Getting the best hunting clothing for the money is vital if you want a good hunting trip. Whether you’re going on a casual day trip or spending weeks in the wilderness, your clothes will impact every moment of the trip. Here are my top choices, plus some additional information to help you decide what you need.
The Best Hunting Clothing
Best for alpine conditions
- Heavy-duty knee pads
- Ripstop fabric on the seat
General hunting needs
- Complete outfit with multiple pockets
- Unique camo pattern
Finding The Best Hunting Clothing
Unlike regular clothing, the best hunting clothing brands focus on practicality and versatility. If your clothes aren’t doing at least two things, they’re not good enough for serious hunts. Here’s what you should look for when you’re deciding between your options.
Hunting clothes are made for different environments. Hunting elk in early August is quite different from hunting turkey in December. If your clothes are too warm for your area, you could end up sweating too much, tiring out faster, and generally having a miserable time on your trip.
Some hunters buy several different outfits for different times of the year, and that’s okay. The important thing is knowing what environment your clothes are for and how to adjust them.
Warmth is the first thing most people focus on, but durability is nearly as important. As experienced hunters know, you’ll probably end up scraping against rocks, getting caught on thorns and bushes, and generally putting your clothes through an environment with the potential to shred them.
Soft and comfortable outfits may look great from the start, but if they can’t stand up to your environment, you’re just wasting your money. Few things are more miserable than returning from a trip without catching anything because your clothes are too ripped to be comfortable.
If it doesn’t at least have extra pockets, it’s not an excellent choice for hunting. Pockets matter because the goal while hunting is the ability to access anything you need with as few movements as possible. Pulling something out from a chest pocket is far stealthier than putting down a great hunting backpack and rummaging around.
Great outfits may also have straps or other holders for specialized items. This guideline applies mainly to jackets and pants, but even hoods can be versatile if manufacturers make them well.
There’s one other reason why versatility matters: you’re probably on your own while hunting. Help could be hours away, so it’s better to carry anything you might need. The correct number of pockets can let you access both hunting and emergency supplies, and intelligent storage can let you access things in almost any situation you might find yourself in.
Preparedness and safety matter when you’re hunting. Accidents can and do happen, so it is always better to over-prepare.
One thing many companies don’t want to discuss is the legality of their clothing. Many states require that you wear a certain amount of bright orange on your clothing while hunting, which spoils the effect of all those exciting camouflage patterns companies want to talk about.
While the actual requirements vary, most states that require it at all demand 144, 400, or 500 inches of orange placed around your body.
Some clothes may come with orange panels built-in or included as optional attachments, but more likely, you’ll need to buy those separately. This is extremely important because if other hunters mistake you for wildlife, they might shoot you instead of deer.
Ultimately, this isn’t something to look for so much as a detail to be aware of so you don’t get distracted by it. If a company spends all its time talking about a unique camo pattern and says nothing about the product’s other qualities, chances are they’re just trying to distract you from a product that isn’t worth your money.
Storing Hunting Clothes
One other thing to consider before you go shopping is how and where you’re going to store things. Even products from the best hunting clothes brands will lose effectiveness if you store them incorrectly. Fortunately, storing clothes the right way is easy.
First, wash all of your clothes as soon as you get home. Make sure you use scent-free detergent. Many animals have keen senses of smell, and our goal here is to reduce that as much as possible.
If you don’t have a special scent-free detergent on hand, you can either buy some or use baking soda to absorb all the odors from your gear.
Next, store all of your clothing inside-out in a scent-free plastic tote or container and put it somewhere that’s away from sunlight and won’t be opened much. This will help prevent fading and molding.
Our goal here is to prevent all external smells from reaching your clothes. Optionally, you can include wood chips from the types of trees in your hunting environment to help your clothes smell like the outdoors. This isn’t necessary, but it can help on some hunts.
Don’t assume that traditional storage areas like garages or sheds are a good place for hunting gear. Most of these areas have their own smells that can seep into clothing if you’re not using sealed containers.
Finally, sort and label your clothing so you can figure out what clothes are where. That includes related non-clothing items, such as cold-weather hunting boots that you might take on your trip.
Consider off-site storage if you have a lot of hunting gear. Self-storage facilities are usually quite affordable for small rooms and have ventilated temperature-controlled environments. Such facilities may have restrictions on what you can store, though, so make sure you check those before you sign up.
Hunting Clothing Reviews
Here are my reviews of the best hunting clothing currently available. These are mainly different types of clothes and outfits, so they aren’t exclusive to one another. Some hunters may prefer to get several or even all of these, and that’s perfectly reasonable if you expect to use them.
NEW VIEW’s jacket-and-pants combo outfit is an excellent option for first-time hunters and experienced buyers alike. This outfit features eleven pockets that are mostly placed on the front, as well as ultra-quiet materials that help reduce noise.
We particularly like the stealth-focused redesign of the zippers here. The one-way zipper by the hood is much quieter than the older two-way option, while all of the other pockets have their own zippers with aligned compartments to stop any sound from bumping. All of these are helpful for stealthy movement.
This is an outstanding default option for many buyers. Between the many available sizes, the great patterns, the durability, and the high number of large pockets, this outfit will usually get the job done. However, while it’s functionally windproof, it’s only water-resistant. In practical terms, this outfit is fine in light rain but not a good choice for hunting in heavier rain.
That’s not a significant downside because most people don’t go hunting in downpours to start with, but the difference between water-resistant and waterproof matters. This is especially true for the pockets, which similarly aren’t waterproof and may not protect your things in heavy rain.
