Layering for a late-season whitetail hunt is a very broad topic. It's asked a lot because as whitetail hunters, one of the biggest challenges that we have is figuring out how we can sit longer and how can we spend more time in the field during the cold temperatures when the deer are on their feet. I'm going to talk about the different pieces that SKRE Gear offers, how they work in a layering system, and give you some scenarios on how we might layer them in different parts of the country for different late-season hunts.
When talking about layering for a late-season whitetail hunt, first is the base layers. This is going to be the first thing that touches your skin. You want it to be comfortable and you want it to wick moisture off your skin. Your base layer is providing performance against the skin. If there's any movement mobility going on, you want that to basically allow your skin to stay dry and comfortable. Our lighter weight, next-to-skin base layers are going to be our Wasatch polyester and our 150 merino wool base layers.
Then you go into mid-layers. Your mid-layers job is to provide insulation between your base layers and your outer layers. Our mid-layers are going to be our 300 merino wool products, our Lost Peak lightweight jacket could be used as a mid-layer, and even our Hardscrabble vest can be used either as a mid-layer or over the top for core body management.
Then you go to your outer layers. The outer layers' main function is to keep the elements out, which in turn allows the mid and base layers to do their job. We have Hardscrabble all season, which is a mid-weight shell. We have our Kodiak pants, which are a Hardscrabble type material with a fleece lining in the pants that offer a little more warmth. We have our Ptarmigan jacket and Ptarmigan pant that are a goose-down material. And then we have our new Guardian bib and Guardian jacket. These are really heavyweight for extreme cold.
Specific Layering for Late Season Whitetail Hunt
Cold Northern Late Season Hunt
The first scenario I want to cover is a Northern, really cold weather, late-season hunt. I'm really worried more about wearing a lot of high-performing outer layers because of extreme cold. In that scenario, I use the Wasatch polyester base layer against my skin, I use the 300 merino wool top and bottom for one of my mid-layers. And then I typically throw on my Hardscrabble pant and maybe even a hoodie or my Lost Peak jacket for another mid-layer. For my outer layer, I am going to go with one of the more heavy-duty, supreme outer layers, such as the Guardian Bib and jacket. If I'm walking a long way, I may pack my Ptarmigan pants in and put them on once I get there. If it's a short walk and an easy, pre-hung situation, I might wear the heavier for the walk in.
Windy, Cold Mid-Region Hunt
The second of my three scenarios is going to be a windy, cold mid-region late-season whitetail hunt. With this scenario, you still have really cold temperatures, but they maybe aren't quite as cold as the frigid north. But still really cold and we're going to interject wind into this because the wind is a big problem.I'm going to do much the same as the first scenario.I'm going to either choose the 150 merino wool base layer or the Wasatch base layer against my skin. Then I'll use the 300 merino wool mid-layers and Kodiak Pants. I'll also pack my Ptarmigan gear in. One thing that I do when it's really windy, is using my Nebo rain gear as an outer layer. It's one of the best wind blockers that we have. And if you can keep the wind off of you, the other layers can do their job.
Southern Late-Season Hunt
The third scenario is going to be the Southern late-season hunt. In this situation, we usually don't get a lot of really cold fronts that keep things cold from daylight to dark. It usually will be really cold early in the morning and later in the evening, but will warm up during the day. In that situation, you definitely want to go with the merino wool base layer, because you also have humidity in the air in the south most of the time. Merino wool is great at wicking away moisture from the skin and in this scenario, I'm really looking for moisture management. So I use the 150 merino wool base layer, the 300 merino wool mid-layer, and then depending on exactly how cold it's getting, I'm either going to wear my Hardscrabble pants or my Kodiak pants. I still like to pack in either my Hardscrabble or Ptarmigan jacket depending on the conditions. And then I'm going to put the vest over the top of all that for core body management. And if there's any moisture or any wind, again, I'm going to be using the Nebo rain gear on top of it to block all that out.