If you’ve got a big-game hunter on your holiday shopping list, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve rounded up my favorite women’s-specific gear from this season, plus some of the gear that’s still on my wishlist. If you want even more ideas, check out last season’s roundup of women’s hunting gear here.
1. Chemical Hand Warmers
Chemical Hand Warmers
$7 and up Hot Hands
These babies are stocking-stuffer gold. I buy hand warmers by the box every season, and rejoice when I score more packets on Christmas morning to replenish the cache . My fingers and toes are painfully susceptible to the cold (as are many women’s) and these hot-pocket pouches make the difference between a toasty sit in the stand and forfeiting all trigger control to frozen fingertips. Plus, stashing one in your pocket with your phone will help fight the battery-draining effects of cold weather.
2. ExOfficio Give-n-Go Sport Mesh Hipkini
ExOfficio Give-n-Go Sport Mesh Hipkini
Forget Victoria’s Secret—that stuff is overpriced and it underperforms in the field—and try ExOfficio, a secret of the hiking and biking crowd. This performance-wicking underwear is comfy and breathable, and the flat seams keep them from bunching or riding up. The fabric is light, packable, and quick-drying, which means you can pack a few pairs for trips or the backcountry, and wash them on the road. These briefs come in seven colors, ranging from practical black to purple, and sizes XS to XL.
3. Smartwool PhD Hunt Heavy Crew
Smartwool PhD Hunt Heavy Crew
I officially crossed the threshold into adulthood when socks ceased to be “lame grown-up presents.” And these new Merino wool socks from Smartwool are anything but—when you slip them on, they feel like hugs for your feet. They’ve got seamless toes, cushioning in the heel and ball of the foot, and a cushion strap for the Achilles. They come in two colors (blue or purple), three sizes, and make long treks in the field infinitely more comfortable.
4. Eddie Bauer Stine’s Favorite Flannel Hooded Shirt
Eddie Bauer Stine’s Favorite Flannel Hooded Shirt $48 Eddie Bauer
Odds are good you already have a drawer full of flannel. Fortunately, there’s no such thing as too much flannel, and this one stands out from the pack since it comes with a hood. The shirt-jacket hybrid sports handwarmer pockets, enough length to keep your lower back covered, and a soft-knit lining for an extra cozy fit. It comes in three colors (red, blue, and gray) and sizes XS to XXL.
5. ALPS OutdoorZ Huntress Daypack
ALPS OutdoorZ Huntress Daypack
$75 ALPS OutdoorZ
You can’t find a more feature-rich women’s specific daypack for the price. With 2,200 cubic inches of storage, a slimmer hip belt, and a rifle boot, the Huntress pack is designed for hauling meat, your rifle or bow, and plenty of gear. It weighs just under three pounds, is compatible with a hydration reservoir, and even includes a blaze-orange rain cover. The fabric is finished in a brushed RealTree Xtra, so it’s relatively quiet.
6. Filson Scout Shirt
Filson Scout Shirt
I know, I know—this is another flannel shirt, but ’tis the season. If you’re looking to splurge a little, consider this Scout shirt from Filson. The Seattle-based company makes high-quality gear, and this flannel will last for years. It’s available in three colors and sizes XS to XL, although it runs a little small, so order one size up.
7. Slumberjack Wild-Her Kryptek Highlander Pack
Slumberjack Wild-Her Kryptek Highlander Pack
The hip belt and straps on this SJK pack are contoured for women—it’s also got purple accents, if that’s your thing. With a capacity of 2,016 cubic inches, a multi-weapon carry system, hydration compatibility, and plenty of pockets and panels for stowing and strapping on more gear, the Wild-Her is a multi-purpose daypack with the proper fit.
8. Lacrosse Alphaburly Pro Rubber Boots
If you’ve got a pair of these bad boys, you won’t need to stick toe warmers on your socks. These neoprene and rubber boots from Lacrosse have 800 grams of Thinsulate to make sure you can still feel your toes even after several hours in the stand. The Alphaburly Pros are waterproof, scent-free, and comfortable, with a flexible and adjustable top that rolls down if desired. They come in two camo patterns (Optifade Elevated II and Mossy Oak Country) and whole sizes from 6 to 11.
