23 replies [Last post]
WesternHunter's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
wool

I like merino wool for socks, and for beanie caps too.  I have been using a lightweight merino balaclava in colder weather too.  My biggame and upland jacket is a hooded waist length wool coat also.  That's about the extent of the wool I wear in the field.  In cold weather I'll layer the jacket with a midweight camo polar fleece jacket underneith.  Overall I find that these days there are too many less expensive alternatives to wool, like various types of polar fleece, stretch polyesters, windproof fleece, etc.  Actually for my lower outer layers I prefere heavy canvas duck like the stuff from Carhartt or Dickies. My main hunting pants are Carhartt canvas carpenter pants, and I'll layer underneith with light polar fleece or stretch fleece pants if needed.  Knee high gore-tex boot gaiters keep the bottom legs dry in deep snow.  Usually for shirts I prefere a basic cotton/poly blend long sleeve t-shirt in any earthy tone color and I'll layer under that with my REI brand olive-drab colored lightweight polyester zip-t base layer if needed.  For cold weather headgear on rifle hunts I like a basic blaze orange fleece beanie cap coupled with my earth tone lightweight merino wool balaclava underneith. 

My waterfowl hunting outfit is a bit different setup consisting of camo neoprene chest high waders, gore-tex camo wading jacket, camo fleece jacket, and earth tone colored headwear and gloves

ElkGuideGregory's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/15/2012
Posts: 10
ive been on a horse for long

ive been on a horse for long hours and on my feet during very very cold conditions. Old timers made it with wool so can we. Merino wool works awesome as a base layer but my favorite is polypropolyne. Ive heard wool and polypripolyne are the 2 best clothing materials for keeping you warm when wet. If I wake up and it is significantly cold I go straight for my polypropolyne and wool. A insulated waterproof jacket and a  hsilk scarf help trap your body heat in and you wont waste your time getting all bundled in the morning. Hope this helps!

WesternHunter's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
merino and polyprop

ElkGuideGregory wrote:

ive been on a horse for long hours and on my feet during very very cold conditions. Old timers made it with wool so can we. Merino wool works awesome as a base layer but my favorite is polypropolyne. Ive heard wool and polypripolyne are the 2 best clothing materials for keeping you warm when wet. If I wake up and it is significantly cold I go straight for my polypropolyne and wool. A insulated waterproof jacket and a  hsilk scarf help trap your body heat in and you wont waste your time getting all bundled in the morning. Hope this helps!

Yes, light weight merino wool and polyprop work great as base laters for the reason that they wick moisture away from your skin and out to the outter areas of your clothing so that it can vaporize off.  As long as you wear breathable outter layers then this combo works magically.  I've used polypropylene and fine merino base layers for years.  Learned first hand about there wicking properties back when I used to ski backcountry and mountain climb.  Glad to see this technology is finally making it into hunting clothing recently.  The technology in this layering system has been around for years and used widely by the climbing and skiing crowd all this time. My only beef with wool is the price it often commands, especially when ployesters can be had for less money (depending on the brand you chose). Never found a better material for warm socks than heavy weight merino wool though. It's also been my experience that good wool, after it gets wet dried fairly quick.

Offline
Location: Midwest
Joined: 03/21/2009
Posts: 41
Wool or not to wool.....or.....

I have tried a lot of ways to keep my ice cold body warm on my hunts, and I have come to appreciate two products.  Silk and Alpaca.

 

In addition to being very happy with their performance, I am finding that the natural fabrics do not smell nearly as bad after a few warm days on the side of a mountain.  They also seem to wash up fresher and do not retain the odors from previous wearing.

 

Alpaca is warmer than wool and is softer - it is also more expensive, but if it keeps me warm – I am all for it.  I have tried most everything offered to the hunter, and tried alpaca a few years ago and have not switched back to anything since. Alpaca is a hollow hair and the cuticles of the hair lay closer to the shaft so it feels softer.  It is sometimes hard to find and some companies skimp of the actual content of the alpaca in the product.  Good socks have 65% - 75% alpaca.  A pair of socks may run about $20 - $25, but warm feet are worth it. I have only tried it in the socks.

 

For undergarments I have switched over to treated silk.  It can hold moisture more than other fabrics but is warmer and does pull moisture away from the skin.  Synthetics wick the moisture away from the skin and into the outer fabrics better since they absorb very little, if any, water, but synthetics have their odor problems as they tend to grow bacteria – the producer of smells.  Untreated silks can absorb more moisture than treated silks.  Go light on the weight of silk as they really are warm in even the thinner material.

 

In jackets and pants, I do have a few wool garments, but as stated by others, they can be a bit heavy.  I have a pair of Cabela’s wool pants with Dry-Plus liners and they are great for all kinds of weather.

Offline
Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/13/2011
Posts: 920
I don't understand why you

I don't understand why you want the 1st layer to hold moisture? What happens when that 1st layer can't hold anymore moisture?  Isn't it better to have all layers wick the moisture out to the air?

WesternHunter's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
wicking moisture

To me the best material out there for wicking away moisture from sweat and condensation is the various polyesters available as base layers.  Alpaca is excellent for insuation layers, and I know 2 different Alpaca raisers and it is great stuff, major drawback is it's steep price and relative scarcity in outdoor recreational clothing.  Actually for the areas I mainly hunt I can often get away with wearing heavy canvas pants and poly/cotton shirts with polyfleece layers most of the time.  Montana and Colorado are relatively areas. From my personal experience heavy cold wind is more of a major factor and detriment to your comfort/safety in both Colorado and Montana, more so than moisture from precipitation is in these areas.  Just my opinion.

Offline
Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/13/2011
Posts: 920
Most of the time my problem

Most of the time my problem with water isn't it hitting me as much as me leaking it.  Big smile

WesternHunter's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
price of good wool or alpaca

I guess I should correct my comment regarding wool and alpaca being expensive.  When you consider what people today are willing to pay for synthetic polyester products from brands like Stika and patagonia, you can probably spend less (or just as much) and get excellent ultra fine merino base layers from a company like First Lite.  I think it's good to have a mix of both synthetic and wool clothing. But when it comes to wool I just don't like the heavy scratchy smelly ragg wool stuff. 

Offline
Joined: 09/27/2012
Posts: 1
Alpaca Base Layers

A new company, Woop!Wear, has just released a line of outdoor alpaca clothing that includes alpaca base layers and also a heavy weight alpaca field pant that are super warm and meant for great for hunting/icefishing ect. (disclaimer - I work for the company but also love the products, especially the pants, I use them out in the snow all the time and the water just sheds off).

Retired2hunt's picture
Offline
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Colorado Springs, CO & Fort Myers, FL
Joined: 07/28/2011
Posts: 1615
Ya but the prices are WAY too

Ya but the prices are WAY too high - just checked your web site. I have to agree with layering and using the synthetics that wick the sweat away.

Related Forum Threads You Might Like

ThreadThread StarterRepliesLast Updated
Wool hunting smellrk405/24/2005 12:55 pm
Wool Clothingfoxhunter502/17/2007 08:57 am
Swannie wool coat in ultimate brown camoflagehuntelk001/29/2007 18:48 pm
What pants for mid-OCT Colorado Elk hunt?xmanpike405/12/2010 10:58 am
So what kind of packBareBack Jack507/09/2003 08:04 am