I have Mickey boots and have been in my closet for almost a decade now. You don't know what you are missing with soft soled boots as the bottoms do not get cold while on stand. Your foot warms the inside of the boot and it does not have to fight the cold coming from the bottom frozen sole like so many pack boots. Plus, you can feel the ground when you walk. A soft soled boot also keeps your feet warmer because it increases circulation in your feet.
I have two pairs of Mukluks, the Ojibwe tall, which is all moosehide and the Camuk Extreme. I bought the Camuk Extreme for non-snowy conditions, plus the extreme tread is a little nicer for traction when walking hillsides. You will appreciate having a soft soled tread on stand as your boots don't make any sound and you won't have to deal with mud or snow getting in the treads and falling to the ground either. The tread on Mukluks is like a soft rubber so it's not a slippery on smooth surfaces like wood or packed snow, but may require grippers for slick ice.
I can't see spending the markup on Sitka clothing as it really is outrageous IMO. But Mukluks are the cats meow when it comes to boots. This is coming from someone who gets cold feet quite easily and has lived in the upper Midwest all his life. If Mukluks were a gimmick I would've never bought a second pair. Actually I have 3 pairs, because I own a pair of moccassins as well.
I would highly recommend trying them on and getting them fitted correctly, especially if you have wide or narrow feet, or wear half sizes. They suggest one boot size larger than you typically wear in a shoe, which allows a thicker sock and the ability to add a wool sole inside the liner. I wear a 9.5 shoe, but a 10 wide suits me fine in a Mukluk and I can even add contour soles in my Mukluks. So I wear a Smartwool sock in my Mukluks, which has a contour sole and a wool sole inside the boot liner. Mukluks will also stretch a little and my foot is not constricted at all. I do have those boot liners with the sleeve that holds a toe warmer pad, but I've never needed them in my Mukluks.
Two years ago, I purchased the wool set made by Columbia and found them to be very bulky and did not block the wind very well at all. Since then I have patiently pieced together items of Sitka gear and now wish I would have spent the money in the first place. The fanatic jacket and bibs have been extremely comfortable for me this year with many mornings in the 20's. I don't know about their ability to withstand briars but overall I've been very comfortable
I have one other comment about cold weather clothing. It's about smart layering and to never use cotton. One other article of clothing that I use is a military coat liner. It's cheap and has down woven in and acts as a great lightweight wind block. It doesn't have buttons, but button holes as it's meant to be buttoned in a parka, but I took two different sized buttons, one large and one smaller that fits through the holes. The buttons are tied together with elastic cording. I like to wear this when the weather is cool between my under shirt and a soft outer pullover or light fleece jacket. It's also slippery, like the liner in an insulated flannel, so it doesn't bunch up. The sleeves are also tapered. I just think there are some great options besides the overpriced Sitka. Seriously, they would still be making a profit if they offered their products at half the price they charge. Heck, they don't even have to pay to use a name brand camo pattern.
Basscat, APX versus Sitka. It obviously depends on the particular item. Sitka Fanatic Jacket is 133 grain primaloft or 4 Oz primaloft. Compare that to APX Lightning jacket at 100 grain or 3 oz or primaloft. Both are quiet and water resistent. However the APX whiteout is 5 oz of primaloft and waterPROOF, however its slightly noisy. Here is the conversion table I found.
3oz/sq yard = 100 gr/sq meter 4oz/sq yard - 133 gr/sq meter 5oz/sq yard = ?? gr/sq meter(the chart didn't have this weight listed) 6oz/sq yard = 200gr/sq meter
Also both use APX and sitka use the exact same 100%polyester fabric (good chance its the same fabric vendor) with the same dip(I forget what its called) to make it water resistant. There is obviously some design differences that set them apart from each other, but over all they are very close.
Thanks Missing Strands. Good info to use for comparison. I do see some differences in design that would be nice to have.
Thanks Pat. I am a Sitka convert, but use the lighter camo pattern. For still hunting and snow tracking I love it. In a treestand, its still good, although I'm sure that the Fanatic system is better. Since I spend time in a season 1/2 in a treestand, 1/2 on the ground and moving, it requires flexibility.
I really like the chart showing the layers - GREAT IDEA!
I've found that when I look at the price of very warm clothing, its much easier to accept being cold. I just pack on the layers so that I can tolerate the cold and still draw my bow.
I have to agree with knife2sharp-the day one wool and mukluks are both outstanding!
I too got sucked in to the Arctic Shield claims. I'm glad I did. This stuff is awesome. It does not work if you wear too much under it. I wear less bulk hunting in 10 degrees than in 35 degrees. I have used the H4 bowhunter series clothing to minus 10. I went out about a week ago in 7 degrees with light long underwear top and bottom covered by arctic shield. Perfectly comfortable even after the wind came up. Don't try to work in it. You will get way too hot. I'm only in central Illinois, so I don't have a lot of experience in minus 20 or below.
