It doesn’t matter if you’ve been hunting since you could walk, or just picked up a gun or a bow this season, one universal truth for female hunters remains unchanging: shopping for hunting clothing can be a nightmare!
As I walked the aisles of my local Gander Mountain searching for a camo fleece jacket last week, I noticed a familiar pattern.
- 1) Finding the women’s camo was more
difficult. It wasn’t, as you’d think, near the clearly and boldly labeled
“hunting clothing.” That, of course, was for men and boy’s clothes (I mean,
women just use camo as a fashion statement, right?). The women’s camo was
hidden in a corner under the giant label of just “women’s.” There were three
racks compared to the 10+ on the other side
- 2) The three racks contained very few options, and almost all of them were priced $85 or more. Quality clothes come at quality prices, but that doesn’t explain why men got additional options in the $15-50 range.
- 3) Sizes and styles were even more limited
|Piecing together this get-up took quite a bit of doing!|
I just wanted a fleece jacket to help with the cold snap that had blown through in Texas! I wandered the entire store, trying on everything I could in the men’s section and finding nothing that wasn’t way too big, yet unable to afford the women’s options. This scenario is not unique to Gander Mountain- I’ve experienced it both online and in-store everywhere I’ve gone at one time or another.
Thankfully, I’ve had a few seasons of practice, and although I’m still on the hunt for the perfect face mask, I’ve picked up a lot of tips and tricks to make shopping for women’s hunting clothes a little less painful. (Although if you want to talk about options for tree stand harnesses, that’s a rant for another blog because there are like -5 options out there that securely fit women for under $100!)
|The Guide Series Insulated Parka helped me get the job done!|
A sudden opportunity arises to hunt with a friend, a laundry accident renders your pants unwearable, or a sudden change in the weather necessitates an immediate purchase. There are many reasons that sometimes, you have no choice (or you even prefer) but to shop in a store. As described above, this can be a frustrating experience, but thankfully more and more options for women are showing up on racks. Many big stores even have their own in-store lines for women. While lots of sporting good stores have camo clothes, the following have women’s specific options (actual availability, unfortunately, varies greatly!)
- -Bass Pro: Their options include the SHE Outdoor line, which features shirts, pants, jackets, and accessories. Prices range from $15-120, with most items falling between $40-60, making their line reasonably affordable.
- -Cabela’s: While they do have their own line of products called OutfitHER, the options aren’t super extensive, and prices tend to be higher than the Bass Pro line.
- -Gander Mountain: Although substantially fewer options than other stores, they do have a women’s component to their Guide Series. Their website has a lot more options than are in the store, typically, but their thicker jackets are great (from personal experience, as I have the waterproof insulate parka and love it) and reasonably priced for the quality.
- -Field and Stream: While they do have women’s options in their brand, on the website there are 102 items for Men’s “hunting clothing” just under jackets and vests. Guess how many are there for women? Go ahead, guess! ……14. Yes. 14. Only two of those options are under $60. Still, they’re worth looking at if other local stores are either not close, don’t have what you need, or someone gave you a good gift card, as they do have great free shipping offers and sales often on their website.
- -Academy: I’m a Texas girl, and thankfully one of the million perks that come with that is that my state is blessed by an Academy Sports and Outdoors on practically every corner. (Move over, Starbucks!) Academy’s store brand is Game Winner, and it is the trifecta of perfect: cheap, quality, and available. Although their stores still feature men’s to women’s options in about a 4:1 ratio (online is 196 men’s options to 44 women’s options), I have always found what I needed. In fact, I noticed last time I got in my tree stand, I was in Game Winner head-to-toe, even down to my boots. Prices rarely go over $60, and the quality is comparable to any other major brand. And seriously, my Game Winner camo bibs have a flap in the back that unzips so you can pee in the woods without taking off your jacket. The. Best. Ever.
|Game Winner brand, head-to-toe in the tree!|
Of course, when you have the time to shop around but not the patience to drive to every store, online storefronts are perfect. Many big box stores also sell online (as described above) but the beauty of the internet is it allow entrepreneurs the ability to get their business going without a physical storefront. Several of these businesses are even run for and by women! Online is definitely the way to go when it comes to finding the best deal, but always check the return policy to make sure that if it doesn’t fit, you don’t lose your money!
- -PRIOS is on the pricier side, but their products are great quality and especially tailored exclusively for women. From my personal experience with them, their customer service is also excellent and friendly. Have a question? Just call them and speak with someone right away who will help you pick exactly what you need for the hunt you’re going on.
- -Girls with Guns is a bit more affordable and has a lot more options, ranging from serious hunting apparel to more fashion/fun options, including swimsuits and active wear. I’m not sure when in my life I would ever need a camo sports bra...but I mean really, it’s pretty cute, so I just might have to!
- -Sportsman’s Warehouse, Sierra Trading Post, UnderArmour, and Legendary Whitetails are other places you could look as well.
Alternatives in a pinch
If you’re like me, stuck in a store in immediate need of a jacket and yet unable to afford the limited women’s options you can also do this: try the youth section! This is not a perfect solution, but I am 5’9”, 150lbs, and discovered on that day that a Youth XL Columbia fleece was absolutely perfect, and was only $30. If being sized the same as a husky tween has any perks, it is that at least the clothes are cheaper, and there’s a cute patch on the inside for me to write my name on.
Options for women’s hunting clothing are still frustratingly limited, but because women are the fastest growing demographic in the hunting industry, this problem will hopefully lessen with each passing season. Until then, unfortunately sometimes the hunt is on in a major way before ever stepping foot in the field! Hopefully, with this list of options, you can cobble together the perfect outfit to help yourself stay dry, comfortable, stealthy, and successful. Happy hunting, errr, shopping!