For many hunters, a Montana elk hunt is a long-anticipated adventure that requires a significant investment in vacation time and money. That’s why it’s critical to make sure you’re prepared.
A late season elk hunt brings in a new set of requirements in terms of the cold and potential for nasty weather. Clothing that is appropriate for the conditions and of quality construction will allow you to stay focused on the hunt and not distracted by a technical difficulty.
Here are three tips on dressing for a late season Montana elk hunt:
Dress in Layers
The first rule when dressing for the Montana high country is to dress in layers. The weather can change rapidly and may vary drastically. Dressing in several layers allows you to adapt to the conditions at any moment.
For example, instead of a heavily insulated parka, consider packing the combination of a fleece layer and a down under your lightweight, waterproof rain jacket. Now your insulation and waterproof layers can be mixed and matched separately for varying conditions.
Be Weight Conscious
Next, it is important to ensure the weight of your clothing is realistic for wearing and carrying around at altitude. In fact, this goes for all of your gear. When hiking at high altitude, heavy gear will wear you down quickly.
Most manufacturers these days produce clothing that has high warmth-to-weight ratio. Unless you’re not straying far from base camp, look into some of these newer, lightweight garments. For example, jackets with a waterproof or windproof laminate tend to be very warm for their weight. And when it comes to insulation, nothing offers a warmth-to-weight ratio like high quality goose down.
Pay attention to Materials
Third, consider the types of fabrics. When selecting clothing for your hunt, high-tech, synthetic fabrics or merino wool are now the standards. Nothing is heavier or more uncomfortable than a wet pair of jeans, and cotton quickly loses its thermal properties when wet. Avoid cotton garments like the plague.
For base layers and insulating layers, merino wool is an outstanding choice. Quality merino is comfortable, doesn’t stink even after days in the field, it manages moisture and dries quickly. Look to companies like First Lite who produce high quality merino products.
For insulating layers, synthetic fleece jackets or merino wool sweaters are ideal for mild weather. When things turn nasty, down is the ticket. But remember that not all down is created equal. Down that’s 700-fill or better will be lighter and pack smaller for the same amount of warmth.
In outerwear, you truly get what you pay for. High quality outerwear will be able to stand up to the elements, while still being breathable, lightweight and packable. We recommend rain gear with a 3-layer construction and a waterproof, breathable membrane like Cocona 37.5 or Gore-Tex. These systems offer the best combination of durability, weather resistance, breathability and light weight. While high-end rain gear will cost twice as much as some alternatives, it will last longer and perform much better.
Here at Lazy J Bar O outfitters we offer outstanding guided elk hunts in two different parts of Montana. Our elk hunts are high-adventure wilderness trips with outstanding success and quality bulls.
For more information on the wilderness elk hunting adventures that we offer here at Lazy J Bar O Outfitting, please see our Hunting Page. You can also give us a call at 406-932-5687 or send us a message.