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Location: Nebraska
Joined: 11/18/2009
Posts: 5
Clothing Question

I will be going on my first elk hunt to Colorado this fall. It will be the end of October or first part of November. My question is what do you pack for clothing? I am sure the weather that time of year changes from cold to hot. Also, do you bring rain gear? I don't want to pack anymore than I need too so any help you can give me as far as what clothing I will need would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for any and all responses.

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
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Re: Clothing Question

I generally don't pack a separate set of rain gear. My outer layer will be waterproof, and depending on the weather, it may be insulated. Under that I will wear silk thermals and a wool sweater or light synthetic jacket. I bring both an orange baseball cap and an orange knit cap which I change into when I'm sitting still. It's too hot when hiking. I will often stow the outer jacket either in my pack or strapped to it when hiking.
My system works for me, but you may also want to consider wool outer layers.

HOGGETTER's picture
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Location: CenCal
Joined: 11/05/2009
Posts: 750
Re: Clothing Question

Always use layers and prepare for anything.

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Location: Midwest
Joined: 03/21/2009
Posts: 40
Re: Clothing Question

You will hear and read a lot about layering – and that is because it is so true. Layering allows you to adapt well to the weather as it changes around you. Each person is a bit different regarding how cold or warm they feel in different circumstances, so you just need to know how your body does in different circumstances, including how much you heat up - and sweat. It also depends upon if you are packing in, or how close to your vehicle you are.

With all that said I will give a ideas based upon what I have found works for me. A part of layering that I think can be of help is to layer in legal color clothes. For gun hunting that usually means blaze orange. I am cold blooded so I start with a blaze orange underarmour cold gear compression fit long sleeve undershirt. The next layer is a poly blaze orange long sleeve shirt. Next is a blaze orange 4-in-1 hunting coat with the outer shell goretex lined. Both the inner coat and the outer coat are blaze orange. This way, I can walk out (uphill) wearing only the undershirt in the am, I can put on the shirt and one – or both - jackets and keep warm enough in the early am while standing or still hunting, and I can shed layers if the temperature rises during the day. If you see elk two ridges away and need to get there fast, you can also shed clothing as you move toward game and still be safe and legal since your undergarments are all blaze orange. (I have done this several times and it helps not to have to think about it – or take one thing off and put a vest back on as you are running up the west slope of Colorado).

I do not bring rain gear, but I do carry one of those small “emergency ponchos” or a “space blanket” that are sold in a pack about the size of a pack of cigarettes. I like goretex – but in the rare downpour, a thin sheet of plastic works even better – and serves another purpose if you spend the night away from camp.

One other thing that we do is to pack an duffle or plastic container with extra clothing in case something happens or the weather is so bad that you need more dry, or warmer clothing. We leave the extra in the truck, which is several miles away - but it is still closer than going to town or back home.

Good luck with your hunt, you will just love it.

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Joined: 02/02/2010
Posts: 28
Re: Clothing Question

Something not been mentioned is boots. I go into the hills in April to start setting up camps(outfitting) and don't come out until the first week of December except to drop off and pick up guests. For warm weather I like georgia boots and cold weather I like Schnees(hunter II) with air bob soles. With the Schnees I wear a pair of thin socks with good wool over the top of that. The Schnees are great hiking boots in the cold. They are light and hold up very well. Get the pich blend leather grease, I use this a couple times during the year. When the leather finally does wear out send the boot back and schnees will replace them for about 40 bucks. Well worth the money. They have removable liners and come with two sets. pull the liners out at night to dry. The Georgia boot wears like steal. They are not a high top boot, but a good pair of gators work great. However if you are only going to wear the shoes a couple weeks out of the year, a pair of Danners works very well. The Danners are not what they used to be. They will loose their waterproofing fairly quickly if you use them heavly throughout the year. A couple of weeks at a time and they hold up ok. Unless its a freak year and extremely hot you can usually stand to wear the 1000 gram danner in normal October/November weather. Kennetreks are a decent boot however they are stiffer and not very quite for stalking. There is another higher end version of kenetrek (I cann't think of the name of it) anyway it's a fine boot but also stiff. It's very similar in build. Those are my top boots anyway. Hope it helps!

