How to Stay Warm When Hunting During Cold Sits
Late-season hunting provides one final opportunity for deer hunters to punch their tags and fill their freezer. It is no secret that the more time you can put in the woods, the more likely you will fill that tag. One problem is the late fall and winter can be cold, bitter cold. Logic would say, find all your warmest gear, layer up, put on two pairs of wool socks, and make that hike to your favorite stand or blind. What if I told you, by putting on all those layers, you just shortened your sit significantly? Counterintuitive thinking, wouldn’t you say? Let’s dive in and look at why that is the case.
Moisture Management Would Stay Warm When Hunting
The first tip to staying warm is moisture management! Often, you get cold because you sweat on the way to your stand. You throw on all the layers you plan on wearing and hike a decent distance. Under all those layers, you sweat because you worked hard to get to your spot. Those two pairs of wool socks have your feet dripping! As you settle into your spot, your core temp starts to cool down, and your sweat gets very chilly! I always make sure I am carrying in my outer layers. This way, you are not wearing your warmest pieces of gear on your hike. A product that really has helped me with this task is the TideWe Expandable Capacity Backpack. That pack allows me to stash all my outerwear in that outside expandable portion. I can then use the internal storage for all my everyday backpack supplies. When I leave the truck to start my hike into my spot, if I am not cold, I am overdressed. Once you get moving and start your hike, you will warm up. Now, avoid hiking in just your base layer in below-freezing temps, but gauge the situation and make the right call based on the current temperature.
Wear the Proper Layers
The second tip is wearing the proper layers! Just because you can put on three shirts, a hoodie, and your jacket doesn’t mean that is how you will be the warmest. In this case, your three tee shirts could be your worst choice. The phrase “cotton kills” cannot be overstated. If you are wearing cotton base layers or socks, you are doing yourself an injustice. Cotton does not wick away moisture, and it holds it in. Cotton, once wet, will stay damp and cold and lose all its insulation ability. My personal go-to is Merino wool base layers. Wool has properties that allow it to wick away moisture and maintain its warmth even when it gets wet from your sweat. There are also some synthetic material products that do a fantastic job of this. Either of those choices is a much better alternative to cotton.
This same theory also applies to your choice of socks! Something I do when I know I will have a long hike and a long, cold sit, is to pack the proper socks. Believe it or not, I take in three pairs sometimes. It is not so I can wear all three at once; it is so I can keep the socks working as they should. The first sock I put on at the truck is a lighter-weight hiking-style sock. This allows me to really manage the moisture on my hike. When I reach my spot, I will put on my heavier wool socks before climbing up. This way, I am not sweating when I wear the socks I will be sitting in all day. I carry that third pair as a just-in-case pair. If I were somehow to get my wool sock wet or sweaty, that backup pair could allow me to have that all-day sit.
Pack for the Forecast
The third tip is to pack for the forecast! Look at the elements you will be hunting in. Will it be sunny and calm or windy and rainy? Your gear needs to reflect what Mother Nature is throwing at you. Many of the late-season sits bring on some of the worst weather of the year, like wind, rain, and cold. Those three things can cut through your clothes and chill you to the bone. The TideWe heated 3-in-1 jacket is the perfect piece to add to your late-season kit. With this jacket, you have an outer shell that is both windproof and waterproof. Those features are extremely important in making sure you stay warm in the elements. Even if it is not late in the year, you can pack just the shell and have a piece to cut the chill of early morning, late evening, or a bit of rain in the forecast. The second piece of the jacket system is the liner jacket. This liner gives you the flexibility to wear it on its own or zip it into the outer shell to insulate your windproof and waterproof layer. Did I mention that the liner is heated? Yes, heated! You just plug in the included battery pack, and you can have up to 10 hours of heated run time! That will absolutely get you through those all-day sits! TideWe offer many different heated products, including jackets, vests, bibs, waders, and seats! If there is a part of your body that gets a bit colder easier than other parts, TideWe has a heated solution for you!
As you try to punch that one final tag for the season, look at your gear, from base layers to outwear to accessories and think,“Am I putting myself in the best situation to stay warm and be successful?” If you did not answer yes, find that area that could use improvement based on those tips above! If you want to punch that late-season tag, you will need to put in the time. TideWe gear will help you do that on your next cold late-season hunt!