Clothing System for Newbie (Solid Colors)

jlbethea

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2022
Messages
18
Hi All,

I'm getting back into the hunting world after a 10 year hiatus. I grew up hunting the typical southern way where you ride out to a box stand and freeze your tail off until lunch. The other option was sweating on Christmas morning or New Year Day because it's Mississippi. I lived in cheap cotton camo that made life not as enjoyable sitting in a tree.

Now that I'm getting back into it, I'm interested in in getting a good clothing system nailed down that I can also wear to town, and that will also work well for western hunts and backpacking in the summer. Right now it's all southern whitetail and turkey for me, but eventually I'd like to get into western and Alaskan hunting. I've got a camo shirt and pants for turkey, so I'm interested in going all solids with everything else. I'd like to get a single set of high quality clothes that will handle MS thickets and also work for backpacking out west. Durability is probably the biggest thing with the ability to vent for early season / summer hiking also up there on my priority list. Not brand loyal so I'd be absolutely fine to mix and match brands (and obviously colors). I'm willing to save for more expensive clothing and buy a piece or two every year if the quality is there.

I've heard good things about KUIU Kutana pants, and really like the long vents in the Stone Glacier pants. I typically wear minimalist trail running shoes so looking for light uninsulated boots with a lot of flex. fine with used gear so if you have stuff that fits a skinny dude then please hit me up! I'm 6'0" and 155lbs so I wear like a 30x32 or 30x34 pants and medium T-shirts.

Below are the items that I have in mind at the moment, please let me know if there is anything I've missed here!

  • base layers
    • durability not as important. KUIU's zip off base layer pants seem intriguing
  • mid layers
    • not as important as base/outer layers as I already have a lot of things that I can use for mid layering. Definitely looking for recommendations on this though
  • outer layers
    • durability is a big factor for me here. I try to stay out of the briars but sometimes I find myself in them. I'm basically looking for a set of clothes to wear year-round and handle every hunting outing that I go on for the next five years.
  • down layers
    • I'll probably start off with a cheap Eddie Bauer down jacket but the SG stuff does look awesome. Down pants would also be awesome to get eventually for the five hour tree stand sits.
  • rain layers
    • I have a red rain jacket that works well but would like to get an earth-toned one mainly to hide from other hunters (plus bright red looks ugly with just about anything else I pair it with.) Looking mainly for the jacket, I have Black Diamond rain shell pants that I can use if the weather gets that bad.
  • wool gloves
    • In the past I've gotten USGI wool gloves off Amazon and that's done me good for the most part. would be interested in other options if there are recommendations for anything specific.
  • boot gaiters
    • I've heard a lot of good things about the Stone Glacier gaiters but not crazy about how dark (dark grey and black) they are.
  • boots
    • As mentioned above I really like lightweight and flexible boots.
I have a wool-blend balaclava from REI that I like and plenty of Darn Tough wool socks so I think that I'm good on those two things. I only wear cotton underwear but have a couple pair of the ExOfficio boxer briefs that I need to pull out at some point. If wool underroos are especially good for cold sits/stalks then I'll look into those as well.



Thanks in advance, I appreciate all the advice I can get before I start dropping money on stuff!
 

Drenalin

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
1,465
I'm also in the east, Tennessee. I don't climb trees any more, but do my best to sit still for 2-3 hours at a time when I'm hunting. I'm not saying the clothes below are perfect, but it's working pretty well for me.

