Experts in Their Field:August 10, 2023
Women Hunting Pros Discuss Apparel Brands Performance, Functionality, and Style
Ask any hunter and they’ll tell you how finding the right gear for their expedition can make or break the hunt. Finding suitable gear and apparel can be a challenging task, especially if you’re a female hunter: ill-fitting garments, an abundance of pink camo, and untested new brands, just to name a few. Several hunting brands, including Texas outdoors brands, have responded by creating women-specific hunting clothing that meets the demands and needs of outdoorswomen.
Hunting, and especially whitetail hunting in Texas, has long been a cherished outdoor pursuit, and more and more women are embracing this exhilarating activity to find a deeper connection to their food, the land, and reconnect and spend more time outdoors. To ensure a successful and comfortable hunting experience, having the right hunting kit is essential. Fortunately, there are now several brands that offer women’s hunting apparel specifically designed for our bodies that don’t impede function and mobility.
Expert hunters Emilie Brochon and Kamiryn Malnar know how to dress, and pack for a hunt. We asked them to share some tips and must-haves for their hunting kits, and their insight to help any woman gearing up for the fall season—whether it’s their first or their 15th.
For Emilie Brochon, CRLT’s conservation intern, Marine veteran, and active hunter, her passion for wildlife was fueled by growing up near the Mississippi River on the border of Iowa and Illinois. As an adult in the conservation field, her time spent outdoors heavily revolves around hunting Texas’ wide-open landscapes and fly fishing its pristine streams and rivers.
With the rise of many new women’s lines hitting the market, Emilie says it can be difficult to choose items since many of them have not been thoroughly reviewed or field-tested. “Sizing can be tricky, especially since most women’s hunting apparel is exclusively sold online.” And to make things even more complicated, “learning how to properly layer items in the colder months makes sizing even more challenging.”
“Invest in quality hunting apparel, especially with Texas’ often unpredictable weather patterns. Consider the noise the material makes as you move, especially when it comes to your outermost layers. Game animals like deer have incredible hearing and are easily spooked.”
She firmly believes in shopping early and being well-informed about what you’re purchasing. “Do some research and save up for some must-haves that you really like from reliable brands. Your hunting experience will be much more enjoyable if you are well prepared.”
Emilie’s must-haves for her hunting kit for the fall season starts with the foundation – base layers. Like most hunters, “there have been times when the weather changes, and I’m freezing my butt off in a deer blind.” So, for the colder months, Emilie’s hunting kit starts with First Lite’s Furnace Long Jane, a merino wool base layer, top, and bottoms.
First Lite is renowned for its high-performance hunting gear, and their merino wool base layers live up to the brand’s reputation. Constructed for the coldest temperatures, the Furnace Long Jane seamlessly integrates with your hunting kit and are ideal for layering making it adaptable to varying weather conditions.
Her other go-to is Duck Camp’s midweight hoodie. Duck Camp’s newly released women’s hunting garments are designed with breathability, warmth, and quick-drying properties, making them ideal for hunters on the move. The women’s midweight hoodie serves as a versatile piece not only as a base layer for cool mornings in the deer blind, but also worn as a single layer for warm days on the lease.
For Kamiryn Malnar, a ranch and wildlife manager for a large hunting and deer breeding outfit, her passion lies in managing wildlife and habitat and demonstrating the direct correlation between the sport of hunting and conservation.
She grew up in a hunting family and began guiding hunts professionally in college. Her father instilled a passion for ethical and conservation-based hunting practices early on and she has continued to base her career decisions with those values in mind.
As a woman in the outdoor industry, Kamiryn notes that it can sometimes be difficult to find gear and clothing that fit appropriately, is quiet, and is made of quality fabrics that can withstand extensive use in rugged terrain.
“I often jokingly say that “you’re only as good as your gear.” And that is not to say that we must spend four hundred dollars on a jacket to be successful on the hunt. Comfort and practicality are so important when it comes to hunting apparel and finding a proper fit is the most challenging aspect of sourcing hunting gear. Do your research! It will be worthwhile. In my opinion, the ability to layer and utilize your pieces in a multitude of terrains and seasons is crucial for a reliable outdoor wardrobe.
In the last few years, I have seen an influx of women’s outdoor brands and have had the opportunity to test some of these brands. Quality has greatly improved from when I first began shopping for my own gear. The industry is moving in the right direction, and I am looking forward to seeing what comes out in the upcoming years.”
For Kamryn’s hunting kit, she focuses on keeping it simple. “I try to keep my gear as light and compact as possible. Aside from functional apparel, footwear, optics, and my pack are my most valued items when it comes to a successful hunt.”
Regarding optics, she prefers binoculars with a compact design and a chest harness, making them easily accessible without having to rummage through a bulky backpack. “My go-to binoculars are the Zerotech Thrive HD 10×42. This model comes with a great chest harness system. I am able to keep my binos, extra ammunition, hunting license, etc. in an easy-to-reach location. These retail for around $600.00. If you are going to splurge on any aspect of your gear, choose optics. Being able to identify game quickly and correctly, is crucial to a successful hunt.”
Also, on her go-to gear list is proper ear protection.
“I use the Walker’s Ultimate Alpha Muff. At an affordable $69.99, they are practical and functional. These electronic muffs allow you to hear the slightest snap of a twig behind the blind or a whisper from your hunting partner. But effectively muffle a gunshot at close range.”
When it comes to apparel for her hunting kit, proper footwear is a huge priority for Kamiryn and can make or break a day in the field.
“I prefer a snake boot over anything. I have tried multiple designs and my favorite so far has been the SHE Outdoor in the style, “Lubbock.” After trying many different styles and brands, these waterproof boots were the most comfortable and long-lasting. I have worn the same pair for three years and they have held up very well. These are great for warm or cold weather, as I just change my sock thickness according to the season.”
Like Emilie, Kamiryn fully believes in gearing up for the season, planning ahead, and preparing before your hunt. This eliminates so much stress.
Here are some of Kamiryn’s recommendations to set yourself up for a seamless transition into the hunting season.
–Obtain your hunting license ahead of time. You can purchase your license for the year beginning August 15th. If you are avid about the outdoors, go for the Super Combo. This will provide you with your year-round hunting and fishing license. If you plan on hunting migratory game birds, don’t forget to obtain your Federal Duck Stamp!
–Purchase your gear, apparel, and pack. Get your bags ready ahead of time so that you can add as you go before you head out for the first hunt of the season.
– Sight in your rifles. All of your preparation will be for nothing if your rifle or bow is not accurate. Safety is so important! You want to know that your projectile, whether that is a bullet or an arrow, will hit where intended. This is crucial for a safe and ethical hunt. Go to the range and practice. You will feel much more comfortable going into the season.
–Have fun! Be open to learning from others or mentoring someone looking to hunt for the first time. It is our duty to share our love for the outdoors with others and exude ethics in the industry.
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