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At Wide Open Spaces, the upcoming hunting season is a pretty important time of year — because we're not just writing about it, we're out there hunting, too. That means we have a pretty vast knowledge of the best gear and apparel that will enhance your experience. For this round-up, we put our heads together to come up with the best hunting jackets based on our personal experiences and preferences — and these are the jackets we personally use. A hunting jacket can be a splurge, but a quality one will last you years and keep you comfortable and dry through wind, rain, and freezing temperatures. A good hunting jacket will be durable and weatherproof. It will also feature realistic camouflage, be a solid layering piece, and allow comfortable, silent movement when you're out hunting. Our staff experts weighed in on what they use while they're hunting deer, elk, and waterfowl with both rifles and bows. As always, check out your state's official website to make sure you're in line with their hunting apparel requirements, and check out our curated staff picks below.
1. A Wind-Proof Soft-Shell Jacket
Our editor-in-chief Eric Pickhartz always has the best apparel recommendations, and here's what he has to say about his favorite option from Sitka: "Sitka's new windproof Jetstream Jacket is perhaps their best application of the GORE WINDSTOPPER tech they've put to great use in various pieces over the last few years. It's available in all of Sitka's camo patterns as well as several solids, and is super lightweight, ringing in at only 26 ounces. It breaths well, repels light rain and snow, and is built to be durable against scuffs and snags. Pit zips let you release interior heat when you're on the move or the sun comes out, and the overall fit and feel is about as comfy as a jacket can get." It's a great option for year-round hunting.
2. A Down Jacket from A Staff Favorite Brand
Travis Smola writes about all sorts of fantastic gear he knows and loves, and he's the first staffer we go to for all things deer hunting. He wrote about the KUIU super down ultra-hooded jacket after hunting in Michigan, so you know it stands up to the coldest elements. You can read the full review here, but this is a Wide Open Spaces-approved brand for a reason. Travis writes: "The KUIU Super Down ultralight line is amazing. This is without question the nicest hunting jacket and pair of pants I have ever used in 22 years of hunting this state. Not once was I cold through Michigan's firearms season despite temperatures dipping down into the 20s for several days near the end of the season. Originally, I had planned to cycle between the KUIU and some of my other hunting jackets and pants during the season. However, I liked the KUIU so much, I used it for the entire season. If it'll work for Michigan, it'll work for everywhere else in the country."
3. A Warm Coat Perfect for Hunting Waterfowl
Another favorite from our EIC, here's what Eric had to say about this affordable but reliable pick from Magellan: "For when the ducks and geese arrive and the temperatures drop, this Magellan Outdoors Pintail Jacket is insulated and waterproof. There are plenty of storage pockets for calls and extra gear, plus a detachable fleece-lined hood to keep your head warm and dry. The price is right and the features are more than enough to keep you in the blind all morning, or at least until you limit out." If you're looking for the right jacket to wear when hunting waterfowl, this insulated coat is your best bet.
4. A Women's Hunting Jacket Made for Layering
Our brilliant social media manager, Sereena, knows from personal experience how tough it can be to find the proper hunting gear for women. Luckily, KUIU knocks it out of the park again with a new line of clothing that has become a personal favorite for her. She speaks enthusiastically about her two favorite pieces from the line: "I use them for both deer and elk for archery and rifle hunting. They can be worn together, too, which is great for layering!" This DCS jacket is water- and wind-resistant, and is lined with fleece for additional warmth, although it's thin enough to pair with a thin down jacket, like the one below.
5. The Super Down Jacket from KUIU Comes In Women's Sizes
A great piece to wear on its own or by layering, this super down jacket from KUIU is the same as the one tested by Travis, but made for women (and a favorite when hunting for Sereena). It has the same excellent warming properties, can be worn alone or underneath a jacket, and is perfect for frigid temperatures.
This piece was originally published in October of 2015. It has been updated by the WOS Commerce Team.
READ MORE: The Best Hunting Clothes for Women