Much of the process of hunting lies in the waiting and during that time it can get cold – very cold, particularly if you are sitting in a treestand.

Not only is it important to stay warm for comfort, it can be a matter of survival and, at the very least, the difference between enjoying your hunting trip and hating it.

When conditions are freezing cold, you want to be in a position where you will be able to perform at your best. The correct clothing is crucial to that performance. But it’s not just what you wear that’s important, it’s the way you wear it.

Just because you have one of the warmest insulated hunting jackets on doesn't necessarily mean you will remain warm through the entire hunt. You need to be smart about need more!

Of course, I’m referring to the process of layering your clothes to get the maximum performance out of them. Get the base layer right and you stand a good chance of sitting comfortably for long hours.

Why Start With A Base Layer?

Base layers are effective for a number of reasons:

  • They are lightweight so you barely even notice that they’re on. They certainly don’t hamper movement.
  • They sit next to the skin so when you have a comfortable base layer shirt or pants on, the rest of your clothing is going to feel comfortable.
  • They help to manage any moisture. The latest models of base layer shirts are made from fabric that wick moisture away from the skin leaving you drier for longer. This is just as effective in warmer dry weather to remove the sweat quickly as it is in wet weather.
  • If you start to get too hot, you can always remove your other clothing and be left with your base layer which will adapt nicely to any conditions.

There are quite a few good quality manufacturers of base layer clothing for cold weather who are worth looking at closely. Some use cotton, others use merino wool and there is also the synthetic fiber option.

Featured below are a few brands that have become very well-known with providing hunters with numerous options that can be used as the starting point of an effective strategy to stave off the cold.

If you're trying to stay dry, you should also consider taking a look at our comparison of recommended hunting rain jackets

Base Layer Brands To Consider


Specialists in cold weather outdoor clothing made from merino wool, Icebreaker has developed a strong reputation for helping put together a layered wardrobe that will cover all weather conditions.

From short and long sleeve crew neck shirts to half zip and hooded shirts to full leggings the range is very impressive. The use of merino wool provides a strong and natural fiber that is stretchy enough to fit the body perfectly. The company has also developed ventilation features to help regulate the body temperature when things start to warm up.

One of the most popular long sleeve shirts in the range is the light weight Everyday Crewe which works as well as a base layer under heavier clothing as it does as a stand alone shirt.

The company produces an extensive range of base layer clothing for both men and women as well as every other layer required for the most comfortable hunting wear possible. Find out more about the entire product line by visiting the Icebreaker website.


The company features ultralight clothing that has been designed for mountain hunting and that means the crucial base layer is integral to the line. Long sleeve and short sleeve t-shirts made from merino wool are the top of the line options that provide moisture wicking to keep you dry, breathability to ensure comfort and are itch-free so they're perfect for placing against the skin. This is the Ultra Merino line that also features hoodies and pants.

Also available from Kuiu are the Peloton line-up that has been made from synthetic and provides many of the same features at a cheaper price.

The base layer clothes from Kuiu are among the best available for hunters because they are specifically designed for hunting conditions. Find out more about the company and the product range by visiting the Kuiu website.

First Lite

From socks and hats to shirts and pants, First Lite has created a range of incredibly high quality hunting gear with a particular focus and the ability to layer the clothing.

As with the other quality manufacturers the First Lite base layers feature merino wool for the softness and the durability that it provides.

Not only do the light weight shirts perform well in all weather conditions but they look great and are produced in a range of camo designs and colors to suit all hunting scenarios. We have provided a couple of examples of the long sleeve crew shirts above.

This is a brand that is definitely worth finding more about and you should make a point of visiting the First Lite website.


Minus33 specialises in producing garments made from merino wool. They are soft and comfortable and are suitable for all conditions from the coldest winter nights to mild and warm days.

The company caters to the active person who will be performing in the outdoors and the garments are appropriate for the high performing athlete as well as the person who will be doing a lot of sitting and waiting. In both cases it is just as important to stay comfortable.

Minus33 produces all types of clothing from base layer to outerwear for men, women, boys and girls and covers every season of the year.

An outstanding base layer for the coldest and harshest days is the Yukon Expedition Crew which is a long sleeve shirt made from 100% 18.5 micron merino wool. If you're after something a little lighter, the midweight Chocorua shirt is extremely popular and very effective at keeping you warmer and drier. Giving you the ability to vent your shirt at will, another mid weight long sleeve option is the Isolation 1/4 Zip shirt.

A short sleeved option that can be worn as a base layer when it gets cooler or as an outer layer on warm days is the Algonquin crew which is also made from merino wool. It is breathable and wicks moisture, fights odors and provides sun protection too.

The base layer clothes fall under three main categories: lightweight, midweight and expedition. Find out more about the company and the extensive product range by visiting the Minus33 website.

The brands that we have highlighted here are just some of the manufacturers who have designed specifically for the hunter and the conditions that they are likely to encounter.

By highlighting these particular brands we are not endorsing the clothes above those of other brands. We simply know that the base layer hunting clothes that are produced have been made to make hunting a far more enjoyable experience. Use the information provided above as a starting point as you start putting together your layered hunting outfit.

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