Having the right gear during a hunt in cold weather can mean the difference between a good experience and a miserable time. Here’s a guide to basic cold weather hunting gear every hunter should have.

Quality Base Layers

For cold weather hunting gear, the best place to start is with your base layers. Layering for cold weather conditions is essential, and you don’t want to cut corners with your body’s foundation base layer.

As a general rule, your base layers should be highly breathable. You want fabrics that wick moisture away when you’re climbing through rough country. The best base layers for cold weather hunting are ones made with either merino wool or synthetic polyester. These are great options as they’re lightweight, breathable, and will help regulate your temperature. Cotton, however, is not what you want. Never wear cotton during the winter because cotton retains water. The idea is to stay warm and dry, not wet and cold.

Warm Insulation Layer

Layers are essential in creating the warmest hunting clothes for snowy, cold days. So, after your base layer is your insulation layer. Just as the name suggests, the main function of this layer is to provide insulation to keep you warm. Zip-up jackets, sweatshirts, and vests made of fleece, wool, or polyester are great options.

The reason why layers are so important is to allow you to adjust your clothing as conditions indicate. When you’re hiking long or steep terrain, you’re going to get warm. Standing still, you’re going to get cold. If you wear only one bulky insulating layer, you can’t adjust as you get warm. If you know conditions on your Colorado hunting trip will be cold, be prepared and pack a few insulation layer options to have on hand.

Waterproof Outerwear

Your outerwear, or outer shell, should be water and wind-resistant. This will seal all the body warmth in and keep the elements out. This is crucial to get right as this will be your first line of defense against any nasty conditions.

A key tip: buy your outwear slightly larger. You don’t want to feel constricted when you’re out in the field. Also, make sure the material is very silent. If you buy loud material, you’ll alert every animal around you when you move.

Protection for Extremities

The worst mistake when it comes to cold weather hunting gear is getting subpar gloves and socks. So make sure you get these right.

When it comes to gloves, the ideal pair keeps your hands warm and allows for easy mobility. A bonus is if the gloves have textured grips on the fingers. For some hunters, bringing at least two gloves with them is the best move. One heavy-duty, ultra-thick pair will keep you warm. Another thinner pair if your hands get hot if you hike or if your first pair gets wet.

When your feet are cold or in pain, you don’t move. At least not very efficiently. To avoid this, you need to prepare and get the right gear. A high-quality, thick pair of wool socks will optimize protection and care of your feet on cold and unforgiving terrain. Moisture-wicking sock liners are also a great idea to keep your feet dry.

Hiking Boots Prepared for Snow

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of your boots on your hunting trip before. And we’re talking about them again because they’re just that important. But we’ll try to keep this short.

Picking the right boots is critical in preventing injuries. This is not where you want to cheap out if you want to make your hunting trip count. Not only do you have to worry about keeping your feet warm, but you need to make sure they provide ample support. An insulated boot will keep your feet warm and protected, as well as allow you to focus on what’s most important: hunting.

The Extras

These may be under the category “extras,” but these are things you don’t want to forget.

In extreme cold weather, you’re going to want some headwear. Whatever works for you is fine, just be mindful that you’ll want it to cover your ears. Along with headwear, a neck gaiter is a good call. They can hold a surprising amount of heat and help protect you against cold wind.

Last but not least: toe and hand warmers. Are these truly necessary? Nope. But we think they’re useful. They’re great backup for keeping the cold at bay and they’re good morale boosters towards the end of a long, cold hunt.

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Be Prepared for Your Cold Weather Hunt

If you follow these basic guidelines, you’ll be prepared for any cold-weather hunt you find yourself on. If you’re looking for someone to take you on a guided hunt no matter the weather, we’d love to be your guide. At Soap Mesa Outfitters, we provide the best guided hunts in Western Colorado and we’ll be happy to show you what you’ve been missing.