Base layers
  • I like the Stone Glacier Chinook stuff. Perfect weight for me, dry time is pretty decent if I get sweaty. I tried the Kuiu Peloton 97 stuff, including the zip offs, and wasn't as big a fan as most guys on here. I'm going to have that relatively light merino layer on regardless, so if I'm packing something to put on for when I stop moving, insulated pants made more sense. Heavier of course, but much warmer. I also have heavier Minus 33 base layers, which are fantastic and relatively well priced, when things get very cold.
  • For early season or summer stuff, I like the First Lite Wick Hoody and to a lesser extent, the Sitka Lightweight Hoodie. The Peloton 118 shirts are good too.
Mid layers
  • Grid fleece. There are an uncountable number of options here. I like the Peloton 240, though the wind resistance is overrated in my opinion. I also kind of like the Sitka Heavyweight Hoodie, but it needs to be pretty cold before I'm wearing it. For what it's worth, I think Sitka has the best hood design I've used. The feel of the Klamath weirded me out.
  • The First Lite Sawtooth does a great job as sort of a hybrid mid/outer layer.
Outer Layers
  • The Sitka Stratus jacket is kind of a cross between a mid layer and an outer layer. It's not extremely warm, but it's too warm for anything near the early season. The wind resistance is actually good.
  • For warmer weather, my base or mid layers serve as my outer layers. I try not to shred them, but they're likely to take some damage. I destroy pants, so I just use the $22 nylon Wranglers from Walmart.
Insulating Layers
  • Not down, but I really liked the Kuiu Kenai stuff this past season, both the hooded jacket and the pants. It's magic puffy stuff that is extremely quiet. Absolutely no wind resistance, and it'll reach it's temp limit somewhere around 30 degrees. I'd like to try the Stone Glacier Cirque, which is supposed to be warmer with better coverage and wind resistance, but at the cost of a little weight and quietness.
Rain Layers
  • If I'm going to be hiking or sitting in the rain for awhile, I pack an Outdoor Research Foray jacket. If I'm thinking I may just have to sit out a quick storm, I'm packing a Warbonnet Stash jacket that's about 10 ounces lighter. I use either as a wind breaker as necessary. Whatever you get, ventilation is important on this one.
Gloves
  • Gloves suck, all of them eventually disappoint. Best thing I've come up with is a thin liner glove with a pair of fingerless gloves over top. I've been using a combination of First Lite Talus, Fish Monkey half finger, and Outdoor Research Fairbanks. I still need pockets to keep my hands warm sometimes, but at least I have enough dexterity to scratch my butt if I need to. The full finger Fish Monkey gloves aren't bad either, and the convertible Kinco mitts are good with a toe warmer stuck in the part that flips back.
Boot Gaiters
  • I have the First Lite Bramblers and the Outdoor Research Crocodiles. Both are fine, but I don't like them and won't get them out unless they're really needed. I'd probably have been better off saving a few bucks and getting Kennetreks.
Boots
  • I have Crispi Summits that are fine. A little stiff for most whitetail hunting, so if I'm not planning on a lot of steep hiking I opt for the Merrell MOABs. Very flexible, and comfortable, but you can expect to suffer if you use them in difficult terrain. I used to strictly wear boots similar to the MOABs and had to replace them every year. The Crispis are holding up great after almost 3 years of year round use.
Wool socks are the bee's knees, I'm a Smartwool fan. I always have a neck gaiter either on my neck or in my pack. Those Exofficio drawers are great.
 
OP
jlbethea

jlbethea

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2022
Messages
18
I'm also in the east, Tennessee. I don't climb trees any more, but do my best to sit still for 2-3 hours at a time when I'm hunting. I'm not saying the clothes below are perfect, but it's working pretty well for me.

Base layers
  • I like the Stone Glacier Chinook stuff. Perfect weight for me, dry time is pretty decent if I get sweaty. I tried the Kuiu Peloton 97 stuff, including the zip offs, and wasn't as big a fan as most guys on here. I'm going to have that relatively light merino layer on regardless, so if I'm packing something to put on for when I stop moving, insulated pants made more sense. Heavier of course, but much warmer. I also have heavier Minus 33 base layers, which are fantastic and relatively well priced, when things get very cold.
  • For early season or summer stuff, I like the First Lite Wick Hoody and to a lesser extent, the Sitka Lightweight Hoodie. The Peloton 118 shirts are good too.
Mid layers
  • Grid fleece. There are an uncountable number of options here. I like the Peloton 240, though the wind resistance is overrated in my opinion. I also kind of like the Sitka Heavyweight Hoodie, but it needs to be pretty cold before I'm wearing it. For what it's worth, I think Sitka has the best hood design I've used. The feel of the Klamath weirded me out.
  • The First Lite Sawtooth does a great job as sort of a hybrid mid/outer layer.
Outer Layers
  • The Sitka Stratus jacket is kind of a cross between a mid layer and an outer layer. It's not extremely warm, but it's too warm for anything near the early season. The wind resistance is actually good.
  • For warmer weather, my base or mid layers serve as my outer layers. I try not to shred them, but they're likely to take some damage. I destroy pants, so I just use the $22 nylon Wranglers from Walmart.
Insulating Layers
  • Not down, but I really liked the Kuiu Kenai stuff this past season, both the hooded jacket and the pants. It's magic puffy stuff that is extremely quiet. Absolutely no wind resistance, and it'll reach it's temp limit somewhere around 30 degrees. I'd like to try the Stone Glacier Cirque, which is supposed to be warmer with better coverage and wind resistance, but at the cost of a little weight and quietness.
Rain Layers
  • If I'm going to be hiking or sitting in the rain for awhile, I pack an Outdoor Research Foray jacket. If I'm thinking I may just have to sit out a quick storm, I'm packing a Warbonnet Stash jacket that's about 10 ounces lighter. I use either as a wind breaker as necessary. Whatever you get, ventilation is important on this one.
Gloves
  • Gloves suck, all of them eventually disappoint. Best thing I've come up with is a thin liner glove with a pair of fingerless gloves over top. I've been using a combination of First Lite Talus, Fish Monkey half finger, and Outdoor Research Fairbanks. I still need pockets to keep my hands warm sometimes, but at least I have enough dexterity to scratch my butt if I need to. The full finger Fish Monkey gloves aren't bad either, and the convertible Kinco mitts are good with a toe warmer stuck in the part that flips back.
Boot Gaiters
  • I have the First Lite Bramblers and the Outdoor Research Crocodiles. Both are fine, but I don't like them and won't get them out unless they're really needed. I'd probably have been better off saving a few bucks and getting Kennetreks.
Boots
  • I have Crispi Summits that are fine. A little stiff for most whitetail hunting, so if I'm not planning on a lot of steep hiking I opt for the Merrell MOABs. Very flexible, and comfortable, but you can expect to suffer if you use them in difficult terrain. I used to strictly wear boots similar to the MOABs and had to replace them every year. The Crispis are holding up great after almost 3 years of year round use.
Wool socks are the bee's knees, I'm a Smartwool fan. I always have a neck gaiter either on my neck or in my pack. Those Exofficio drawers are great.


