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

Bestseller No. 1
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.
Bestseller No. 2
TIDEWE Chest Waders, Hunting Waders for Men Realtree MAX5 Camo with 600G Insulation, Waterproof Cleated Neoprene Bootfoot Wader, Insulated Hunting & Fishing Waders (Size 10)
  • ATTENTION - PLEASE MIND THE SIZE CHART AND CHOOSE THE RIGHT SIZE BEFORE BUYING!
  • STURDY & DURABLE –3.5 mm neoprene upper with tough poly / jersey shell and stretch liner and triple-finished seams that are stitched, glued and taped, makes it extra solid and durable, you will always have peace of mind that your waders will perform while out in the waters and woods hunting and fishing.
  • 100% WATERPROOF –Besides premium quality material guarantee, the TideWe waders also feature with armor weld double-stitched and sealed seams, polyurethane-coated leggings, all these give extra protection and make sure there is no leak.
  • SOLID & INSULATED RUBBER BOOT - Built-in rubber boot is comfortable and can be worn with or without socks; 600 Gram 3M Thinsulate ultra insulation makes your feet warm; Reinforced shoe vamp for added puncture protection ; Our rugged boot tread pattern provides you with better balance and traction on wet and muddy surfaces; better grip means fewer slips and falls.
  • ADJUSTABLE & USER-FRIENDLY - Adjustable neoprene suspenders with and loop attachments allow you to pull the waders on and off super easily due to the simple design. Quick-drain chest hand-warmer pocket with small pocket inside to keep things dry.

 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

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
Field Series GA Woodie - Adjustable Cap
  • Deep Fitting Trucker Style Cap
  • Snapback Adjustable Size
  • Signature Georgia wood duck patch
  • Get Outside and show your love for the GA outdoors
Bestseller No. 2
SITKA Gear Men's Trucker Breathable Mesh Hunting Cap, Optifade Open Country, OSFA
  • TRUCKER STYLE - Stand proud in this classic mesh back trucker cap with a specific profile for a more streamlined fit
  • MESH BACK - This logo hat features a mesh back which offers improved airflow, keeping your head cool and dry during wear
  • GORE OPTIFADE CONCEALMENT - With five Optifade camo patterns aimed to fade a hunter into their surroundings as well as blaze orange and white, you'll find a hat perfect for you next hunt
  • ONE SIZE FITS ALL - This light breathable hat is fully adjustable and one size fits all, ensuring a comfortable fit across a variety of head sizes
  • FABRIC DETAILS - The hunting cap has polyester front panels and polyester mesh rear panels

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

SaleBestseller No. 1
Ergodyne Standard Each, Camo, One Size
  • 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
Bestseller No. 2
Banded Deluxe Fleece Face Mask - MAX5
  • Polyester fleece inner layer
  • Weather resistant and wind proof breathable lamination
  • Elastic adjustment cord for comfortable fit

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 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
  • Sport type: Fishing
Bestseller No. 2
Glacier Glove Pro Waterfowler Waterproof Neoprene Gloves, Max 5, X-Large (824MA XL)
  • 2MM Fleece Lined Neoprene
  • Touchrite fingertips
  • Seamless palm design
  • Full finger
  • Perfect curve finger design

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
Headlamp 12000 Lumen Ultra Bright CREE LED Work Headlight micro-USB Rechargeable, 4 Modes Waterproof Head Lamp Best Headlamps for Camping Hiking Hunting Hard Hat Workers
  • ✅Preferable for those who pursue portability : Made of aluminum alloy and rubber, Weighs less than 12oz ,much light and handy than normal headlamps . Extremely suitable for jogging , cycling , camping and other long time night activities.
  • ✅Four modes for infinite uses: Whether you prefer to use the lowest, most focused setting, the wider and splashier medium and high modes, or the bright emergency-ready strobe light, this movable led head light is prepared to adjust to a full range of lighting needs.
  • ✅Waterproofed for outdoor used: On the outside, there's a waterproof switch that's safe to use even when it's raining. On the inside, there's high-quality, leakage-resistant, waterproof wiring, there to make sure your light stays on even when that rain is soaking through.
  • ✅Amazing long battery life: Due to its advanced CREE LED design, the battery life of a full charge in each usage is three times longer than normal headlamps, prolong working time is critically important when you're facing challenges or in emergency ; Powered by 2pc rechargeable batteries and quick charge.
  • ✅[LIFETIME WARRANTY] Best Customer Service got you covered ! : Carry a lifetime free replacement warranty and satisfaction guarantee against defects in materials or workmanship; No question asked ! Try it without hesitation !
SaleBestseller No. 2
Streamlight 61070 BuckMasters Trident Headlamp, Camo - 80 Lumens
  • One Green 5mm LED, Three White 5 mm LEDs and a C4 Power LED
  • Equipped With a Low Battery Warning Indicator
  • Impervious to Shock; IPX4 rated for water resistant operation
  • Offers 3 Levels of Lighting and Up To 63 hours Continuous Run Time
  • Includes both elastic and rubber head straps

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
Bestseller 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
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
SaleBestseller No. 2
Avery ES Mallards (Dozen)
  • Quality decoy Economical price
  • Weighted Self-righting keels
  • Realistic postures
  • 6 drakes
  • 6 hens

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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