It’s no secret that having a bulletproof skin-to-shell clothing system is paramount for a successful elk hunt. Regardless of which state you are hunting in; the weather can change in an instant. These changing conditions can ruin your hunt, but you can create a clothing layering system that keeps you in the field and comfortable.
Whether you’re elk hunting in Colorado, New Mexico, or Montana, a proper layering system will cover most western states. The layering system enhances your performance in the field by scaling your insulation up or down during high- and low-level activity. Elk hunting is no exception, and you should plan on drastic weather changes.
KUIU‘s skin-to-shell layering system is built to compliment how you hunt and withstand the elements thrown at you. For most elk hunting applications, clothes that are interchangeable and durable are the top priority. Whether you choose from our three distinct camouflage patterns: Valo, Verde, and Vias, or our broad selection of hunting solids, here are our customer’s top-seven elk hunting products that will keep you comfortable and hunting.
BASE LAYER: ULTRA MERINO 145
4.9 Star Rated *****
2500+ Customer Reviews
The next-to-skin base layer is the foundation of your layering system. Building your layering system starts by picking the suitable fabric. Merino wool base layers are naturally odor-resistant, provide insulation while wet, and are ideal in arid climates. No matter what style of hunting you are doing, Merino will handle body moisture.
If you build up a sweat on the hike into your stand or area you’re posting up; Merino will transport water away from your body, keeping you comfortable and dry. Another benefit of Merino wool is its insulating properties are maintained when wet. Merino is the best odor eliminator for extended elk hunting trips. Having a good base layer will make all the difference in your entire layering system.
KUIU’s ULTRA Merino 145 line up of Zip-T, Hoodie, and Zip-off bottoms are lightweight, incredibly comfortable, and durable. They’re perfect next to skin or as a layering option for the highly active elk hunter.
Base Layer Checklist:
- Comfortably worn next-to-skin
- Naturally odor-resistant, quiet, and low-sheen
- Retains insulating properties when wet
- Evaporates moisture quickly
- Spandex free
“I just took the Merino 145 elk hunting in Colorado. It was perfect for early September, so it was the only thing I wore all day. It kept me warm when we woke up at 4 a.m. for morning hunts and then during the mid-day heat I unzipped it the chest zipper to cool down.” Shane E
MID LAYER: PELOTON 240 JACKETS & VEST
4.8 Star Rated *****
2800+ Customer Reviews
The mid-layer is an extension of your base layer for hunts in cold weather or worn as outerwear for an active elk hunt. This layer will be worn for the majority of the day, and its versatility is essential to not only keep you warm but not restrict activity levels.
The Peloton 240 is super quiet and comfortable. This synthetic grid fleece jacket is ideal as mid-layer insulation or as an outer layer on cool days. It’s not bulky, so it won’t restrict critical movements, such as drawing your bow or shouldering a rifle. Its wind-resistant fabric will keep you warm and comfortable on a windy day.
Mid-layer Top checklist:
- Quiet low-sheen outer material
- Wind and water resistant
- Spandex Free
“On a late-season Colorado elk hunt we experienced extremely cold mornings around 5° and then up to 55° in the evenings. KUIU’s layering system was a must for this hunt. The Peloton 240 worked amazing in keeping me warm and easy to pack when temperatures increased. The jackets warmth to weight ratio is incredible. It’s an absolute must in a layering.” Dennis M
HUNTING PANT: ATTACK PANT
During an elk hunt, you might be pushing through a thick brush while stalking a bull elk after a rainstorm; you need to have a pant that is ultralight, durable, and quiet. Just like the top mid-layer, this pant should perform well in various conditions.
The Attack Pant is considered our most versatile pant style. It performs well in a wide range of temperatures, comfortably accepts a base layer worn underneath, and repels water effectively due to the tight fabric weave and KDWR coating.
The zip-open hip vents provide easy and effective climate control, while a low-profile cargo-style pocketing layout provides storage without excess bulk. Mesh-lined pockets offer increased breathability and reduced overall garment weight.
Hunting Pant Checklist:
- Quiet, breathable, 4-way stretch fabric
- Hip vents for ventilation
- DWR Coating to repel water
- Articulated knees and crotch gusset
- Abrasion Resistant
- Spandex Free
“I’ve used these on an early season elk hunt (70+ deg) with the side sippers open for cooling. I’ve also used these pants on late season elk hunts (10 deg and windy) with a base layer. Very versatile pant in all-weather conditions.” Wade B
INSULATION: KENAI SERIES
Newly Redesigned for 2021
The insulation layer is one of the most critical layers and should be always included in your pack for elk hunting. The best areas and places to hunt elk will have changing weather patterns during the rut. The insulation layer can be used for cold mornings and evenings when temperatures drop. This layer is worn over the base or mid-layer and under rain gear in adverse conditions.
