How has hunting attire changed over the last 300 years? Let’s take a look.
Contemporary longhunter displaying some fine early 18th-century threads. [Image: warriorstrail.com]
were 18th century hunters and trappers who pushed into the Appalachian frontier in search of fur and game. By dress alone, they probably weren’t too different from ordinary settlers or pioneers. They wore a kind of knee-length linen overshirt, moccasins, leather leggings, and woolen garters in thick brush or snow. Since they operated for months at a time, longhunters carried a wool blanket for sleeping and an oilcloth that functioned like a modern tarp. They carried their items in a leather bag known as a haversack that was carried over the shoulder like a messenger bag. A smaller leather bag, known as a shooting bag, contained everything needed to prep, load, and maintain a flintlock rifle. As longhunters worked their way West, their style of dress became heavily influenced by encounters with Native Americans. They basically looked like A$AP Rocky.
The mountain men were the peak of frontier fashion and the first true masters of cultural appropriation. The reached a fabulousness rivaled only by today’s tactical paramilitary soybean field hunters. Adopting the style of Native American hunters, they dressed head to toe in buckskins and wore either moccasins or heavy boots depending on the terrain. Coonskin hats were in the mix but probably not as often as people think. Unlike today’s ScentLok man, the mountain man was not afraid of a little odor. In fact, he probably reeked. But that really didn’t matter because he also probably understood the wind in a way that less than 1% of today’s hunters do.
Grandfather and the Golden Age
Ah, the era when brands like Filson
, Sears, Ted Williams, L.L. Bean, and Woolrich
were kings. When I think of my grandfather’s generation
, I think of waxed canvas and ruby-colored Woolrich plaid
. Since deer are colorblind, plaid will break up your outline as effectively as camouflage. But not too long after WWII, synthetics came along and changed the game. The result was cheaper and lighter, but it wasn’t always warmer.
The Baby Boomer
What exactly does dad wear when he hunts? It’s hard to say. It pretty much depends on whatever size XXL camo was on sale that week at Cabela’s. If he’s hip and takes after his son or daughter, maybe he’ll forego the baggy look in favor of some Under Armour
. If he’s fancy and hip, he may lean toward Sitka’s
style. If your dad’s a real badass, then he’s rocking Herman Survivors. If he wanted to look good and waste $250, then he’s lacing up a pair of boots
What are the kids wearing these days? [Image: jezebel.com]
I once went rabbit hunting in skinny jeans. On the one hand, I was able to thread myself through the briars like a needle, but on the other hand, I had to stop and dig thorns out of my legs every five minutes. It wasn’t really worth repeating. So what does today’s generation
wear on the hunt? Because nice hunting clothes are expensive and my generation is broke, I’ve seen an uptick in second hand and Salvation Army camo. In general, hunting clothing is getting smarter and lighter.