Hunting

What to Wear Duck Hunting: Complete Guide to the Basics

We share some important tips for when you’re picking your duck hunting attire & some great items that you might want to invest in for your next hunt.

Whether you’re a seasoned hunter who is planning on adding water fowl to your list of game or you’re a novice who’s decided to get your feet wet (quite literally!) and start your first experience on the hunting scene with duck, dressing appropriately for the part is vital.

No matter what type of game they’re coursing, every hunter will tell you that wearing the right gear is one of the keys to success; this is particularly true when it comes to fowling.

While duck hunting can certainly be an exhilarating experience, if you aren’t properly prepared, you’re going to be pretty miserable. Hunting season for this type of game begins in the fall, and depending on where you’re located, the weather can get quite chilly, if not downright frigid.

In fact, it seems that the worse the weather is, the better duck hunting gets. That’s why it’s particularly important to ensure you’re donning the right gear before you head out into the field.

So, what should you wear when you’re hunting for duck? Below, we’ll share some of the most essential items that you are definitely going to want to include on your supply list when you’re shopping for your gear.

Waders

Waders are the first item that should be on your list of things to get for a duck hunting excursion. Where do ducks live? The water. So, unless you want to stand knee- (or even hip-) deep in icy cold water without the proper protection, you’ll definitely want to invest in a pair of waders.

Heck, even if you’re planning on field hunting duck, a pair of waders is an absolute must. You’ll be thankful that you have them when you’re slogging through all of that water and muck – which is pretty much a given that you’ll be doing at some point when you’re setting out decoys and gathering up your prey.

When you’re shopping for waders, we can’t stress enough the importance of quality. While you may be able to skimp on certain types of gear, waders aren’t it! Saving a few bucks just isn’t worth the cold dampness you’ll likely end up facing if you opt for poorly made waders.

Our recommendation: look for well-insulated boot-foot waders that feature deep, yet fine treads; they will keep you well protected and provide better traction control, which you’ll definitely be thankful.

Additionally, we strongly suggest Neoprene for the material, as it’s extremely durable. We also recommend reinforced knees. As far as color, go for camouflage; the better you blend into the surroundings, the more success you’ll have.

While it’s true that thick, insulated, Neoprene waders may make you work up a bit of a sweat, it’s far better to be over-protected than under-protected.

