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
OXYVAN Waders Neoprene Chest Waders with Boots Realtree MAX5 Camo Hunting Waders for Men Cleated Bootfoot Waders for Duck Hunting Fly Fishing Flooding 100% Waterproof Carrying Bag and Boots Hanger
  • Durable & Sturdy – OXYVAN Fishing Waders with boots are made of 100% waterproof 4.5 mm neoprene material and also has excellent insulation properties. With great material, stretch liner and triple-finished seams that are stitched, glued and taped, the fis
  • Convenient & Comfort – OXYVAN hunting waders for men/women with boots are easy to put on and take off, and designed for making sure you have no obstacles while hunting and fishing. The chest adjustable belt with quick release buckle helps you find the pre
  • Damage Resistant & 100% Waterproof – Besides quality and strong material, armor weld double-stitched and visible bonded & taped seams make OXYVAN fishing waders to be damage resistant and 100% water proof. And guaranteed for better performance, every wade
  • Solid & Insulated Rubber Boots – OXYVAN neoprene chest waders’ boots are built-in the waders with 600 Gram 3M Thinsulate ultra insulation. It’s very comfortable and help to block out the cold, you can wear it with or without socks. The design of thickened
  • Advantages – Officially authorized Realtree MAX5 camo helps you hide better; 4.5mm neoprene and 600G rubber boots can trapping and holding body heat to protect you from extremely cold weather while hunting, fishing, camping, riding ATVs, or even just play
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.
  • 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!

 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
Drake Waterfowl EST Heat-Escape Full Zip 2.0 Realtree Max-5 XLarge
  • 100% waterproof/windproof/breathable Refuge HS with HyperShield 2.0 technology
  • Mesh-lined - Taped seams
  • Heat-Escape vents - Magnattach pocket
  • Roll-up hood - Adjustable neoprene cuffs - Waist adjustment cinch cord
  • Zippered chest pocket - Zippered slash pockets
SaleBestseller No. 2
Wildfowler Outfitter Men's Wild Grass Waterproof Insulated Parka
  • 100% WATERPROOF- Taped Seams to keep water out, double waterproof construction. Shell with polar fleece lining. Hooded parka with elastic draw cord to keep you warm and dry
  • QUIET- Soft Tricot Outer Material, great for all types of hunting
  • WICKING BREATHABLE- great for comfort and moisture management.
  • CAMO PATTERNS- Our patterns are the best on the market, we are the concealment specialists and have the best available patterns.
  • QUALITY- Wildfowler Outfitter products undergo strict testing and use only the latest materials and technology, a great blend of features and function in waterproof insulated Parka.

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
Drake Waterfowl DH3070, Loden/Black, One Size
  • GREAT CLASSIC MESH-BACK CAP – Perfect for everyday wear, this cap is stylish, breathable, and comfortable
  • BUILT FOR FUNCTION AND COMFORT - This classic trucker mesh-back cap style features a square patch with the Drake logo, making it a go-to part of your outfit, no matter what you are doing
  • MESH BACKING – The mesh backing allows air to flow through the cap, providing critical breathability under a scorching sun
  • SNAP-BACK CLOSURE - The snap-back closure of the logo cap ensures a precise fit every time
  • FEATURES – 6-panel, structured, moderate crown construction, mesh back, square flat bill, adjustable snapback closure
Bestseller No. 2
YETI Duck Stamp Trucker Hat, Gray
  • Grab yourself an easy staple honoring the heritage and conservation efforts behind the Federal Waterfowl Stamp
  • Material: 60% Cotton / 40% Polyester
  • Snapback closure
  • One size fits most

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
Hunting Flying Wild Ducks Mask Face Mouth Cover Bandanas for Dust Anti-Haze Balaclavas Out Doors Festivals Sports Washable Reusable Facial Decorations for Women and Men Black
  • Mouth Mask Is High-Quality Cotton, Anti-Dust Protection Mouth Mask For Sporting, Running, Hiking, Climbing And Many More Purpose, Which Has Double Layer Protection For Air-Borne Dust Protection.
  • This Mask Will Keep Safe Your Mouth By Protecting From All Dust, Air Polluted Place, Vehicles Smoke, And Sandy Air. It Is The Anti-Dust Even In Changing Weather.
  • Suit For Adults And Youth: Cover Half Of The Face From Nose To Chin To Provide A Secure And Comfortable Fit For Most People.
  • Fashion And Creative Design - Personality Pattern, Show Your Style!
  • Washable And Reusable - Long-Term Washing Does Not Deform. Delivery Time 15-20 Days.
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
SaleBestseller No. 2
Decoy Glove, Large
  • 100% Waterproof
  • Elbow Length
  • 2MM Fleece Lined Neoprene
  • Seamless Palm Design
  • Sharkskin Textured Palm

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 !
Bestseller 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

SaleBestseller No. 1
Muckster ll Ankle-Height Men's Rubber Garden Boots,Moss/Green,12 M US
  • 4 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 is curved to improve range of motion, and snugs calf to seal in warmth while keeping cold and debris out
  • Breathable Airmesh lining wicks away humidity and perspiration, and allows air to travel throughout the boot; comfort rated from subfreezing to 65 °F/18 °C
  • High-traction rubber outsole delivers sure footing in mud, slush or rain
  • High-grade extended rubber exterior provides extra toughness and makes for a 100% waterproof garden boot; easy on-off with pull-on tab
Bestseller No. 2
LaCrosse Men's 18" Burly Air Grip Hunting Boot,Olive Drab Green,12 M US
  • Pull-on rubber boot featuring logo at front shaft and adjustable strap at side
  • Waterproof, ozone-resistant, scent-free rubber
  • Foam-insulated footbed for added warmth
  • Fiberglass shank for arch support
  • Self-cleaning Air Grip outsole for traction

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 1812DPK Masters Series Mallard Decoys, Classic Floaters - 12-Pack
  • Flambeau Outdoors
  • MASTER SERIES MALLARD: Durable, classic Mallard decoy with heightened feature detail and sand-filled keels for reliable realism season after season
  • REALISM THAT GETS RESULTS: Based on carvings by Master Carver Roger Desjardins Detailed winter plumage paint scheme
  • PATENTED UVISION PAINT TECHNOLOGY: Paint scheme of unparalleled realism that reflects the real ultraviolet signature of waterfowl plumage to the eye of live ducks for the most convincing decoy scientifically possible
  • FLOATING DECOYS: These Flambeau Outdoors decoys float in classic Mallard posture for heightened on-the-water realism

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 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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