When it comes to the backcountry, quality technical clothing is an incredible asset. The ability to regulate moisture and body temperature across a wide range of environments — and exertion levels– is nothing short of groundbreaking. Across the last decade, we have seen this shift in the hunting clothing space. Where previously serious backcountry and mountain hunters were forced to look into adjacent outdoor areas, like mountaineering and rock climbing for quality gear, clothing manufacturers began to take heed and develop “hunting specific” technical clothing. With this advancement in technical clothing and deviation from the bright colors of the general outdoors space comes the price creep we all know too well.
But what if we told you that quality technical apparel didn’t require a second mortgage to acquire? That you didn’t need to pay $250 USD for a pair of hiking pants to be comfortable or successful in the mountains? Or that “designer” camo won’t make you a better hunter. The dyed-in-the-wool camo fans may scoff at this idea, but I can tell you it’s true. Proper understanding and application of the fundamentals — concealing movement, thermals, playing the wind, and game knowledge — are what put meat in the freezer consistently. If your outfit matches and you like the camo pattern, that’s icing on the cake.
Now that we have that out of the way, I want to address what I believe to be the three most important features of technical hunting clothing: Functionality, Durability, and Versatility. This idea is easily visualized with a pair of blue jeans. They may be versatile and usually durable, however, when it comes to thermoregulation, moisture management, and range of motion, they simply aren’t functional. Trust me. I’ve packed out mountain goats and stone sheep in them. There’s a broad gap between “it works” and “it’s great.”
The fourth and final consideration I have when it comes to the technical clothing I choose for the backcountry is price. This doesn’t mean I am going to the thrift shop for hunting clothes – quality is still paramount. But when I’m in the field 120+ days out of the year gear wears out, and I want to avoid spending two times the price on a pair of pants that might not make it through three seasons. I want to maximize my budget where it counts – time in the field hunting and transportation cost involved in getting into those remote places. I am also a firm believer that hunting should be accessible to everyone – not just those with an annual gear budget in the thousands.
This is where Beyond Clothing comes into the picture. As any of you who listen to the Beyond The Kill podcast will already know, we’ve been working with Beyond Clothing for over a year now, and Adam’s been rocking their gear for a couple of years before that. High-quality, highly technical clothing with a focus on sustainability and affordability. What’s not to love?
As a “Thank You” to our loyal audience, we’ve partnered with Beyond to launch a 35% discount on some of our favorite pieces in their lineup that will have you covered from hunting spring bears in the warmest climes, to chasing Bison in the depths of winter.
Warm Weather Layering
We’ve spent plenty of airtime discussing cold-weather layering systems in the past, as a lot of the hunting we do in British Columbia falls under this spectrum. Layering for the warmer months follows the same principles of moisture management – choosing performance fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin and dry quickly through body heat, wind, and sun. Generally, the margin for error is larger in the hotter months of the year, but a lack of physical comfort can strip you of your mental faculties in the field – and that is definitely not what we are chasing in the mountains.
Beyond has developed its lines around a simple and effective numbered layering system — one through eight — that identifies where each individual piece would fall into your layering, a nice function for understanding what their intended use is. Rarely do we find ourselves in true “hot weather only” environments in the mountains of British Columbia, as even the warmest days can bring nights close to freezing, and my choices below reflect these conditions. As always, individual bodies have individual needs, and you may find yourself stretching the application of certain pieces, or layering up with others.
Before diving into my top picks for warmer environments, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Beyond jackets come in two length offerings — Regular & Long — a fantastic feature that lets you tailor the fit to your needs. Cause let’s face it, we’ve all had great outwear that was cut a little short in length for functional mountain hunting needs…
NMO’s Top Picks for Warm Weather Hunting
Any good layering system starts from the bottom. Without the ability to wick moisture away from your body, your other layers can’t perform to their abilities, and you are stripped of your abilities to stay warm and dry. Both of these pieces boast a synthetic/wool blend, an important consideration for durability as 100% merino itself is built like cheesecloth. I’ve found these pieces to be durable and comfortable across a wide range of temperatures and effective at doing their job – transporting moisture away from your skin.
