What hunting clothes does Steve Rinella Use? Steve Rinella uses First Lite and Kuiu brand clothing.
Steve Rinella advocates using a hunting clothing system; while this could be more expensive upfront as you have to buy multiple pieces of clothing for your kit, in the long term it could be cheaper because many of these clothing pieces can be used in conjunction with one another to create a versatile layering system.
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First Lite Hunting Clothing
First Like was founded by Kenton Carruth and Scott Robinson. They are known for hunting gear for both the weekend hunter and the expedition hunter in mind. The company has a wide range of technical hunting clothing and is known for using merino wool in many of the products building years of research and use in the hiking industry.
Kuiu Brand Clothing
Another brand you often see Steven Rinella using prior to his sponsorship with First Lite is the Kuiu brand.
You may be wondering how do you actually pronounce Kuiu. It is pronounced Koo You.
Kuiu is an American hunting gear and apparel brand that has a direct-to-consumer model. So if you are wondering where you can buy Kuiu gear, you cannot go to your local store or other online retailers to purchase, you have to purchase directly from Kuiu.
What Is A Hunting Clothing System?
A hunting clothing system is essentially building a head-to-toe set of gear that can work together by layering and adding or subtracting pieces as the temperatures and weather change. This layering concept has been successfully used in the US Military and by many individuals interested in hiking.
This has been made famous with the military clothing system like the US Army uses the ECWCS (Extended Cold Weather Clothing System). The ECWCS stated that the temperature rating is from positive 40 degrees Fahrenheit to negative 60 degrees. Now, these aren’t comfort ratings but bare minimum survival ratings. Remember, comfort level can depend highly on the user; we all have different temperature tolerances.
Building Your Hunting Clothing System To Tackle Any Weather – Questions To Ask Yourself
When you first decide you want to invest in quality hunting clothing and build a system of clothing that you can select from to cover the exact situation, you need to consider a few things.
Will You Be Stationary (Still Hunting) or On the Move?
If you are stationary and in colder weather, you can wear more bulky clothes and not be uncomfortable. Where if you tried wearing the same clothing when you are on the move, you would likely be uncomfortable due to the bulk of the clothing being restrictive, while you would also likely overheat due to all the insulative layers.
When I am whitetail deer hunting in New York in early December, I often still hunt, and if not dressed appropriately, it can get pretty cold!
What season(s) you will be hunting in
If you are really interested in hunting, you already know that you can face a variety of weather conditions depending on what is in season and what time of year you are hunting. For example, here in New York State, hunting for white-tail deer you can experience everything from 60-degree days to sub-freezing days and everything in between.
This is the perfect scenario for a hunting clothing system.
Spring can be kind of a wildcard, here in the Northeast US you can have snow, rain, ice, or really warm weather. In general, for early spring, I would continue to use my winter hunting gear and remove one of the insulating layers as needed when the temperatures get warmer. For example, as the temps warm up, still use your winter jacket but remove a fleece layer, this will allow you to incrementally regulate your temperature.
Likely in summer, you will need gear that helps regulate body temperature and wicks moisture away so you have evaporative cooling and do not get overheated. Generally speaking, you may need some headwear that provides some form of additional shade to keep the sun off of your head and neck.
In fall, depending on the temperatures where you are, you often can get away with using some of your summer hunting clothing, but have a layer on top such as a fleece and/or shell. This will allow you to use the summer gear during warmer fall periods while adding the fleece layer for early morning or evening hunts.
In Winter, you can often get away with using a base layer that insulates, with much of your Fall gear but adding an additional heavier insulating jacket and pants or bibs. Winter has the largest variation where you need to dress based on your activity; if you wear too many insulative layers for a hunt where you are moving around you will quickly overheat and sweat which can create issues in cold weather.
What environment will you be hunting in
If you are someone who hunts in a particular area that has similar terrain, plants, and colors then a single camo may be adequate, but if you hunt everywhere from the East Coast of the United States to out West the terrain and colors are different so you may need to have a different style of camo.
Steve Rinella’s Hunting Clothing Recommendations
Lets start looking at the clothing Steve Rinella recommends, we will start at footwear and work our way up to headwear. We have to consider that many famous or professional hunters (which I would consider Steve) may receive free gear and/or sponsorships from suppliers or manufacturers.
