Help me pick an all around system for the southeast

Hschweers

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2021
Messages
28
Hi all,

New hunter here. I live in South Florida, and am trying to build a system for hunting in the southeast. I would like to be comfortable from 20-70 degrees by adding or shedding the right layers. As a South Florida guy, I handle cold rather poorly and typically like to overdo my warm layers in cold weather. Below is what I’m thinking, but open to all suggestions.

Base:
I used some Under Armour 4.0s (top and bottom) to sit one morning last fall in MS for white tail. It was about 20 degrees and they kept me nice and warm. However, from what I've been reading, merino is the way to go. I'm tempted to go with some 300-350g merino layers just so I know I'm covered when it drops below freezing (again, I'm weak with cold), but is that too much for 30 degrees? Am I better off with something in the 150-200g range? I'm also not very aware of the amount of activity that goes into a deer hunt, but I can tell you all hunts I'm planning will not involve a tree stand.

Mid:
I'm currently interested in the KUIU Kutana Hybrid jacket, seeing as it seems pretty versatile to wear as a nice warm outer layer in mild conditions, or a good fleece/insulated mid layer in colder conditions. Thoughts or recommendations?

Outer:
Open to any and all suggestions here. When I look myself I just look for the one that says it's rated for -50* and I know it'll keep me warm in the 20's. My worst fear is being cold.

Pants:
Initially I was looking at some cheap Redhead explorer fleece pants, but after reading into other threads here it seems like it's better to just spend the money on gear that will last. Open to any recommendations here.

Thanks!
 
Last edited:

PapaJB

Newbie
Joined
Apr 19, 2021
Messages
6
I would suggest staying away from the heavyweight base layers and sticking with the 150-180 weight. The purpose of the base layer is to regulate your temperature mainly by moving moisture away from your skin. The thicker heavyweight layers inhibit the ability for the fabric to breathe and move moisture.

The other layers, middle insulation layer if you use one and your outerwear, are there to keep you warm. Pound for pound wool isn’t a good insulator compared to true insulating materials like fleece or down so you are better off focusing on the other layer(s) to keep you warm.
 

Deli

Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2020
Messages
73
Will it be mostly day hunting where weight is not an issue? Do you need camo (for turkey or close range archery) or are earth times fine? I've hunted whitetails in Nov WI hunting season all my life where typical temp is in the 20s but can get colder. Here is what I wear for tree stand hunting and doing woods drives or stalking.

Base layer: used UA and switched to minus 33 merino mid weight 220. Best decision I've made in my layering system. I have a 150 set if I know I'll be moving around or for warmer days. You don't need anything heavier.

Insolation: this changes yearly but normally is some form of fleece (normally grid), some form of vest (puffy or windbreaker), and some kind of puffy.

Outer layer: used to use a cheap blaze orange parka but switched to a softshell and it works much better. I have a raincoat for rainy or windy days.

Bottoms: any softshell hiking pants will work. I have some from Eddie bauer and ll bean that work well. For cold days get yourself a pair of insolated bibs or the army packable primoloft puff pants. Rain pants are also nice for trapping the heat and blocking wind.

Head: merino wool beanie, merino wool buff, and baseball cap

Hands: light merino wool liner, a pair of mechanix leather gloves for brush, and a thick wool liner with leather waterproof shell for when your sitting. Bring handwamers. Some people like muffs.

Look on camofire everyday for sales to build a cheap but functional system. Classifids are also a good place to start. Hiking and mountaineering companies have great layers if you don't care about camo.

Good luck and enjoy. You'll constantly tinker with your system so don't overthink it.

