It wasn’t very many years ago that I can remember just about every piece of hunting clothing I owned was made of cotton. My raingear was made of nylon or plastic, and I would use a garbage bag for a pack cover. Then along came a company no one had ever heard of called Sitka Gear. Since Sitka Gear’s inception, they have revolutionized the hunting industry. Sitka created a systematic approach that involves a simple layering system and then they combined technical aspects with performance fabrics and created a bad to the bone system built to withstand any hunting scenario.
Personally, I have been very impressed with all aspects of Sitka Gear’s hunting apparel. Every hunt is different, depending on the time of year, location, and weather. My personal layering system starts with a moisture wicking base layer. This is the same shirt I wear to the gym or while running. I then put Sitka’s Core Zip-T on over my base layer, essentially creating two base layers. I find that the first base layer helps cut down on body odor, allowing me to wear the Core Zip-T for more days with less stench. This is especially important on archery hunts.
Next, I put on the Traverse Zip-T. This is my first layer of insulation, and 90% of the time I will be wearing my base layers combined with the Traverse layer. Most mornings I will leave camp with this setup and then strip off the Traverse layer once my body heat begins to increase. On cold mornings or when I have reached my glassing point, I put on Sitka’s new Kelvin Lite jacket. The Kelvin Lite jacket is an amazing piece of clothing. I never leave this jacket behind as it is my life support. If temperatures drop suddenly and a storm approaches, this jacket helps keep me out of harm’s way. The final piece of gear in my layering system is Sitka’s Stormfront jacket. This jacket serves as raingear and a windbreaker. The Stormfront jacket is a lightweight, bombproof Gore-Tex shell designed to withstand punishing rainstorms.
Layering is just as important on our lower extremities. On early hunts I wear the Sitka Ascent pant. This pant is perfect for covering long distances and staying comfortable all day. The Ascent pant breathes well, fits great, and withstands constant punishment. When temperatures drop or there is a heavy dew in the mornings, I wear Under Armour Cold Gear combined with Sitka’s Timberline Pant. The Timberline Pant has double reinforced, waterproof, breathable knees and seat. I don’t run the Timberline pants with the kneepads in as I have found that there is enough protective material in the knees already. Lastly, I wear Sitka’s Stormfront pants as raingear for protection from the harsh elements and driving rain I encounter while in the field.
There are two other pieces of equipment that can make our hunts more enjoyable and possibly more successful, and they are Sitka’s 90% jacket and their Flash 20 pack. The 90% jacket is one of Sitka’s original pieces of gear from their very beginning. The 90% jacket is three times more wind resistant than last year’s model and is backed with micro-grid fleece insulation in key areas of the jacket to regulate overheating. This jacket is lightweight, highly breathable, and quiet.
The Flash 20 pack is a technical day pack containing 2,000 cubic inches of volume. The Flash 20 is able to accommodate my raingear, snacks, optics, tripod, and bow or rifle. The suspension system is comfortable and handles loads well. When adding up all the key features of this pack, including durability, detachable rain fly, strapping system, and suspended back frame for maximum ventilation, the Flash 20 pack quickly becomes a solid day pack.
Cost is a big factor in purchasing and owning Sitka Gear. I’ve acquired my gear over the last 5 years, and I originally started with the Ascent pants and the Traverse Zip-T. After a few Christmases and birthdays, I built up to owning the gear I described earlier. The key is to remember the layering system. Sitka has a very user-friendly website that has links for building the perfect hunting system. Having gear that is bombproof, quiet, and functional is key to having a successful hunt.