Many people, even those who hunt on a regular basis, don’t seem to understand the concept of layering.
It is talked about frequently, but not as frequently practiced. Layering refers to wearing multiple garments, one on top of another, that both insulate the body and wick moisture away from the skin.
Whether it be from a long walk in, dragging a boat, setting decoys or breaking ice, it’s easy to overheat and sweat — a lot. Too much sweat from improper layering will cause a person to become especially cold once they stop moving, and there are few worse feelings for a hunter than being cold and clammy when waiting on those wads of late morning mallards.
Imagine being somewhere in the flooded woods on a late December morning, facing a big northern front of cold air and a stout wind. The temperature is forecast to be in the low to mid-teens when the boat comes off the trailer, and it’s going to get even colder right after shooting time, when the morning sun breaks the horizon.
The hope is that the mallards will be on the wind early, but chances are they may sit tight for a while. This is when a hunter wants to be warm and comfortable in the morning, in case the start of the hunt isn’t fast and furious.
So how to do that? First, you’ll need a good undergarment that both insulates and wicks, like a base layer top and bottom or a Merino wool half-zip top and elastic waist pants. These base layer pieces will be the foundation for keeping you warm and dry. Next, you’ll need a thin insulation layer like a breathable one-quarter zip pullover and a pair of lined wader pants to keep your legs warm beneath your waders.
Over that, a good option is a wool quarter-zip sweater. Wool is Mother Nature’s most breathable, moisture-wicking fabric that insulates even when wet. If wool is not preferred, a performance-fabric hoodie and windproof tech vest will do. For the ultimate in warmth and weather protection, go with a timber jacket which, as the name suggests, is designed for timber hunting and is a popular choice among hunters.Timber jackets are normally available in uninsulated or insulated options, so a hunter can choose the right solution to fit the need.
Finally, an effective layering effort of course means having a good pair of waterproof/breathable waders for keeping dry in the flooded timber and wetlands of Arkansas duck country.