Critique my clothing list for Idaho mule deer hunt

Neckbone

Lil-Rokslider
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Hunting unit 39, Boise National Forest 10/13-10/21

Plan is to be on the mountain glassing by 10/14 evening. Will be backpack hunting for the week. The plan is to find a good area and set up camp, then strike out for the day to glass. Will move camp around if needed, but trying to not get happy feet if we are seeing deer. Do plan on spending hours behind the optics on a knob or ridge. ANYWAY, I know weather can be highly variable in the mountains, so planning for cold. (I am Florida man too btw) This is my full clothing list...

Schnee's Timberline non-insulated boot.
2 pairs Darn Tough heavyweight wool socks
1 Set Kenetrek gaiters
1 Exoficcio boxer briefs
1 lightweight smart wool merino bottom baselayer
1 Columbia nylon hiker pant
1 RedHead camo synthetic pant
1 lightweight smart wool merino long sleeve baselayer
1 Redhead synthetic quarter zip long sleeve shirt
1 North face quarter zip fleece top
1 Stone Glacer hooded down puffy jacket
1 Redhead Waterproof camo jacket (Cant remember which model, Not super thick, but not a flimsy thin rain jacket)
1 Hat/ball cap
1 Fleece beanie hat
1 Fleece neck gaiter
1 set thinner Colombia glove,
1 set Firstlite glassing mittens
1 ultralight rain poncho and 1 set thin waterproof marmot rain pant

How does that compare to your backpack hunting kit? Any tips/critiques/feed back is welcomed!
 

Bump79

WKR
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Oct 5, 2020
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Looks like you'll be in great shape. The only thing I'll add is that it very well could be very cold. Especially at elevation. Not sure what you're camp looks like but I'd have a hot tent.

Also, not sure what those pants are but I'd probably just bring one midweight pant. Then a down pant or a lightweight rain pant.
 
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Neckbone

Neckbone

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A few areas where you could save weight potentially:

Why have the redhead long sleeve if you’ve got a fleece? Why have 2 pairs of pants? And why the poncho if you have a waterproof jacket?
Mainly to have a few extra layers in case things get cold.. I am from Florida and do get cold easily. I do think if I got a better pant I could probably lose the nylon hikers.

Poncho for added rain protection and can cover my pack as well. (Pack will have 3mil contractor bag lining the inside)
 
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Neckbone

Neckbone

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Looks like you'll be in great shape. The only thing I'll add is that it very well could be very cold. Especially at elevation. Not sure what you're camp looks like but I'd have a hot tent.

Also, not sure what those pants are but I'd probably just bring one midweight pant. Then a down pant or a lightweight rain pant.
I do have a lightweight rain pant that I will be bringing. I don’t love the pant that I have…hence the extra nylon hiker fkr added insulation. Any recommendation on a good mid weight pant? Being from FL I’m limited on shopping the good stuff in person

Will be in a Tarptent strat, neoair Xlite pad and EE down quilt 20 degree. I sleep in all my clothes.
 
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I do have a lightweight rain pant that I will be bringing. I don’t love the pant that I have…hence the extra nylon hiker fkr added insulation. Any recommendation on a good mid weight pant? Being from FL I’m limited on shopping the good stuff in person

Will be in a Tarptent strat, neoair Xlite pad and EE down quilt 20 degree. I sleep in all my clothes.
Buy these and don’t look back
 

S-3 ranch

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Jan 18, 2022
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Sisterdale Texas / Hillcounrty
I like wool
sweater
baselayer
3 pairs socks,
2 pairs DTC underwear
rain Gear
wool cap
light weight gloves
mittens
fleece or wool pants
fleece pullover hoodie
DTC quick dry pants

but it’s all subjective and your list looks good
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2023
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Looks pretty good to me. Funnily enough I will be in the same unit during the same time frame! If you’d like to exchange ideas send me a pm
 

