When you go hunting, layering seems to be raise many problems for some and not at all for others.
The truth is that you need to layer according to your activity level and the weather conditions.
Nowadays layering clothing has become the first method of staying warm on the coldest winter days. An efficient layering system contains three layers that insulate, absorb moisture and protect from the elements. This gives you a good base layer for warmth and comfort, the middle layer for warmth and the outer layer for wind and water protection.
What type of layer do you want?
Different types of activities require different types of base layers. Some are designed to be worn only as base layers, whereas some may be worn on their own after getting rid of the outer layers when the weather gets too hot.
Your base layer slips on and off easily thanks to the smooth outer fibers and the textured outer fibers are good on retaining heat.
You can choose from short to long-sleeve styles, mock, hooded and there are some even with zipper options.
Women can choose the base layers for hunting especially created for them, for a better fit.
There are base layers for everyday use and the ones for hunting are more specific and come with many other features.
What to look for on a base layer for hunting?
The fabric of your base layer is a personal choice, as you know best why you are buying it for.
If you go for a woolen base layer keep in mind that this is flexible and long lasting. Merino wool keeps you cold when it’s hot outside and warm in the coldest winter as wool is a great traditional insulator. Wool repels small amounts of liquid on the surface and wicks moisture for the skins. On the other hand, wool gets saturated pretty fast and fails on dissipating as well as synthetics the moisture. Wool is naturally resistant to odor and flame retardant at the same time.
Keep in mind to take extra care for your woolen base layer as it needs special washing procedures.
A silk base layer feels smooth to touch, soft and silk is strong and abrasion-resistant. If you know you’re going to get extremely physical, avoid silk as it’s highly absorbent. There are special treatments to maximize moisture-wicking ability of the skin, so problem solved. You can hand and machine wash the silk.
If your base layer is made of polyester or other synthetic fabric you know you have a winner. This kind of fabric is long lasting, lightweight, easy to take care of and dries quickly. On the plus, this fabric resists stretching and shrinking, but doesn’t have a natural feeling against your skin. Extremely breathable, wicking moisture and keeping you warm at the same time, polyester lacks the softness, but it’s the easiest to take care for.
The weight of the fabric of your base layer is also important. A lightweight base layer is the best choice when your activity is intense on a cold weather or it’s a low profile in a cool weather.
The most versatile fabrics are the midweight ones as they give great performance on many kinds of activities in a cold weather.
For the maximum of insulation, in low activity levels in cold weather, go for the heavyweight base layers. Polar weight is the no.1 when it comes to warmth and is fleeced on both sides. Avoid this kind of layers on high-movement activities as they might make you too hot and…sweat a lot.
The must haves for a base layer for hunting
Your base layer needs a good performance when it comes to moisture wicking. Your perspiration needs to be taken away from the skin to the outer layer in order to evaporate. This is done by the wicking fibers of your base layer, in case it’s a good one, anyway.
The base layer for hunting is supposed also to be good at body mapping, which means to simply regulate the temperature only where it’s needed.
If you get a four-way stretch base layer, then you got the best one. Stretching in all directions means freedom on the move for you.
The Scent Control feature is necessary on a base layer for hunting. The antimicrobial feature adds up so that the base layer may prevent the odor bacteria growth, keeping you fresh all of your hunting.
Quiet and non-itchy are also important for your base layer for hunting. Last thing you want when pulling the trigger is to …scratch and make a noise.
Top 5 Base Layers for Hunting
As we stated before, Merino wool is a great choice for a base layer for hunting, but what if you could have that in a short sleeve base layer? This First Lite Merino Wool Llano Short Sleeve Crew does what Merino wool knows best: keeps you warm in the winter and cools you in the hot summer.
Here are the other pros:
- The base layer is made of Merino wool
- The fabric wicks moisture, keeping you comfortable
- This is designed for the best performances in the warmest weather
- The fabric feels lightweight and next to skin
- This is machine washable
- The base layer keeps you dry in the summer and warm in the colder weather
- It gives a good, comfortable fit
- This doesn’t wear odor and you can wear it for several days until you need to wash it
- The base layer runs true to size
- This is highly functional
- The fabric is not itchy
- This base layer is long lasting
- The performances and colors remain high even after long time
When it comes to the down sides, there are only few to mention:
- The base layer is not mosquito proof
- The craftsmanship needs to be of better quality
- This is a bit pricey
Despite all this, this is a great investment of your money anytime.