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pk_

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2017
Messages
201
Location
Florida
20°-70°, I guess that means you don’t hunt down here then 😂

I will make this easy for you. Don’t overthink it and you DO NOT need to overspend(especially initially) on a clothing system for treestand whitetail hunting.

like has been said, spend your money on the base layers, lightweight, quality merino. Same for the socks. But I only wear the base layers below freezing. I wear lightweight, comfortable pants. And tops. You want to be cold when you leave the truck and cool during your walk in.
Once to the tree throw on your warmer outer layers. I have a combination of a puffy. A lightweight fleece vest. And for my heavy outer I mostly use cabelas wooltimate. I have the vest and the half zip jacket both have the wind stopper in them, it’s very important. For pants I have an old pair of gortex insulated pants Idk the model. I also have a pair of nomad primaloft. Get ones that have zippers at least 1/2 the leg full length it better just slide them in right over your boots.
Biggest problem is hands and feet. Hands are easier using a muff (I use the kangaroo pocket in my heavy jacket) and hot hands packs. Feet take some time to dial in the right amount of insulation/socks etc for real cold weather. I only wear a ball cap while walking, after I am setup I throw on my neck warmer/gaiter/face mask whatever and a warm knit beanie over my hat.
Good luck and stay warm!
 
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Hschweers

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2021
Messages
28
20°-70°, I guess that means you don’t hunt down here then 😂
Pk, do you think I have my temperature ranges off? I plan on venturing from VA down to where I live in S FL. South FL is certainly closer to the 80’s, but MS, AL, VA, etc can get rather chilly.

Deli, thanks for the info!
 

pk_

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2017
Messages
201
Location
Florida
Pk, do you think I have my temperature ranges off? I plan on venturing from VA down to where I live in S FL. South FL is certainly closer to the 80’s, but MS, AL, VA, etc can get rather chilly.

Deli, thanks for the info!
Oh sorry, I wasn’t trying to be sarcastic I just figured you actually weren’t going to be hunting in S FL(it’s really tough down here, those other states you mentioned will be much more enjoyable). I’m not sure exactly where you are referring to as ‘South’ but in zone A, down around the Everglades/big cypress, Early season in Aug it is usually 95°-105° daytime temps. Up towards central FL in Oct-Nov you can still have daytime temps in the 90°s, but can also get nice 60°-70°s daytime hi temps with a cool front. But it’s usually still around 80° During the day.
Feel free to shoot me questions anytime. I was born and raised down here and been hunting from the Everglades to the panhandle my entire life.
For FL my clothing is usually the lightest pants I can find. just bought some kuiu tiburons and they seem super nice. but for years I just wore cheap redhead pants I think they were called ‘stalker light’ or something like that. And I wear a lightweight ‘quick dry’ type t shirt. Usually morning and evening I throw on my asat leafy jacket just to help keep the mosquitoes off me. Thermacell is a must have piece of gear. 👍
 
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Hschweers

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2021
Messages
28
Pk, I'm new to this site (and to hunting) so I can't PM yet, but come closer to season I may reach out to pick your brain. Thanks!
I've spent a handful of spring turkey days in Big Cypress - that place is brutal. I don't have a qualified ORV right now and trying to cover that place on foot is rough. Haven't been lucky enough to pull any quotas for deer or turkey down here which is why I'm looking out of state. Last fall I spent the majority of my hunting days chasing ducks. S FL may not be the best place to hunt ducks, but at least you get some opportunities without having to wait around for a quota pull.
 

ShortMountain91

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2018
Messages
448
Location
Tennessee
I'm in Tennessee and here's where I've landed over a few years of tweaking.

Base: sitka lightweight merino long sleeve on top. You can wear this stand alone when it's hot or layer over it when cold. I always have this shirt on when hunting. If it's cold I will have a kuiu heavyweight merino base on top of the sitka. On bottom I will wear sitka mid weight synthetic. If it's hot, I skip these and just wear light pants. If it's real cold I will throw a kuiu heavyweight merino on top of the sitka.

Mid layer: sitka fanatic hoody. Man do I love that thing. If it is cold but not frigid cold temp this comes on over the above. Or if it's maybe just cool, I'll wear the sitka lightweight and the fanatic hoody

Pants: sitka apex pants if it's hot with no base. Sometimes will wear a pair of paranas but they're noisier than the apex. If it's cool then the apex would go with the synthetic base above. If it's cold I switch too the sitka timberline pant. Both pants are western hunting pants but I wear them whitetail hunting all the time.

