I receive a lot of questions about what hunting gear I use. Below, I have assembled a comprehensive list of my hunting clothing and hunting gear (just don’t tell my girlfriend how much I own). Click the blue underlined text at any point in the article to learn more about that piece of gear.
Table of Contents (Click Links Below to Jump to that Section)
Clothing (Active Hunting / Spot and Stalk)
- Sitka Core Lightweight Hoody – This is one of my favorite pieces of gear. Super versatile, breathable, dries quickly when wet, and features an integrated face mask for extra concealment in close quarters. The Core Lightweight Hoody is a must for the scorching temperatures of the early antelope season. Perfect for temps 65 degrees plus.
- Sitka Core Lightweight Bottom – The perfect base layer under the Sitka Apex Pant. I add this base layer for temperatures in the 30-55 degree range. Adds just enough warmth without adding any noticeable bulk.
- Sitka Apex Hoody – The perfect complement to the Sitka Core Lightweight Hoody. When the bite of the morning is air just a bit too much for the Lightweight Hoody, my second layer is the Sitka Apex Hoody. The Apex Hoody layered over the Lightweight Hoody is great for temperatures in the 40-60 degree range.
- Sitka Kelvin Lite Hoody – After the Core Lightweight Hoody, this is my second favorite piece of Sitka Clothing. This Hoody is incredibly versatile. A jacket that adds a disproportionate amount of warmth compared to its weight. In my opinion, best worn during periods of lower activity wear retaining warmth is key to all day comfort.
- Sitka Jetstream Jacket – With western hunting comes wind…lots and lots of wind. This jacket cuts the wind like a brick wall. On windy, 40-50 degree days, I layer the Jetstream Jacket over the Core Lightweight Hoody. When the temperatures dip more, I add the Kelvin Lite Hoody, I and am comfortable in active conditions down to 15-20 degrees. I will add in the Apex Hoody when conditions get truly brutal.
- Sitka Apex Pant – I am primarily a bowhunter, and this pant is designed for bowhunters. Arguably Sitka’s quietest big game pant, the Apex Pant features a bonded polyester face that delivers durability, weather resistance and, most importantly noise reduction. The pant also includes removable knee pads, which some people love and some people hate.
- Mission Belt – Spot and stalk hunting is a physical pursuit. It’s not uncommon for me to lose a few pounds over the course of a weekend hunt. With a traditional belt, this means ill-fitting pants a few days into a hunt. Add the weight of a sidearm potent enough for bear country and a guy can practically walk out of his pants. The mission belt solves this problem superbly. It is micro-adjustable, which means it always fits perfectly. Plus, the belt is stiff enough to adequately support a holster and a sidearm. As a bonus, Mission also offers a camo pattern belt option.
Clothing (Treestand Hunting)
Base Layers (Cold Weather)
- Sitka Merino Heavyweight Half-Zip – It’s hard to beat merino wool for insulation. This is my go-to layer when the mercury drops during the whitetail rut.
- Sitka Merino Heavyweight Bottom – Merino all the way for the coldest days of the rut.
- Sitka Equinox Hoody – A great piece of insulation that doubles as a jacket during the early and mid-season when temperatures are cool, but not cold enough to require a dedicated outer layer.
- Sitka Kelvin Lite Hoody – I mentioned in the clothing (active hunting / spot and stalk) section that the Kelvin Lite Hoody is one of my favorite pieces. On the coldest days of the rut, I layer the Kelvin Lite Hoody over the Heavy Weight Half-Zip. This combination, with a wind blocking outer layer like the Stratus Jacket is incredibly warm without being overly bulky.
- Sitka Neck Gaiter – I remember the first time I wore a neck gaiter while treestand hunting. It’s
cliché, but what a game changer.
- Sitka Stratus Jacket – The Stratus Jacket is very similar to the Jetstream Jacket. Windproof, form fitting, and functional, what’s not to love…maybe the price.
- Sitka Stratus Pant – The complement to the Stratus Jacket. The windproofing on these pants works very well. My go to pant from 35-55 degrees.
- Sitka Stratus Bibs – In the coldest part of the season, I always wear bibs. For me, I layer the Merino Heavyweight Bottom, then the Stratus pant, and the Stratus bib. I’ve never had issues getting cold with this layering approach.
- Mission Belt – I discussed this one above, but it’s worth mentioning again. This is a great product.
Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400 – I have been wearing these boots for the past two seasons. They excel in steep and rugged country. Check out my in-depth review covering the first 300 miles in these boots HERE.
Bow, Arrows, and Accessories
- Hoyt RX-1 – I bought this bow brand new in 2018 after a shoulder injury prevented me from being able to draw my 2008 Hoyt Katera. I’m the kind of guy to buy a new bow about once every 10 years. This one shoots great and has killed quite a few animals already. Looks like I won’t be upgrading any time soon.
- Tightspot 5-Arrow Quiver – The quiver to end all quivers. Incredibly well thought out and packed full of features and value. See my full review HERE.