9. Sitka Women’s Core Heavyweight Hoody
Sitka Women’s Core Heavyweight Hoody
If you’re only going to buy one top from the kick-ass new Sitka women’s line, it should be this hoody. It’s my new go-to mid-layer (even for non-hunting activities like snowboarding), and it doubles as an outer layer on early season hunts. The hoody features a micro-grid fleece, built-in Polygiene odor control, and thumbholes with fleece-lined flip-over cuffs to keep your fingers warm. The belly and breast pockets are clutch, and the built-in facemask is nothing short of brilliant for bowhunters. It comes in three colors: Optifade Subalpine, Elevated II, and black. Sizes range from XS to XXL.
10. Sitka Timberline Pant
Sitka Timberline Pant
These are the women’s hunting pants I’ve been waiting for all my life. I got my hands on a pair for spring turkey season, and haven’t worn any other big game pants since. They’re lightweight enough that you won’t sweat through early season hunts and have enough stretch to fit multiple base layers underneath when the weather cools down. The waist doesn’t gape, the crotch seam lies flat, the spandex is comfortable but not overly stretchy, and the fabric is durable with a reinforced waterproof seat and knee patches. The Timberline pant comes with removable knee pads, but I haven’t bothered to remove them since they’re not noticeable when you’re not crawling around. The pads were a godsend on an early-season pronghorn hunt that required wriggling through cactus. Sizes range from 25R to 33R; mine fit true to my jean size (a 29) and weren’t too short for my longer legs. They were a little tight the first time I tried them on, but a few wears and washes had them fitting perfectly.
11. First Lite Cascade Stormlight Jacket
First Lite Cascade Stormlight Jacket
$275–$300 First Lite
At 12 ounces, this rain jacket from First Lite is incredibly lightweight and infinitely packable. I used it on a backcountry whitetail hunt in Idaho this month, keeping the shell stashed in my pack for the first day before breaking it out for an afternoon of freezing rain on the second. It’s waterproof with waterproof zippers, it features built-in stretch so you have free range of motion, and the hood won’t impair peripheral vision when it’s cinched around your head. The best part? The jacket comes in two solid colors (black and green) in addition to First Lite’s two proprietary camo patterns, so you can wear it long after hunting season closes. It’s available in sizes XS to XL.
12. LOWA Lady Light GTX Trekking Boots
LOWA Lady Light GTX Trekking Boots
These nubuck boots are as slick-looking as they are supportive. If you spend a lot of time hoofing it to or through your hunting grounds, you’ll want to consider a stiffer trekking boot with better ankle and arch support than your average high-lacing hunting boot. LOWA has been making reliable mountain boots for years, and these women’s-specific hikers are no exception. They’ve got a Vibram sole and Gore-Tex lining, and have eliminated any interior stitching to reduce blister hot spots. They come in this brown and green combo, and are available in half-sizes from 5.5 to 10.5.
13. KUIU Super Down Ultra Hooded Jacket
This is KUIU’s first attempt at making gear for women, and they passed with flying colors. I was skeptical when this jacket arrived in the mail: the coat is suspiciously light and thin, weighing less than 7 ounces. But the down worked wonders on my Idaho wilderness hunt, and I actually used the insulating mildlayer as an outer layer while stalking and still hunting through the snowy mountains. This jacket is light, packable (it zips into the left pocket), and the hood is cozy without restricting vision or mobility. The women’s fit is comfortable, and it comes in sizes XS through XL.
14. Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire
Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire
This is a spendy gift, but an awesome one that’s at the top of my wishlist. This is the ultimate wearable. It covers all the same functionalities as your run-of-the-mill device (heart rate monitoring, step tracking, bluetooth compatibility, etc.), but it has all the extra info that matters to hunters. The Fenix 5X Sapphire features a barometer, thermometer, altimeter, GPS navigation, and topo maps. If you’re going on a walkabout for sheds, birds, big game, or to scout new spots, you’ll be able to find your way back to camp or the truck. This watch is unisex and comes in multiple colors, but there are plenty of colors to choose from (like the white/rose gold finish) and three sizes, including the smaller 42mm to better fit some women’s wrists.
15. Weatherby Mark V Camilla
Weatherby introduced its first women’s rifle last year; now they’ve added two new rifles to the line, both built around the company’s Mark V action. The Camilla features a shorter length of pull, a canted butt stock, and a slimmer forend compared to most rifles. The Deluxe, released in October, sports a high-gloss walnut stock and weighs 6.5 pounds. This month Weatherby released a lightweight (5.75 pounds) Optifade Subalpine version, with a composite stock and Cerakote finish. If the price tags on those rifles are too steep for what you’re looking to spend, consider the Vanguard Camilla, which is just as lovely and will run you $860.