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Thread: Best layering clothing system for Alaska

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    Default Best layering clothing system for Alaska

    Can someone tell me the best clothes for Alaska? I am going on a Caribou drop camp hunt in 2012 at the end of Sept. and first of Oct. at Selawik NWR. I have herd Helly Hansen for rain gear. How about a layering system whats best? Cabelas Alaskan guide sytem, Sitka system, Cyner-G system, revelution fleese system ect. ect? Please HELP I am a hillbilly from Oklahoma and this is going to be a hunt of a lifetime and I want to have the right gear. Thanks

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I like Kuiu gear myself, if I was going to one stop shop they are arguably the most complete. I like their camo pattern but camo doesn't seem to matter much up here so most high quality backpacking gear is fine (arctyrex, mountain hardwear, the north face and others). Lacross ankle fit hip boots are probably worthwhile depending on the terrain you will be hunting. If in the mountains Cabelas miendel boots are good. I only use merino wool socks and base layers now but don't care what brand. I like a puffy coat like the mountain hardwear compressor hooded jacket for sitting and waiting. For daily wear I like my Sitka Ascent jacket but I am used to AK temps so it may be light for you. I just like it for a light jacket that cuts the wind when I am hiking and keeps alders off my arms. Helley Hansen is good but heavy compared to the Kuiu chugach rain gear though substantially cheaper.

    In the end drive and desire will win out more than gear though having the good stuff does make it a bit easier to overcome the nasty days. I hunted many of the same places I do now with much lower quality stuff for years. Heck my old sleeping bag, rifle and 3 days food 15 years ago weighed about what my entire pack does now for a trip 2x as long!

    Read through the gear forum for other ideas and have a great trip!

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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    The vast majority of people here are going to tell you they don't have a brand "system". Just a big pile of gear from a bunch of makers that they pick and chose from for each trip.

    That said, I believe layers is the key and you probably own them already. You want WARM ones at the end of Sept. If you are rifle hunting, camo style isn't important. Actually camo isn't important.

    Yk

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    I agree with Yellowknife...everyones got there "own" system, get a good base layer like merino or capilene, mid layer, & shell that work for you & your size. i finally found a sitka kelvin jacket on sale, excited for it to get here, when i tried it on could barely get the arm openings through at my wrist......back it goes....best thing find someplace, to try stuff on & see how it fits...lots out there

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    Think moisture wicking and breathable. Avoid cotton as much as possible it retains moisture. As others have said layers are best if you get to warm peel a layer off. The system they give us in the Army is made by Polartec (polartec.com). Open the web site then go to Markets on the selection bar click on military when screen loads up find Extended cold weather clothing system (ECWCS) genIII click on it and it will show a different pic and allow to download the pfd. Download the pfd after it loads it will show you the Power dry and Thermal pro shirt as well as a green jacket. They make drawers from the same material also.
    We (in the Army) call the dry shirt/drawers silkies and the thermals waffles. I generally wear the silkies with the thin ECWCS ACU pants and jacket nothing else except the green fleece hat and gloves down to 0-5 degrees F. After that I will layer with the waffle bottoms and tops.
    GOOOOD socks are a must I like Thorlo's as well as sturdy broke in boots (Rocky, Danner) , I prefer boots with 8" uppers. A pair or hip waders would be good to have for creek and shallow water crossings as well as marshes.
    OFF TOPIC but
    Others items to consider would be a good meat/hunt pack that evenly distributes your load and good optics to verify legality/size of game.
    There is probably alot I missed but others will add. My .02
    Rich
    Last edited by sniper3083006; 12-02-2011 at 21:12. Reason: didnt proof read

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    As others have said...no system. I've got some Kuiu, some Impertech, some Sporthill, some Minus 33, some Mountain Hardwear...like them all.

    I greatly prefer merino wool base layers and for the budget minded the HH Impertech is superb. Since you're drop camping the weight isn't as critical as backpacking but still important. A good tent and sleeping bag IS very important that time of year.

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    Member MNViking's Avatar
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    Big football game this weekend eh?

    Here is what I recommend for the north slope in September. Temperatures can be from 50 to -20 so be prepared.

    Feet:
    Light wool liner socks - mine are smart wool
    Warm wool socks - same
    Muck boots - I had Danner's last year but I'm going back with muck boots. They are the way to go.

    Hands:
    Multiple pairs of cheap wool gloves that can be dried out easily. It's pretty tough to keep anything dry up there. I also would bring along a couple pair of big wool "chopper" mittens . I would pop a hand warmer in a pair about 20 minutes before the walk back to camp. There was just something great about slipping cold wet hands into warm roomy mittens for the walk back.