Jrtex

FNG
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Sep 12, 2023
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I will be in unit 39 as well again this year. I will be there from October 7th-16th getting in my spot two days early to glass for opening day to determine if we want to setup in spot A or B. Last year it was 60-70+ degrees during the day until October 21st. Then it went full winter at elevation above 6500 feet and very cold, sub 25 degrees. Best bet is to have cold weather boots and warm weather boots on you for the trip then load out for the hunt right before you go based on weather reports. A non insulated boot is going to get cold fast if the weather dips below freezing during the day while you are there ( I know because I did just that last year). i would get a 400 gram of insulation mountain boot just incase weather moves in right before you go. if you are staying below 7000 feet you will probably be fine with non insulated.
 
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Neckbone

Neckbone

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I will be in unit 39 as well again this year. I will be there from October 7th-16th getting in my spot two days early to glass for opening day to determine if we want to setup in spot A or B. Last year it was 60-70+ degrees during the day until October 21st. Then it went full winter at elevation above 6500 feet and very cold, sub 25 degrees. Best bet is to have cold weather boots and warm weather boots on you for the trip then load out for the hunt right before you go based on weather reports. A non insulated boot is going to get cold fast if the weather dips below freezing during the day while you are there ( I know because I did just that last year). i would get a 400 gram of insulation mountain boot just incase weather moves in right before you go. if you are staying below 7000 feet you will probably be fine with non insulated.
Damn, im definitely hoping for the 60 degree days! Got to be prepared for the worst tho. I would say our group as a whole is not adequately prepared for heavy snow and sub zero conditions. Cold cold nights and some wind and snow is fine...worst case mountain weather...not sure about that. If plan A pans out, truck will be parked around 6k ft and we will be hanging out in the 7-8.5k ft elevations glassing. We will just have to be flexible if things turn ugly.

What did you think of unit 39? This will be my first time there.
 
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I personally would ditch the following. They are duplicative. This is from a backpacking-weight perspective.

1 Redhead Waterproof camo jacket (Cant remember which model, Not super thick, but not a flimsy thin rain jacket)------use your rain gear
1 Redhead synthetic quarter zip long sleeve shirt-----use your wool base layer top
1 North face quarter zip fleece top---------use your puffy
1 RedHead camo synthetic pant--------use your columbia nylon pants
 

Jrtex

FNG
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Sep 12, 2023
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Damn, im definitely hoping for the 60 degree days! Got to be prepared for the worst tho. I would say our group as a whole is not adequately prepared for heavy snow and sub zero conditions. Cold cold nights and some wind and snow is fine...worst case mountain weather...not sure about that. If plan A pans out, truck will be parked around 6k ft and we will be hanging out in the 7-8.5k ft elevations glassing. We will just have to be flexible if things turn ugly.

What did you think of unit 39? This will be my first time there.
It was our first year out west. i am from CT. We saw over 100 mule deer while I was there. Would see 5-10 does a day minimum in the spots we were in. we hiked 1-2 miles in from every trail head. Saw a huge heard of Elk (didn't count, but 40+ easily) with two shooter bulls. One was 300+" class the other was 200" class bull. Saw a Batchelor group of small bucks once. One was a fork 2X2 the others were spikes. I think it was group of 4. Overall, i think there was alot of mule deer, the big bucks are hard to find and stay hidden. We tracked a big mule deer buck through some thick timber and tried waiting him out but it was just too cold and snowy to say with the gear we had. on the last day i was there on the 30th i had a chance at a 150+" buck that was being chased by a large group of coyotes. Everytime he stopped he would take off again a second or two later. I took one shot and as i was shooting he darted off again and i missed. Very very tough shooting situation that i sadly could not put together. being the last day i was not patient enough. lesson learned. Everything we saw was above 6500 ft elevation besides the last day was on the low grasslands moving to one last sot for the afternoon.
I will put it this way, it was good enough for us to come back again this year because we feel if we had known what we learned we most likely would have put an anima on the ground last year. The only thing that worries me this year is the devastation from last winter killing like 40% of the population.

check out the youtube video we made from last year.

