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man skiing in snow with hunting gun

Don’t Let The Cold Win! | How To Layer Clothing For Winter

There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing for the conditions.

While you might think you only need a warm jacket when venturing into the great outdoors to go hunting or fishing during the cooler months, there can be much more involved in keeping yourself warm and comfortable. 

man drilling hole for ice fishing

Hunting, fishing or camping in the cold weather requires a knowledge of how to best layer clothing so that you can stay warm.

When the time comes to plan your next hunting trip into the wilderness, take a moment to consider the following information, so that you can learn all about how to layer winter clothing so that you feel comfortable enough to explore all that nature has to offer. 

How to Remain Warm in the Great Outdoors

When you put on warm clothing to head outside, your goal should always be to manage moisture, maintain your heat level for comfort, and create a barrier between the elements and your skin. 

man walking to box stand in snow

You might enjoy being alone in the outdoors… you just don’t want to be COLD and alone!

Not all cold-winter clothing is created equal. So, purchasing high-quality outdoor garments from well-known companies like Kryptek and others is a critical component of remaining warm in the great outdoors, but it’s also helpful to understand the science behind retaining your body heat to know how to wear your clothing appropriately. 

mule deer standing in the snow

You may not have the anatomy of a deer to keep you warm in cold conditions, you can learn to layer clothing in a manner that protects you from the elements.



During winter, you’re often faced with many challenging elements, such as wind, rain, and cold temperatures. Heat is easily transferred from your body into the environment, and it’s easier to lose heat than it is to retain it. 

So, whether you’re ice fishing or hunting, you need to have knowledge of how sweat affects your body and heat levels. Body heat can be pulled away from your body much faster when it’s wet with perspiration than if it were dry. 


Prevent Moisture to Stay Warm

One of the best ways to stay warm, regardless of how you layer your clothing, is by being cold before you begin your hunting trip in earnest. If you add all your winter layers and then stand in front of a heater before venturing outside, you might start sweating and lose much-needed body heat.   

moisture

Moisture is the enemy when it comes to staying warm in colder weather, as it robs you of body heat.

So, as challenging as it might be to immediately venture outside to start hiking once you’ve put on your multiple layers, it can be essential for giving your body the best chance of retaining its heat. 



Layer Your Winter Hunting Clothing Strategically

When you’re trying to dress warmly in cold weather, it can sometimes feel like you have to pack an entire closet full of clothing when you go on a winter hunting adventure or that you have to wear multiple layers until you’re no longer comfortable.

However, if you apply the right layering strategy, you might be surprised at how easy it can be to prepare for an outdoor trip

Before heading out, read up on the weather conditions you can expect. This allows you to take all necessary precautions with supplies and provides insight into the type of clothing you need to take with you and what to wear when you set off. 



You’ll need to continually layer up and down on most hunting trips. Take note of how your body is feeling, and when you’re feeling too warm, take off a layer before you start sweating. 

If weather conditions change and rain or snow sets in, you can add more layers from your hunting backpack, including a waterproof jacket to keep your mid layers warm and retain your body heat. Weather conditions can change rapidly, so you may be layering up and down throughout your hunting trip. 

Adopt the W.I.S.E System

If you’re new to hunting, it may not be immediately apparent which clothing you should buy to remain warm, dry, and comfortable.

However, you might have a much easier shopping experience when you familiarize yourself with the W.I.S.E system. This system involves:

  • Wicking – Next-to-skin base layers
  • Insulating – Mid layers, such as fleece or a down jacket
  • Sheltering – Rain jacket and rain pants
  • Extra – Additional layers in case of an emergency, such as an unexpected snowstorm  
layering WISE system

The W.I.S.E system will give you a fundamental understanding of the basic garments to purchase, but don’t forget to buy wool socks, waterproof boots, hats, and gloves. 



Choose Your Base Layer

Now that you’re aware of the garments you require for the W.I.S.E system, you can learn more about each layer and how it contributes to your overall warmth, dryness, and comfort.

A base layer is a snug-fitting set of garments designed to wick sweat away from your skin to keep you dry. 

base layer

When choosing a base layer, go with wool, silk or synthetics, rather than cotton (photo credit: Wikihow.com)

While cotton can be a preference for everyday wear, it’s less suitable for outdoor activities like hunting.

Instead, opt for base layers featuring wool, silk, or synthetic fabrics. Your top base layer can be a long or short-sleeve shirt and leggings with these materials, paired with a high-quality pair of synthetic or wool socks. 