Best Selling Waders

SaleBestseller No. 1
Foxelli Neoprene Chest Waders – Camo Fishing Waders for Men with Boots - Use for Duck Hunting, Fly Fishing, Emergency Flooding – 100% Waterproof, Carrying Bag Included
  • CONSTRUCTED FOR COMFORT – Foxelli Fishing Waders with Boots are a breeze to put on and take off, and provide all the flexibility you’ll need while hunting or fishing. Chest suspenders have an adjustable elastic for finding the perfect fit, with quick release buckles that can be instantly detached. Double-layer knee pads have reinforced padding for added protection. NOTE: BOOTS SIZES TEND TO RUN SMALL, WE RECOMMEND ORDERING ONE SIZE UP FROM YOUR REGULAR SHOE SIZE.
  • DAMAGE RESISTANT – These men’s fishing waders are highly resistant to any type of damage, including rips and tears. Its seams are glued, stitched and taped for supreme durability. Guaranteed for premium performance, our waders are carefully tested before hitting the market. The 100% waterproof 4 mm neoprene material also has excellent insulation properties. Nylon carrying bag is included for easy transport of your waders.
  • A+ ADVANTAGES – When you go hunting or fishing, there are lots of accessories that need to be carried. Our fishing waders are specially designed to meet this need. There are D-rings for clipping your gear, an exterior chest pock for holding accessories, and an inner mesh pocket for storing small belongings. Included nylon belt has 2 carabiners to conveniently attach fishing gear, and clip it to the waders. Chest pocket doubles as a hand warmer so you can stay warm, dry and comfortable.
  • BETTER BOOTS – Lightweight PVC boots have an anti-slip sole for the best traction on muddy or slippery surfaces. With neoprene lining inside they can be worn with socks or without, and are easy to put on and take off. They keep you sturdy on your feet, without sacrificing your comfort, during any hunting or fishing excursion.
  • RISK-FREE PURCHASE - We offer a 30-day, no questions asked, money back guarantee with our One Year Warranty. If you don't like it - FOR WHATEVER REASON - we’ll give you your money back. Buy with confidence!
Bestseller No. 2
Hisea Chest Waders Neoprene Duck Hunting Waders for Men with Boots Camo Fishing Wader Bootfoot Cleated Waterproof Breathable Insulated Size 8
  • Designed to be the most Durable & Protective waders for active outdoorsmen. These 4.5mm neoprene chest waders provide 100% waterproof protection you can count on. Whether you are hunting, fishing, camping, riding ATVs, or even just playing outside, these breathable, waterproof waders would protect your clothing and provide an extra, insulated layer for added warmth in cold water or mud.
  • Durable & Sturdy – made of incredibly warm and flexible 4.5mm neoprene laminated to nylon jersey and stretch liner, it stands up to the outdoors while trapping and holding body heat to shield you from the chill of the water. The extra solid and durable waders’ rubber boots come lined with 600-gram 3M Thinsulate Ultra Insulation to help block out the cold, and feature cleated soles for better traction.
  • 100% Waterproof – besides the armor weld double-stitched and visible bonded & taped seams (widened than normal in market), we also so sure the exclusive Water Intrusion Resistance processing would help prevent water and dirt from getting into waders. Every HISEA neoprene chest bootfoot wader is turned inside out, filled with water, proven leak free, and then hung to dry. The wader is now ready to be shipped.
  • User Friendly – these waders have a dream-team list of user-friendly features starting with adjustable neoprene suspenders; durable quick-release buckles for easy take it on and off; 8 shell holders on front of the waders’ hand-warmer pocket keep shells easily accessible for quick reloading; move-freely & reinforced knees enhanced durability and extend wader life; and one built in pocket to organize belongings;
  • AUTHORIZED NEXT CAMO EVO(S) PATTERN. PLEASE MIND THE SIZE CHART AND CHOOSE THE RIGHT SIZE BEFORE BUYING! It keeps dry and warm, handles even the toughest work and sports situation. We love our buyers that each wader will come with one FREE water-proof phone pouch and one year quality assurance backed by us.

 A Jacket

Since duck hunting season starts in mid-fall, it goes without saying that you’re going to want to invest in a quality hunting jacket. Pick something that’s waterproof and insulate; Primaloft or fleece for the insulation and Gore-Tex or Hypershield for the waterproofing material, for example.

In our honest opinion, we think that a jacket system that features several layers is your best bet. You’ll be able to add and remove layers as needed, thereby ensuring your comfort. Sizing is important, too; while you want plenty of room to move, you don’t want your jacket to be too bulky, otherwise it’s going to get in your way.

Another note on sizing: go with something that will cover your rear end, but hits no lower than mid-thigh.

Again, camouflage is important for your jacket. When selecting a pattern, consider the location we’re you plan on hunting, as well as the time of the year, and choose something that matches the local as closely as possible; for instance, if you’re going out during the start of the season, opt for green-colored camo, and tans/browns if you’ll be fowling later in the season.

Best Selling Jackets

Bestseller No. 1
Gamehide Mid Weight Slough Creek Waterproof Waterfowl Hunting Jacket (Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades, Large)
  • Large zippered dump style pockets with waterproof plackets
  • Shoulder grips keep slings, shell and decoy bags in place
  • Warm fleece lined handwarmer pockets
  • Attached three-piece adjustable hood
  • GridIron fabric that is durable and sheds the nastiest weather
Bestseller No. 2
Carhartt Men's Quilted Flannel Lined Duck Active Jacket J140,Black,Large
  • Carhartt Company Gear Collection
  • Front-zip jacket with drawstring hood and split kangaroo pocket at front
  • Rib-knit cuffs and waistband
  • Quilted lining in body. Water repellent and Wind resistant

A Hat

You lose up to half of your body heat through your head, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got your noggin covered. If it’s really frigid, a beanie that covers your entire dome, as well as your ears, is a good option. If it isn’t too cold, a baseball cap will suffice.

Our favorite style is a cap that features a neck flap and ear flap, as it will provide optimal protection from the elements. Look for something that is made of material that repel water and resist wind; if it’s particularly cold in your neck of the woods, we suggest a wool-lined hat.