How long were you out there? Sitting still or still hunting. Just curious.
Seriously, 'glad it worked for you...
I bought an artic shield jacket and was chilly at 30 degrees. Not at all impressed.
I prefer the Day One or Gray Wolf clothing. Warm, quiet, not as pricey, and better camo patterns IMO.
The last ten days of Florida hunting season it will be 85 degrees durring the day and in the 60s at night. Shorts/t-shirt and thermacell is all ill need
If you all want super warm and cost is not an issue. NOTHING beats qiviut wool. However a stocking hat will cost almost $200.00. Qiviut wool(muskox wool) is I believe 8x the insulation value of the best sheep wool.
love my Sitka Gear, just really dislike the Forest Camo, to much black and dark green it. I blobs up at a distance. Wish it had something like natgear or predator etc.
Staying warm is not a big challenge with today's gear. Sure has come a long way!
Drawing your bow smoothly and releasing your arrow cleanly with no obstruction is what matters most to me!
For me that means Sitka Forest. I love the Forest camo although I don't think it matters much. In late winter snow I add a paper thin Skyline snow camo over my Gear. Fawn rut is the best hunt of the year!
Heres a little secret I picked up from this site Years ago.. I used to buy those Therma Care back wraps that last about 8 hrs. These things are awesome. You can buy the cheaper version as well. These things sit right over your lower back and while sitting for hours in a tree stand..work great. With very little movement, you can warm your entire body. They really warm your core and you are able to draw your bow effectively at any temp. My lovely wife purchased me on of those Cabelas battery powered back warmers. She stated that for as many back wraps as I was buying, it was chearper to buy one of those. I have used it a couple times and it works GREAT! You can adjust the heat level on it and I have not had a problem with it!
Shoot Str8 and Stay safe Jeff
Sitka Gear is the real deal. My 13 year old son and I hunted deer and turkey during Christmas vacation in western Wisconsin. The temps ranged from -7 to 21. We wore merino base, traverse over that and Fanatic jacket and bib as the outer layer. The only artificial heat source we had was one small chemical handwarmer each in the insulated kangaroo pocket of the Fanatic. We would hunt every morning till around noon or so in a Double Bull for turkey and tree stands at night till dark for deer. Warm and comfy the whole time!
I remember back to when I was 13. I would have been done after 15 minutes in those temps. Clothes have come a LONG way. I was a very dedicated high quality wool guy. Almost all my wool is gone, there are MUCH better options available now.
It was -4F when my son killed this turkey with his TallTines recurve!
I do wish I would have been smart enough to pick up a couple of the Dutch Oven vests when they were available.
Neb_bowhuntin, I was looking at that battery powered back warmer. Glad to hear that it worked well for you. That might be something that I look into getting. Thanks for the review.
Out about 4 hours the other morning. When I first got the AS, I went and sat exposed to a 15 mph wind and ten degrees for three and a half hours. I have never gotten cold in this stuff. If it isn't working for you, you are probably wearing too much clothes underneath it. My sons friend, who is an F15 Eagle pilot, went through survival training in the mountains. They slept in sleeping bags made of this stuff. It worked best when they were nude. One guy got frostbitten toes because he was wearing something on his feet.
Nope, just a light layer of fleece underneath. Must be me.
Maybe fleece is too much. We have been very happy. My son and another buddy are using AS a lot. Son is goose hunting in it today.
I love hunting the late season. The pressure is off the deer and I never see another bowhunter. The cold itself is easy enough to handle but the wind can be a challlenge. I know I have to do something to keep the wind from robbing my heat. I do not hunt all day this time of year and three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon is enough for me. If an all day hunt would happen then my heater body suit comes out.
Our high today will be 4 deg and tomorrow the high will be 0 deg. Wind chill will be considerably lower. But the deer are moving and it's too cold to work so I'm going hunting.
Noise is always a big consideration for me in late seaseon so my layers all have to be quiet. Wool works for me. My outer shell is a camo pattern I like but still quiet. I'm not wearing it for warmth, I'm wearing it for concealment.
Pat, your system (0-20) has 5 top layers and 2 bottom layers. At those temps I'm in 6 top layers and 4 bottom layers.
The last two years I've been using military flight gloves with my stickbow as my shooting glove and I use them with my Hoyt and release. But they are not warm enough for cold, cold temps. For that I still use the flight gloves but have a hand muff with a chemical handwarmer. I also use chemical toe warmers and my feet endure.
Enjoy the hunt. It's a good time to be out.
I've used grey wolf for around 8 or 9 seasons its great stuff, not super warm, but ok for most days, this year cabelas had there standhunter extreme on sale and I bought the one piece, its quite a bit warmer than my 2 piece, it doesn't appear to be made as well, but I'm sure most stuff out there isn't made like a custom suit, they grey wolf still could pass as brand new!