Choose Your Insulating Layer

Equally as important as your base layer is your insulating layer. This layer prevents the outdoor environment from taking your much-needed body heat.

insualting layer

The insulating layer will help maintain valuable body heat while in the cold weather. (photo credit Wikihow.com)

Typically, you would wear a wool or microfleece top, a puffer jacket, and fleece leggings. You can also pair your insulating layer with a wool or fleece hat and neck gaiter, glove liners, and insulating socks. 



Choose Your Sheltering Layer

If you are going on a hunting or fishing trip, you certainly like to see favorable weather conditions. However, weather conditions can certainly change, and sometimes rapidly.

sheltering layer

Wearing a sheltering layer is critical in protecting the insulating layer underneath. (photo credit: Wikihow.com)

You might be caught out in the rain or snow when you least expect it, and you need to protect your insulating layer at all costs.

Pack a sheltering layer, and you can be prepared for any eventuality. Typically, this layer consists of a pair of rain pants and a rain jacket, both of which need to be waterproof to remain effective. 



Best Materials for Winter Outdoor Clothing

When there are so many different types of outdoor and hunting clothing for sale, it can be hard to know what will be the most comfortable and practical. While there are many desirable options, some stand out more than others. 

For example, merino wool, a natural fiber sourced from sheep, is a moisture-wicking base layer that is odor-resistant and temperature regulating.

snow on evergreen trees

When adventuring outdoors in colder weather, merino wool is a great moisture wicking base layer that is also odor resistant.

You might also consider synthetic fleece as a mid layer option, which is both affordable and warm. Although, it’s not an ideal wind-resistant layer. 

Synthetic and down jackets can be an effective insulating mid layer, while nylon is ideal for keeping you dry. Some manufacturers create special membranes for nylon to form waterproof jackets for winter use. 



Final Thoughts On Layer Clothing For Cold Weather

Layering winter clothing is an integral part of preparing for any outdoor adventure or hunting trip.

so, before you begin planning your next trip, take the time to make sure you’ve got a full closet of winter options to keep you warm, dry, and protected from the elements.

Remember the W.I.S.E. system and have fun outdoors!

Can’t Miss Pheasant Hunting Tips

male pheasant

The pheasant is a magnificent bird that provides a relaxing, yet exhilarating hunting experience.

If pheasant hunting is something you want to experience in the outdoors, this article will help steer you in the right direction.

Shotgun Selection

For decades the preferred choice for a shotgun in pheasant hunting is the trusty old 12-gauge. But, you can also hunt pheasants using a 20-gauge shotgun as well and it will do the job.

But, for many hunters, it’s hard to beat the reliable killing power of a 12-gauge. The extra shot, along with the increased range, is worth the small increase in recoil and weight.

6 shotguns standing up

There is not single right answer when it comes to which shotgun to use for pheasant hunting, but it’s hard to beat the range and killing power of the12-gauge.

Shot Size

Shot size is pretty important in pheasant hunting. If you use shot that’s too small, you’re probably going to end up wounding birds and never finding them. As most hunters know, this is not the ethical way to hunt.

If your shot is too large, you might miss the bird due to small shot quantity. Or, you might end up doing too much damage to the bird.

A good shot size is going to be #5 shot, as it’s the best all-around size for birds like pheasant.




Do I Need a Trained Dog to pheasant hunt?

If you are new to bird hunting of any type, whether it’s waterfowl, ruffed grouse, or in this case pheasant, chances are you don’t have a trained bird dog at home, as this is something only the hardcore bird hunter will typically have.

black lab with pheasants

A good bird dog is hard to beat, but is not a necessity for hunting pheasants. Focus on hunting smaller areas where finding birds won’t be as tedious.

The short answer is no, you don’t need a dog to hunt pheasant.

While trained hunting dogs do make a huge difference in not only locating and flushing birds, but also in finding downed birds in tall grass, you can get away without one.





If you’re hunting alone without a dog, simply pick smaller areas to hunt if at all possible, so that the search for hiding birds doesn’t seem like hunting needles in a haystack.

Hunting fence lines, small patches of tall grass, and other small localized and isolated areas should be your target.

If you have friends interested in hunting birds, by all means bring them with you. More people in the field will mean more contacted birds due to being able to cover a large area.



Hunt The Edges

Pheasants can be compared to other wild animals like deer when it comes to daily movement and feeding. Many hunters walk through large tracts of land in search of pheasants, but many might overlook areas like fence lines and ditches.

