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Spotting and stalking bulls in the backcountry is no time for ill-fitting men's clothing or oversized hand-me-downs. Elk hunting calls for high-performance gear engineered specifically for women. The choices available on the market have expanded and improved, and there are more apparel decisions to be made than ever before. When possible, I like to try as much stuff out as I can, and learn about the specs and features of a jacket or pair of pants so that I can apply those things to the style of hunting I primarily do. If you're on the hunt for some new duds, these are what I've found to be the best options for female hunters. They're designed specifically for women and built for the backcountry.
1. Our Top Recommendation: SITKA's Jacket & Pants
SITKA's Timberline Pant has long been a big game hunter favorite for its ripstop-reinforced seat and knees, which are waterproof yet breathable. The knees are also equipped with removable knee pads for added protection in rough country. The pants sport an athletic fit with tapered legs and a low-profile waist for reduced bulk. Polyester stretch woven fabric is finished with a DWR treatment to repel light precipitation. Weighing in at 22.6 ounces, the women's Timberline Pants are available in Optifade Subalpine or Lead colorways. They'll pair well with the Women's Jetstream Jacket, which features GORE WINDSTOPPER for breathable warmth and a micro-grid fleece backer. A form-fitting hood and built-in hand and chest pockets add more, while pit zips can open up and help eliminate sweat. Taped and skived seams provide weather protection and durability, and it's available in two camo patterns and three solids.
2. A Lightweight Set from KUIU for Rainy Weather
When the sky opens up midway through your hunt, slide into the Chugach TR Rain Jacket and Pant. This rain gear set is super packable, boasts a good amount of stretch, and of course provides full protection from downpour. Featuring Torain TR Technology, the Chugach TR pieces are durable, ultralight, and as breathable as rain gear can get. The Chugach TR Pant sports full-length side zippers, a built-in belt, and Bemis overlay film scuff guards but weighs in at just 10 ounces. The Chugach Jacket has pit zips for ventilation, a two-way adjustable hood, and plenty of zippered pockets for storage. It weighs only 12.5 ounces. Fully seam-taped, the set is available for $578, or you can purchase the pieces separately at $259 for the Chugach TR Pant and $319 for Chugach TR Jacket.
3. The Most Versatile Choice: Forloh's AllClima Line
As its name suggests, FORLOH's AllClima Collection is built to get you through most of the hunting season, no matter the conditions. The apparel combines breathability, protection, durability, and comfort for the ultimate backcountry gear. The women's AllClima Stretch Woven Pant is constructed of a four-way stretch woven twill and features articulated knees and a gusseted crotch for enhanced mobility. AbraSynthetic Suede knee patches provide abrasion resistance on stalks, while reinforcement panels and double bonded fabric add durability on targeted areas. Mesh hip zippers allow for ventilation. The pants sport a variety of pockets and are finished with a DWR treatment for $249. The women's AllClima Soft Shell Jacket features Airadigm Pulse Plasma technology, which coats every fiber with a DWR treatment individually, for a waterproof yet breathable outer layer. A bonded interior fleece backer adds warmth, and underarm ventilation provides a quick cooldown when you're hot. Also sporting a three-way adjustable hood, the women's AllClima Soft Shell Jacket is available at $449. The AllClima Collection also features rain gear, and every piece of FORLOH apparel is made in the United States.
4. The Super-Silent Option: First Lite's Catalyst Line
Designed to be silent and breathable, First Lite's Catalyst line is built with a two-layer construction to act as a second skin and work with your body — not against it. Exclusive 37.5 Active Particle Technology prevents moisture from keeping you cold and traps odors until you clean the clothing. A DWR treatment cuts wind and repels water, keeping you warm and dry in cold, wet conditions. With built-in stretch and an articulated fit, the Catalyst Soft Shell Pant offers impressive range of motion as well as plenty of storage options with 3D double cargo and zippered hand pockets at $220. The Catalyst Soft Shell Jacket features a 3D Turret hood for an increased field of view, a shooter's sleeve, drop-tail hem, and waist drawcord for $240. You can find the whole line here.
5. If You Want To Support A Women-Owned Brand: Prois
Perfect for damp, balmy days in the high country, the lightweight Tintri Collection from woman's camo company Prois features an athletic cut to eliminate bulk. With a DWR treatment and anti-microbial finish, the moisture-wicking Tintri Lightweight Pant sports a hidden elastic waistband with Velcro fasteners, spacious zippered pockets, and articulated knees. The pants are available in long sizes, so these are a great option for women who struggle to find pants that will cover their ankles. Prois gave the Tintri Performance ½ Zip 2.0 extra length through the torso, thumbholes in the cuffs, and a waffle microfleece lining. The pants ring in at just $129.99 and the jacket at $99.99.