Novembers Layering Guidance

This months layering guidance is via First Lite Team member Zac Poff. Zac may not be much to look at but he does get in a fair amount of time in the woods.

Layering seems to be a buzz word these days with all of the crazy technology in under and outerwear.  I am sure that most people have been layering since they were sent off to play outside as a kid.  If you were like me you were always one day behind the weather man when it came to layering.  One day it would be warm and sunny and I would be wearing a parka and moon boots while all of the “cool kids” had shorts and a t-shirt with the next day finding me freezing my butt off while everyone had the appropriate garb on.  Today with all of the technology and weather reports out there (which I do not know how to use) along with the gear available there should be no excuse to be uncomfortable.


When it comes to hunting your costume all depends on where you are hunting and what the conditions are at the time.  For western hunters it is not uncommon for it to be 80 degrees one day on a September elk hunt and a foot of snow the next.  By nature I do not like to make changes (some call it stubborn) so I like to keep things simple during hunting season.  I believe you can get through almost any hunting season by starting at the base and working out.  With a few additions along the way you can keep yourself comfortable in almost any condition.  Typically the hunting I do involves a lot of walking around and looking at things, I like to call it going on nature hikes.  I do not have any real trophies to speak of but I have seen a lot of ground.  I start the season on August 30th and do not change my clothes until sometime in November (literally, I wear them every day).   This is how it goes in the morning, merino boxers, merino socks; ultra-thin long sleeved merino followed by merino T-shit, Kanab pants.  I start the same way all of the way through the season the only change to that combination is I end up hunting late in the year when there is snow on the ground and it is brutally cold I will switch the Kanab for the North Branch and the boxers for the full length real deal.   From this base for me and my body type I can make almost anything work.

I typically do not burn real hot so as the season moves on and things are colder, I will add another long-sleeved merino and then eventually a vest when it gets fairly nippily.  The key for me when the weather starts to get cold involves taking items off and putting them back on at the correct time.  Mornings are cold, it is hard to get out of your sleeping  bag and all you want to do is put on a bunch of warm clothes, however if you are going to start hiking right away you had better be ready to take a layer or two off right from the get go.  If you “tough it out” you could be making a miserable experience for yourself.  If you begin to sweat profusely first thing in the morning everything you have on will be soaked to the core.  Now, no matter what the heat retention of a product when wet, if you are wet, and the wind starts to blow, and you are trying to wait out an animal you are going to freeze.  Take the time to take off a layer or two when hiking or god forbid slow down a bit to slow the sweating.  As you get to an area where you know the pace will slow be ready to put that layer back on.  Keep yourself comfortable and you will be able to hang out a little longer or sit still that extra ten minutes that might be the difference between a nature hike and a brutal pack out.

As the season progresses you do not really need to add a lot to this combination to stay comfortable.  The addition of a windbreaker/rain jacket and a puffy coat can keep you on a hillside all day.  I have a unique gift that resembles a chimney, some call it male pattern baldness but I like to think of it as an extra vent.  I wear a baseball cap when moving around, and throw in a ultra-cool beanie for sitting around looking for animals that do not exist.  This may seem like a lot of gear, but, going back to the technology thing you can easily carry everything mentioned here without adding more than a pound or two to your load.  Better to have it when you need it than not.  Again, the biggest thing in my opinion is to take 1.6345 minutes to take a layer off or add a layer when needed.  It could be the difference between shaking uncontrollably or being rock steady when trying to make a shot.  I always blame my missing things on my poor layering!

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