Trekking into the wilderness in Alaska requires the best gear to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. Here are our favorite picks for the coming season.
These are the best hunting boots and apparel for 2020
|Kenetrek 10” Grizzly Boot
The first thing our youth tester said is that these boots are comfortable when hiking and warm when he sat glassing for game. Our youth testers often have cold feet, so this is a real positive endorsement. He said that his feet stayed dry even when hiking through creeks and wet terrain. Among the many features of these quality boots are the removable 6 mm liners that have three layers of materials quilted together. Kenetrek starts with a layer of Cambrelle, which is a durable and excellent wicking material, then adds 400 grams of Thinsulate insulation which provides warmth without bulk, and finishes with 3 mm of wool felt for insulation even when damp. These liners are more durable and much less bulky than traditional felt liners, and the reason our tester’s feet stay warm and comfortable. Other features include snug-fitting leather uppers made of heavy-duty 6-ounce oil-tanned leather and incorporate a snug-fit lacing system with the Power D-ring that secures the ankle area of the boot for maximum support. Handmade natural-rubber bottoms with supportive steel shanks are scent free and waterproof and the Kenetrek Talon outsole utilizes the finest rubber compounds to give you the grip, durability, and support you’ll need to climb anything. The deep relief and open tread pattern give serious bite in snow, mud, or dry ground. The Grizzly is available in 10” or 13” heights and can be completely rebuilt when the bottoms wear out.
|Kryptek Njord Pant and Jacket
This set is warm, comfortable and quiet. These are features that helped us sneak up on game in 2019. Additionally, the garments are made with a water-resistant fabric and treated with DWR, which helped to keep us dry when it got stormy, which it inevitably does during hunting season. We found the set to give our tester protection from the wind and rain, while keeping him warm in conditions not far above freezing. The athletic fit allows for full range of motion and promotes noise reduction.
|Kenetrek Mountain Guide 400
At Hunt Alaska, we’ve been fans of Kenetrek boots for years. The Mountain Guide 400 is another of their very high-quality boots. Hunts in Alaska often mean miles of hiking over varied, rough terrain, and when success comes, it means packing heavy loads. Our advice is to buy the best boots you can afford. The Mountain Guide 400 boots would be a great choice. The uppers are 10 inches tall and made of thick, premium full-grain leather with one-piece construction. They are double and triple stitched, waterproof and insulated with 400 grams of Thinsulate. Boot hardware is of the highest quality, and it swivels instead of breaking. One of our favorite features, the 7 mm nylon midsoles provide extra support that you will really appreciate on a moose pack-out. The custom K-73 outsoles have deep lugs and provide excellent traction and durability.
|Muck Boots Men’s Arctic Ice Mid
These are quality boots, sturdy and well-made for year-round use. Our tester appreciated the comfort in summer and warmth and great traction in the snow and ice. These boots are fleece lined and very comfortable; the shorter length makes them well suited for a wide variety of applications. The neoprene top is especially appreciated by our tester for comfort and ease of removal.
|Sitka Gear Women’s Heavyweight Hoody
This garment is multi-functional; either use it as part of your layering system on cold days, or as a top layer during dry, warmer days. It’s breathable and wicks moisture, and the fleece also retains heat. Our tester said it is comfortable to wear and kept her warm, and that she likes the feel of the fleece, fit of the hood and the functionality of the half-length front zipper and the stretch thumb loops.
|Under Armor Ridge Reaper Raider Pants
Quiet, waterproof, windproof, and comfortable, these pants are a fine choice for outdoorsmen in Alaska. Our tester loved the fit of these pants and found them to be very easy to move in. Articulated knees and four-way-stretch fabric contribute to the functionality of this garment. Pockets are adequate and properly placed.
|Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
Crafted for any terrain, these boots provide good traction and repel water. Our tester appreciates the quality of these boots. They are attractive, durable and easy to lace. The craftsmanship is excellent; they are made to last. These boots are great for hiking in a variety of weather conditions, and are comfortable and breathable. We also tested a pair for our youth hunter and he reported that these are great boots. He loves the comfortable fit after many miles of hiking, and that his feet stay dry even when hunting in wet and soggy conditions like he found when targeting deer in 2019.
|Wiggy’s Lightweight Waders
Hunt Alaska Contributor Eric Hershey shared this wisdom: “Wiggy’s Waders are an absolute necessity for every sheep hunter. Weighing only 10 ounces, these over-boot waders add very little weight to your pack and can be shared between a pair of hunters. After the first person crosses a creek, just roll them up and toss across to the other guy. They grip the wet rocks well and are fairly durable considering their weight.”
|Arctic Shield Heat Echo Sherpa Jacket and Bibs
This cold-weather system is awesome and the way everything fits is great. The bibs and coat are large for the sizing, so layering underneath is easy. This system makes glassing in cold weather or just sitting around very comfortable. Also, the outer fleece fabric makes it very quiet when trying to move around. If you are going to be in very cold weather or just need a nice system to stay warm while being outdoors, this is it.
|Darn Tough Socks
Contributing Editor John Whipple shared: “Every outdoorsman worth his salt knows that if you don’t take care of your feet, you won’t have much of a hunt. Through the years I have tried most if not all the major sock brands, and have decided that Darn Tough socks are the best in the business. They are available in merino wool and synthetic fibers. Fit is excellent. They are snug and do not slip or bunch, yet they are not so tight that they are restrictive. They wick moisture admirably well, and true to their name, they are tough. They last for an incredibly long time, and if and when you manage to wear them out, they will send you a new pair free of charge!”
|Sitka Gear Women’s Merino Core Lightweight Bottom
This base layer features merino wool spun around a nylon core, giving you the best properties of both materials. Our tester said she appreciates the yoga-style waist and athletic fit, and loves the warm and moisture-wicking properties of the merino wool.