 

Bearsears

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Colorado
I agree with shoeshine. You have some redundancy. If you have the SG Grumman puffy you dont need a ton of other layers. If you have rain gear and a contractor bag for your pack, you dont need the poncho. This is what you need:
Base layer top and bottom(or no base bottom if you have puffy pants)
Mid layer fleece or active insulation
mid weight soft shell pants
puffy layer
wind layer
rain gear
gloves hats beanie, etc.

I added a wind layer because I swear by them and they can be really cheap, light, and help you stay much warmer especially when glassing from exposed points. Wear the wind layer on top of your base layer but under your mid layer unless its actively precipitating lightly then wear it on the outside. If you wear it closer to your skin like I described above it will push moisture through it alot faster/easier while hiking. They are honestly my most favorite layer for cold weather hunting and they never leave my kit all times of the year. Some example are the Patagonia Houdini, Sitka Mountain jacket, etc. However there are good ones even cheaper.

Also Jrtex take the Unit# off that youtube video. Guys honestly stop blowing up spots. Its enough to say the state.
 

Swamppirate

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Virginia
I would add a couple pair of sock liners…REI makes some nice silk ones. Blister block if you don’t have any…Idaho ain’t flatland FL….IMG_2895.jpeg
 

jj554

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Aug 22, 2023
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Location
Pennsylvania, US
I agree with shoeshine. You have some redundancy. If you have the SG Grumman puffy you dont need a ton of other layers. If you have rain gear and a contractor bag for your pack, you dont need the poncho. This is what you need:
Base layer top and bottom(or no base bottom if you have puffy pants)
Mid layer fleece or active insulation
mid weight soft shell pants
puffy layer
wind layer
rain gear
gloves hats beanie, etc.

I added a wind layer because I swear by them and they can be really cheap, light, and help you stay much warmer especially when glassing from exposed points. Wear the wind layer on top of your base layer but under your mid layer unless its actively precipitating lightly then wear it on the outside. If you wear it closer to your skin like I described above it will push moisture through it alot faster/easier while hiking. They are honestly my most favorite layer for cold weather hunting and they never leave my kit all times of the year. Some example are the Patagonia Houdini, Sitka Mountain jacket, etc. However there are good ones even cheaper.

Also Jrtex take the Unit# off that youtube video. Guys honestly stop blowing up spots. Its enough to say the state.
It seems like a lot of layering systems rely on the wind breaking features of an outer softshell. Does your method eliminate the need for that softshell? Is there an advantage for having a single purpose wind layer and how does do you think it would work for someone who sweats excessively? Would you pull it off when moving like you would other layers?
 
Joined
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Messages
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Bring one pair of pants, preferably softshell. Leave a second pair at the truck.

Drop the poncho.

I'm not exactly sure what the waterproof jacket you described is. Is it rain gear or more like a lined, soft-faced, jacket that is also supposed to be waterproof? If it's the latter, consider a purpose built rain jacket.

My standard upper body layering is: short sleeve merino, fleece hoody, puffy, rain jacket.

I used puffy pants for the first time a few weeks ago and they will be coming along for everything in the future. In the past, I've brought heavy fleece joggers for the same purpose.

I also reserve one pair of socks just for sleeping in.
 

Bearsears

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It seems like a lot of layering systems rely on the wind breaking features of an outer softshell. Does your method eliminate the need for that softshell? Is there an advantage for having a single purpose wind layer and how does do you think it would work for someone who sweats excessively? Would you pull it off when moving like you would other layers?
Great questions. Id like to preface my answers by saying there is no right or wrong way to these systems. Everyone has different biology, favors different aspects of gear like weight, warmth, moisture management etc. So this is my experience and it comes from years of trial and error before the information was so readily available on the interwebs or the technology was so good. Now with the caveats out of the way lol.

