9 Features to Look For in Women’s Hunting Apparel

No turkeys brought home from this recent spring hunt, but the author found a morel mushroom for the dinner menu instead.

If you are an avid female hunter, then you know proper hunting gear can make or break your hunting experience. I grew up hunting in my dad’s hand-me-downs. They worked just fine… for sitting still in a treestand under fair-weather conditions. But my hunting obsession has taken me from simply sitting to taking long hikes in the woods every day, in all weathers. There is nothing more frustrating than hauling heavy clothes on a long hike or having to pull off bulky gloves when you are ready to shoot. Fighting with uncomfortable fabric can turn a great hunt into a miserable hour before you call it and head in for the day.

Most of the mainstream gear I could grab at the local store was designed with fashion in mind rather than fit or functionality. I was not trying to be fashionable; I was trying to be comfortable!

I had struggled long enough! I finally started looking for women’s hunting gear of my own. I discovered that a lot of “Women’s” gear seemed to be based on a very limited definition of a woman’s figure. Most of the mainstream gear I could grab at the local store was designed with fashion in mind rather than fit or functionality. I was not trying to be fashionable; I was trying to be comfortable! So, I started a list of things I liked (and disliked) as I began shopping and buying women’s hunting gear. Some brands I have had great luck with are Firstlite and SHE Outdoor. However, there are now many options for women in the outdoors, so don’t be afraid to shop around. If you are tired of struggling to find the right hunting gear or are new to hunting and don’t know where to start, check out my list, ladies!

Pants & Bottoms:


Adjustability

Having adjustable and flexible waistlines on your hunting pants is a huge benefit! I love being able to change my waistline based on how many layers I’m wearing, or whether I’ve eaten a large meal and need a little extra space. 

Zippers

There is nothing worse than hiking all day in pursuit of the perfect spot or animal and realizing that something has fallen out of your pocket. You’ll love being able to zip things up, like your cell phone or range finder, and have easy access without having them fall out of your pockets while you climb a tree. 

Zippered legs are another bonus and great for adjusting pants over boots. Zippers on the lower legs of pants will allow your base layers to tuck inside a shoe or boot and stay out of the mud. 

Easy Outs!

I love clothing and layers that I can get out of quickly. If you spend the entire day in the woods, you will need restroom breaks. Clothes that have quick snaps or zippers in convenient places make all the difference. Overalls or bibs are a favorite hunting apparel for many. For ladies, they certainly complicate an easy out. Look for options that can quickly convert to pants or have exit zippers on the inseam.

Karli went looking for the best features in women’s hunting apparel that would be functional and comfortable in the field, especially for more active pursuits like waterfowl and turkey hunting.

Deep Pockets

Girls need pockets too! I hate when pockets are shallow and are more of a fashion statement than a function. When buying pants, check how deep the pockets are. Another bonus is if the opening of the pocket starts higher up so you don’t have to bend over to reach it while a deer is staring in your direction.  

Wider Hip

If you are like me, you might want to look for a pant that has a wider or stretchy fit through the hip area. Not only do you want your pants to feel comfortable on your figure, but you also want them to adjust to all positions, standing, sitting, climbing, and crouching. Stretch fabric can help with this.

Belt Loops

Don’t forget to look for pants with belt loops! You want to be able to hunt without worrying about your pants staying up. Belts are also convenient for hooking different gear in place. 

Tops & Jackets:


Slim Cut

Baggy men’s clothing can be too bulky and make movement uncomfortable. When shopping for underlayers, look for something form-fitting. This way you can retain warmth and layer heavier jackets without feeling like a jumbo marshmallow. One word of warning with “slim cut” styles: Although you want your base layer to fit like a second skin, look for outer jackets which have space for multiple layers underneath.

Back Pouch

Some hunting companies have included a back pouch on their hunting shirts. I love this feature for an extra storage space and for a quick place to rest an item I will use frequently while hunting. 

Gussets

Finally, gusseted underarms are a great way to create more space across the chest in hunting clothing. Look for shirts that have the triangular cut underneath the arm if you want more mobility in that area!

I hope you found these tips helpful for your upcoming season’s gear selection. My last few words of advice are to check a company’s return policy before purchasing; you want to make sure you can exchange any clothing that is not perfect for you. And make sure you keep comfort and functionality as your top priorities when trying new brands and styles. Good luck, “on the hunt” for your perfect hunting gear, ladies, and I’ll see you afield!

Every time you purchase apparel printed in First Lite’s new Specter camo pattern, a portion of the proceeds come back to fund NDA’s non-profit mission. Click the image for more information.

About Karli Dawson

Karli Dawson is NDA's Deer Outreach Specialist in northern Missouri. A Missouri native and lifelong deer hunter, Karlin comes to NDA from the Missouri Department of Conservation, where she served as the naturalist for the Runge Conservation Nature Center.