male bow hunter in a forest

The Best Gear for Hunting Out West

male bow hunter in a forest

One of the questions we most often get here at Badlands global HQ is some variation of, “what is the best hunting gear for (insert species/location)?”

Most of the time we’ll ask some follow-up questions, get a better idea of your exact needs, and offer some suggestions that are right for your hunt. Then we started to notice certain items would always seem to come up. The best gear for hunters, in general.

So, in the spirit of western hunting, we put our collective heads together and came up with this list of the best hunting gear for all your outdoor needs.

Gear for Colder Hunts

For those cold, high-elevation hunts where you’ll be doing a lot of uphill and sidehill hikes, the Active Hunter Series is a great choice for staying warm, while still maintaining flexibility and not overheating. We used body-mapping technology to design this line to ensure that we put the PrimaLoft® insulation where it was needed, and not where it would hinder your ability to stalk game. The BalderSurt and Odin jackets offer varying degrees of insulation, allowing you to match up with the degrees on the thermometer.

female hunter out in field

Speaking of matching up to the environment, we redesigned the men’s Flex Full-Zip 2.0 and Flex 1/2-Zip 2.0 to go with their partner the Flex ½-Zip for women to be the ultimate in hunting hoodies. As the name implies, the Flex is designed to do almost everything. Water-resistant, temperature-regulating grid fleece and the ability to work as a mid or an outer layer. The men’s 2.0 features a full-length zipper and new design, and the women’s ½-Zip has been designed from the start for the female hunter, including a large kangaroo handwarmer pocket and oversized hood to accommodate ponytails.

Hunting Gear Built for Women

While we’re on the topic of women hunters, we also highly recommend the queen of the women’s line, the Lagatha Legging. These combine the comfort of yoga or athletic leggings with tough, abrasion-resistant reinforcements to keep them together in the rough country. Whether you wear them as a base layer or as an outer pant, the Lagatha delivers cozy performance afield. And yes, they have pockets.

Protection From the Rain

Now, this may come as a cold, hard fact, but hunting happens in the rain. Often, the best hunts involve wet weather, especially in the West. Sometimes you know it’s gonna be a rainy day, which is why we made the Omega Jacket. This is the heaviest-duty rain jacket we’ve ever made. If you need to go any higher, you might as well get a wetsuit. Completely waterproof, with a stretch outer shell and sealed zippers, the Omega keeps the wet where it belongs and not on you. Did we mention there’s a matching pant?

male hunter in the rain

Then again, there are times when the showers pop up from nowhere and you need rain protection NOW. That’s where the Bail Jacket comes into play. While still 100% waterproof, the 13.5-ounce Bail can fold up to about the size of a hockey puck. It’s a great backup plan in your pack for any western hunt.

Gear for Warmer Hunts

male hunter using binoculars during warm-weathered hunt

On the flip side of rain, there’s heat. And if it’s a toasty climate, you’ll want to look to the brand-new Andaire line (no, it’s not the latest Star Wars series) of hot-weather hunting gear. While you may not automatically associate hot and western hunting, we can assure you that the West has some incredible game and some staggering high temps. Launched just last month, the Andaire line offers protection against harmful UV rays with UPF ratings ranging from 20-50, and is designed to wick away moisture, ventilate and dry quickly. The line includes both men's and women's crews and a men's pant and short.

Packs for Whatever You Need

One constant need to hunt the west is a good pack. Fortunately, we make nothing but good packs. In particular, we recommend the MRK pack series. These packs are built from the ground up to perform as you hunt, from sea level up to the top of the peaks. Three different sizes (MRK2MRK3MRK6) means there’s a perfect pack for your specific needs. The lightweight Allite® Super Magnesium™ frames combined with our featherlight, adjustable Strata Suspension System™ make these packs crazy friendly to your back while still hauling insane amounts of cargo and meat.

Adaptable Bino Harnesses

Another absolute must for any western hunt — where you will spend twice as much time on the binos than all your other glass combined — is the binocular harness. With our new Bino Mag 2 harness, you get increased versatility thanks to the side and bottom MOLLE attachment points, allowing you to add on accessories like pockets, pouches or holsters as you need. The redesign of the timeless Badlands favorite now also includes a stay-open magnet, so it doesn't snap shut when you need to be silent. Once sealed, it will protect your optics from water, dust and the elements. Pair the Bino Mag 2 with the RF Mag Case and Bottom Pocket for your next western hunt and you’re golden.

man looking through binoculars on a hunt

Our entire line of bino harnesses was reimagined with an eye toward modularity. With four new models (Bino AXS, Bino EZ, Bino X2, Bino Mag 2), you can select the size and features that fit your needs, then add on whatever accessory piece you desire. From the minimalist Bino AXS to the top dog Bino Mag 2, you have a variety of sizes and colors (camos and solids) to choose from.

Secure and Protect Your Bow

The west is all about wide, open spaces that have to be walked or ridden across. No matter if you’re hoofing it, on horseback or on something motorized, it’s all easier when you don’t have to tote your bow at the same time. Our Ultralight Bow Sling keeps your arrow slinger protected, out of your hands, but instantly accessible. The UL Bow Sling is adjustable to fit almost any bow, and keeps the cams and strings covered, so you don’t have to worry about damage in even the roughest of terrain.

Is this a comprehensive list to get you ready for a western hunt? No, and it shouldn’t be. Your hunt is as special and unique as the animals you pursue. These are simply some common starting items that work for almost any western hunt.

No matter if you’re a beginner hunting elk, an experienced antelope hunter, a veteran hunter trying his or her hand at mule deer for the first time, or maybe you’re a lifelong midwestern hunter who’s always wanted to hunt the west. It doesn’t matter to us. We welcome you to the great American West and all the magnificent hunting opportunities that it holds. We get it. This is our neck of the woods and we’re still in awe of it, too.

male hunter walking through a stream