Think of these areas as natural highways for all sorts of different wildlife, particularly those that are constantly on the lookout for predators like wolves, coyotes, foxes or one of the pheasants’ greatest predators, hawks.

pheasant on field edge

Pheasants will travel during the day seeking food and cover, so don’t overlook areas like ditches, fence lines, and transition areas.

Edges provide concealment as pheasants travel around during the day or night. Pheasants travel quite a bit throughout a day in search of food and sanctuary, and many of the fence lines, ditches, and tree lines can be transition areas, or areas that lead from food to shelter and keep them relatively safe from predators (or so they hope).




When It’s Hot

When the weather is hot and dry, pheasants will often gravitate toward areas with plenty of water. So, don’t neglect areas with streams and ponds.

Even areas that have irrigation ditches, pump houses, containers for feeding livestock, and other water producing locations could hold birds.

pheasant in water

Pheasants get thirsty too! So, be sure to check areas that hold or provide any type of water.





Go Slow

Long-tailed roosters don’t get that way by being stupid. You can rest assured that they have seen a thing or two in their day, and have had more than a few brushes with death. So, when you get out there and start hunting, it’s important to remember to take your time and go slowly.

Many hunters walk around haphazardly and quickly through an area until they stumble into a bird, but in doing so they miss opportunities to get the wise ones.



Go slowly, using a zig-zagging pattern to really pick apart the areas that you are hunting. You will find that you will not only encounter more birds overall, but you will find the old and wise trophy birds as well.

Make sure you pause regularly. Many times there are birds near you that won’t flush as you walk by. By pausing, you can make that bird nervous and question its hide or fly response and send them skywards.



Be Silent

You might not think of pheasant hunting like you would if you were hunting other animals like deer or large game.

In those scenarios you would do your utmost to avoid slamming your truck door or step on a twig, or make any unwanted noise. However, this type of stealthy hunting also applies to hunting upland birds like pheasants.

pheasant flying

When hunting areas that typically have heavier hunting pressure, pheasants will likely flush much sooner if they hear unnatural noises. So, be as quiet as possible.

Strange and loud noises will cause pheasants to hunker down or head for thicker areas and vegetation long before you reach them. They will do this whenever they feel threatened by things like four-wheeler noises, coughing, talking, or any other “unnatural” noises.

Noise is definitely something to keep in mind when you’re in areas that get heavy hunting pressure, as the pheasants that have seen such pressure will flush much sooner and at a greater distance, causing many missed opportunities.





Best Times to Hunt Pheasant (It’s Fine If You Sleep In)

While there’s hunting pheasants early in the morning can certainly be productive, hunting in the afternoon and evening can be some of the best times to be out.

pheasant in food plot

Areas near food sources can be a great evening spot for pheasant hunting.

You late risers will be happy to know that many birds will move out into the open areas to feed after spending the day in cover, which means that you can find them fairly easily, especially the last hour of shooting light.

Grassy patches adjacent to food sources like corn fields are a great place to hunt in the evenings.



Hunt When It’s Cold Out

The weekend warrior type of hunter might be putting their guns away for the season when some of the best hunting has yet to start.

If you’re willing to brave the frigid air and flying snow, late season can be some of the best pheasant hunting you will find all year.

A great place to hunt in the late fall and winter is around lakes, ponds, or marshy areas that have cattails on the shorelines.

man with pheasants in snow

The late season, although cold, can provide some excellent pheasant hunting, as wet areas freeze and allow for greater access.



In the early parts of the season, these areas are typically flooded with water and not inhabited by pheasants. And, even if they were, you wouldn’t want to trudge around in that wet and mucky stuff.

This means these areas receive little to no hunting pressure, because most people aren’t out hunting, and if they are, they usually overlook these areas as they have earlier in the year.

In the winter the water freezes into ice, allowing you to walk through these cattails and hunt untouched areas.



Pheasant Hunting Tips Conclusion

Upland bird hunting, whether it be pheasants, ruffed grouse, or other birds, can be a relaxing and therapeutic experience. Some who take up pheasant hunting never want to do anything else!

Now that you have some pheasant hunting tips you can use… get out there and see if pheasant hunting is for you. You might just find it’s the only thing you want to do!

man sitting in front of bus with pheasants he killed hunting

You just might find that hunting pheasants is one of the most relaxing and gratifying types of hunting you’ve ever done!

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