- Spot Hogg – Hogg It 5-Pin Sight – For hunting, I prefer a multi-pin fixed pin sight. Spot Hogg sights are bullet proof and the Hogg It comes with a dovetail, which allows adjustment to align the pin guard within the peep. Adjusting the dovetail length can also alter the gap between pins, which can be important with today’s fast bows.
- QAD Ultrarest MXT – I’ve been shooting different variations of the QAD ultra rest since they were first introduced to the market. The MXT features precision micro-adjustment, which makes paper tuning, and broadhead tuning a much more enjoyable process.
- Bee Stinger 12″ Pro Hunter Maxx Stabilizer – Add a real stabilizer to your hunting bow. Do it. Stabilization is one of the easiest and most cost-effective methods to improve your accuracy with archery equipment. Don’t believe me? Check out my podcast with Garrett Prahl (a.k.a. the DIY Sportsman) where Garrett discusses his experiment with various stabilizer setups using laboratory grade test equipment. Spoiler alert, longer and relatively heavier setups tend to produce the best results!
- Stan Perfex Blackout Thumb Release – This thing is the AR-15 of releases. Highly modular, highly adjustable, deadly in trained hands. See my full review HERE.
- Easton Axis 5mm Arrows – I go through quite a few arrows every year, so I don’t buy the highest priced arrows. These arrows have always performed for me, and I like that they come with brass inserts that can be setup as either a 75-grain or a 50-grain option to increase FOC.
- Slick Trick Magnum 125-Grain Broadheads – Simple. Effective. Consistent. Deadly. And at a great price. What else can I ask for?
- Bohning String Wax – Cheaper than a new string. Wax on, Wax off…errr, maybe just wax on.
Optics and Optics Accessories
- Vortex Razor HD 12×50 Binocular – Dogs everywhere, eat your hearts out! Binos are a man’s best friend! Vortex rarely has the best glass at any given price point, but they always have the best warranty. As someone who abuses gear and has had to make two warranty claims on Vortex products in the past few years, I sincerely appreciate their no-hassle customer service and their relatively quick turnaround times on warranty work.
- Vortex Razor HD 20-60 Spotting Scope – A quality spotting scope is a must for any western hunter, and this is a quality spotting scope. However, if I had the budget for only one quality optic, I would buy binoculars before a spotting scope every time.
- Vortex Ranger 1800 – In my experience, most rangefinders are only capable of ranging 40% to 50% of their advertised range under hunting conditions (i.e., not highly reflective targets), which means this range finder is good for about 720 to 900 yards. I’m never shooting over 720 yards, so this unit covers all the bases for me and at a reasonable price. Plus, I really like the red LED display in twilight conditions.
- Manfrotto Befree w/Fluid Head – A compact, lightweight, and budget friendly option from arguably the premier name in tripods. The fluid head works well enough for hunting applications, but probably won’t cut it for any aspiring Steven Spielbergs.
- Vanguard PH-304 Window Mount – The first two window mounts I bought were steaming piles of crap. For only $30 more, the Vanguard PH-304 is a FAR superior product. This unit is solid and features independent tilt and pan controls. Check out my full review HERE for more information.
- Kuiu Pro Binocular Harness – This is a very comfortable and well-designed harness. However, if I ever replace it, I think I will go with the Badlands Bino X Case, which has a pretty slick magnetic closure system.
- Marmot Helium Down Sleeping Bag – Down has an incredible warmth to weight ratio along with great compression characteristics: This bag packs down into a very small package! The bag is rated for 15-degree sleeping conditions. In my experience, with my base layers and insulation on while sleeping, the bag definitely delivers comfortable sleep down into the teen temperatures.
- Therma-Rest Ridge Rest Classic Sleeping Pad – I’ve been using one of these for years. Simple, cheap, and effective.
- Cabelas’ Ultralight Backpacking Tent – Cabelas no longer makes this tent, but the Alps Mountaineering Helix 2-man tent is very similar in layout and construction. The tent includes lightweight aluminum poles and a high quality floor and rain fly. I prefer a two-man tent with a vestibule for extra gear storage during inclement weather. It weighs a little more, but I’m willing to add a few extra ounces here and there for critical items.
- Cocoon Air Core Travel Pillow – This inflatable pillow is ultra lightweight and works well. I’ve had mine for several years, and it still holds air as well as the day I purchased it. Often, I’ll wrap the pillow in my unused insulation layers for extra loft and comfort.
- Mystery Ranch Metcalf – Honestly, this is not my favorite piece of gear, and one that I plan to upgrade in the near future. Let me elaborate. I have an older version of this pack (circa 2017). Mystery Ranch did a poor job engineering access to the “overload” feature on this particular pack. Mystery Ranch has since been improved the ease of accessing the overload shelf. However, once loaded, the Metcalf pack works very well for packing heavy loads. My second complaint: this pack has one large compartment, no internal pockets or features for organizing small items. The new Mystery Ranch Beartooth 80 is a superior pack design. I also like the looks of the Kifaru 44 Mag. I plan to upgrade to one of those two packs in the near future.