Layering for a Montana Elk or Mule Deer Hunt

We receive questions each year about the proper clothing to bring on a Montana hunt. While the elevation and terrain may vary drastically from one location to another, one thing remains true: on these high prairies and Rocky Mountain slopes, conditions can change in the blink of an eye. Hunters must be prepared for a wide range of conditions from hot and dry to freezing cold and wet. 

With such a wide range of autumn weather possibilities here in the Rockies, how should hunters prepare? The key is dressing in layers that allow the hunter to adapt to daily changes in the weather. For example, instead of bringing one heavy winter jacket, we recommend bringing lightly insulated items that can be mixed and matched. 


Start by thinking about your hunt clothing in three main categories: base layers, insulating layers and outerwear. Base layers include anything you wear next to your skin, like t-shirts and long underwear. Insulating layers may include things like sweaters, vests, and down jackets. Outerwear includes garments like pants, jacket, and rain gear. 


As you pack for your hunt, try and pick a few items in each category of different weight or warmth that will allow you to adapt to the conditions. Here is a sample packing list:

Base Layers:

  • Lightweight underwear and t-shirts
  • Long underwear top and bottoms
  • Thermal/fleece long underwear


  • Fleece vest
  • Down jacket
  • Wool shirt/sweater


  • Long-sleeve hunting shirt
  • Hunting pants
  • Light (soft-shell) jacket
  • Rain jacket
  • Rain pants

Of course any system isn’t complete without hats, gloves, socks and good boots. When it comes to socks, merino wool is hard to beat. It wicks moisture well to help prevent blisters. 

In general, we recommend synthetic materials and wool for hunting clothing. Cotton loses its insulating properties when wet, and becomes very heavy. On the other hand, synthetics and wool that are designed for outdoor use wick moisture, dry quickly, and maintain their isolative properties even under wet conditions.

If you have any questions about your upcoming hunt, please let us know. If you’d like more information on hunting in Montana with Lazy J Bar O Outfitters, please explore the rest of our website. You may also send us a message or give us a call at 406-932-5687.