I am putting my question from above to Pat, back in here as I never got an answer:
Pat: Pat, what safety harness are you using with the Fanatic Jacket? I thought you used the SOP Supreme that you gave highest test rating to, years ago(not sure if name is correct, but it is like a vest)? That is what I use and don't see how you can access the hand warmer in the Fanatic? I love the harness, don't want to change it, but can't see being able to use the handwarmer part of the jacket. thanks,
I think this a good article, but I have a bone to pick about promoting the Sitka gear. This gear is pretty good, but incredibly expensive and when you investigate it, an very poor value. Their claim to fame is that they essentially brought modern outdoor gear that is used in mountain climbing and other outdoor sports to hunting. I can get the same insulating quality at 1/6th the cost. You can buy excellent outdoor gear that is as good if not better than this gear at 1/3 to 1/4 the cost if you are willing to forego the fancy camo for some real camo--muted tones-- that will be just as effective in the field. I also agree about wool, I think for the cost, it also is a very poor value. You can get the same features by purchasing fleece with a windbreaker insert for 1/4 the weight if not more. Or for even more flexibility, you can purchase a cheap windbreaker from Cabelas for about $30.00 that will do an excellent job of keeping the cold out if you put on a wool outer garment for quiet or even a fleece one. For example, I have a nice Patagonia RetroX fleece jacket which has a Windshear insert for about $115.00. And there is not much better fleece than the Mountain Hardware Monkey Man. And I have a Gallatin Range wool pants that cost me less than 1/4 and is just as warm as the Sitka stuff and even quieter. As far as Merino wool is concerned, it is good stuff, but not nearly as good as good ole polyester underwear which is much cheaper and just as good if not better because it dries so much better--and some of the higher end lines of underwear even come with an antimicrobial. And even the best long underwear can be purchased at at least half the price of wool underwear with none of wools drawbacks. As you mentioned, wool does retain moisture, while the fleece underwear is hydrophobic which essentially means that it will not retain any moisture whereas wool does. Under the circumstances, I cannot see how anyone would champion wool when it is so much more expensive and does such an inferior job.
My preference for wool is, its still can be warm when wet, and doesn't smell like some of the polyester, man made stuff does,for first layers
So in other words, nothing is conclusive! LOL
So in other words, nothing is conclusive! LOL
Here is my take, after years of Vendors marketing a bunch of pretty good stuff with the biggest anomaly being under armor from top to bottom. We have come back to au natural. Merino wool, down, and something to block the wind.
I cannot afford Sitka/Kuiu from top to bottom.
I got the Russel APX for a grand total of $470 this is my western ensemble along with extra merino wool in which I have several brands all of which were bought on sale at great prices. My best find was a First Lite top at $19 bucks an the sale rack in cabelas.
If you are sitting a blind of any type I cannot use your advice. I need the guy hanging on the side of a tree exposed to the elements.
I go with a merino base, down underwear and wind break like cabelas wooltimate. I set daylight to dark on mountains with the wind clipping typically at 10-15 mph as a constant.
Nothing against these high end guys I just cannot afford them and when I hunt three weeks I cannot go the entire time in one outfit. Can I hear scent control! I do do laundry at least once during this time period.
I still spend a sizable chunk on clothes and my pendleton collection would make may envious. I am not in a style show. I just have to stay warm and I am not drinking soup out of a thermos because I am not riding a four wheeler to within a hundred yards of my tree.
I climb for 50-75 minutes and get dressed at the base of the tree and if I do not kill I crawl out frozen when it get to late to shoot. I bought a Gerber heated vest and as far as I concerned it does not make the cut.
P.S. Merino wool, down, and something to block the wind that is what sitka and Kuiu is doing well with nifty camo patterns.As for me I piece more cost effective quality brands of the same and make it work form me.
Also, I have stated that I am a wuss when it comes to the cold but it does not keep me off the stand, all day exposed the adverse conditions.
Faultroy I would disagree with the merino wool poly pro comparison. I spent 24 years in the military wearing poly pro for nine years in Alaska and 3 in Minnesota and I have given a truck load away to make more room for the Merino... Just my opinion.
The hunting community has too many marketing whores and I am not referring to Pat because he is stating a system that work but I think it is the overall concept that works not just the manufacturer. Merino wool, down, and something to block the wind/rain...
How about Ravenwear? They seem obsessed with beating the cold. Complete systems even incl. body blanket and other cold water accessories but at a price, that's for sure.
Alternative, Cabela's cold weather camo suits, some reviewers are claiming this the warmest out there. But did they compare to Ravenwear? I doubt it. Cabelas also has some wool camo parkas and bibs that I see a lot of Canadian bowhunters using.
The main complaint against wool seems to be that a really warm complete system is going to be heavy. And from my experience, the wool/merino/blends next to skin base STILL scratches although tolerable.
