Rubber tears easily. Oilskins are superior, regular weight for the saddle and the duck blind, " feather-weight" for fishing and the like. A slicker should be quite roomy, to admit a? much air as possible. Oilskin overalls are good things, at a fixed camp, to wear of a morning when dews are heavy and where the brush is thick.
On a hike there is no need of rubber or oilskins if you wear cravenetted or lanolined clothing; but one usually carries a light poncho as a ground-sheet at night, and on the march it will protect gun and pack, as well as the bearer, and let plenty of air circulate underneath it. A poncho makes a fair temporary shelter, a good wind-break, and is nice to sit on when the woods are damp. In a canoe it forms a waterproof cover for the pack. There are ponchos of " impervo " and similar oiled fabrics that outwear rubber ones two to one. A poncho is a nuisance on horseback; wear a pommel slicker.
Go over your oilskins each winter with an oil that the dealers sell for the purpose; then they will last for a long time.
I never wear waders for summer trout fishing, but early spring fishing is a different matter. Wading stockings require special hobnailed shoes to go over them. I prefer a pair ol light hip boots and separate wading sandals studded with nails. This combination costs less than the other, is more durable, and the boots by themselves are serviceable for general wet weather wear, marsb shooting, and the like. Light rubber boots of first-class quality will last as long as the common heav$ ones, ana nave the advantage that the legs can be turned inside out clear to the ankle for drying. They need not weigh over 3 or 3^ pounds to the pair, and the sandals a pound more — together no more than the high-topped leather boots that I have been objurgating. Have them large enough for both socks and oversocks, then your feet are not likely to get " scalded." Carry a couple of " eezy-quick " menders, and have a rubber repair kit among your possibles in camp.
For hunting big game in wet snow and slush the best footwear is a pair of rubber shoes with ten-inch leather uppers, weighing a bit over two pounds. They should have heels, if you go into a hilly country, and rough corrugated soles. Dress the feet with soft woolen socks, and over these draw a pair of long, thick " German socks " that strap at the top. The latter are warmer than the loose felt boots worn by lumbermen, lighter, more flexible, fit better, and are easier to dry out. The rubbers should fit properF; over the heavy socks, neither too tight nor too loose, but especially not too tight or you risk frostbite. Thus equipped, a still-hunter is " shod with silence." For cold weather the vital necessity is suppleness of the foot, and here you have it.
The main fault of most cold weather rigs is that, paradoxically, they are too hot. You go out into " twenty-some-odd " below zero, all muffled up in thick underwear, over-shirt, heavy trousers, and a 32-ounce (to the yard) Mackinaw coat. Very nice, until you get your stride. In half an hour the sweat will be streaming from you enough to turn a mill. By and by you may have to stand still for quite a while. Then the moisture begins to freeze, and a buffalo robe wouldn't keep you warm.
Conditions vary; but for average winter work put on two suits of medium weight all-wool underwear, instead of one heavy one, moleskin trousers (heavy Mackinaws chafe), wool overshirt, Mackinaw shirt worn with tail outside, so it can easily be removed and worn behind you when not needed, the rubber " overs " and socks mentioned above, a Mackinaw cap with visor and ear laps, large, old kid gloves, and thick, woolen mittens held by a cord around the neck.
In buying Mackinaws get none but the best quality. Cheap Mackinaw is shoddy, or part cotton, and soaks up moisture like a sponge. A good grade sheds rain so long as the nap is not worn off; then it can be waterproofed by the lanolin process. It is noiseless, and stands rough usage. The natural gray color is best, except where the law requires you to wear red for protection against gun-bearing fools. (About this, saith our friend Crossman: " Yes, some fellow might take you for a deer if you wore an inconspicuous color in the woods, but what would you ? He'd take you for a zebra if you wore green and yellow, or shoot you for a forest fire it you wore flaming crimson.")
So far as materials go, the same rules hold good for women in field and camp as for men.
The skirt, of course, should be short. For canoeing or forest travel it should come just below the knee. A Norfolk jacket, flannel waist or shirt, bloomers, cloth leggings, strong but light-weight and flexible shoes with broad, low heels, a soft felt hat, sweater jacket, and waterproofs — these suggest themselves. Ribbed cotton underwear may be worn on hot days, but fine woolen garments should be in reserve for the inevitable wet and chilly times.
Properly dressed for the woods, and not overburdened, the average woman can keep up anywhere with the average office man; but in a tight or draggy skirt she is simply hopeless. For real wilderness travel riding breeches, cut full at the knee, are far better than a skirt. A buttoned skirt that can be slipped on readily may be worn over them on occasion, as when approaching some village or camp where people are not yet civilized enough to approve common sense in a woman's costume. Alice Mac-Gowan was fairly driven out of a mountain county in Kentucky because she wore riding breeches, and yet many's the time I have seen a mountain woman riding astride a man's saddle in an undivided long skirt. Modesty, what crimes have been committed in thy name!