Outer layers: sitka fanatic jacket and fanatic bibs. These come out when it's super cold. You honestly probably don't need them in south florida but I get cold easily and when I'm in these I stay very toasty and love them. My fanatic jacket is the first sitka piece I bought and it's the original and it's still my favorite piece.

Rain gear: kuiu chugach jacket and pants. Durable, comfortable, totally dry. Awesome rain gear.

Feet: this is always where I get cold first. After trying many things the only thing that keeps my feet totally warm is a set of boot blankets with a hand or foot warmer in them. Would never take these western hunting as there so bulky but my feet always get cold on any western hunt that's not elk in September . They're money on a cold day in the whitetail stand

You're looking at a lot of cash for the above system but I gave up my other hobbies to focus more exclusively on hunting and most of this stuff will last a lifetime. I do not get the latest camo patterns just cause they're different. All my stuff is mismatched but the deer and elk don't seem to care especially once they're in a cooler. I have a system that works and I stick to that.

Hope this helps. Lots of typing but it's early and felt like helping someone out. Happy hunting

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pk_

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2017
Messages
201
Location
Florida
Pk, I'm new to this site (and to hunting) so I can't PM yet, but come closer to season I may reach out to pick your brain. Thanks!
I've spent a handful of spring turkey days in Big Cypress - that place is brutal. I don't have a qualified ORV right now and trying to cover that place on foot is rough. Haven't been lucky enough to pull any quotas for deer or turkey down here which is why I'm looking out of state. Last fall I spent the majority of my hunting days chasing ducks. S FL may not be the best place to hunt ducks, but at least you get some opportunities without having to wait around for a quota pull.
Ah that is a shame because up until about 5 years ago the duck hunting was amazing down here. The birds just don’t make it this far south in numbers last few years. You can find spots with resident wood ducks tho, whether you have a boat/kayak or just walking in...
Anyways I don’t want to drag the thread too far off topic, pm me whenever and we can chat 👍
 
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Hschweers

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2021
Messages
28
shortmountain, that sounds like an awesome system. Not kidding about the “lot of cash” lol. Thank you for the input, this is exactly the info I was looking for.
 

ddd-shooter

Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2021
Messages
52
I use first lite or black ovis merino under Sitka outer layers. Windstopper is a game changer for me.
 

ShortMountain91

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2018
Messages
448
Location
Tennessee
shortmountain, that sounds like an awesome system. Not kidding about the “lot of cash” lol. Thank you for the input, this is exactly the info I was looking for.
Yeah when I gave up most of my other hobbies to focus on hunting I adapted the buy once cry once mentality. But I get it, hurts jumping in on something like that

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fort fireman

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2015
Messages
415
I'm in North Carolina and after playing with my system this is what I've landed on . First off I'm a Kryptek fan.
I have other peices than what I'm going to mention but this is my most used system.

Base- Merino top and bottom. I use the light weight

Pants. I like the Dalibor pants for most stuff. I have the Cadog for going back home and used them in montana but the dalibor are my heavy hitters. I also have the valhalla pants for early archery or later season spring gobbler

Top- Krypteks grid fleece hoody. I can't remember the name off the top of my head.

Vest. The vidar vest which to the best of my knowledge has been replaced by the Cadog vest

puffy. The Kratos puffy which is no longer made. I'm not ecxactly sure what the replacement is.

Jacket. I have the Einar which they no longer make. The closest thing to it would be the Dalibor jacket I also have the cadog jacket for back home in Pa and I wore it in montana ths past fall.

I accumulated all this stuff over several years and all of them where on sale when I bought them. As you can see alot of my stuff is no longer made however I am still hunting in it and it is holding up well. It's the Buy once Cry once thing everybody talks about i guess. This grouping is what I have probably 90% of my hunting with some small adjustments here or there.
 

Gman12

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2020
Messages
35
I would go to Cabela's and stick with their brand or another mid lever brand especially if you are just starting out. For treestand hunting, you certainly don't need a full Kuiu kit nor to spend a grand on hunting clothes hunting in the relatively mild SE.
 
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