As with your waders and jacket, camo is the best bet for your hat. Again, consider the season and the setting; greens for early season duck hunting and browns/tans if you’ll be heading out later in the season.

Best Selling Jackets

Bestseller No. 1
Old Glory American Mallard - Adjustable Cap Smoke/Black
  • Deep Fitting Trucker Style Cap
  • Snapback Adjustable Size
  • Signature Old Glory American Mallard patch
  • Get Outside and show your pride
Bestseller No. 2
Drake Gore-Tex Jones Hat, Color: Realtree Max-5, Size: L/XL (DH7006-015-4)
  • 100% polyester shell fabric & 100% poly-mesh lining
  • GORE-TEX 100% waterproof/breathable technology
  • 2" shapable brim
  • Fold-down ear flaps
  • Comfortable stretch elastic headband

A Head Net

It doesn’t make much sense to conceal your entire body but then leave your face totally visible. To cover camouflage your face, you’ll want to invest in a head net.

This piece of gear will not only keep your face hidden from your prey (which is particularly important when you’re looking up), but it will also provide an additional layer of protection against the elements.

Opt for something that’s made of lightweight, breathable material. Again, camo is the way to go (there are dozens of different styles and colors of camo to choose from).

If you really want to go all-out, you there are head nets that are covered with “leafy”-like components; little pieces of fabric that are intended to resemble leaves and will really keep you hidden from your prey.

Best Selling Head Nets

Bestseller No. 1
AXBXCX 2 Pack - Camouflage Camo Print Seamless Neck Gaiter Bandana Face Mask Headband Headwear Sweatband Wristband Scarf for Fishing Hiking Hunting Cycling Motorcycle Riding Skiing Outdoor Sport 052
  • Camouflage Print : Digital printing technology, Pattern clear and indelible color resistant.
  • Multifunction Design : Tube bandana can be worn up to different ways, it can be used as neck gaiter, face mask, balaclava, pirate rag, handband, wistband, beanie, helmet liner, bandanna, scarf,headband,dust screen or hair band. Making this a versatile product everyone can enjoy.
  • Extra Comfortable : Thin, lightweight soft, breathable, seamless, flexible and wicks away moisture.
  • Application : Dusty music festivals, concerts, biking, raves, and outdoor sports like climbing, running, cycling, motorcycle, motorcycling, biking, trekking, boating, skating, hunting, shooting, skiing, surfing, hiking, mountain climbing, snowboarding, snow machining, airsoft paintball, tactical training or whenever you want to live dust free.
  • Size: Length 18.9"", width 9.45"". thickness 0.4mm, Suitable for head circumference 21.25 to 25 Inch men and women.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Ergodyne N-Ferno 6823 Balaclava Ski Mask, Wind-Resistant Camo Face Mask, Hinged Design to Wear as Neck Gaiter, RealTree Camouflage
  • WIND-RESISTANT – Protective fabric paneling over face shields against the wind’s bite
  • BREATH EASY – Align mesh panel over the mouth for optimal airflow
  • HINGED DESIGN – Can be worn in 3 different ways: open face balaclava, neck gaiter or full ski mask
  • HIGH-QUALITY THERMAL FLEECE – Warmth in mild to extreme conditions
  • LONG LENGTH – Full head & neck coverage that easily tucks into jackets

Gloves

As we’ve already mentioned (several times) duck hunting gets pretty cold and wet. Since you can’t really keep your hands in your pockets, you’ll want to sport gloves to keep them covered.

A basic pair of gloves won’t due; instead, you should really invest in a great pair of high-quality gloves that are specially designed for water fowling. Water-repellent and wind-resistant materials are an absolute must; a Gore-Tex outer and fleece inner, or some other similar construction.

We also suggest picking a pair of gloves that feature grippers on the palms and fingers so you can avoid slippage while you’re wearing them.

As for size, make sure they go beyond your wrists. A pair of gloves that feature adjustable wrists is your best bet to ensure proper fit and greater comfort.

As with every other type of hunting gear, go for something that’s thick enough to keep you protected from the elements, but not too heavy and bulky, otherwise you’ll have a hard time maneuvering your shotgun, bullets, decoys, and all the rest of your accessories. As far as color goes, camo, again, is your best bet.

