Find the Right Clothing

For Sheep and Goat hunts I recommend Sitka in the “Open Country” Optifade pattern. We all use it and it works very well in the terrain we hunt. Contact David Brinker at Sitka Gear, dbrinker@sitkagear.com. He will hook you up with the right setup for any situation. I only use clothing made by Sitka. Below there is also some options that may work for you as well.

For other hunts like Moose, Caribou and Grizzly the “Subalpine” pattern from Sitka works best. But both will work for concealment. Note that the systems are designed with a specific purpose in mind. For example… the open country “Dewpoint” rain gear is a bit noisier than its counterpart the “thunderhead” in subalpine. This is due to the type of hunt its designed for. Backpacking without a means of drying each night, its made to shed water, where as the thunderhead has a brushed finish that can hold water but is great for sneaking in the brush and trees. This is fine because you have a stove to dry it out usually each night.

In general, stick with synthetics (Fleece, Schoeller, Saddlecloth, nylon/poly blends etc.) or wool. For backpacking, synthetics tend to be lighter and quicker to dry. Smart Wool is hard to beat. Wool is more odor & wind resistant than fleece, unless you use Wind stopper fleece like Beyond Fleece or Mountain Hardware. A jacket or parka with a hood is a good idea.

Make sure you have a belt or suspenders for your pants Collared shirts or Zipped pullovers work the best. A vest makes a great layering tool. Some people like them and some don’t. Down vests are very warm and work well late in the fall. A fleece or wool vest will work most of the season. A lightweight jacket made with synthetic fill (Kelvin Jacket (Sitka) or Brooks Range Jacket -- Barney’s Sports) is a good idea if you get cold easily. A good hat and gloves are vital to staying comfortable.

A brimmed hat works well for warmer weather, rain and for people who don’t like hoods. Cowboy hats can get in the way on a backpack hunt. Later in the year, a hat with earflaps will keep your neck and ears warm. Wind block fleece gloves with a shell is a good all weather combination. For cold weather, a pair of waterfowl type, Gortex gloves (Cabela’s MT050) type works well as does a mountaineering type glove made by Patagonia, Mountain Hardware or Black Diamond or Outdoor Research “OR”. I always pack an extra set of “Stormfront” gloves with me as the temperature can change at anytime. If you get cold hands easily, bring a pair of mittens also.

In warmer weather, their Microtex (Burr Barrier) and lightweight fleece is great. LL Bean makes a nice set of Worsterlon clothes and wind bloc fleece. Day One Camouflage makes some of the nicest camo fleece, especially for bow hunters. They have a huge selection of patterns to choose from. Barney’s Sport Chalet sells some excellent Wind block Fleece and lightweight backpacking clothing (The Black, 3SP Sport hill Mountain Pants are great -- maybe the best all around backpacking pant made for the money).

Mountain Hardware (Wind block) and Arcteryx (Gamma MX) make excellent Wind block pants and jackets. Mountain Hardware and Arcteyrx (Gamma LT) also make excellent early season backpacking/mountain/rock pants made from a Schoeller Fabric that breathe well and are very tough.

Another great line of wind block items if made by Beyond Fleece. They can custom make any size, color, feature you want. Regarding wool, King of the Mountain is the best all around for cold weather.

Another company that makes excellent technical wool clothing is IbexWear, Filson, Sleeping Indian Designs, Pendleton & Woolrich also make nice wool clothing. If you will be backpacking, the clothing should be light, quick drying and layering is a key.

Quiet clothing is important for bow hunting. For the mountain/backpack type hunts, noise and camouflage are not as important as warmth, weight, durability, comfort, fit and layering.

Regarding Camouflage, it is not necessary, but it will help you blend into the environment. If you want Camo, Sitka is by far the best Clothing for backpacking. The pattern you choose is not critical. If you are doing a mountain hunt, choose a color that is open and blends with rocks and ledges. Sitka, Kuiu, Kryptek, Mossy Oak, Advantage, ASAT, Predator & Real tree will all work, but Sitka is by far the best from our experience.

You are NOT required by law to wear hunter orange.

REMEMBER IF YOUR HIKING IN RUBBER RAIN GEAR YOU WILL SWEAT A LOT.

Sitka Gear is what we recommend – “Stormfront” or “Dewpoint” in opencountry and “Thunderhead” in Subalpine. You can purchase it from Cabela’s or Barney’s Sport Chalet, Oneshot Gear or even Sitka directly.

Other Good quality, 3-ply Gore-Tex (XCR is best) shells to consider include: Patagonia, Mountain Hardware, Taiga Works, Arcteryx and the North Face, these are not camo or quiet, but can work well for mountain type backpack hunts, especially in September and later. When a Gore-Tex jacket becomes dirty and looses its DWR coating, the water will not bead up on the surface, causing it to work poorly. Gore makes a product called Revivex that works on most outerwear.

For Backpack hunting (later season sheep), I recommend this group of 3-ply Gore-Tex rain gear as it does not absorb water and is easier to dry in the wind, without a fire or stove. Storefront.

To keep your pants from giving you saggy crotch syndrome, make sure they come with a set of suspenders or belt.

When you combine a waterproof layer and a quiet outer material in one package, you get a quieter product, but it also becomes heavy and more difficult to dry when saturated. If anyone can help solve this dilemma, they will be able to retire and hunt forever. This is not so much an issue on horseback or cabin/wall tent type hunts, but is very important on extended backpack style hunts. If you are comfortable hunting naked, then you will not have to worry about this problem.