1. Yes a lot of layering systems do rely on a softshell for wind breaking and yes my method eliminates that need for mountain hunting.

I have a Sitka Jetstream (not the new version) for example but I never use it mountain hunting. Its used around town, at the kids sports games, and its probably my favorite jacket for pheasant hunting because it seems like its always windy and the jetstream is tough as nails for brush busting. However, it doesn't make my pack for the mountains because its heavy, doesn't pack as well, and isn't as versatile. I save weight and gain versatility by having a dedicated wind layer and a mid layer instead of a jacket that is a wind layer and mid layer in one piece. I can wear just my mid if the wind is low and Im really active, just my wind layer if its windy but not super cold and really active, or both it its windy and blustery cold.

2. How does it work if you sweat excessively? I think this is where understanding the different types of wind layers and trial and error can come in.

First let me talk about the different types. You have tight knit wind layers like the Patagonia Houdini, and you have true laminate wind layers like gore wind stopper. The tight knits, in general, are probably going to breath better than the laminates by nature. So if you sweat alot one of these might work best. The laminates are going to block wind better and are usually made into hunting specific pieces like the Sitka Mountain Jacket. So knowing your body, managing your pace (something almost no one talks about), and being honest about your hunting style goes a long way. Example one, you bow hunt elk and are moving almost all day and you sweat a lot, a knit wind layer might be best. Example two, you hunt rifle deer and your preferred method is to run ridges stopping at each exposed glassing point for extend time to pick apart the country with optics, a laminate is probably best. In example one I'm favoring breathability in example two I'm favoring wind blocking. Ill also say that if you REALLY sweat a lot then maybe a thin wind blocking vest might be the best bet instead of a full jacket with sleeves.

Now let me talk about best practice for a wind layers position in your system. In my opinion it is vital that whatever wind layer you pick, you wear it as close to your skin as possible in almost all circumstances. Here's why, whether its a knit or laminate, its never going to breath and move moisture like your base layer, your mid layer fleece, or even your puffy. So, we need to try to maximize its ability to push as much moisture through and trap the least amount. How we accomplish this is by putting this layer as close to the heat source (your body) as possible. Heat is what pushes the moisture through these garments. If instead we put it on the outside, then we cant push the moisture through as effectively so its stays in your mid layer and you just become wet, clammy, and cold when you stop. The best example Ive ever seen of this was years ago we were hunting rifle season in -10 degrees and dry. My buddy decided to wear his base, mid, puffy, and rain jacket while hiking thinking he'd be the warmest that way. When we stopped he was wet all the way through and his rain jacket had ice all over the inside. Why, because his rain jacket which breathes absolutely terrible was completely cut off from any heat from his body. So as his other layers moved the sweat efficiently from his body, the rain jacket couldn't and instead froze. This cut off all moisture movement and soaked him. The only time Id wear a wind layer on the outside is if its warm enough I dont need another layer, or there is active light precip, Im moving and I dont want a rain jacket on.

Last question is would I pull it off for moving? No. If its windy I almost never take it off. One, its inefficient to constantly be taking layers off and putting them on. Especially if they are under your mid layer as Im suggesting. Two, Im going to sweat regardless and Im going to be damp when I stop. Id rather be warm. When I stop and its cold the first thing I do is pull out the puffy and put it on and put on the beanie with windstopper in it also. This traps all the body heat Ive just generated hiking and cooks my system dry. In my experience with high quality layers, especially synthetic base layers, Im dry against my skin in less than ten minutes and Im comfortable. After that I don't care how long it takes to move through the rest of the system but when I get up to move agian and the puffy comes off, usually all my layers are dry and Im ready to roll.

This was probably way more lengthy than you wanted. Sorry I'm just trying to be thorough because wind layers are the most misunderstood, undervalued, and misused layers in my opinion. I think guys would be amazed how much more comfortable they will be when they incorporate them properly into their systems.
 
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