Everyone is different and everyone needs different things out of their hunting gear. Mid layers are where you customize your hunting clothing to suit you.
Mid layers are there to control your temperature. There are many options for mid layers, from a basic fleece tee to a highly technical soft shell garment. All these will give you different amounts of insulation. The trick is finding what suits you and works in your hunting situations. At Hunters Element we call our Mid layer garments our Furnace layer, think of it as your own personal thermostat.
Common sense prevails when choosing what mid layers you will wear for each hunt. If you’re sitting on exposed ridges or in a damp mai mai, you will want a few layers or 1 thick one to provide the right amount of comfort and warmth, the opposite if you’re busting your guts in steep country chasing pigs.
Your mid layer needs to wick moisture, much like your base layer does. To keep your body dry and warm you need to draw the moisture from your base layer to the mid layer, then into the atmosphere. A mid layer treated with DWR (durable water repellent) won’t do this. DWR treatments are designed to inhibit the fabric from absorbing moisture, this stops the wicking process in its tracks, leaving your base layer soaking wet. If you then sit down to glass on a cold exposed ridge, you chill off real quick. Because the moisture is trapped at the base layer level, it chills your core. This can lead to an uncomfortable hunt at the very least, or in extreme cases hypothermia. Ive made a couple of very basic animations to help describe how this works:
Base layer shown in light grey, Furnace mid layer shown in yellow. This animation shows a Furnace layer with DWR treatment:
Base layer shown in light grey, Furnace mid layer shown in yellow. This animation shows a Furnace layer with no DWR treatment:
Most cheap fleece garments, especially the ones sold in packs are DWR treated to inhibit the amount of rain and water these garments retain, unfortunately this oversight leads to a slimy, sweaty uncomfortable garment when you’ve been doing a bit of work and the sweats come on.
Hunters Element currently offers 1 dedicated mid layer garment, the Ascend top. It’s a highly technical fleece garment with good wicking ability. This garment is specifically designed to be worn over a base layer and under an outer layer if the weather is less than desirable. The Ascend top is a medium weight fleece, you can throw another layer under or over it to increase your level of insulation. Specific areas of this garment have been designed with new ultra high wicking fabrics to wick sweat where it’s needed most, under arms etc. The main body of this garment utilizes a brushed fleece fabric to insulate your core and keep you warm.
While Hunters Element only offers 1 dedicated mid layer garment at present, we do have many cross over garments. These can be used not only as a mid layer but also as an outer layer. These garments are generally windblock soft shell or fleece, and use a laminated 3 layer fabric. The fabric these garments are made from is 100% waterproof, however the fuzzy fleece inside layer, designed for warmth, can’t be seam sealed. This makes these garments shower resistant and not suitable for heavy downpours.
The versatility of these garments creates a more compact hunting kit and enables you use one garment for a large variety of hunting situations. The Hunters Element Core soft shell is our flagship windblock garment. This piece of clothing is designed to be worn everywhere, the fabric consists of a high loft fleece interior for insulation, a waterproof / breathable membrane and a close knit soft shell outer layer which sheds water with ease. Clever seam placement minimizes water entry, combine this with huge underarm zips to expel heat and you have one of the most versatile all round hunting garments on the market.
Hunters Element also has a new windblock garment due for release this hunting season. The Rugged Bush Coat is highly technical windblock fleece garment whose design is based around the classic swannie. A long cut, large chest pocket, large front zip and a fully adjustable hood all work together to create a hunting garment for the hard core hunters. Designed with warmth and stealth in mind this garment will work well as a Barrier layer in mild weather conditions as well as a heavy mid layer in those extreme conditions we have all become used to while hunting in New Zealand.
Also due for release this hunting season are our new box sets of fleece clothing. No we aren’t jumping on the cheap bulk clothing band wagon, our garments use a variety of top quality fleeces, incorporate features our customers have asked for and are constructed from proper fitting patterns. Our set includes the Dryarse pants, Techincal mans micro tee, Hardmans heavy fleece tee, the Spare Pocket bush shirt and a beanie. This set covers you form head to toe in top quality mid layer fleece garments at an affordable rate. We have not sacrificed quality so we can jam a few extra useless pieces into our packs, instead we concentrated on top quality fabrics and useful garments that are built to last. After all what use is a porcelain mug in your hunting kit?
Mid layers are predominantly there for insulation, however there are many cross over garments that can be utilized in a variety of situations. The key is finding what mid layers work for you and teaming these up with a good quality base layer and a good quality barrier layer, next post Ill look at Barrier layers, how they work and what they should be used for.
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