View Full Version : Layering / Clothing Systems-Kits

02-11-2011, 08:56 AM
As I sit here pouring over this year's big game brochures and plan next year's hunts I am obsessing over the perfect back country clothing kit. I pretty much already have everything I need, the problem is I rarely pack "just right". I'm always grossly over-prepared and I'm trying to lean down my carry weight. One of the problems I have is that here in the Rockies there is a dramatic shift in weather from early to mid-late seasons. There's also the just in case scenarios that are a real possibility, i.e. snow, hail, severe cold fronts, etc. So I'm constantly loading up my pack with the "what if" items. I just don't have a consistent amount of data to look back and say "never used that, don't bring next time". The shift in the hunting seasons to a week later is not insignificant (in my opinion) as it relates to our weather and I'm still trying to figure it all out.

What I'm looking for is what you carry for the particular season. My kit is HUGE for seasons that are late and I'm hunting from a base camp. I put everything I have in large duffels and root for it when the situation warrants. Couple pairs of bibs, overstuffed down jackets, pack boots, etc. However, when backpacking I'm always over packed. For example:

September (bow and muzzleloader), usually quite warm: lightweight merino base layer, outer layer pants (uninsulated), micropuff vest, softshell, wool hat, wool gloves, etc.

1st Rifle still fairly mild as far as weather goes. Cold and wet snow a possibility- here's what I would typically pack as this is the season I've hunted most - merino wool base layer (top and bottom), soft shell pant, socks x2, wicking tshirt x2, think fleece shirt, patagonia micro puff pull over, softshell, down vest, packlock sleeves, wool hat, wool glove liners, bacalava. I've toyed with adding a microtex shirt and deleting either the fleece or micro puff, but not sure yet.

On the base layers, do people mostly carry just one set in or x2 and rinse and tipi dry the other set throughout the hunt? Curious on that one.

2nd and 3rd Rifle - these seasons are the hardest for me to figure out. I've hunted them quite a bit with a base camp scenario but almost everyone has ranged from Arizona hot to super Colorado cold and snow, usually in the same week. Easy to prepare when you have the luxury of a truck, but looking to see how you get into the backcountry during OTC, and stay warm without over doing it.

I am also going with the assumption that a Kifaru shelter and stove are in play in all these scenarios.

I apologize if this topic has been discussed at length. I tried to search but couldn't really find it. If it does exist please post the link.

So, how does everyone here do it?

Many Thanks in advance to all replies.


02-12-2011, 02:17 PM
Apparently this is the worst post ever. Not a single response. Sorry 'bout that.

02-12-2011, 02:23 PM
Apparently this is the worst post ever. Not a single response. Sorry 'bout that.

Well, I don't think so, but never having been to CO, I didn't respond. I guess everybody is a bit busy. I will say this, that the new SOCOM cold weather issue parka is DABOMB. I've had a chance to check one of those out and I want one really bad. I think it is made by Arcteryx, but I'm not sure.

02-12-2011, 03:55 PM
It isn't an easy one to answer. Everyone is dfferent.

I always carry 2 sets of wool longies--light and heavy weights. Heavies are jammies while the daily wears get aired out, or layered for an extra cold snap.

Depending on the weather and plan, I either carry micropuff pants or woobie for around camp, glassing, and still hunting.

Plenty of socks and glove liners. Always dry socks.

I don't carry fleece very often because it is bulky, unless I am sure it will be on most the time.

02-12-2011, 05:11 PM
Have you weighed all your clothing? That might give you some idea on your bang for the ounce. Clothing can be real subjective since everyone's thermostat runs a little different. Personally, I need very little when on the move even at the slowest pace, but once stopped I chill quickly. I take one set of mid-weight merino long pants, merino boxers, a light merino T-shirt and a mid-weight merino long sleeve shirt along with three pairs of wool socks (one is a short pair just for sleeping). Pants are either nylon Mountain Hardware cargo types or Micro-tex depending on purpose and temp. Sometimes, I use softshell pants after there is snow on the ground. If I need something over the merino, my shirt is Micro-tex. For insulation, I almost always pack a fairly lightweight REI PL jacket and may add a Patagonia Climashield vest and Micro-puff pants if the forecast is particularly cold. Raingear consists of Patagonia Rain Shadow jacket and pants. The jacket has pit zips so I can use it as windgear as well if I'm sitting around.

On the switch to Micro-Tex, it's one downside (besides burrs) is weight. It is pretty hefty gear for the warmth/wind protection it provides IMO. My shirt weighs 26 ounces. That's just a couple of ounces less than my synthetic insulation and rain shell combined. I haven't tried the light version but wouldn't mind giving it a go. I would NEVER delete the micro-puff although you seem to have quite a bit of insulation going on for early in the year.

Last time you went out, what didn't you use?