    Head:
    Baseball cap
    Warm WIND PROOF winter hat
    facemask

    I wore underarmour cold gear long underwear top and bottoms. On top of that I wore a military sleep shirt and Cabela's microtex light pants. Google the items and you can see what I'm talking about. The only other piece of clothing I wore was a heavy insulated hoodie from Cabela's for sitting and glassing and my Helly Hansen Impertech II rain gear when windy or rainy.

    I am good in that set up down to about 15 degrees. If it gets colder I would have along a warm pair of wool or fleece pants.

    I also second the fact that if your gun hunting camo won't matter as much. Generally speaking bou' don't seem to get too sketchy until you close in to about 150-200 yards. However, it doesn't hurt to be less observable, err on the side of too light. Most guys wear camo that is too dark and they look like bears.
    Finally, Brad Childress is GONE!

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    I guess I will go on record as a hater of fleece for hunting. Plenty of people love it and it wears fine. My issue with it it is about as packable as styrofoam blocks! I find it is too hot to wear the wind shear fleece (which is ridiculously bulky) while packing and the lighter stuff lets even a mild breeze shoot right through it.

    I don't know one single person that has tried merino wool and opted to go back to poly.

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I just spent my first day in (primaloft) puffy clothes I bought a ECWCS Level 7 jacket from Ebay and a pair of primaloft Patagonia pants. The coat is heavy, but perfect for under my shell for snowmachining. The pants are perfect and they roll up into the size of a little bigger than a quart Nalgene bottle. I've never been more comfortable in an underlayer. I spent a whopping $160 for both and I bet I could have done better if I'd bid instead of buy it now. I'm now in the market for a lighter primaloft jacket.

    I am also a believer in merino wool and it's replacing my polypro stuff as it wears out.

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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    I guess I will go on record as a hater of fleece for hunting. Plenty of people love it and it wears fine. My issue with it it is about as packable as styrofoam blocks! I find it is too hot to wear the wind shear fleece (which is ridiculously bulky) while packing and the lighter stuff lets even a mild breeze shoot right through it.
    I think the same thing about all these trendy softshells... But oddly, I love my windblocker fleece (which I heard one person discribe as "inside out softshell"). Agree that it's bulky, but heck, he's caribou hunting not sheep hunting! One thing to be aware of, is that most the the "systems" aren't really geared towards far north late season use. You will likely need more warmth that say, Kuiu can provide.

    As far as camo goes, my partners and I killed three 'bou yesterday. Stalked to within 150 yds in the snow..... wearing all black carhartts. They aren't the most aware critters out there.

    Yk

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    For warmth and packability the Mountain Hardwear (and similar) Compressor Jacket and pants are tough to beat. My Compressors under rain gear will keep me comfortable to a surprisingly low temperature. Awesome for glassing when you're just sitting still for hours.

    Not cheap but (at least IMHO) not heart stopping pricing either. A MH compressor+ HH Impertech with some merino base layers would be great and not break the budget too bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yellowknife View Post
    As far as camo goes, my partners and I killed three 'bou yesterday. Stalked to within 150 yds in the snow..... wearing all black carhartts. They aren't the most aware critters out there.
    Yep...my son stalked to within 80yds of his caribou this year wearing a kid's bright yellow rain slicker. Not exactly the spookiest animals.

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    HA! Not hard to get in rifle range. Try getting in bow range, that's a different game.

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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mossyhorn View Post
    HA! Not hard to get in rifle range. Try getting in bow range, that's a different game.
    I believe that. They may not be the most wary, but there is a lot of eyeballs in a caribou herd and not much cover in caribou country.

    Will have to try it some day.

    Yk

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Take a look on Cabelas for the polartec line that sniper3083006 mentioned I agree with everything that has been said but have found the polartec stuff to be a bit cheaper priced than everything else and just as warm and sturdy. Plus Cabelas seems to have it on sale quite often and you can find it on Ebay or some of the Army surplus stores online.

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    Go here: http://www.captivatemoutdoors.com/

    They can set up a system for you.
    "...arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe...Horrid mischief would ensue were the good deprived of the use of them." -Thomas Paine

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noodlerfreak View Post
    Can someone tell me the best clothes for Alaska? I am going on a Caribou drop camp hunt in 2012 at the end of Sept. and first of Oct. at Selawik NWR. I have herd Helly Hansen for rain gear. How about a layering system whats best? Cabelas Alaskan guide sytem, Sitka system, Cyner-G system, revelution fleese system ect. ect? Please HELP I am a hillbilly from Oklahoma and this is going to be a hunt of a lifetime and I want to have the right gear. Thanks
    Thank you all for your great advise!!! So glad I found this site not a whole lot of caribou hunting and Alaska gear or stratigies talk in Oklahoma haha. Thanks again!!!!

