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GUNS Magazine November 2010 - Page 56

Modern hunting clothes help in many ways. ne problem with hunting is it’s done outdoors, not just in North America but all over the world. We must prepare for varying conditions; otherwise we’ll end up not just uncomfortable, but maybe even dead. The key word in modern hunting clothes is “layering.” The easiest way to prepare for weather and temperatures that change across the day and seasons is to buy several layers of clothing, adding or subtracting layers as conditions change. However, this isn’t like a shoplifter walking out of a store while wearing several shirts. Instead, the layers in hunting clothes should work together to keep us reasonably comfortable. For most hunting in North America, 56 O John Barsness this starts with what’s known as a “base layer.” Your grandfather called this long underwear, but today’s long underwear is fundamentally different than the stuff most hunters wore 50 years ago. Back then, the standard long underwear was made of quilted cotton, exactly the wrong thing to wear next to your skin. Cotton fiber soaks up moisture almost as readily as a sponge, and the only way the water leaves is by slow evaporation. This is fine if we’re hunting in warm, dry weather while wearing only a single layer of cotton. It’s bad, however, if we’re hunting in typical North American autumn weather, wearing other clothes on top of our long underwear. In cool-to-cold weather, cotton long underwear soaks up our perspiration and keeps it right next to our skin. This isn’t comfortable at any temperature below 50 degrees, and in sub-freezing weather can kill us through hypothermia. Wet cotton also lacks any of the airspace that insulates our body. Instead of catching and holding moisture, today’s base layers are designed to transport (“wick”) evaporating sweat away from our skin. Moisture essentially follows the outside of the fibers, rather than soaking into them, evaporating on the outside of our clothing. This both cools us when climbing a hill, and keeps us warm when we stop to glass at the top of the hill. We end up being comfortable in much wider range of temperatures. Lately I have been wearing Under Armour as a base layer. Under Armour was originally developed for athletes, but the company started offering a line of clothing specifically for hunters a few years ago. It comes in different WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • NOVEMBER 2010

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