Trail’s top five favorite SITKA pieces
There’s a lot of options when it comes to selecting what layers you will use on a hunt. Below are some of my favorite pieces from SITKA’s current line. And in case you missed the recent announcement, we are now carrying SITKA Gear in the goHUNT Gear Shop!
The SITKA Vapor SD Jacket
The SITKA Vapor SD Jacket is one of my favorite pieces of gear. Weighing in at just over 6 oz, even the lightest rain jackets on the market feels bulky in comparison. The finish on the Vapor Jacket is unique and a little tough to explain, but if you have one then you already know. It’s not rubbery or tacky; it’s smooth and has a great feel to the touch — almost like leather.
It moves well, it’s relatively quiet for rain gear, has a bit of stretch and it breathes exceptionally well. Most importantly it’s watertight. Explaining why is above my paygrade, but SITKA calls it ShakeDry Technology with permanent beading surface. The Gore-Tex fabric eliminates the need for an additional face fabric so there is nothing to absorb water. Rain, snow or any precipitation beads up and just rolls off. It’s kept me dry during a light drizzle on early morning trail runs and downpours in the Wyoming backcountry while archery elk hunting. It packs down to a very small size — half the size of a Nalgene bottle.
The fit is great. It’s not bulky, but large enough to fit over my base and mid layers. Overall, the Vapor jacket goes almost everywhere with me. It’s always in my truck, my day pack and my choice for early to mid-season backpack hunting. It’s really tough to beat. Maybe if they can find a way to print optifade on it… then maybe.
The SITKA Ascent Pant
I bought my first pair of SITKA Ascent Pants for an archery elk hunt in Utah in 2010. I still have them and I wear them fairly regularly. They have some patches in a few areas, but, overall, they have held up really well for having had them for 10 years. Maybe I should be proud I can still wear the same size? The fabric has been updated some, but it’s still my favorite pair of pants.
If you are familiar with Utah elk hunting, the start date is typically the second week of August and, throughout most of the state, the temperatures are still in the 80s and even 90s. This is where the Ascent Pant really shines. The lightweight softshell fabric is super stretchy yet durable and abrasion-resistant. The fabric is actually a Cordura nylon woven blend with just a bit of spandex. The Ascent Pant breaths really well and is an excellent choice for early season hunting. In fact, it’s often my go-to for mid to late October hunts, too. I have regularly layered a Core Lightweight Bottom under the Ascent Pant and taken it on cooler hunts.
One feature I really appreciate are the internal mesh-backed knee pad pockets. I always add a set of SITKA’s knee pads, making those long sessions when I’m kneeling, waiting for a buck to stand up, that much more manageable. The two cargo zip pockets are handy for stashing calls or loose gear, too. Finally, I think my favorite thing about the Ascent Pant has always been the fit. For me, they are about the perfect fitting pair of pants on the market — not the hunting market — the market as a whole, including other outdoor. companies and, even, jeans. They offer in between sizes like a 33” waist and a tall version. The fit is athletic, offering enough freedom of movement without being bulky. For reference, I am 6’2” with a 33” waist and inseam.
The SITKA Core Lightweight Hoody
The Core Lightweight Hoody is another staple in my SITKA system. I’ve been using this since I bought my first setup in the mid-2000s. It’s one of my favorite pieces for a lot of reasons, but the take home message is that it’s comfortable, it fits and it just works. The material is lightweight, 100% polyester, soft to the touch and breathes well. It dries extremely quickly, which is a big deal when you are covering a lot of ground in varied terrain.
The polygiene odor control neutralizes odor caused from sweat, which is just a fancy way to say that over several days of hunting the shirt will not stink...at least not as bad as other options do. I’ve worn the same shirt for 10 days straight on multiple occasions and can attest that the technology does work.
One other feature I like about the Core Lightweight Hoody is the built-in face mask that sits in the hood. With one hand I can slip it up and over my face and instantly have a camo face covering. I also like the center chest zip that is great for dumping excess heat when you are working hard. The Core Lightweight Hoody is one of my favorite all time shirts for hunting, sitting in a blind, running or everyday wear.
The SITKA Kelvin Active Hoody
The Kelvin Active Hoody is one of those pieces that I looked at and thought I’ve never seen anything like that before! The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s an insulation piece with a hood, but it has short sleeves. Seems odd, but if you are a bowhunter it makes complete sense. It provides insulation, but where you really need it. Removing the sleeves eliminates the possibility of string contact.
The other thing that jumps out at me is the weight to warmth ratio. The weight of my size large hoody is 9.75 oz, but it feels much warmer. The Polartec insulation also dries quickly, so even if it gets wet from rain or from sweat, it will still dry rapidly with body heat or some air and sunshine.
The Kelvin Active Hoody has become my favorite early morning and evening mid layer. It’s great for archery elk hunting on the go when you need something to take off the edge of those cool September mornings in the high country.
The SITKA Sun Hat
It might be a bit old school, but I am 40 so I think it’s okay that the SITKA Sun Hat — AKA the boonie — is one of my favorite pieces. Early season hunts are hot, especially in a lot of the open country antelope and mule deer areas that I hunt. The SITKA Sun Hat is great for keeping the sun off your face, ears and neck.
The material is really lightweight, has some stretch to it and it dries really quickly. The side portions of the hat are mesh, which vents really well and the underside of the brim is dark, which limits eye stain. The brim is flexible, contours well and stays clear of my bowstring. It’s easy to wad up and stash in a pocket of your jacket or pack. The SITKA Sun Hat is a great early season sun hat and a piece I rarely leave home without.