During a hunt, scouting trip, or any other outdoor trek, the last thing I want to be thinking about is how much more comfortable I would be if I only had something else, maybe a garment or piece of gear. Unfortunately, many times I have found myself hiking up a ridge or trudging through a river with these thoughts running through my head.

Make no mistake, finding your go-to set up is not easy, and if you are as picky as me it likely will not be a cheap endeavor. Many times, doing so will be through trial and error. When talking gear, the list never really ends. Clothing, boots, survival, guns, bows, technology; you get the picture.

There are a few simple points I always like to make when advising friends and fellow outdoorsmen interested in expanding their collection.

Be Practical

The most important thing about putting together your ideal collection of gear is to never let looks get in the way of practicality. If you are planning on rocking a piece of equipment solely because you saw it on the outdoor channel, then you might not always be as comfortable as expected – Chances are, you’re not out there to make a fashion statement.

Buy it right, and buy it once

The saying holds true. I know, guys – you’re not made of money and can’t always buy the best piece of gear on the market. As a matter of fact, sometimes the cheap and easy stuff will work better for your taste and needs, but there are definitely a few things to keep in mind if you are gearing up for harsh conditions. There are even many outdoor companies that offer warranties extending much longer than your own lifetime. Though you may be dropping a few extra bucks, you will likely be getting your moneys worth.

Cotton kills

The comfort of a trip often lies in your clothing. When on more rigorous back country hunts as well as other exploits, try to avoid cotton clothing. The saying that “cotton kills” stems from the fact that it does not retain its warmth when wet, and in the heat there are many less insulative alternatives out there.

Go with wool

I tend to find myself trusting merino wool, virgin wool, polyester, and down. There are also many synthetic materials that are extremely versatile in many conditions. Layering is another key factor that should be kept in mind when facing unpredictable conditions.

Choose a rugged boot

Let’s take a look at footwear – possibly the single most important piece of gear. There is nothing that takes more guys out of hunts than issues with their feet. No question about it. Whether your feet are sore or wet, you need to find the best option for your feet under adverse and strenuous conditions. If there is anything I would not skimp on, it is a rugged pair of boots that fit my adventure.

Staying dry

Staying dry is another key point that should be reminded to anyone who wishes to prepare for an outdoor pursuit. Whether it be your tent, your dry bags, or your rain gear, staying dry is going to be the number one factor when it comes to retaining maximum warmth in harsh and unpredictable weather.

There are tons of aspects involved in selecting what gear works best for you in the great outdoors. If you love being in the wild as much as I do, then you might find yourself wanting a little more than the sporting goods isle set up. As an outdoorsman, you will find what works best for you, but keep these tips in mind and it may save you some time and discomfort in the field.