A Killer Clothing Layering System for Big-Game Hunting

Most hunters know that the only certainty in hunting is … there is no certainty. Every year brings you a new set of circumstances, like the population count of your targeted game species, changing hunting habitat from year to year—and of course, the weather. Ah, yes. Mother Nature loves to throw a temperature tantrum from one minute to the next, often forcing you to change up your hunting strategy. How do the most successful hunters succeed? By adapting, of course. And changing it up with clothing layering options is a key way to adapt to your environment.

Hunting Clothes Layering Systems Explained

A clothing layering system isn’t a new concept. But it is an important concept that’ll help you regulate your core temperature. Your body’s ideal operating temperature is 98.6°F. If you heat up above that, your body depletes itself of precious body fluids and salts, which could result in a heat illness, like heat stroke. If it drops below that, hypothermia may pay you a visit. Simply put, an effective layering system lets you easily don or shed layers so you can regulate your internal temp to match the ever-changing external conditions. The layering system includes a base layer, a mid-layer, and an outer layer.

1: Base Layer

An ideal base layer soaks up your sweat and lifts it to the fabric’s surface where it can dry. If you didn’t have a moisture-wicking layer on, your sweat would just pool up around your skin and create a cool, clammy feel. Or worse, unstoppable shivering, which is not ideal for a steady shot. Start your layering system out the right way with an effective base layer that drinks up that moisture and spits it out on the fabric surface.

Example of Under Armour base layer weights

Most base layers are grouped into lightweight, midweight, and heavyweight. Lightweight base layers are best used in early-season hunts when the temperatures are higher, or when you exert a lot of energy. Midweight layers are better for cooler temperatures, or when you’ll have mixed activity levels of sitting and walking. Heavyweight base layers are best for the coldest of temperatures, like late-season hunts up north. So if you are early-season bowhunting for elk in the mountains, you’re most likely going to wear a lightweight base layer under your hunting clothes. On the other extreme, if you’re a white-tailed deer hunter sitting in a stand in Minnesota in late November, you’re more likely to want to wear a heavyweight base layer.

2: Midlayer

The midlayer is an insulating layer that traps in your body heat to keep you warm. Think of your favorite goose down vest. The plumage clusters create thousands of tiny air pockets that are filled with your own body heat. While duck and goose down offer superior insulation, it isn’t exactly like water off a duck’s back when used in manufactured products. When it gets wet, it STAYS wet, which is why real down feathers make for a poor exterior layer that’s exposed to rain. That’s why you should only wear natural down underneath a waterproof layer. Another option is to wear a synthetic (man-made) midlayer, like fleece. Although it isn’t exactly waterproof, fleece does not readily absorb water like natural down does.

3: Outer Layer

This layer works to block out the wind and shield you from rain. Usually this layer has some kind of coating, or a membrane welded to the fabric that blocks out the moisture when the skies go ‘a crying. And just as important is its ability to breathe so you don’t build up unnecessary moisture inside the Jacket.

A new spin on this tried-and-true concept

Hunting experts and clothing designers from Sportsman’s Guide teamed up to develop their take on the Hunting Clothing Layering System. And what they developed is Bolderton Outlands, a true interchangeable all-weather system that’ll get you through the heat of early-season hunting to winter’s bitter end. What’s unique about this system is you control which pieces you want to buy. Opt for individual pieces to fine-tune what you already own. Or buy the whole system as a bundle and swap out the pieces for true-mix-and-match versatility (bundling also saves you money). Unlike a traditional 3-in-1 Jacket System, this one uses a primary Shell that fits perfectly with 1-of-2 liner jackets. So instead of wearing all three simultaneously, you’ll swap out between the best liner jacket to serve your particular needs at that moment.

Bolderton Outlands Layers

Outer Layer

Waterproof Parka Shell

Highlights: Waterproof/windproof and super-quiet brushed fabric. It’s compatible with both the Outlands Softshell Liner Jacket and the Down Insulated Liner Jacket.

Midlayer Option #1

Down Insulated Liner Jacket

It uses synthetic down, which retains its warmth even when wet. It also packs down small for easy carry in a hunting pack.

Option #2

Softshell Liner Jacket

This has Whist W3 fleece panels on the sides, shoulders and underarms, so it won’t impede bowhunters when drawing that bow.

Outer Layer Pants

Waterproof Shell Pants

100% waterproof, windproof protection, plus quiet fabric. Wear them alone with a base layer, or double up the insulation when you pair them with the Midlayer Pants.

Midlayer Pants

Insulated Liner Pants

Highlights: Filled with Thinsulate™ Featherless Insulation, a technical insulation that warms you, even when wet. Plus they also pack down small. Wear them under the Shell Pants when you’ll be sitting stationary for an extended length of time.

Bundle Up and Save

While you can buy each piece individually, you get a price break for buying the bundled systems. Below is the price breakdown for buying individual items vs. bundling them together*.

*Prices reflect non-club member prices as of the published date, though prices may change at any time.

Versatile. Adaptable. Interchangeable. That’s what makes Bolderton Outlands a competitive option as your next hunting clothing layering system. The interchangeability between each lets you adapt to your hunting environment, so you can stay focused on your hunt. And if you’re comfortable while out in the field, you’ll clock more hours on your season tag and increase your odds for a successful hunt.

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