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Hook & Barrel
A Lifestyle Magazine for Modern Outdoorsmen

Learning how to build hunting layers seems like a chore, but it’s simple, effective, and aids your hunt once you get the hang of it.

Imagine you draw your dream elk hunt out in Montana, and the only time you can go? November. A western autumn is no beast to ignore. Here in Montana, temperatures on my own hunts have ranged from 80 degrees to -10 in November. So, how does one prepare for such a range?

The best way to approach your own personal safety is to correctly layer. In extremely warm weather, the right layers protect you from the sun, keep your scent dialed down, and keep you cool. In extreme cold, correct layering prevents hypothermia, offers you the ability to move easily, and aids in keeping you warm when you’re still.

And in my experience, it can be hard to navigate how to figure these out. But I’m super stoked on the brand Kings Camo making it easy for folks to build these layers. Its five-layer system creates the perfect pathway for understanding how to stay comfortable and safe outside.

How To Choose Hunting Layers

Base Layer

If you’ve ever played in cold weather, you’ve likely donned base layers. Base layers are typically made up of two main types: wool or synthetic. Each has their respective pros and cons.

Wools and wool blends tend to manage scent much better than synthetics over an extended period of time. They retain warmth when wet. And thin wool layers are also cooling in hot weather. Synthetics, on the other hand, tend to be more durable, more affordable, and can offer wicking technology that gets your drier, faster.

I typically wear a mix of synthetics and wool over the hunting season, but I gravitate towards thinner wool as a baselayer when the weather gets intense and I need to use more than one or two layers to stay warm. Thick base layers can often be too much when you’re on the move, though they can be great if you’re sitting in a stand or a blind all day.

Kings Camo offers both merino wool layers or synthetic options that are both affordable and varied. Personally, I’d purchase wool bottoms and a mix of wool and synthetic tops to find out

Midlayer

kings camo hunting layers

Your midlayer is your next point of protection against a chill. Typically made of fleece or a heavier thermal fabric, this is the piece you throw into your pack when a chill kicks up on a warmer archery hunt, or that you can pull off when hucking miles up and down mountains.

This can either be a low-key outer layer on a good weather day, or another insulating layer on a tough day. Think zip fleeces, pullovers, etc.

Insulation

Insulation is where things get down to business. And we mean down. Or synthetic insulators.

Your insulation layer tends to be more fragile, prone to rips through barbed wire fence or snags on sticks. We recommend using outerlayers over insulation, for the most part. But pair an insulating jacket with insulating pants and that can also be the key to being able to glass for long periods of time.

These are your down coats, Primaloft vests, or pullovers. If it’s super cold, throw this over your midlayer. If not, it can go straight over your base. Either way, it’s the lightest form of staying warm, and I always keep an insulating layer in my pack when hunting. You never know when you’re going to get stuck or cold.

Softshell

kings camo hunting kits

Softshells are your main source of beating back the wind. They also tend to have some sort of water resistance, so that if a bit of precipitation befalls on you, it’s not the end of the world.

This is your durable, go-to jacket and pants combination that work together to keep you dry, safe, and comfortable in nebulous weather. Oftentimes, softshells are lined in fleece for extra warmth, have a lot of pockets for stashing gear of all kinds, and, in my opinion, they should have a hood if it’s needed.

Outerlayers are where spending some extra cash on your kit can really keep you in the field. A truly exceptional softshell means that you’re protected from the elements. And pair it with excellent hardshell equipment, and you can stay out in all sorts of inclement weather.

Hardshell

And let me tell you, animals are often easiest to hunt in the worst weather. This is where a great hardshell set comes in.

A hardshell jacket and pants is your weatherproof protector. In the warmer months, this can be a super durable raincoat and rain pants pairing. In the colder months, look for hardshells that have a layer of insulation and some extras like handwarming pockets, gear stashing abilities, and heavy-duty hoods.

If there’s one thing you simply cannot go without, it’s a hardshell system that protects you. Hands down. A good hardshell system can mean the difference between getting soaked and becoming deathly hypothermic or saving your life in the worst conditions. Think of it as a house that you can wear. Buy the best hardshell set you can afford. You’ll thank me later.

The Interchangeability of Hunting Layers

The only right way to layer up is the way that keeps your temperature regulated correctly. Put on too many layers, and you could sweat so much that you lose hydration and wear yourself out. Put on too little or the wrong layer, and hypothermia can be a real problem.

Montana humbles me each year, and it reminds me that my layers need to be dialed. I am also fanatic about carrying as many layers as I might need. It can add more weight, but it has also saved me in times of big weather changes beyond the reach of service or my vehicle.

I also make it a point to stop and adjust layers as I move through the country. Or, I’ll save putting a layer on if I know I’m about to charge uphill for a stretch.

And if there’s one thing I feel I battle more than the cold, it’s the wind. I killed a mule deer a few years ago because I had upgraded my kit to include softshells that kept me going in heavy gusts. And I was comfortable the whole time.

Kings Camo Makes It Easy

It can be difficult to sort through all these different pieces and find out what works best for hunting layers. Fortunately, I love that Kings Camo offers the opportunity to pick kits hand-curated by the long-time hunting brand.

Going on the high mountain hunt of a lifetime? Check out Kings’ expedition kits. Heading into elk country? They’ve got you covered there. Striking on out on your first whitetail hunt? They’ve got that too.

The kits are a great option for anyone looking to get into hunting, outfit themselves for a specific hunt, or gift folks with a leveled-up kit.


Kings Camo Brings Accessibility, Affordability To Technical Hunting Clothes
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