Oh, you give yourself a bit too much credit. This is FAR from the worst post ever.

mark s
02-12-2011, 05:14 PM
I don't hunt CO (yet) but I do/have backpacked/ski toured. I try to follow my interpretation of Patrick's advice. I have one set of complete set of clothing that I wear (say coldest condition) then an extra set of socks, two extra underwear and and extra set of lightweight longjohns/top. My cold set of clothing is silk briefs, heavyweight or midweight merino bottoms, Filson whipcord pants, Goretex rain pants, heavyweight or midweight merino top, old cashmere sweater, K parka, Goretex parka, silk balaclava, merino wool hat. Midweights would be for fall. For late fall/winter/early spring, heavyweight bottoms/tops and I add K pants, boiled wool mittens, Goretex mitten shells. For me this is a lot of warmth for a little weight and layers can be added/subtracted depending on condition. For summer/early fall I substitute nylon pants (Aborwear) for my whipcords. All extra clothing will fit in a large pullout with the exception of rain pants/parka. Even if I would get completely soaked (say breakthrough the ice), I have something try to change into and everything will insulate even if wet.

When I hunt CO (hopefully soon), I will probably try to fit camo Filson wool jacket and bibs into the mix, although these are heavy.

David in OR
02-12-2011, 06:57 PM
Man, it doesn't get much more individual and specific-to-conditions than clothing choice. All I can contribute is that my Patagonia Nanopuff pullover has become my most used piece of outdoor wear. Wish I had some pants like them for stationary hunting/camp use.

02-12-2011, 07:19 PM
One thing I always look for in clothing for backpacking and hunting (which are one and the same for me) is versatility. I try to find clothing that can work in as many different climatic conditions as possible here in Colorado.

Here are the items that I use from the last weekend in August through the end of October, and theyíre all VERY versatile. All are sized for layeringÖ

Microtex shirt
Lightweight softshell pants (Schoeller Dynamic)
Kifaru Packlock vest/sleeve/hood ensemble
Patagonia Micropuff pullover

The items I change out for colder conditions are my insulating layers, i.e., base layer, socks, boots, gaiters, gloves, hats, shell jacket and pants.

One trick Iíve found that works GREAT is that I wear my Micropuff pullover UNDER my Microtex shirt and OVER my base layer. Iíve found that doing it this way precludes the use of a shell jacket unless itís windy or thereís precipitation. Iíve hunted a LOT wearing this setup.

Some of the items I add for mid to late October and after are:

Cabelas Rain Suede parka
Marmot Precip pants
Insulated Gore Tex gloves
OR Crocodile gaiters
Heavier Gore Tex backpacking boots (mine are Meindl Island Pros)
Heavier Thorlo trekking socks
Patagonia R1 pullover for a base layer shirt instead of a mid-weight or silk-weight one
Synthetic base layer pants
Stocking Cap
Microfiber neck gaiter

Best of luck to you on your search for info! I hope this helps.

02-12-2011, 07:54 PM
Now that's more like it! Thanks guys. It helps very much and I agree, clothing is very subjective. I think I've been on the right track I just wanted to be sure I wasn't over doing it. I may be including one extra item, i.e. shirt or jacket but I think that little bit of extra weight is worth if for peace of mind.

CCH - I haven't weighed it and that's a great suggestion. That'll make some of my choices much easier. It's just math, right? And you're too kind on the judgement of my posts. But thank you.

Sawtooth, your kit sounds very similar to what I run and should be just perfect.

Thanks again.

02-12-2011, 07:58 PM
Like Sawtooth, I've done the microtex over synthetic insulation thing as well and it works great short of true rainfall.

02-12-2011, 08:15 PM
One note regarding the "regular" weight Microtex clothing...the shirt is good, but I found the pants too heavy and baggy for my taste. That's just me...I'm not really shaped like a fireplug and I like an athletic cut to my pants. However, I have been tempted to look at the "lightweight" Microtex pants. Microtex is outstanding material. Bill Krenz recommended it to me quite some time ago...he was sold on it. So am I.

02-13-2011, 07:34 PM
I've got two lists, one for hiking/backpacking when I'm really wanting to cover some country and one for when I am just rambling through the country kind of taking it easy and seeing what there is to see.

The first list, and this is what I used this year elk hunting, took me from zero to about 50 degrees. I'm not sure what the high was, but I was down to a t-shirt for the hike in.

Smartwool lightweight longhandles.
Med weight wool socks 2 pair
Mountain Hardware Winter Wonderer pants. These have become my all time favorite pants. They are awsome!!
LL Bean Worsterlon shirt. Drys very fast and is tough and warm.
Kifaru windshirt
Kifaru standard weight parka
Kifaru standard weight pants.
Light wool glove liners w/thin leather shells, this is all I wear in the winter, very tough, lots of dexterity and warmth.
The old Turtle fur beanie that Kifaru used to sell
Last but not least the Kifaru Rondy baseball cap

This is an extremely versatile combo that is light, dries fast, gives good wind protection, and is very warm. I wore almost everything inside my WM Badger sleeping bag when it got down to zero and was very cozy.

When I'm rambling about the country not in any particular hurry, or I expect to encounter colder temps, I add, or substitute the following:

Med weight longhandles instead of lightweight
I add a down vest over my Kifaru Parka and I wear an old Empire Canvas Permafrost Parka over everthing. This is one of my favorite pieces of winter clothing. It is made out of 6oz Egyption cotton, reaches to just above my knees, and has a coyote fur ruff. It is hard to describe just how much warmth this layer adds. It is the most windproof and BREATHABLE, piece of clothing I have ever used.