Thanks for all the good info. Makes sense that you would go into the woods either with or without the base layer legs and then add / remove the puffy layer depending as you go rather than trying to add or removed base layers mid hunt.

Definitely gives me a lot to think about and consider, thanks again!
 

TradArcher

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 21, 2021
Messages
165
Location
Colorado
Please reconsider your boots if you will go into an area that is steep and rocky. Flexible boots will beat the crap out of your feet on day one and can end your hunt.

All depends on the country you will hunt. If you are not used to stiff boots (really stiff mountaineering boots) then Crispi's or something like the Scarpa Zodiac plus can work.
Scarpa Zodiac (not plus) is stiff and you would need to break those in a little to get comfy.

The stiffer the boot for actually sidehilling rocky, steep terrain = the boot needs to just fit your feet with the socks you will wear with that pair of boots. You will get blisters otherwise in unforgiving boots. If the last and sizing are right for your foot shape though those boots will be incredibly comfortable in up and down terrain found out west. I have lived out east and hiked in the southeast and the terrain is not comparable to what I am referencing. There are some good boot fitting discussion on here so do a good search.

I would not use the stiff boots I am writing about here out east except for maybe something like hiking Katahdin in Maine.

Fwiw I own both models of the scarpa zodiac and the much stiffer zodiacs I own a half size smaller than the plus model and the stiff pair just fit my feet with smartwool socks and lathrop's insoles. I absolutely depend on those for sidehilling super steep areas where I might have to pack out alot of weight and also it is a "no fall zone" (meaning no margin for error). Very fun to hunt in that type of terrain but you have to consider everything carefully.
 

Bump79

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Oct 5, 2020
Messages
388
I'm from MT but moved to KY a few years back. I hunt a lot in both locations. The biggest thing is that I see so many recommendations on here that are just not good Whitetail pieces. It's damn tough to get a good system for both places.

I'd definitely rethink that boot selection as well...

Base layers: Blackovis with 1/2 or 1/4 zip. On sale now an extra amount. 150 to 200. Heavier than that is pointless IMHO and with a light fleece you'd be warmer for less weight and dry faster.

Fleece: Kuiu Peloton 200. 97 is more of a ultralight midlayer and the 200 will hold up better. Lot's of good fleeces out there but these are my favorites. I wear the same 200 on every hunt for 6+ years.

Pant: Outdoor Research Ferrosi (warm weather breathable and quiet), OR Voodoo (more versatile, little louder, more water resistant durable), Wrangler ATG Outdoor pant is a little heavier and is really awesome for the money. FL Corrugates are my favorite but a little more money.

Gaiters: rarely worn in KY even though I hunt the ground most often. I don't see any justification for the SG cost. Kuiu Yukon are highly regarded, stretchier & a quieter material.

Midlayer/active insulation: A breathable active insulation like the Kuiu Kenai is not designed for thickets and thorns. It will get completely ripped to shreds. I went on one hunt and was mindblown at the amount of pulls and damage done and I was being careful and not in bad stuff at all. If you go in and put it one before you go in the stand it will work well since it's soo quiet. For the money I wouldn't recommend it. I'd just get a high loft fleece like a sherpa. It might gather up burs but it's silent, somewhat packable and light enough.

Rain gear: I'd try the Black Ovis Hailstone, OR Foray, Mountain Hardware stretch ozonic or even a Eddie Bauer on sale. Tough to get one that checks all the boxes but you'd be alright with these for most all hunts. Just get pit zips.
 
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