Best Selling Gloves

Bestseller No. 1
Glacier Glove Pro Waterfowler Waterproof Neoprene Gloves, Max 5, X-Large
  • 2MM Fleece Lined Neoprene
  • Touchrite fingertips
  • Seamless palm design
  • Full finger
  • Perfect curve finger design
Bestseller No. 2
Glacier Glove Aleutian Full-Fingered Neoprene Fleece Lined Glove (Max 5, Large)
  • Made of highest quality material
  • Manufacturer: Glacier Glove
  • Glacier Glove aleutian neoprene large full finger - Camo

A Headlamp

A lot of duck hunting occurs before the sun rises or after it sets. To ensure your safety, you’ll want to have a headlamp to guide you. A headlamp is a much better option than a flashlight, as it will keep your hands free to use them as needed (and obviously, you kind of need your hands when you’re hunting any type of game, including duck).

Make sure that the headlamp fits you properly. Try it on before purchasing, or if you’re planning on buying it from an online retailer, opt for something that is set on an adjustable strap. Also, you might want to pick a lamp that’s adjustable; that is, the level of light can be adjusted from (low, medium, high, for example).

A standard battery-operated headlamp will work fine, or you could opt for a solar powered lamp. There are pros and cons to each type; for example, with a battery operated lamp, you won’t have to worry about charging it up, but you will have to change the batteries and might not be able to get it wet, but with a solar lamp, you’ll have to make sure that it’s charged up and ready to go before you hit the field; otherwise, you’ll be stuck in the dark. Consider your preferences and choose the option that works best for you.

Best Selling Headlamps

SaleBestseller No. 1
SUPER BRIGHT LED Headlamp - Best and Brightest Broadbeam Spotlight Headlight - Zoomable Camping light- Hunting Headlamp - Caving Flashlight - Running Head Lamp - Construction Hard Hat Light (BLACK)
  • WHILE OTHER HEADLAMPS ARE weak and have flat lenses, the Lighthouse Beacon has a unique, large MAGNIFYING LENS that makes it EXTREMELY BRIGHT and powerful. Our innovative design allows you to ZOOM IN or GO WIDE! Up close or far away - we've got your back even in the darkest situations.
  • NO MORE STUMBLING AND fumbling around in potentially dangerous situations when the lights are out. At 9,500 LUX and 3 BRIGHTNESS SETTINGSs, our headlamp is going to give you the right amount of light you need to HELP you and KEEP YOU SAFE.
  • NO MORE DIM AND DYING HEADLAMPS THAT NEED to be plugged in to charge when there's no electricity for miles around. Just pop in 3 new REGULAR AA batteries and you're ready to go again!
  • WE REALLY BELIEVE THAT LIFE SHOULD be easy and fun and by providing people with GREAT OUTDOOR GEAR, we can help people and families succeed in their pursuit of happiness by getting everyone outside and spending more quality time together.
  • WE ARE REAL PEOPLE AND WE use our products every single day. We expect the best for our family and we want the same for yours. If you have any problems with your gear, you can come to us and WE'LL REPLACE IT FOR A FULL YEAR!
SaleBestseller No. 2
SUPER BRIGHT LED Headlamp Flashlight - Zoomable Broadbeam Spot Head Lamp - For Caving Spelunking Running Hunting Hiking Camping - Construction Hard Hat Work Light - For Men and Women (Green)
  • WHILE OTHER HEADLAMPS ARE weak and have flat lenses, the Lighthouse Beacon has a unique, large MAGNIFYING LENS that makes it EXTREMELY BRIGHT and powerful. Our innovative design allows you to ZOOM IN or GO WIDE! Up close or far away - we've got your back even in the darkest situations.
  • NO MORE STUMBLING AND fumbling around in potentially dangerous situations when the lights are out. At 9,500 LUX and 3 BRIGHTNESS SETTINGSs, our headlamp is going to give you the right amount of light you need to HELP you and KEEP YOU SAFE.
  • NO MORE DIM AND DYING HEADLAMPS THAT NEED to be plugged in to charge when there's no electricity for miles around. Just pop in 3 new REGULAR AA batteries and you're ready to go again!
  • WE REALLY BELIEVE THAT LIFE SHOULD be easy and fun and by providing people with GREAT OUTDOOR GEAR, we can help people and families succeed in their pursuit of happiness by getting everyone outside and spending more quality time together.
  • WE ARE REAL PEOPLE AND WE use our products every single day. We expect the best for our family and we want the same for yours. If you have any problems with your gear, you can come to us and WE'LL REPLACE IT FOR A FULL YEAR!