The Kenai Series features a range of breathable insulated hunting clothes to keep you warm in cold temperatures without overheating. It’s our most popular insulated jacket among elk hunters. The low sheen and dead quiet material keep you concealed from wary eyes and ears. The 3DeFX+ insulation keeps you warm while you need to stay still. It also breathes when your activity levels spike.
Outer layer Insulation checklist:
- Warm and highly water resistant
- Highly breathable and quick dry
- Quiet low-sheen outer material
- Athletic Fit
“The new Kenai Hooded Jacket and zip-off pant are my go-to insulation pieces for elk hunting in Utah. I’m always stop and go between glassing and hiking—Kenai breathes well and regulates so I’m not constantly taking it off and back on. If I need more wind and rain protection, it layers perfect under my rain gear.” Dylan C.
HUNTING RAIN GEAR: KUTANA STORM SHELL JACKET AND PANT
The last line of defense is rain gear. In preparation for any elk hunt, you should always plan on rain. Rain gear is not only used for rain but a great layer to lock in heat to keep you warm and protected.
Kutana Storm Shell Jacket, Pant, and Boot Gaiter are the best choice when lightweight is a must and durability can’t be sacrificed. They’re ideal when brush-busting durability is required. The Kutana Storm Shell system is not only waterproof but blocks wind, rain, and snow.
Hunting Rain Gear Checklist:
- Waterproof breathable membrane
- Lightweight and durable
- Sized to fit over base and mid layers.
“This Jacket was more than I expected, I was dry and warm the entire trip. It performed flawlessly… After months of research, I recently added the Kutana Storm Shell to my gear list. I’m very impressed by its performance! During all-day drizzles and showers at 5,500 ft in the backcountry cascades of Washington, I stayed dry while elk scouting with my son.” Derek V
ELK HUNTING BACKPACK: PRO PACK FULL KIT 3600
4.9 Star Rated *****
Choosing the best backpack for elk hunting comes down to finding a compact and light enough pack for a quick day hunt, but large enough to expand and carry your camp and gear into the backcountry for a multiple-day excursion. Not only does the backpack have to carry your hunting gear, but when you harvest an elk, the pack must be able to pack everything out plus the additional meat. As a rule of thumb in picking the size of pack, plan for around 1,000 cubic inches per day of a hunt.
The PRO 3600 Full Kit backpack is perfect for elk hunting. This 3600 cubic inch hunting backpack is our most popular bag size. It’s ideal for 1-to-3-day trips, horseback hunts, or gear-intensive day hunts. It features a load-sling mode that stows an additional 2500 cubic inches of meat or gear between the frame and bag for hauling meat.
If 3600 isn’t your ideal size, choose from any of the PRO or PRO LT bags ranging from 1850 to 7800 cubic inches. All KUIU PRO and PRO LT pack bags leverage the same Carbon Fiber Frame and PRO Suspension System.
- Expandable bag
- Pack shoulder/hip adjustments
- Meat shelf
- Interchangeable bags
“The whole KUIU PRO pack system is awesome. The 3600 bag is my favorite part. Small enough for a long day outing and cinches down on partial loads nicely. Plenty big enough for lightweight multi-day, plus the option of the load sling for additional capacity. I also have the older Pro 3200, I like the improvements on this one for outside pockets and strap positions.” Jebidiah T.
BINOCULAR HARNESS: PRO BINO HARNESS
4.9 Star Rated *****
A bino harness is one of the most used items in your elk hunting kit. Since the harness will be on your chest 100% of the time while hunting, no matter if it’s warm or cold, it must fit perfectly to your body. The primary purpose of a bino harness is to hold and protect your binoculars.
To completely protect your binoculars, the harness must be fully enclosed.
KUIU’s PRO Bino Harness checks all the boxes for a perfect bino harness. Fully enclosed, one-hand operable, and dead quiet, it’s the premier binocular harness solution. Thanks to its comfortable harness and independent bino straps, the pouch stays secure while hiking or glassing.
It allows you to perfectly fit the harness to your chest, add accessory pouches, and offers full binocular coverage. KUIU offers smaller pouches as well as an attachable PRO Hydration Rig that instantly turns your harness into a water carrier while closing the distance on a stalk.
Bino Harness Checklist:
- Fully Adjustable for a perfect fit
- Made from 100% waterproof fabric
- Moldable case-mouth opening
- Quiet and fleece lined
- Fully enclosed forward-folding lid
- One-hand operable
“The forward-folding lid design and the moldable front section make it easy to take your binos in and out with one hand and without looking… I’m very picky and the way the rangefinder case mounts tight is also a big plus. I don’t like other brands that when mounted bounce around, this attachment is nice and tight and feels like it’s one piece.” Robert O.