"...and other cold water accessories..." - oops, meant cold wear accessories.
To keep feet warm if you hike in a long way and sit for a long period of time you should take extra socks along and change once in stand along with tee shirt. Found out alpaca wool is warmer than reg wool.
Wool underwear, wool Beaglewear pants with a windproof lining, wool shirt, wool Asbell pullover or KOM trapper pullover and I am good to single digits. If it is windy I wear a windproof LL Bean fleece vest over my Asbell and if it is really cold, my down underwear I got from Cabelas twenty years ago. Muck boots with alpaca socks or if it is crazy cold, muckluks with boot blankets if necessary. When tracking, I go much lighter, but carry a rucksack with down vest and long johns in case I end up too far in the boonies to make it out and sleep with a deer. I spent one night in the woods without a pack in a blizzard 35 years ago. Never will I go unprepared again. That was a rough nite and I ended up sleeping under about twenty fir boughs. I knew that if I left the deer I shot I would never find it again. It was supposed to be a short little still hunt that turned into a 5 mile tracking frenzy after I jumped a nice buck. No lite, no compass, no matches, no nothing, and with a foot of new snow, I knew no one would find me. Lesson learned.
Years ago I was caught in an Oct. blizzard that killed several hunters some of which were high school athletes. Alternate rain/sleet/snow (complete white out) and terrific winds. A simple emergency rain protector, some granola bars, and refusing to panic saved my life. W/o that rain protector and being dressed warmer than normal, I probably would have got hypothermia and might not have made it. Since then, I've been some what obsessed with staying warm!
David Alford - Working young hounds and not wanting to leave them in the woods overnight has made me educate myself in spending a nite in the woods in sub-freezing weather. You are dead on when it comes to controlling panic. I searched with a warden for a lost hunter in the 70's and when I found him, he had one bullet left in his gun, for him. He had already spent one nite in the woods and told me that if we had not found him, he was not going to spend another. I led him out of the woods to meet the warden and he never let go of my jacket. Some people go nuts when they realize they are lost. One of our searches ended with a half naked hunter sitting against a tree with his head blown off. We found his tracks in the snow and every so often we found an article of clothing. Apparently, he just went crazy and committed suicide. A fire is your best friend when you are lost or too far out, and have to hunker down for the night. Also, I ALWAYS carry two compasses. Two can't possibly be wrong. GPS is nice but batteries go dead. The problem up here is that young people today don't hunt the big woods anymore and prefer to sit in stands close to roads and when they venture beyond their safety zone, they are not prepared and a lot are frankly scared to death of the big woods. Too bad, because nothing is as peaceful as sitting several miles in the woods with a beagle pup or deer you finally found with a nice fire, warm clothes and a makeshift camp.
Lawdy, that's a tough situation to see that. I think I'm nearly bullet proof panic wise because as a young man I had a trap line and so from an early age was used to wandering around and often walking through dark woods at night w/ no light. So many people today are afraid of the unknown and conjure up all kind of disasters that could happen at night (bear attack, monsters, etc.).
But that was a tough storm, I was soaked and freezing from the waist down. Having the $3 rain protector in my back pack literally saved my life by keeping my core from getting wet. The granola bars helped a lot, too. Still, I could have been much better prepared, it's just was a very early storm that hit hard and unexpectedly. The high school athletes/hunters who died walked around in circles until they collapsed with hypothermia.
Back to the topic, I've got a new jacket from Columbia Sportswear with the technology called Omni-Heat. It is a passive relfective technology that is very interesting and really works. They have everything from base layers to camo parkas and accessories with this technology. Check out their site searcing for "Omni-Heat". The benefit is that one can go lighter.
The also have an active (battery powered) heating technology called "Omni-Heat Electric". For interesting videos on both technologies, go to You Tube and do a key word search "Columbia sportswear, Omni-Heat) or "Columbia sportswear, Omni-Heat electric".
I'm a little bit leery of total reliance on anything like batteries, but in many situations the technology could be very appealing to some.
Forgot to add I did have a little emergency thermal blanket that packed up to the size of a man's fist. I wrapped that around my head and neck as I had a decent jacket. But the little disposable rain jacket is what saved my arse.
I would have to respectfully disagree with Faultroy on his opinions of wool vs polypro. I wouldn't take anything for my merino wool layers and like was stated earlier I thought, and still think, that most polypro is garbage especially the military stuff lol. I can wear my merino layers for a week or more with no smell, the same time-frame for polypro and it stinks to high heaven. I think First Lite's new outer shell layers this year will give them the complete system and it's available in ASAT. I've seen it all in person and thought enough of it to order quite a bit for my shop. Never bought in to the whole Sitka marketing machine, lots of options for less money. Some people swear by it, some people swear at it. Just depends on who you ask.