So I recommend to not taking what he uses or recommends as the sole reason you choose a certain piece of gear, you should also see what other people are saying about the gear as well.
I haven’t seen Steve recommend specific brands of footwear, but he has some general suggestions that you can utilize. For warmer month hunts, you can use boots that are almost built like a hiking boots. These are fairly inexpensive and can be used for still hunting or hiking and hunts. Personally, I have good luck with Asolo hiking boots, but you can also look into almost any type of hiker.
Next, let’s discuss boots you can utilize when it is wet out, where you will be dealing with mud and wet clay. Steve recommends rubber boots for these types of hunts. I have had good luck with Muck brand boots.
For winter, Steve recommends Pac Boots; they usually have a leather upper and a softer rubber sole. These help give you traction in colder weather, they often also have removable liners, so you do not have to have the challenges of drying the inside of boots. Simply get a second set of liners, and dry the first ones while using the backup liners.
For socks, good quality wool socks of varying thickness are ideal, for winter you may want to add a thin pair of liner socks that wick moisture away from the feet. I haven’t seen anywhere Steve makes a specific recommendation for a particular brand, but I have had good luck with Smart Wool, or for those of a more budget-friendly option, Costco’s wool socks are reasonably priced.
What are boot gaiters used for? Gaiters are great for keeping sand, rocks, sticks, and other debris from getting into the top of your boots, as well as helping keep your lower legs dry from brushing up against damp grass. They can also help keep ticks from crawling under your pant legs.
I have seen Steve wear First Lite Brambler Gaiters and Kuiu’s Yukon Gaiters. Both are well-respected gaiters that should serve you well.
For a base layer, you have two options synthetic base layers and natural base layers. Personally, I like merino wool base layers, and from what I have read, that is what Steve Rinella recommends as well.
You can use merino wool in the warm months as it wicks moisture well, and you can use it in colder weather as it provides insulation.
First Lite makes two different base layer bottoms the Kiln Boot Top Bottom, which goes to the top of most hunting boots (removing bulk from your boots), and the Furnace Long John, which is a full-length base layer and is a heavier-weight merino wool than the Kiln Boot Tops.
Likewise, for your top base layer, First Lite has Henly and quarter zip long-sleeve base layers.
Mid layers for hunting is excellent, during fall and late spring, this may be all you need to wear for your outer layer. This can be as simple as a fleece jacket. You will often see hunters during the colder seasons wear the mid layer as they walk into where they plan to hunt and only put on the outer layer once they reach their stand.
Steve recommends the various fleece options from First Lite, or if you are looking for a more natural option, you could go with one of the merino wool base layers they offer.
Outer layers are one of the most critical layers; getting this layer right is important for multiple reasons. First, it is the first line of defense against the elements. Wearing the wrong outer layer for the weather conditions surely will make your outdoor adventures miserable.
When building out your hunting kit, you should have a variety of outer layers. First, I would recommend a Gortex Camo Rain Jacket, this can be worn during rainy hunts year around and in a pinch, can be used as an oversell/windbreaker with insulative clothing under it for winter hunts.
A dedicated puffy coat made from synthetics or down can also be used for extreme cold; just be sure to pack them in so you don’t overheat or destroy them on brambles.
For more moderate temperatures, you can often wear a mid-layer as an outer layer (ie fleece or light long-sleeve t-shirt) depending on the temperatures.
Headwear can be an inexpensive area of your gear selection. At a minimum, you should have a camp hat with a brim to keep the sun off, a winter hat for when temperatures drop, and potentially some form of orange headwear for states that require orange (unless you don’t hunt these areas).
Steve often uses the First Lite Brimmed Beanie hat for cool weather hunts and one of First Lite’s ball hats for many warmer season hunts.
First Lite offers several gloves that are a great choice if you are looking for the gloves Steve Rinella wears. They have merino wool liner gloves, more winter-style camo gloves, and a wicking liner glove that doesn’t insulate but is used for covering your skin during the warmer months.
Wrapping up, Steve Rinella has an agreement to use much of First Lite’s gear, which is normal in many sports, and hunting is no different. First Lite does make some quality gear at fair prices.
If they are out of your price range, you can find numerous other makers with similar gear and use the style of First Lite gear as a model for your gear selection from another brand.