A Woman’s View: How I Stay Warm Hunting
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I hate winter. This is only funny because I have lived in the North my whole life and can’t seem to get used to the weather. Call me a reptile if you will…I’m convinced I am cold blooded.
This of course, tends to be a problem once late deer season rolls around and the temperature drops to single digits. Not being one to let the cold weather keep me from my deer stand, I have tried about everything I can think of to stay warm. It’s taken me a few years, and have gotten frost bite in the process, but I have figured out a few
key things to help me withstand a cold day in the woods.
Base Layers: Many base layers sold for cold weather have a silky feel to them…the silky material will hold any sweat and in turn make you cold. I start with a plain cotton tank top as my first layer, and cotton leggings. Ladies, as odd as this may sound, steer clear of underwire bras. Sports bras will be your best friend when hunting cold weather.
My next layer is an under armour fitted shirt. Except it’s not really under armour…my paycheck isn’t quite large enough to justify paying $50 for a shirt. I bought a Hanes brand set of long underwear from Walmart and also a Rocky brand set from Walmart. Both work amazing and are about $20 for the complete set.
Fun fact: tuck your shirts into your long underwear. This will prevent your shirt from pulling up when you sit down, and eliminate the extremely uncomfortable sensation of cold air seeping under your clothing.
Socks: start with a thin pair of cotton socks, preferably not too tight as this will slow down circulation in your feet. I prefer knee socks but that’s just me. I then layer a pair of thick wool socks overtop, and make sure all of my socks are overtop of my leggings…this keeps your base layer bottoms in place and the legs of your pants won’t ride up. Honestly the most important thing to keep your feet warm is a good pair of boots. Yes they can be expensive but so worth it. Be sure to buy a size up to allow room for your feet to breathe, and also allow you to stick a hand warmer in the toe of your boot.
Mid layering consists of fleece or wool sweatpants and a hoodie. Fleece and wool have made the biggest difference for keeping me warm. That ugly wool sweater your grandma made for you and you have hidden away in the back of your closet? Pull it out and put it to good use.
Down vests are amazing, particularly for bowhunters. Vests help keep your body heat in, without adding extra bulk to your arms.
My very outer layers consist of heavy insulated overalls and a heavy insulated jacket. Some people prefer coveralls, which are just as efficient. If you are a bowhunter, you may want to wear an arm-guard to keep your sleeves tight against your arm. The arm-guard will keep any baggy clothing away from the strings path when fired. Some jackets have them built in for this reason. As a girl, I wear arm warmers and love it as it is only adding extra warmth.
The only way I have ever been able to keep my hands warm is with two pairs of gloves. First layer is one of those cheap pairs of knit gloves you find at the dollar store. These are thin enough I can wear my release over top of them. Second is a pair of wool gloves with a removable mitten top that I can put hand warmers in.
They say you lose up to 75% of your body heat through your head and neck. I’m not sure how true this is, but I do know I don’t last ten minutes without a warm hat that covers my ears, and a scarf or neck gaiter that completely covers my neck, mouth, and nose.
Despite all of these, in 2013 I experienced my coldest winter yet I’m the woods of Indiana and Ohio. Several hunts I just wanted to curl up in a fetal position and cry from being so cold.
Then, I was introduced to the heater body suit. If you are going to experience -20° temperatures with wind, the heater body suit is what you need. It kept my skinny little self toasty warm for 5 hours in a cold treestand. As the one I used was just a loan, I’m considering buying a camo sleeping bag as substitute for this upcoming winter.
That all being said, I hope this can help a few of my fellow cold blooded women hunters!
Beka Garris is a contributor to “The Rubline” blog and will be sharing her struggles and successes with everyone.
Please follow her @Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/beka.wildernessbabe?fref=ts Proline Bowstrings www.prolinebowstrings.com Official Miss NJ Huntress USA Hardcore Huntress Top Shot 2013
Originally published at www.buckadvisor.com on March 10, 2014.