If you go for the high quality Polyester base layer, a good choice is this Scent-Lok Men’s Thermal Baseslayer Top.
Here are our pros:
- There is Carbon technology used in this base layer creates a barrier to body odor
- The anti-microbial treatment makes this base-layer efficient on odor control
- There is good moisture-wicking performance on this base layer
- The mock turtleneck brings more warmth when you are wearing this
- The tag less design is nice and sleek
- This base layer keeps you warm in the cold winter and cool when it gets hot outside
- There is good breathability for this base layer so you remain dry when hunting
- The base layer is comfortable and nice
- This is not bulky and gives a good fit
- The soft brushed knit fleece fabric absorbs moisture very good
As for the cons, there are only few things that we still need to mention:
- The base layer needs higher performance when it comes to warmth
- There isn’t enough fleece on the inner layer of this garment
All in all, this polyester base layer is still a great buy when in search for a good base layer for hunting.
A good base layer made of Merino wool is the Sitka Men’s Merino Core 1 Long Sleeve Zip Tee. Along with the high performances of the Merino wool come other good things, as follows:
- The base layer is made 100% of Merino wool, which means it keeps you cool in the warm weather and warm in the cold winter
- The base layer is comfortable and doesn’t itch
- This fabric wicks moisture away from skin
- This stretches giving you great mobility and freedom on the move
- The high keratin content gives natural odor resistance
- The high heat-to-weight ratio makes this a great base layer
- This gives a great fit
- There is nice finish to it
- This is not thick and not heavy weight
- The base layer doesn’t hold odor
- This is extremely versatile
On the other side, we need to mention the parts we didn’t like. If you plan to take this on a very cold winter, think twice as this might not be the best choice.
When we talk about base layer for hunting, we need to talk also about bottoms. And if Merino wool sounds a bit too fancy and too complicated to take care of for your, then these Columbia Men’s PHG Camo Midweight Tight Base Layer are the best next thing.
Here are our pros:
- This base layer is made of 100% Polyester
- The fabric is 86% Polyester and 14% elastane
- There is Omni-Heat thermal reflective feature which means they are great on retaining your own body heat inside
- The Omni-Wick advanced evaporation is efficient when it comes to breathability
- You can machine wash these on gentle cycle, but do not bleach and only tumble dry the bottoms
- Don’t use fabric softener, don’t iron and do not dry clean this base layer
- This comes in Reel tree and Mossy Oak camo pattern
- The bottoms are stretchy and anti-pilling
- They don’t feel bulky, even though they trap your body heat inside
- They fit close to the body so you can layer as much as you want/ need
- They are very lightweight and thin
- They are very well made
- The price is great for the high quality you get
- They are efficient on wicking moisture and keeping you warm
Along with our pros, come the cons:
- They could keep you warmer than now
- They run a bit small and you need to go up a size for a sure fit
- It’s a tad difficult to put them on when right out of the shower
But, considering the price and the high performances, you won’t be buying a lemon for sure when getting these as your base layer for hunting.
If you are determined to only invest once in a good pair of bottoms, then this First Lite Allegheny Merino Wool Bottoms is the perfect choice.
Along the fact they are made of Merino wool and do exactly what you need, when you need, there are other good features on them. Here are our pros:
- This base layer keeps you warm in the cold weather and cool you in the hot summer
- They are made of 100% superfine Merino wool
- The wool is naturally odor resistant and has no chemical treatments
- The wool also retains body heat when you sweat
- They feel good against the skin and are very comfortable
- The bottoms are butter smooth
- They give a great fit
- They are breathable and keep you fresh all day long
- This base layer is great on scent control
- They dry fast
- These bottoms are long lasting and they look great after long wearing
- There are less stitching in wear areas which brings more comfort to you
- They feature a soft jacquard waistband
- You can machine wash the bottoms
On the other hand, some things need some improvement so here are our cons:
- The camo pattern is a bit too light, but it’s not that important since you wear them underneath
- The waistband folds over too easy
- The bottoms could be tighter than this
But, as they are made of the finest Merino wool and are so long lasting, these bottoms are a purchase you can’t go wrong with.