Know how fabrics, material, and clothing designs work—and stay comfortable in any weather condition! Cold weather can be trying for many hunters, and Alberta regularly sees temperatures below minus 30 degrees Celsius during late season. The biggest takeaway? Layering is critical and can turn what feels like a survival situation into a comfortable one.
Start with a base layer of polypropylene or polyester. Look for fabric that wicks moisture off your skin and dries quickly. Base layers come in a variety of weights, so personalize for your thermal comfort.
Just avoid cotton at all costs. It isn’t warm, and when it gets damp it will not dry. Wool can work, although it’s often itchy. It can hold heat when damp, but it will not dry until you take it off.
Think of middle layers as insulation, like a fleece, wool shirt or pullover. Clothing with lots of pile increases the insulation value. You want the mid-layer to trap and hold your body heat, but not be too bulky.
A vest is a great option for doubling up your middle layer. For those prone to getting cold, double down on your mid-layer.
Your outer layer should provide insulation and protection from wind and moisture. Windchill can be your worst enemy. Clothing that can break the cold-magnifying factor of the wind is the difference between staying comfortable or heading home early. Look for a parka and bibs that offer some windbreak.
As well, bibs cover the lower parts of your back and can trap heat better than pants. Outer layers come with a variety of insulation properties that need to be considered for the style of hunting. If you walk lots, too much insulation will mean you sweat. Do you sit? The more insulation, the better. Don’t forget about the noise of an outer layer—some are quieter than others!
Most of us know from experience that our feet and hands get cold before anything else. Layers are just as important for your feet and hands. Use quick-drying, moisture-wicking socks underneath a Merino wool sock. Wear glove liners beneath waterproof, wind-resistant, insulated gloves.
Boots need to have enough room for your heavier socks. Maintaining a little air space in your boots will also help keep your feet warmer in the long run.
Wear an insulated cap that covers your ears. A neck gator will help prevent heat loss from around your collar and can be pulled up over your face.
Wool has made a comeback among outdoor enthusiasts looking for comfort under any conditions. This material regulates body temperature in varying conditions—keeping you warm when it's cold and cool when it's hot. Perfect for those temperature swings throughout deer season! Wool also naturally fights mold, mildew, and odor. Bonus!