- This full outfit is available in many sizes
- The manufacturer is regularly updating the outfit based on feedback from users
- Comes with an extra-large rear pocket for holding oversized items
- Ideal for most hunters in most situations
- Only water-resistant, not waterproof
- Sizing can be tricky to get just right, although washing before use can help a lot
- Not suitable for true winter use
- It may be more expensive than getting pieces separately
Staying warm is important when you’re outdoors for hours or days at a time. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t lose most of our heat through our heads, but we do lose heat through exposed skin. Masking up can help you stay warm and comfortable on longer trips.
Ergodyne’s N-Ferno mask is a particularly nice choice because its hinged design lets you wear it in three different ways. You can wear it over the top of your head and your neck, cover the entirety of your lower face or protect everything except your eyes. Add a nice pair of goggles, and you’ll get total head protection while wearing this.
This mask also has a few other features that make it better than the competition. The first is a mesh panel that goes over your mouth, ensuring better airflow instead of blocking that with the fabric. This makes it easier to talk with the mask on, too, if you’re hunting in a group. Meanwhile, its thermal fleece is suitable for most freezing environments.
This mask covers more skin than Ergodyne’s other products usually do, making it the best option for staying warm. It’s also machine washable and available in several colors, though most hunters will want to get the camouflage pattern.
- Better airflow than most other masks on the market
- Suitable for any chill you’re likely to face while hunting
- Has an extra-long neck area you can tuck into jackets
- Quite wind-resistant despite the mesh breathing area
- Wearable in several ways
- Only available in one camouflage pattern
- Not as comfortable when hunting in warm weather
- Reasonably durable but not designed for particularly rough terrain
SITKA Gear Men’s Stratus Windstopper Water Repellent Ultra-Quiet Fleece Hunting Jacket with Removable Hood
This jacket-only garb is easily one of the most expensive options on the market, but it’s worth it if you’re looking for high-quality hunting gear. Look elsewhere if you’re on a budget.
The most immediately noticeable thing about this jacket is that it’s functionally windproof. This jacket has a membrane between its outer shell and inner fleece backer that almost eliminates all effects of the wind, helping you stay warm in early Autumn.
However, while this jacket is great for moderately cold environments, it might not be enough for alpine areas or winter hunting. Instead of trying to do that, the manufacturer has designed this outfit to hold insulating layers under it or go beneath a warmth-focused outer layer.
This jacket is a little difficult to recommend despite its overall quality. It’s outstanding at doing its main job, which is stopping the wind and helping you stay comfortable. The mesh hearing ports are a nice, rare touch, too. That said, the price point is so high that people could reasonably expect this to be the only jacket they’d need, and it isn’t.
The thing that helps this jacket stay on the list is its inclusion of a pass-through port for attaching items. This system lets you add or remove things from a SITKA safety harness without taking the harness off, and that’s a great feature.
- Especially good at stopping wind chill
- Has several features that improve compatibility with other SITKA products
- The hood is removable
- Several additional pockets make storage far easier
- Available in a bright orange version for legal compliance
- Arguably overpriced for its materials and features
- It may not be the only jacket you need while hunting
- Might interfere with bow hunting
Kryptek’s pants are available in camouflage and gray variants. The impressive camouflage modeling makes the surface appear 3D instead of 2D, thanks to micro and macro layering, making these pants highly effective in backcountry environments.
While these pants aren’t waterproof, they are fast-wicking and quick-drying, which means it’s easy to sweat in them. They’re also 40% synthetic, with a significant part of their non-polyester components put around the seat and knees for better durability. I always like to see companies pay attention to areas that see extra use while hunting, and these don’t disappoint.
Storage-wise, these aren’t quite the best on the market, although they’ll suffice for most people. Notably, they have two hand pockets, a cargo pocket on the left thigh and a long vertical drop pocket on the right thigh. Be careful to ensure items don’t fall out, though, since these aren’t zippered enclosures.
Overall, these are reasonably affordable hunting pants with enough pockets to be useful and the durability to hold up under extended use in most environments. That makes them a great choice for most buyers. However, the camouflage pattern can be a little off at times, reducing the overall viability and effectiveness of these pants.
- Machine washable
- A high-quality camouflage pattern creates a 3D appearance
- Dries quickly and helps wick away sweat
- Comes with a large vertical drop pocket
- Not particularly water-resistant
- No pockets for knee pad cushions
- Limited scent removal
SITKA’s on this list twice, which speaks to the overall quality of their products. These pants are a great pair for their jacket above, with the manufacturer recommending hunting at a range of 50 yards or above while wearing them. They also include several features that Kryptek’s pants don’t.
The biggest difference between these two pants is the choice of materials. Kryptek’s pants are 60% polyester and 40% synthetic, while SITKA’s here are 100% polyester for their main areas. However, that doesn’t include the additional nylon ripstop fabric in the knees and seat area, which offer significant added durability.
That would be nice on its own, but the nylon areas are also waterproof, so you can sit or kneel in snow and similarly wet areas without absorbing all that water into your pants. Even better, these pants have removable knee pads for added protection while you’re out hunting.
One thing to keep in mind here is that these pants are quite heavy, blocking wind and trapping heat. They’re not truly insulated, though, so you might end up adding another layer if you plan to hunt in particularly cold areas.
- Significantly more durable than many competing products
- Comes with knee pads
- Waterproof seat and knee areas
- It has nylon ripstop fabric in the most abused areas
- Blocks the wind
- Too heavy for some people’s preference
- Not warm enough for truly cold hunting environments
- Non-nylon areas may still absorb water
NEW VIEW’s full outfit is the go-to choice for most hunters. It’s practical, it’s affordable, and all the pieces work together to give you plenty of storage for longer trips. SITKA’s products are generally high-quality, but they’re also significantly more expensive than competing products, so it’s hard to recommend them to average buyers.