The K1 Pullover features a ½ zip front for dumping heat on warmer days, and while the K1 Long John will be hotter than you’d want for most of the warmer months of the year, it’s perfect to throw on for those cool early morning glassing sessions in the mountains. Mountain weather can swing wildly, and regardless of the temps I always keep a lightweight long john in the pack. At 7.1oz for the Long John you won’t notice them in there, and you’ll be happy to have them.
L3 – Active Insulation – K3 Prima Lochi Jacket (Reversible)
Every once in a while, you find a piece of gear that you keep reaching for, regardless of the adventure. For us, the Prima Lochi jacket is one of them. Beyond describes this piece as “designed to fit a variety of scenes and needs” and they hit the nail on the head. While this piece is designed for use below 45º F as an active insulation piece, it’s also the perfect buffer for cool mornings, quick storm cycles during the warmer months, or when the temperatures swing in the opposite direction during a week-long trip in the backcountry.
It features 60g Polartec® Alpha® Insulation, which is fairly consistent through the industry for its application, and a robust 70-denier micro ripstop fabric that takes it from a specialized active insulation piece to a do-all workwear use for me. Combined with DWR treatment it’s perfect for those windy rain showers that don’t warrant digging out and putting on a rain suit in the middle of a glassing session.
Whether you’re hunting Mountain Goats in August or want to cut the ripping wind in February skiing, the Prima Lochi will work for you. We’ve sung its praises plenty, but this one is as versatile as they come and gets bonus points for the reversible Black & Woodland camo colorway. ‘Nuff said.
When it comes to true warm weather, the Ventum jacket and pants are your best choice. Designed as an ultralight and compact layer to cut surprise wind and drizzle, both the Ventum Jacket & Pant are the perfect lightweight layer for those scorcher afternoons hunting bears or humping up the next ridge on your sheep hunt.
They both feature a high mobility 4-way stretch fabric, while the Ventum Jacket has articulated elbows and the Ventum Pant articulated knees and a gusseted crotch to keep you mobile and reduce wear and tear in key areas. Both pieces have ample pockets, and as with other Beyond pants – the side pockets on the Ventum pant aid in ventilation for the hottest of days. Highly breathable, packable, and both pieces come in at well under a pound each. Perfect for long hikes under the sun, training sessions in the woods, or to throw in as an added layer to go over your shorts and t-shirt on those summer scouting trips in lieu of heavier rain/wind gear when you know you’re not gonna get dumped on.
L5 – Softshell – K5 Modus Light Softshell Jacket
Over the years I have strayed away from what I would call traditional softshell jackets – that is the DWR polyester outer, microfleece-backed inner style pieces. For my needs, and the way my body regulates heat I’ve found them to be too hot for most active uses, and not warm enough for most static uses in colder environments. The K5 Modus Light breaks away from this trend, and in addition to the Prima Lochi, has become one of the most versatile jackets I own.
On the warmest days, or when the heart is pumping on a big climb this lives in the top lid of my pack, but over the last year, I’ve found myself reaching for this jacket just about every time I leave the house. It’s been my sole outwear piece on 6’000ft vertical 20-mile plus ski touring days, as well as chasing moose, goats, and sheep from August through October in the Northern Rockies.
The K5 Modus is a lightweight, super stretchy, durable, and weather-resistant softshell, lined with a moisture-wicking bamboo charcoal-yarn liner that combats odor as well. It has ample pocket space, and I’ve found the bicep pockets function as excellent airflow vents while left open for hikes on brisk days. With an adjustable hood, underarm gussets, and articulated elbows it has all of the features you need out of a versatile outer layer piece. Combined with warmer layers underneath, this shell extends well into your later season backpack hunts when you need to cut the wind and moisture. If I had to just own one piece from Beyond, this would be a very strong contender.
Whether or not you choose the same layers that we do is up to you. We all have different styles, and the freedom to mix and match gear at our leisure, hell it’s part of the fun of having a hobby. But one thing is for sure – you won’t find better gear at a better price than Beyond Clothing.