Waterproof Boots

While we recommend footed waders, which will keep your feet covered, you’re also going to want to get yourself a good pair of waterproof hunting boots. If you need or want to step out of your waders, you can slip into your boots and keep your feet protected.

Go for a pair of tall boot that extends to your hips, that way, if you need to get into the water and don’t have your waders on, you can do so without having to worry about getting your legs drenched.

Make sure the boots are constructed of durable, puncture-proof material and that they’re reinforced; however, you don’t want them to be too heavy that you can’t move. Your feet and legs not only need to be protection from moisture, but they also need protection against any critters that you may come into contact with (snakes, anyone?).

Make sure that the soles feature thin, deep treads for optimal grip and stability. Additionally, just like waders, you’ll want your boots to be insulated. Of course, as far as color is concerned, camo is the way to go.

Best Selling Gloves

Bestseller No. 1
Muck Wetland Rubber Premium Men's Field Boots,Bark,Men's 10 M/Women's 11 M
  • 5 mm neoprene provides comfort and flexibility, along with excellent waterproofing, shock Absorption and heat retention properties, adjusts to your foot shape to resist blisters and chafing
  • Stretch-fit comfort topline snugs calf to keep out cold and debris, but can be rolled down from high to Mid for warmer weather, calf-high rubber overlay protects ankles from sticks, rocks etc.
  • Breathable air mesh lining wicks away humidity and perspiration, and allows air to travel throughout the boot while keeping water out, comfort rated from -20 °F to 50 °F (-30 °C to 10 °C)
  • Lightweight EVA midsole for additional cushioning; self-cleaning ms-1 ribbed outsole wraps perimeter for maximum stability and performance in mud and Snow
SaleBestseller No. 2
Foxelli Neoprene Chest Waders – Camo Fishing Waders for Men with Boots - Use for Duck Hunting, Fly Fishing, Emergency Flooding – 100% Waterproof, Carrying Bag Included
  • CONSTRUCTED FOR COMFORT – Foxelli Fishing Waders with Boots are a breeze to put on and take off, and provide all the flexibility you’ll need while hunting or fishing. Chest suspenders have an adjustable elastic for finding the perfect fit, with quick release buckles that can be instantly detached. Double-layer knee pads have reinforced padding for added protection. NOTE: BOOTS SIZES TEND TO RUN SMALL, WE RECOMMEND ORDERING ONE SIZE UP FROM YOUR REGULAR SHOE SIZE.
  • DAMAGE RESISTANT – These men’s fishing waders are highly resistant to any type of damage, including rips and tears. Its seams are glued, stitched and taped for supreme durability. Guaranteed for premium performance, our waders are carefully tested before hitting the market. The 100% waterproof 4 mm neoprene material also has excellent insulation properties. Nylon carrying bag is included for easy transport of your waders.
  • A+ ADVANTAGES – When you go hunting or fishing, there are lots of accessories that need to be carried. Our fishing waders are specially designed to meet this need. There are D-rings for clipping your gear, an exterior chest pock for holding accessories, and an inner mesh pocket for storing small belongings. Included nylon belt has 2 carabiners to conveniently attach fishing gear, and clip it to the waders. Chest pocket doubles as a hand warmer so you can stay warm, dry and comfortable.
  • BETTER BOOTS – Lightweight PVC boots have an anti-slip sole for the best traction on muddy or slippery surfaces. With neoprene lining inside they can be worn with socks or without, and are easy to put on and take off. They keep you sturdy on your feet, without sacrificing your comfort, during any hunting or fishing excursion.
  • RISK-FREE PURCHASE - We offer a 30-day, no questions asked, money back guarantee with our One Year Warranty. If you don't like it - FOR WHATEVER REASON - we’ll give you your money back. Buy with confidence!

