Until recently, women have had limited options in terms of hunting gear. Thankfully, the days of wearing men's camo if you prefer quality and function over obnoxiously large pink logos are over. Here’s a look at some of the most innovative new gear designed specifically for avid female hunters.
Sitka Women’s Waterfowl Hudson Bib and Jacket
The brand-new Sitka Women’s Waterfowl System incorporates the durability and performance-driven design of the men’s waterfowl line in 13 new items, built with specific textiles and features that allow them to be used both as a complete layering system or worn separately, and tailored to meet the needs of female hunters. The system includes base layers, midlayers, outerwear and various glove and headwear offerings.
Two of my favorite pieces from the lineup are the Hudson Bib and Jacket. Cut specifically for a woman’s frame, the Hudson Bib features a body-mapped waterproof and windproof three-layer Gore-Tex shell with strategically-placed micro-fleece hand warming chest pockets (included on many of the pieces in the new system.)
The full-length side zippers provide drop-seat functionality for quick, discreet accessibility when nature calls; any woman who has spent time afield in bibs knows exactly what a God-send this is. The “no-buckle” bib suspenders are easy to adjust and unobtrusive—you don’t realize just how impeding traditional clamp or loop adjusters are when shouldering a shotgun until they aren’t there.
The Hudson Jacket is designed for maximum exposure to cold, wet conditions while allowing for free range of motion for easy, accurate shooting in tight quarters. The shell’s waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex laminate seals out moisture and wind, while PrimaLoft insulation in the torso, arms, back and shoulders retains heat where you need it without making the jacket bulky. I especially appreciate the call lanyards positioned on each side of the jacket on the chest area. They hang low enough to not be in the way when shooting, and is much more comfortable than wearing them around your neck as you do with typical call lanyards. While both are undeniably pricey, they are well-worth the investment. MSRP: $499 Hudson Bib, $499 Hudson Jacket; sitkagear.com.
ALPS OutdoorZ Allure Women’s Hunting Pack
Designed to accommodate stand hunting, the new Allure women’s modular hunting pack from ALPS OutdoorZ is built to comfortably fit the female form, featuring contoured shoulder straps, a two-piece, removable waist belt to distribute weight across the hips and shoulders, and a fully-adjustable sternum strap for when the going gets, well, heavy. We’ve all been there. It weighs 4 pounds, 2 ounces, and boasts 2,050 cubic inches of storage space.
Its self-standing L-shape frame keeps it from falling over—the last thing anyone wants when in a treestand—and allows for easy access to its multiple organizational pockets. I am particularly fond of the wide top zippered pocket of this pack. It has more than enough room to fit my rangefinder, headlamp, extra set of gloves, sock batteries (I have no problem admitting that I’m a complete wimp when it comes to cold weather) a small pack of tissues and other small items I use when sitting on stand. The first thing I do after settling in is unzip it so I can grab whatever I need without making any noise and minimal movement when that big buck walks in. Available in Mossy Oak Break-Up Country and Realtree Edge camo patterns. MSRP: $149.99; alpsoutdoorz.com.
LaCrosse Women’s Windrose Hunting Boot
Featuring a rugged leather and textile upper with a lightweight, comfortable EVA midsole platform underfoot, the new Women’s Windrose is a versatile hunting boot designed with an athletic feel. The exterior rubber heel cup allows for a snug, secure fit and prevents slipping, and the outsole features multi-directional non-loading lugs for increased surface area and stability on uneven terrain. Thanks to the company’s Dry-Core lining, they are 100 percent waterproof, and are also available with 600G Thinsulate Ultra insulation for hunting in colder weather. Available in solid brown and Realtree Edge. MSRP: $140-$150; lacrossefootwear.com.
Prois Pradlann Upland Apparel
The new ultra-lightweight, breathable Pradlann Upland ½-Zip Pullover is made of 100 percent moisture-wicking polyester and sports an antimicrobial treatment, thumb holes and 40+UPF UV protection.
Made of four-way stretch, water resistant polyester/spandex fabric, the Pradlann Pant is ideal for pushing damp fields and thick brush. The articulated legs are reinforced to fend off abrasions while remaining extremely flexible. I particularly appreciate the zippered vents in the legs, especially after trudging through thick brush. After wearing them a few times, you’re going to wish these could be your everyday work pants, trust me. MSRP: $79.99 ½-Zip Pullover, $169.99 Pant; prioshunting.com.
First Lite Women’s Catalyst Soft Shell Jacket and Pant
First Lite’s Women’s Catalyst Soft Shell Jacket and Pant are built with the same functionality and performance level of the Men’s Catalyst apparel line, but are designed specifically to fit the female hunter. Both the jacket and pant have a 2-layer construction with built-in stretch for a comfortable fit that allows for full range of motion, interior fleece for added warmth and a DWR-treated exterior for durability that works to shed moisture and block wind.
The Catalyst Jacket features a shooter’s sleeve for compatibility with a rifle or bow; a 3D Turret hood construction, allowing for a maximized field of view; a drop-tail hem for additional coverage and to prevent wind draft when glassing and a waist draw cord to seal in heat. The Catalyst Pant includes zippered hand pockets, 3D double cargo back pockets as well as belt and suspender loops. I wore both on a recent hunt in Wyoming and was particularly impressed with how warm I was, despite the clothing’s light weight. It’s also worth mentioning that they’re extremely quiet, which is of particular importance when closing the distance on weary pronghorn or heading up the mountain for an evening bear hunt. Both are available in First Lite’s Cipher and Fusion camo patterns as well as a solid olive color. MSRP: $230-$240 Jacket, $240 Pant; firstlite.com.