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Almost every time I take a friend along with me waterfowl hunting, either they get too cold or wet and it ruins their first experience. Now unless they truly fall in love with the sport, it seems they never want to come back out. Why? I hope it is not because I am bad company, just kidding! It is simply that they are cold and wet. Now I am always well equipped and usually have a spare set of hip waders, warm jackets and gloves as well as toques or balaclava to lend. But the reality is that every living person has different levels of tolerance for cold, bad weather and being wet. I suppose this is why I end up going out quite often alone, because it would take some very incredible conditions to break me.

When ever I put on my waders, I break a sweat even if I am well dressed underneath with sweat absorbent clothing and good socks. Also unless you put on your waders at home before leaving it can be very unpractical and uncomfortable to put them on in the field. I like to have good pants underneath my waders with pockets and a sweater that looks presentable when going into the gas station or local store either before or after a hunt. Imagine having a pair of comfortable pants like jogging pants or a light pair of stretch trousers that would be made of a quick dry material. They could have waterproof pouches as front pockets fitted with zippers to keep your permits and licenses dry and safe.

The other nuisance part of waders is the fact that unless your socks are knee-high, you are constantly having to pull them up as they tend to slip and slide down until they are a wet ball under the ball of your feet. How about having comfortable trousers attached to the pair of socks. The socks could be made using Merino wool or a similar material which can breathe, dry quickly and be very comfortable and offer some cushion effect to the feet inside the waders.

How about even going further and having an outfit that is similar to a onesie but instead of using all the same material, you would start off at the bottom with very good socks, attached to the stretch trousers at the ankles and then attached at the waist of the trousers would be a sweater or similar long sleeve shirt that can absorb moisture, odours and dry fast. Heck you could even design it with your own camouflage pattern. Waders often have designs that have a front pouch with zippers or magnets to keep the flaps closed.

My model of waders made by Allen, even have an inside small zipper pouch that I love this is where I put my keys and phone. Designers could take it to another level and add additional chest level waterproof pouches on the sweater part, either to waders or top part of the onesie. I have seen onesie fleece outfits for fishing but the fleece is not resistant to water and you can get cold fast, also the socks are not attached on certain models.

I would love to see a three section design from sock, trousers to shirt. It would be a perfect outfit to wear under the waders and possibly my friends would continue to come out with me more often. I would call it the STS design and give a name like “The Beast”.

Until then stay warm and dry and most of all safe!

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Whether I am at my friend’s farm or in the woods, hunting small game causes me to walk, crawl, climb, kneel, sit, jump and run. This means sometimes doing all these movements in the mud, manure, snow, water, grass, hay and in the woods.

So what about the right bottoms? And I don’t mean underwear, but rather the right trousers. When I am hunting, here are some of the things I look for in my hunting pants.

Comfort, my pants cannot be too tight thus restricting my movement but I also do not want them to be too loose avoiding pant leg rubbing and making noise. When I buy my hunting pants, I try them on and walk around the store and do all the movements I would be doing in the field. I also look for the tightness around the crotch and thighs.

Camouflage, depending on the time of year and the type of game you are hunting concealment can be important but I do not consider it essential.  If you are hunting birds, then camouflage is needed because they have great sight in color but I have successfully harvested woodchucks from only a few feet away wearing blue jeans.

Pockets, I always carry my hunting cards and some form of identification on me in my wallet as well as my car, trigger lock and ammunition box keys. I find good deep pockets with zippers work best for me. Some hunting pants have cargo pockets along the side of each thigh on the pant leg, and this is great for carrying spare shells or small accessories.

Weatherproofing, when I am hunting during the wintertime, I like hunting with pants that are waterproof and windproof yet that allow your body to breathe and keep you dry. I also want my pants to be loose enough so that I can wear thermal clothing underneath providing extra layers and warmth.
During the summer months, at the farm I normally just wear loose-fitting comfortable jeans but when hunting in the woods, I wear lighter camouflage pattern hunting pants with no insulation layer. You can get a pair of old army pants from a surplus store.

Practicality and durability, I love hunting pants that have zippers down the sides just below the knees, this makes it easier to get dressed and undressed as well as placing your pants over top you’re hunting boots.  I also use pants that are tear proof and potentially have added padding on the buttocks and knees.
Stores such as Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire, your local hunting store or any outdoor superstore such as SAIL, or LE Barons, Gander Mountain all have a great selection of pants with prices ranging from sixty dollars to a couple hundred dollars. Of course there is the Internet too.

Here are some tricks I use with my pants:

Once I have purchased a pair of hunting pants I like to wear them in, using the pair during hiking trips with my family. I wash them a couple of times with scent killer soap or forest odour soaps and let them hang dry without the use softer of any kind. I also spray my pants every time I go out hunting along with my boots with scent killer products.

While walking through the woods if I get warm, I pull down my zipper to allow air flow for cooling but I avoid red, white or bright blue underwear. I would not want that spot to be mistaken for a Spruce Grouse or Wild Turkey by another hunter.

I sometimes use scent free Vaseline and place some on the inside of my thighs and crouch to avoid chafing, this also works on feet to avoid blisters. Just a light coat is needed.
After a hunting trip, I do not wash my pants but I place them in a container that holds the smell of the woods. Once the odours of sweat get too strong then I wash them again with special soaps and start the cycle again.

Happy Hunting and knock your pants off!

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