Coming from Wisconsin and deer hunting numerous times in tempetures that many time included wind chills well below zero , and being the type of hunter that sits in his deer stand from one hour before light till closing time, no matter the conditions – I am going to self anoint myself as a expert on cold weather hunting gear.
Lets start with the dreaded cold feet -which can get you out of the deer stand probably the quickest if not done properly.
The first thing on your feet should be a thin wicking type sock- I use a silk type sock, make sure your feet feel comfortable in them.
Then over the first thin socks use a polyester wool blend sock- more polyester then wool – I use a 65% polyester 35% wool sock. these should have good stretch and be big enough so you can EASILY wiggle your toes. Tight socks leads to bad circulation hence cold feet quickly.
Everyone has their favorite boot – but you really should have a boot just for sitting. These should have a minimum 2000 Grams of insulation and here is the critical part-MINIMUM 2 sizes bigger than normal. You need to have air inside those boots- air is the greatest insulators. These are not for tramping around all day-its for walking to your deer stand and sitting and sitting and more sitting.
If it is really cold out, you can also use boot blankets, they slip over the top of your boots and are another layer from the cold. TIP– slip a hand warmer inside the boot blankets on top the boot toes …toe’s be toasty warm.
This is not the time to worry how stylish you look, the head looses a lot of heat. I like the old fashion heavy weight knit hat. I like to be able to slide it off one ear to listen.
Then do not forget the neck area. I have a light weight neck gator, I can not tell you how many times I have felt myself getting cold and pulled out my gator from my pack and slipped it on- only to feel almost instant relief. Find one that is comfortable for you-I prefer not to have it real tight, but get one you like so you use it.
I use a fairly thin pair of gloves and have pocket heaters stuffed in my glove pockets. With having the thin gloves first you can use your gun or bow more easily and also when you stick your hand into the pockets with the hand warmers they warm back up much faster.
I also have a pair of leather mittens that I use to get to my stand and when I leave.
Everyone knows you need to layer, but so many people still don’t do it right,
The base needs to be an under Armour type top and bottom. Under Armour is pricey , but there is similar products out there, find one you like and use it, remember no cotton in the layer touching your skin.
Tops– depending just how cold it gets will determine how many layers I use. Most times I start with a turtle neck over the under Armour- then a heavy sweater or sweat shirt.
Pants– I just put jeans on over the under Armour – if its going to be brutally cold I use a lined pants.
Then I put on a goose down pants and top ,mine were advertised as underwear. the ones I have got discontinued so I can’t send the link to the ones I use.
Then the hunting bibs and coat – again make sure they are not so tight that there is no room for the all important air pocket which gives you great insulation. These are not suppose to be big and bulky – that’s why the layering- a mid weight jacket works best.
With the above set up , I can usually get by with the temperatures down to 20 degrees below zero , that is if the winds not blowing. If it is going to be really be cold or especially windy we use the heater body suit. These suits use no electricity but I can tell you once you get inside it you would think there is a gas heater in it, they truly are amazing.
Now quit complaining its to cold to hunt and get out there and enjoy the cold weather.