Underclothing

What should you wear underneath all of the above-mentioned hunting gear? Let’s take a look:

  • Layers of lightweight tops; a short-sleeved T-shirt, topped with a long-sleeved T, and then a fleece on top of that. You’ll have protection from the cold, but if you end up getting too warm, you can peel off layers.
  • For the bottom half, layers are also recommended. A pair of thermal leggings made of moisture-wicking material is your best bet. On top of that, wear another pair of thicker pants that are also made of moisture-wicking material. Never, under any circumstances, should you wear jeans. If you’ve ever gotten wet while wearing jeans, you know why we say you should steer clear of them while you’re hunting for duck; if you haven’t gotten your jeans wet before, if you wear them for fowling, you’ll soon find out why we strongly suggest you don’t.
  • Socks are important, too. A pair of thick socks that will keep your toes nice and toasty is an absolute must; something that’s made of waterproof material is your best bet. As for the height, the taller, the better. Make sure they go up to at least your mid-calf; though up to your knee is ideal.

Other Essentials

In addition to wearable gear, you’ll also want to stock up on the following essentials when before you go out for a duck hunt:

  • Decoys. While you may be able to nab duck without them, but if you want to increase your chances of success, you should bring along some decoys. Ducks are pack animals, so they’ll be attracted to your local if you set out some decoys. Opt for a mixed collection; mallards, canvasback, teal, pintails, and marbled, for example. Wood is a great material, and of course, you’ll want to make sure that they float. We suggest getting no fewer than 12 decoys.
  • Duck calls. These are another must-have accessory. While there are several different types of duck calls, the only two you really need are a whistle and a mallard call. Every type of duck trusts mallards, so you’ll be sure to attract an assortment of birds with a mallard call. If you’re aiming for teal and wood ducks, a whistle call will be your best bet.
  • A game strap. Unless you want to carry your game by hand, you’re definitely going to want to get yourself a game strap. As the name suggests, you strap it on and attach your game to it, so you can keep your hands free.
  • Blind Bag.  Blind bags are usually made from strong canvas material, and the best blind bags have a lot of space and strong straps – occasionally ones that attach with hooks to the bag itself so that they can take a little bit more weight than others. Getting a good quality blind bag saves you a lot of time and effort, and it ensures that you have everything you need in the same place.

Best Selling Decoys

SaleBestseller No. 1
Flambeau Outdoors 8030SUV Storm Front 2 Mallard Decoy, Classic Floaters - 12-Pack
  • STORM FRONT 2 SERIES: A deadly fusion of what the birds need and the hunter demands—unsurpassed realism and unequivocal durability.
  • FLOATING DECOYS: These Flambeau Outdoors decoys float in classic Canada Goose posture for heightened on-the-water realism. Proprietary keel design features (4) tie-off points for versatile motion in current or wind and depth adjusting anchor eyelet.
  • PATENTED UVISION PAINT TECHNOLOGY: Paint scheme of unparalleled realism that reflects the real ultraviolet signature of waterfowl plumage to the eye of live bird for the most convincing decoy scientifically possible.
  • REALISTIC DESIGN: These decoys feature a high-definition Mallard paint scheme. Carved by renowned master carvers Tom Christie, Dave Van Lanen and Rich Smoker.
  • 12-PACK INCLUDES: 12-Pack includes (3) Active Drakes, (3) Semi-resting Drakes, (6) Semi-resting Hens. 14'' size.
SaleBestseller No. 2
MOJO Outdoors Mojo Butt Up Rippler, Mallard
  • Mallard butt up rippler
  • Motion to create ripples
  • Operates up to 6-8 hour
  • Requires 4 AA batteries (not included)
  • Easy Battery installation

Summing It Up

Duck hunting can be tons of fun, and with the right gear, you can really ensure that your excursions will be enjoyable. If you want to save some cash, look for coupons (lots of trusted retailers offer them) or shop during the off-season, when you’re bound to find some great deals.

Jake

Jake is an explorer, he loves all types of outdoor pursuits such as hunting, fishing & hiking. Jake has been a full-time writer & blogger for many years now and he's here to share his passions with the BeActiveOutdoors readers. Contact Jake@beactiveoutdoors.com

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