Throughout December and early January I pursued whitetails in Wisconsin and South Dakota, and while many of my days in the field occurred during moderate/manageable temperatures, in time it became much more challenging to stay warm on stand thanks to various winter storms. So how do I stay warm and sit still for 3-5 hours at a time without getting cold?
The key is a Heater Body Suit. Never heard of it? Think camo sleeping bag with legs.
Here’s how it works: You dress as if you were headed afield for a long walk in frigid conditions; you dress warmly, but you’re not wearing a bulky parka and bibs for long periods of sitting. On your back (like a backpack) you carry a rolled-up Heater Body Suit.
If hunting from a treestand, you climb into the stand and then attach a safety harness to the tree. Next, you unpack the Heater Body Suit and take out the included booties. You slip on one bootie over a hunting boot, then slip the bootie/boot into the foot area of the Suit. Repeat with your other foot. Next, pull the interior straps of the Suit over your shoulders and then zip the Suit closed to lock in the warmth.
Of course, you need to wear a topnotch neck gaiter, facemask and stocking cap (I wear two) to complete this cold-weather system.
When a deer appears, you simply slide down the quiet zipper (zipper pull is on the inside of the Suit) and reach for your bow or gun. The interior straps hold the bag at shoulder height instead of falling to your feet.
I wear a Heater Body Suit when air temps drop to less than 20 degrees and I need to remain on stand for at least 2 hours. Recently I stayed comfortable in my Suit for 5 hours on stand with air temps of 8-12 degrees and winds of 25-30 mph. Wearing the best cold-weather parka and bibs, I know for a fact (I’ve tried it) that I would’ve lasted only 2 hours in the same conditions.
The Suit weighs about 6.5 pounds and is windproof, water-resistant and features 300 grams of 3M Thinsulate Ultra Insulation. Note: While carrying straps for the Suit are included, I find it easier to stuff the Suit into a small- to medium-size duck decoy bag. Do whatever works best for you .
The Heater Body Suit isn’t cheap; current models sell for $399. But when you compare that price to what you’ll pay for high-quailty parkas and bibs, which won’t keep you as warm, it’s money well spent.
Finally, you can’t beat the Heater Body Suit’s guarantee: “You stay warm or your money back!”