Ask the Experts: Understanding Base Layers for Hunting

layers of hunting apparel

Base Layers

The base layers for huntingCliff Cardiner & John Keller

Q: Between a pair of hunting bibs and a base layer of long johns, what's a good middle layer for
cold-weather hunting? —Dominic DeJulio, via

A: Layering is one of the most fundamental, and most fundamentally misunderstood, questions of hunting preparation. The easy answer is that there is no single answer. Instead, you want to layer according to your activity level and the ambient temperature.

I am not a fan of polypropylene compression layers unless I’m going to be sitting still in very cold weather. I find that they get sweaty and clammy pretty quickly. If I’m active, my go-to base layer is silk, which breathes and resists absorbing odors, but also regulates temperature, keeping you alternately cool and warm. Next, I opt for a lightweight polyprop layer, preferably with a half zipper to regulate my body temperature. Then I add a loose-fitting layer of either merino wool or a scent-controlling synthetic. And lastly, I’ll add a heavy fleece if the air is especially cold, the wind is biting, or I will be sitting. It’s a cinch to remove or add layers as conditions require.

—Andrew McKean, Hunting Editor

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This Happened to Me!Outdoor Life

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