Whitetail Deer Hunting Clothing

Section #7: Whitetail Deer Hunting Clothing Overview


This article could be a favorite of some hunters and completely passed over by other hunters.  I love gear and am a self-proclaimed gear nerd.  The question that gets asked is, what to wear deer hunting? I am continuously on the search for the perfect gear including clothing.  My whitetail setups are much more refined at this point after 3 decades but I am still on the hunt so to speak for the perfect setup. The dirty little secret in the industry is you can hunt deer without the latest and greatest whitetail deer hunting clothing and gear.

Grunt, Snort-Wheeze, and Rattle this to your buddies!

Camouflage Patterns

whitetail deer hunting hunter clothing, what to wear deer hunting, what is the best camo for deer hunting

I have worn several patterns from Realtree, Mossy Oak, Sitka, Kuiu, and Asat. I like all the camo’s mentioned for different reasons. Let me be honest, I like camo and I tell my kids that it is my favorite color. In my whitetail and turkey focused days I preferred Realtree but that was before the majority of these companies started creating their own patterns.

I think camos are a lot like tools. Some work better in some terrains versus other terrains. At the end of the day if it helps break up your outline it is doing its job. No matter the camo pattern, controlling your movement is far more important than the pattern. More important than controlling your movement, is being extremely cautious about your scent and where the wind is taking it.

The unfortunate part of all this is camo is created and made to sell the hunter, not sell the game that the hunter isn’t there. I have slowly moved away from all camo and now prefer solid color pants, but I still prefer a camouflage top. I am not sure if it is important, but it makes me feel more confident having a camouflage top. That is the important thing to remember in your camo decision, what makes you feel confident when it comes to pattern.

With that being said, I prefer to select hunting clothing based on functionality regardless of camo pattern. Keep our article in Section #3 – Whitetail Vision in mind when picking a Camo pattern.

Whitetail Deer Hunting Clothing – Material Content

Whitetail hunting clothing material content comes in all forms.  From the basic Wal-Mart cotton printed with camouflage all the way to technical hunting garments made from the latest and greatest material.  Let’s look at the basics below, there are more but this will get you started.

  1. Wool – Natures insulator, wool has been popular among whitetail hunters for centuries.  It is warm, quiet and retains heat when wet.  On the downside, it is heavy.
  2. Fleece – This material has been around for some time now and is heavily used in whitetail hunting gear.  It is warm, and quiet.  It does no retain heat if it is wet.
  3. Polyester / Nylon Blends – Think of softshell jackets, they are a blend of polyester and nylon.  They help block the wind and retain heat but are heavier compared to fleece.
  4. Down – Although not as prevalent in whitetail gear, down is a great alternative for heat retention.  The downsides are it is usually louder depending on the shell and if it gets wet, there is no heat retention and drying can take forever.

Whitetail Deer Hunting Clothing – Layering Strategy

One challenge for whitetail hunters depending on the temperature is sweat.  As you hike to your stand, depending on how many layers you wear, you begin to sweat.  Then as you sit, your body starts to chill due to the sweat coupled with the inactivity of sitting.  You can combat this by hiking to your stand in as little insulation as possible and layer up when you are seated.  I prefer to layer with wool as my base layer.  It is warm and wicks the moisture away from my skin allowing it to evaporate as opposed to soaking the material and remaining cold for hours.  Technical blend base layers will also work, but I prefer wool.  Once I am in stand my second layer on top is a high loft fleece to catch the heat, on the bottom I wear a poly blend pant over the wool base layer.  Depending on weather conditions my third layer is a poly blend softshell when it is mild.  When cold temperatures set in, I have a third layer of insulated fleece bib overhauls and a heavy wool coat.  You will have to try and see what works for you.  

Layering is key to regulating your temperature on the way to the stand and staying warm in the stand.  You can add and remove layers as you need and as the temperature dictates.

Wrap Up

From a clothing standpoint, I think functionality, material content and layering trump camouflage pattern.  As I said before, I love camouflage, but it isn’t my sole consideration.  I have several pieces now that are solid colors as opposed to camo but that is your preference.  Keep this in mind, hunters have been harvesting whitetail deer forever with plaid wool coats.  Find what is functional, what you like and what will make you comfortable in the stand.  The more comfortable you are the longer you will stay which will only increase your odds.

At the end of the day there is no one answer to the question of, what to wear deer hunting? What is the best camo for deer hunting? Or any other number of questions on this topic.


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