As a hunter, you’ll have experienced some frigid hunting conditions come winter. Add to that the critical component of silence and stillness that hunters use to hide from their prey, and you’ve got a recipe for some icy fingers and toes. Luckily, there are multiple ways to keep yourself, your buddies, and family members cozy while you wait for bucks in your elevated deer blind. Here are some tips and tricks on how to heat your elevated blind this winter hunting season.
How to Buy the Right Heater
Many seasoned hunters swear by using small heaters in their hunting blinds to ward off the cold. Although veterans may prefer charcoal in a coffee can, this method is way too smokey for most modern hunters. Any heater you can use in your home, you can use in your hunting blind. There are two types of heaters you can use—electric and propane. The best ones, for such a confined space, are portable propane heaters. They are clean-burning, quiet, and lightweight.
Features of a Great Blind Heater
When you’re headed to a blind on a frigid winter morning, you want to feel assured that you can make your space warm and cozy as soon as you get there. Some of the essential features of a blind heater are heat output, the speed at which it heats up, ease of use, and portability.
- Heat Output and Speed
Your heater must have the right heat output for the size of your blind. Check how much square footage a particular heater can keep warm. You’ll also want to check how quickly it puts out heat and how long it pumps out the heated air.
- Ease of Setup and Use
A portable propane heater isn’t going to help you if you can’t set it up or use it. Make sure it’s light enough to carry into your hunting grounds and that setting it up doesn’t take a lot of time or energy you could be using to hunt.
The number one concern with all heaters is if they’re safe to use indoors. Check to see if the heater you’re looking at is safe for small, enclosed spaces. Electric heaters run on electricity, rare in a hunting blind, which is why so many hunters use propane- or gas-burning heaters. The only drawback is safety, so double and triple check your heater’s safety ratings. Check for features such as an automatic shut-off, tip-over switch, and oxygen level detector.
What to Watch Out For
You’ll have to watch for condensation if you use a heater in your elevated blind. Interior humidity increases as temperatures drop outside, so watch for excess condensation on glass surfaces if you use a heater.
Cold-Weather Clothing Tips
Along with a high-quality, manageable heater, you need some other tricks to keep yourself warm during the long hours in the blind. Being aware of what and how you dress and making sure that you have the right boots, snacks, and an extra set of clothes all help ward off the cold.
- Dress in Layers
Before heating your blind, it is essential to ensure you are dressed appropriately. It’s all about wearing layers and the right clothing material for winter hunting. There’s one rule when it comes to materials: no cotton. Cotton absorbs and retains moisture more quickly than other fabrics, and damp clothing, especially socks, is a nightmare on a hunt. If your feet sweat a lot when you’re hiking to your stand, consider bringing an extra pair of dry socks to change into when you get there. Heavy merino wool or wool blend are excellent choices for sock material.
Avoid cotton on the rest of your body as well. Thermal underwear has come a long way since the long johns of yesteryear, with moisture-wicking technologies or solid polyester blends to help you retain heat. Layers work great when you’re trying to keep warm, but you need to have a sleek silhouette to shoot accurately when you’re bowhunting. A windproof vest keeps your core warm while leaving your arms free to wield your bow.
- Outerwear Should Be Windproof and Waterproof
Everybody has a preference when it comes to what they wear outside all those layers. Not only should your gear be windproof and waterproof, but make sure it doesn’t create excess noise when you move. It doesn’t matter how warm and dry you are if the crinkle of your jacket messes up every shot you take. Bibbed pants give the core an added layer of protection, keeping your back free from icy drafts as well. Many hunters prefer the full containment suit that zips up the front, but those can make you overheat.
- High-Quality Boots
You cannot go wrong with a pair of comfortable, well-made boots and some high-quality socks made of the right material. If you’ve ever been hunting in the wrong boots, where they pinch your heels or just aren’t insulated enough, then you know how vital this particular piece of gear is. Whatever you do, don’t go hunting in too-tight boots, as they restrict circulation in your feet, making them needlessly colder.
- Travel Light
One of the best cold weather blind tips is to wear minimal clothing on your way in and bring an extra set. This way, you will avoid sweating in your only set of thermal underwear. Additionally, when you reach your blind, take a couple of minutes’ rest before changing into your dry clothes. This helps you cool off and stop sweating before you jump into all of your gear.
- Bring Snacks
Your body burns calories to stay warm, so make sure you bring enough in to keep yourself nice and toasty. Calorie-dense foods like carbs are a boon to winter hunters, and a thermos of soup or hot cocoa will stay warm for many hours if you have the right type of thermos.
The Bottom Line
Hunting in winter presents two adversaries: your prey and inclement weather. Knowing how to heat your hunting blind by dressing well, bringing quality gear, and using a propane heater will put you one step ahead. You don’t want to be distracted from your shot by your chilly toes and fingers. Shadow Hunter Blinds offers sturdy, high-quality elevated deer stands to get you off the ground and out of the cold.