If I am going to be using an open fire, and I know it is going to be below zero, I add a pair of quilted longhandles over the woolies, and wear a light canvas hiking pant over the entire setup. This setup really allows you to run, jump and crawl around with out fear of anything binding up. I can then save the Kifaru pants for sleeping.

I used this setup constantly for the last two weeks. We have had two major blizzards that dumped more than 2 feet of snow on us. The winds were blowing 40+ and we had drifts almost 10 feet tall in front of my garage doors. After round two we had the most intense cold that has ever been recorded here, 27 degrees below zero, I don't know what the wind chill was, but you should have seen all the diesel trucks that had gelled up on the roads. I spent bunches of hours pushing snow on a 4x4 tractor without a cab trying to keep the cows and calves alive, and really didn't suffer much discomfort. I don't know how cold my setup will go, but I have tons of confidence in it now. Oh, I did swap the beanie for a better stocking hat the days it never got above zero, and if I think I am going to be sitting for extended periods of time I wear moosehide mitts over wool blanket liners instead of the gloves.

Hope this helps you in some way.


02-15-2011, 11:45 AM

150 weight merino ss shirt (icebreaker)
165 weight merino ls shirt with hood- (new addition and loving the versatility) (MEC brand)
Sitka Traverse shirt
Montbell UL down inner parka
Sitka 90% jacket
Westcomb specter LT event shell

150 weight merino leggings (icebreaker)
mid weight fleece leggings
Sitka ascent pants (warm weather)
Rab vapour rise pants (cold weather)
Sitka Nimbus shell pants

icebreaker merino beanie
UA fleece beanie
Sitka cap
Sitka traverse beanie

This clothing does great for elk/moose up to mid-late november. When I head out for late season whitetails I throw on a whole bunch of layers when I get to my blind.

02-15-2011, 03:39 PM
Very helpful. Thank you.

02-15-2011, 05:13 PM
Been wanting to try leggings. With some of the long socks I have and the merino boxer briefs, I can imagine much quicker layering (boots stay on) for my lower half. How are you liking them jimbob?

02-15-2011, 07:21 PM
Thanks CCH, just the image I wanted before bed. You in wool boxers, knee high stockings, and leggings. I don't even want to think about the boots!

02-15-2011, 07:21 PM
by leggings I just mean long underwear or long johns. sorry about the confusion. I would love to find something that can be put on/off with boots. It's so easy to swap layers on the top half but not so on the legs. Eventually I want to get some "puffy" pants that can be thrown on over boots when not moving.

so CCH what do you mean by leggings?

02-15-2011, 07:56 PM
by leggings I just mean long underwear or long johns. sorry about the confusion........

so CCH what do you mean by leggings?


02-15-2011, 09:19 PM
I've seen leggings as used by bicyclists mainly. Ankle to thigh covering that could be rolled down while moving and pulled up when cold. That's what I meant by leggings. I may be using the wrong terminology. Icebreaker calls pants leggings but their shirts aren't called armings so I'm confused. If I'd mentioned fishnet leggings, that would have been awkward. ;)

ozark, I guess I should have mentioned that this would be worn under pants, as in under a pair of pants. Don't want anyone going crazy with the whole underpants thing either. And I didn't post a picture. You seemed to get a mental image pretty quickly. Me think the gentleman doth protest too much. :D

Per Wikipedia:
Leggings are a type of fitted clothing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clothing) covering the legs, which can be worn by both men and women.
Originally leggings were two separate garments, one for each leg.
Modern leggings are typically made from a blend of lycra (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycra), Spandex (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spandex), nylon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nylon), cotton (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotton), or polyester (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyester) blend, but they can also be made from wool (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wool), silk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silk) and other materials. Leggings are available in a multitude of colours and decorative designs.
Leggings are sometimes worn fully exposed, and are more traditionally worn partially covered by a garment such as a skirt, a large t-shirt or shorts, or fully covered by an outer garment, such as a full length skirt. Leggings are typically ankle-length, and some are stirrupped or encase the feet. Some are shorter. Leggings are worn to keep a person's legs warm, as protection from chafing during an activity such as exercise or as a decorative or fashion garment. Leggings are worn by both men and women in an exercise situation, but predominantly by women outside such situations.
In contemporary usage, leggings refers to tight, form-fitting trousers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trousers) that extend from the waist to the ankles. In the United States, they are sometimes referred to as tights (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tights). However, the two words are not synonymous as the word tights refers to opaque pantyhose (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantyhose).

02-15-2011, 11:08 PM
Have you guys seen these wool leg warmers, looks like they might slide right over your boots. I'm going to get a pair and try them out. I already wear long wool socks with a pair of cut off poly thermals, might as well try these to.


02-16-2011, 07:16 AM
That's the design, if not the construction, that I'm thinking of although I wouldn't wear them "Flashdance" style. Against your skin as I envision, those Sportsman's Guide versions might be a tad uncomfortable.

02-16-2011, 07:31 AM
These are particularly effective in Zebra and Panda hunting...