The Ideal Clothing System for Your Alaska Hunt

An Alaska hunt means dealing with rugged terrain and often, foul weather. We may deal with thick brush, soggy ground, steep slopes, snow, rain and sunshine all in the same day. Alaska can chew you up and spit you out. And we absolutely love it!

If you’ve never experienced a hunt in Alaska, it’s something that should be on every hunter’s bucket list. Whether you’re calling in monster bull moose during the rut, or climbing a knife-edge ridge stalking dall sheep, there’s something incredibly special about Alaska.

One thing that can make the weather and other challenges of an Alaska hunt much more comfortable, is a quality clothing system. Technology in fabrics and clothing design has changed drastically over the past 20 years. If you’re not sure where to start on a great clothing system, here are a few tips.

The first rule of any clothing system is, NO cotton! Don’t bring your cotton socks; don’t bring your cotton underwear or t-shirts. Leave ‘em at home. Cotton absorbs and holds moisture and it is very slow to dry. It will make you cold and wet. Your feet will be prone to blisters. Your Gore-Tex rain gear and boots won’t be worth a darn if you’re wearing cotton underneath.

Now that we have that out of the way…

Start with your base layers. We highly recommend merino wool for base layers. This includes your socks, t-shirts, long underwear and anything else that is worn against your skin. High quality merino wool does a great job of managing moisture and it is highly odor resistant, even after days in the field. There are also many good synthetics on the market. They are also very effective but most lack the natural odorless properties of merino wool.

After your base layers are covered, move on to your pants, shirts and insulation layers. We recommend pants and shirts that are relatively light and uninsulated. If the weather turns cold, it’s easy to add another layer. But if we get a spell of hot weather, there’s nothing you can do with heavily insulated pants.

When packing your insulation layers, bring at least two different options. One should be a lighter option like a merino wool sweater or fleece pullover. Plus, bring a very warm piece like a down jacket.Nothing is as lightweight for the warmth as high quality goose down. One caution with down is that it’s worthless if it gets wet. But many companies now offer hydrophobic down that is specially treated to repel moisture. Otherwise, you can look to synthetic alternatives like PrimaLoft.

Finally consider your outerwear. This is where you want to make sure not to cheap out. Gore-Tex or an equivalent waterproof, breathable membrane is essential. It’s more than just rainwear. It will allow moisture to escape when you’re moving fast after that big dall sheep ram. It also blocks wind while you’re glassing for long periods of time. For any Alaska Hunt, plan on bringing a high quality rain jacket, rain pants and gaiters.

We will try and cover boots and other items in a future post. But we hope this gives you some good direction as you prepare for that epic Alaska hunt!

For more information on our trips here at Lazy J Bar O Outfitters, be sure and visit our Alaska Hunts Page. Or explore the rest of our website at to read about all of our trips. For details or availability, send us a message or call us at 406-932-5687.