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Location: Nebraska
Joined: 11/18/2009
Posts: 5
Re: Clothing Question

This is what I have let me know if I this will be good enough or if I need anything else.

Top: Base layer will be under armour cold gear, then a long sleeved under armour warm gear shirt, then I will have a medium weight long sleeve shirt, over the top of all of that I will have a jacket probably will be waterproof. Not sure how heavy the jacket will be or needs to be, I guess that is my question, I don't want to take a big heavy jacket if I don't need it but if I do need it I will be really glad I have it.

Bottom: Base layer will be under armour cold gear, then I have uninsulated pants. Should I get a pair of insulated pants to wear instead?

Thanks for the tip on the boots I am looking into getting a new pair of boots too.

We will be packing in on foot and hunting from where ever we set up camp.

Thanks for all of the input so far and please keep it coming. I am new to this and want to be as prepared as I can before I go.

cowgal's picture
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Re: Clothing Question

I like to start with silk for my first base layer. Its lightweight and warm. One of my layers will usually be fleece, and I top off with a windproof/waterproof outer layer. If there is no chance of moisture, I will sometimes opt for a windproof fleece as the top layer. My personal preference is one that has some breathability and does not trap all moisture. I also do not like heavy and heavily insulated jackets. Even in -20 degree weather I get away with as little as 3 lightweight layers if I'm moving. It's of course a completely different story if you're stationary.

Don't forget some type of face covering if its very cold or windy. My husband and I like Buffs, they come in different weights and you can quickly cover your face or pull it down around your neck if you get warmed up, or even pull it over your head for extra protection. We always have several on hand. They're good in warm weather as well, since they provide UV protection from the sun.

I like wool best for socks.

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Joined: 02/02/2010
Posts: 28
Re: Clothing Question

Since you are packing in on your back I would suggest several light layers, and a good quiet/waterproof outer shell. If it's wet you will be dry and layers underneath that will keep you warm. Most of the decent waterproof clothing today is not only light and breathable but wind proof as well. If you have several layers you can adjust how much you wear according to temp. That will cut down on quanity of clothing. I've found that two pair of jeans work as well as coveralls for cold weather. With that route one pair should be a size or two bigger. A good pair of wool socks works well for mitts, if you don't want to pack in several pair of gloves. Although I would have a couple pair of gloves. As far as what type of clothing to buy that is entirely up to taste. Some folks like underamor/some like silk/some like wool/some like just plain old cheap long johns. A good pair of duofold long handles work as well as anything and are durable. Their are pros and cons to all of them. They all work. I would suggest you spend some serious time in stores looking around and testing for yourself. Try a little test. Pack everything you are going to take to camp. Put it on your back and go for a walk. If it's painful then start cutting down. If you go with rain gear make sure it does not sound like plastic.

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Location: Nebraska
Joined: 11/18/2009
Posts: 5
Re: Clothing Question

Ok, one final question on the clothing. I currently use realtree ap for my camo when I am deer hunting. Is this going to be a good camo for elk hunting in the mountains or is there a better pattern that you recommend.

Thanks again for all of your help it is greatly appreciated.

HOGGETTER's picture
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Location: CenCal
Joined: 11/05/2009
Posts: 750
Re: Clothing Question

That will be fine, But You still have to use hunter orange during firearm season.

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Location: Midwest
Joined: 03/21/2009
Posts: 40
Re: Clothing Question

The camo that you have will be fine. As stated by Hoggetter, you will also need to put 500 square inches of solid blaze orange - including some of it 360 degrees on a hat. Depending upon where you are hunting you can normally expect to walk through openings, aspen (with or without leaves), pines, scrub oak, and brush. It is tough to try to match all of that anyway.

The “experts” say that elk and deer (unlike the birds) do not see all colors – rather they see shades of lights and darks, along with possibly yellows and blues. Thus three things that are most important hunting big game are to reduce or eliminate the human body form, cover your face and wash your outer clothing in detergent that does not contain a brightener.

Elk walking through the woods are constantly looking for something that is out of place, and the outline of a human, or a face that lights up like a pumpkin, or a bright piece of clothing are not normal in the woods. To check your clothes, hold a black light in front of them in a dark room and see if they look bright.

Be dull and motionless in the woods.

Again, good luck with your hunt, and don't worry about asking more questions - we are all the better for thinking about the various topics.

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