A hunting bib is a piece of outdoor clothing that every dedicated hunter should own. Hunting bibs are long pants that cover your midsection and chest, much like overalls do. However, their design keeps your body warm, dry, and protected from the elements.

The design of hunting bibs makes them ideal for sitting in tree stands during the harsh and cold hunting season. Many hunters like to arrive at their stand dressed in their bibs, though most wait to put them on if they have a long walk to their spot.

But while hunting bibs have proven to be an essential piece of hunting gear, they aren’t enough to protect you from the winter weather on their own.

A prepared hunter needs to consider four different layers for tree-sitting during winter:

  • Base layer
  • Mid Layer
  • Down/Insulation Mid Layer
  • Outer Layer

Let’s take a deeper dive into the layering process and examine the purpose of each layer and the best materials to invest in. We’ll also get some examples of good quality base and mid layers that will be worth adding to your hunting wardrobe.

Base Layer

Your base layer of clothing is the first layer you’ll put on when you’re getting ready to trek out to your stand. The goal of this layer is to wick away moisture because even though it’s cold, you will sweat.

Sweat can quickly become very dangerous when you’re outside in freezing weather. Sweat will make your clothing damp, and damp clothes in the cold will only make you colder.

There are two main features you want to see in your base layer:

  • Moisture-wicking
  • Breathability

Since your base layer sits beneath all of the other layers, it should be pretty thin and should fit close to your skin, both on your upper body and your legs. Some great fabrics to choose from include:

  • Polyester
  • Merino wool
  • Silk
  • Polypropylene

Because you’re sitting and not walking, it’s okay to go a little heavier on your base layer here. The colder the weather, the heavier you can go.

Here are three examples of ideal shirts that will make ideal base layer tops.

Kuiu Ultra Merino Long Sleeve Crew-T

This is a lightweight long sleeve crew neck T-shirt that is quick drying. Its purpose is to be worn next to the skin and is ideal for active hunters who operate in either warm or cold conditions.

It comes in sizes ranging from S to 3XL and is made in a range of different colors and camo designs.

Its MSRP is $79.00.

For more information about the company you should visit the Kuiu website.

Badlands Pecora Lightweight Merino Crew

Another merino wool crew neck shirt, the Merino wool provides a great combination of durability and comfort.

This is a lightweight shirt and will keep you comfortable in temperatures ranging from 50 to 90 degrees.

It comes in sizes ranging from S to 3XL and comes in the Approach camo design shown in the image above.

Its MSRP is $99.99.

For more information about the company you should visit the Badlands website.

Kryptek Hoplite Merino Long Sleeve Crew

This long sleeve t-shirt features the kind of moisture wicking properties that any serious hunter is after, particularly those who are active and knows that staying dry is crucial.

As well as providing the type of temperature control you’re after, the Merino wool provides odor control and feels comfortable due to the soft, flexible nature of the material.

The shirt comes in sizes ranging from XS to 2XL and comes in the Highlander camo pattern shown in the image above.

Its MSRP is $148.29.

For more information about the company you should visit the Kryptek website.

Mid Layer

The mid layer of your hunting bib attire should include a material that will trap heat while also removing the moisture from your base layer. Your mid and base layers should work well together and cover both your upper body and legs.

The mid layer also needs to be flexible and allow you to move. Many hunters use polyester and merino wool for this layer, but you can also go with nylon material.

During the early hunting season, it may be mild enough outside for your mid layer to serve as your outermost layer. If that’s the case, then it’s also a good idea to grab something waterproof.

In freezing weather, you may choose to double your mid layers for extra warmth.

Here are three examples of what you might wear as a mid-layer piece in colder weather.

Sitka Equinox Hoody

This is a warm top made from a polyester knit on the exterior and warmed by a high-loft Berber fleece lining. This mid-layer top provides warmth suited for long waits in the blind or stand.

The hood protects the head from poor weather and is cut close to the face so that peripheral vision is not impeded.

It is available in sizes M to 3XL and has an MSRP of $199.00.

For more information about the company you should visit the Sitka Gear website.

Sitka Equinox Midi Pants

Pair up your Equinox Hoody with a pair of Midi pants to complete your protection at the mid-layer.

The pants, like the top feature a polyester knit face with high-pile Berber fleece interior.

It has a quick release waist belt and a tapered leg design. An angled thigh vent helps to prevent overheating and storage pockets are useful too.

The pants come in sizes M to 2XL and have an MSRP of $179.00.

For more information about the company you should visit the Sitka Gear website.

Badlands Calor 1/4-Zip

We go back to Badlands for the next example of a high quality mid-layer top. The Calor features the Badlands Heatwave Ceramic Liner which traps the heat from your body and uses it to keep you warm.

The top also uses Silvadur antimicrobial technology to control odor by controlling the bacteria and microbes that create the smell.

This mid-layer is ideal for colder weather conditions and also features a moisture-wicking quick dry fabric.

It is available in sizes ranging from S to 4XL and has an MSRP of $119.99.

For more information about the company you should visit the Badlands website.

Down/Insulation Layer

The third layer is known as your down or insulation layer. Remember that hunting bibs are like overalls, so your third layer will also be your outer layer.

One of the essential features to have in a solid outer layer is insulation. Your outer layer is your final line of protection against harsh weather, such as strong winds. This outer shell can be breathable, but it won’t be as breathable as your first two layers. If nothing else, you want it to contain the heat created by your body.

You may also want this layer to be waterproof to repel rain and snow effectively. It also helps if it holds up well against strong winds.

Both down and synthetic materials work well as the insulation layer. You can also choose from two types of layers:

  • Hardshell
  • Softshell

A hardshell insulation jacket will have 2.5 or 3.5 layer fabric and will be more bulky and stiff. While it will undoubtedly keep you warm, it can be uncomfortable for sitting and doesn’t pack well.

Softshell jackets are more comfortable, easier to pack, and quieter - all essential features for tree sitting.

Bibs Early Season - Mild Weather

Following all of these layers is your hunting bib, which serves as the outermost layer. Bibs are ideal for tree sitting in cold weather, along with other kinds of cold weather hunting.

But while bibs are great for cold weather, they can quickly cause a hunter to overheat during the early season and milder weather.

Before the weather gets cold, it’s often best to use your mid-layer as your outer layer instead of hunting bibs. It’s also a good idea to wait until after you’ve walked to your stand to put your bibs on to avoid overheating.

Bottom Line

Hunting bibs are excellent outerwear for those cold weather days sitting in the tree stand, but they work best when paired with solid layers: base, mid, and insulation.

Be sure to keep in mind that in the early hunting season, you’ll probably experience some milder days that don’t require a hunting bib. Additionally, it’s best to stay away from cotton, as it has poor wicking abilities.

Follow this guide to stay safe and warm in your tree stand this year.

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