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    I don't think that you would get any arguements from anyone on this site that I would add a super cub or brooks jacket from Barneys Sports in anchorage. They are pricey but quality gear always is.
    Semper Fi and God Bless

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    Yep...my son stalked to within 80yds of his caribou this year wearing a kid's bright yellowrain slicker. Not exactly the spookiest animals.


    I've had some caribou (especially in groups) spook at 150-300 yards when I'm moving slowly in full camo with good wind. I'm sure part of that has to do with hunting animals near the road (1-2 miles) where they're spookier than usual. It's true they're not the spookiest animals, but don't go in expecting them to let you walk right up to 100 yards and take a shot. That can happen, but don't blow a stalk because you think it will happen.

    After growing up hunting whitetails, the hardest part of caribou hunting for me is figuring out how to get in close. Caribou move really fast across the tundra, and not always predictably. You usually can't spot them from a distance and walk over to them, because they'll be miles away by the time you get there (unless they're feeding or resting, and sometimes even then). I learned a few hard lessons trying to catch up to uncatchable groups. You have to be patient about finding some that are moving at a good speed and direction to allow you to get in position and intercept them. Sometimes you have to go fast to get in position, and it can be hard to judge that tradeoff between being fast and being sneaky, when failure on either front could cost you a shot.
    Jason
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    That time of year above the arctic circle can get cold. Just try to stay away from the cotton because it dries slow and is cold when wet. Will most likely be 20s or 30s in the am and could stay that way or be in the 60s by afternoon. That is one of the challenges hunting here being prepared for such a wide temp change.

    You could spend a bunch on fancy stuff or get by fine cheaper, depends on how much you want to spend. The key is layering, good midweight fleece long johns, or smart wool, your choice of pants with plenty of pockets, plenty of choices for pants from 20 bucks to 300 or so, those nylon fishing pants work good if on a budget, Kuiu Attacks pants are awesome if you want to spend the money.

    Take several pairs of good socks and save a pair for nothing but sleeping in, nothing sucks more than going to bed in wet socks.

    A Puffy coat is mandatory gear for me there is an entire thread on those on the forum, get one with Primaloft. Keep it in your pack at all times and use it when glassing or anytime you get cold. Do your best to not get sweaty, better to walk a little cold than to get all wet with sweat and freeze when you stop.

    A good fleece or wool beanie, I like two, so I always have a dry one and one to sleep in, most body heat is lost from your head.

    I like a face mask as well to keep my face warm in the cold strong winds we can have.

    I bring 2 or 3 pairs of gloves and one pair of mittens to keep my hands warm, I also like those nylon gloves dipped like these for skinning, they really save you from cuts.

    http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/ANS...4&ci_sku=5AE99

    Hip boot of choice, many guides on Kodiak were using the new Muck Boot waders, the wader part rolls down and attaches to the boot top when not needed. YOU WILL BE CROSSING WATER OR BOGS!!!! and wet feet sucks.

    http://www.cabelas.com/product/Muck8...h-All+Products

    Helly Hansen is good rain gear, if you want other options PM me.

    You will most likely have to butcher and pack your Caribou back to camp, so Pack, knives, game bags, read up and be ready for that. Caring for meat in the field is much different than gutting a buck and throwing it in the truck. Several videos on the subject, nothing will make people madder than bringing in rotten meat to town.

    Therma Care Back wraps are great for keeping you warm at night or sitting glassing, giant heat pads that last 12 hours or so. I use them every hunt.

    Caribou tend to follow a lead cow, let her through and watch her route, the following Caribou will most often take that same trail.

    Might want to bring a range finder, open Tundra can be very hard to judge distance.

    I never hunt without a head net for bugs, they shouldn't be bad that late but you never know, better safe than sorry. Just look at my swollen eyes in the video.

    Above all, be safe and have a good time.

    Oh and bring a rod and reel, I slayed the Sheefish up that way and the fishing was as much fun as the hunting, Light rod and reel, similar to what you would use for panfish for Grayling and Some fairly heavy bass type gear for the Sheefish, and some crocodile spoons, or Johnson's for the Sheefish.

    Have a look at this video, same area, end of Sept, for the Sheefish.

    PM me if I can help.

    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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