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 Sitka Gear

Sitka gear clothing in the high countryJosh was sent a full Sitka system to do a review. Right from the base layer to the beanie and gloves. Here is his review:

 Preamble

At the start of this review my goal was to test a set of gear, no matter what the price. Testing the capability claimed by the manufacturer, to see if its claims could live up to actual field use. I was happy to tryout the various layers of the SITKA GEAR clothing system. SITKA GEAR makes large claims, and they carry an expensive, {in my opinion} price tag. Let me start by explaining. Some of the gear I have previously used on hunting trips and as outdoor wear. I have used the Remington Pre-vent System, although this gear being multipurpose in its design I had a hard time adapting from rifle to archery, I found the majority of the clothing to be overly bulky however, and Not necessarily increasing in warmth. This Led to adding unnecessary weight and mass. causing Extra noise from excess material rubbing together while stalking or sitting. And when hiking up to the subalpine, experienced hunters know every ounce of gear makes a difference, so only take what you need. The gear however had an attractive and somewhat average price tag, and uses a seemingly adaptive and popular mossy oak camo pattern. Faced with the choice many Hunters and outdoors enthusiast’s face “does the quality match the cost?”

Now, although a lot of times I like to think I’I have learned lessons from past mistakes. Usually after being frustrated, cold and wet or not impressed by the lack of ability in what I had envisioned the item to be able to perform. I often find myself stuck wishing Id just spent the larger sum on the “better gear”. So this led to the question.. Is the expensive gear worth the lofty price tag? This is my opinion after using this system for a full hunting season from spring to fall hunts.

Here is a 3 min video review explaining the pros and cons of the Sitka Gear Clothing System:

Traverse beanie.- I found the Traverse beanie to be surprisingly warm. for being a very light and thin beanie, it held heat in and managed not to create overheating when daytime temperatures rose up from the predawn and after dark lows. While wearing the beanie It did encounter some light rain, and dry’s pretty quickly and did not have a significantly large heat loss while wet. I would consider this a good asset to own, being super light and not at all bulky; easily allowing for a head lamp or a Go-pro head mount. I would rate this at 9/10. Great product.

Shooter Gloves.- The Shooter gloves were quite comfortable to wear the padded palms didn't’t hinder any functional manipulation of my hunting rifle a Tikka T3 lite synthetic stock. Or any other of the tactical rifles tested, M4 .223 Or XCR-M .308 and my Beretta 92A1 9mm. The gloves are very functional for just that shooting, the pointer finger of the glove allows for a positive feeling of the trigger. As well the gloves have a slight texture at the fingertips adding to the grip. I had a chance to use these during my annual service rifle and handgun re-qualification and had no dexterity issues. They are really not superb at insulation, or any water repellency. Use in the field should be more geared towards a mild climate and little to no precipitation. All together the Shooter Gloves are great for a cooler day at the range etc. I Rated, 8/10

Facemask - This mesh pull over face mask, I found to work well at face concealment, providing a good level of camouflage without hindering vision or hearing. I had no Issues with optics fogging, due to the mesh like fabric and breathability of the material. The face mask easily pulls up and needs no adjustment with elastic built into the material so no extra draw cords or ties to fumble with. The down side to that is that it isn’t much for a wind blocker being such a light material. I would also prefer to have the ability to use mouth calls without having to remove the mask since there is no provision for a mouth opening, That being taken into account. For the price, I would rate this at 6.5/10

CORE bottoms- These are very comfortable, breathe well and do manage to wick away moisture. They have ATB-100 UV silver woven into the material to have a scent blocking ability from what I could tell it worked. They are thin and my legs were never cold or damp from perspiration while hiking. Sitting they didn't’t provide much extra warmth, but being the nature of this type of clothing, I would tend to believe it is geared more towards active movement rather than stationary positions. The Core bottoms did provide heat retention and dissipation of moisture. I prefer the merino wool base layer over anything synthetic. I rate this at 7.5/10

Long sleeve CORE crew base layer- This garment I found was quite efficient. I have used many different types of bases, and had varying success with most. Merino wool is my personal favorite. But I have found it to be thicker than most synthetic fabric. The CORE CREW is a made using a lightweight thin fabric and contains the ATB-100 UV Silver Technology for scent control. It was excellent at holding heat and had great breathability to let perspiration dissipate quickly. I found that less is more while wearing this garment and needed very few extra layers. I layered this with the: TRAVERSE HOODY HALF ZIP- I easily warmed up so I needed very few layers when using The Long sleeve Core crew Base. I Rated This at 7.5/10

TRAVERSE HOODY HALF-ZIP - This was my most utilized layer while testing these garments. The Hoody was very comfortable. It was not bulky in any of the areas you may expect a typical hooded thermal garment to be. The arms fit loose enough not to restrict any movement and allowed for ample room layering underneath, The Chest and torso area are slightly tapered and nicely conform to your personal shape; but are not tight or restrictive. Thumbhole loops in the ends of the sleeves ensures that the sleeves did not get lost up your arm while hiking with a pack on. The Zipper is designed so that it is not over your mouth and nose when fully zipped up but rather off to the side; as it does zip quite high and covers almost up to the bottom of the nose. One and only notable downside the TRAVERSE HALF ZIP HOODY, is that although the underside of the garment is a very comfortable, almost fleecy layer. It is almost brilliant white and a high contrast to the optifade. This is a small problem if you are not keeping it fully zipped. Most times while wearing this I wore the zipper 3⁄4 down, which left me considerably more visible with the blinding white backing easily visible to anyone and anything. This garment would Rate at a 7/10

JETSTREAM LITE JACKET. - I loved this jacket. It was not bulky at all. It is Light weight, warm and functional with enough pockets to store essential calls and things. This jacket although Not waterproof, claims water “resistance”. From heavy morning dew, to light intermittent rain, it proved quite capable of holding up to this feature. There is little more I loathe more than being wet and cold, so when I took the chance to test the claim, I was quite pleasantly satisfied with its performance. I have used many other "water resistant” products in the past and have never been impressed. One thing that didn't’t perform as well as hoped was the description of being a “wind stopper”. In light breeze and intermittent wind it did hold up well. However, with cooler sustained winds, I did feel the chill. This is the LITE jacket, so that being said, it is great for exactly that. Unfortunately this garment also has segments of the brilliant white backing and the zippers are a white color. With cervids having UV light sensitivity. I would consider this to be an oversight in the design of a few of the garments. I was overall very impressed with this jacket; I rated it at 7.5/10

Sitka gear mountain pantsMOUNTAIN PANTS -These pants worked very well. I found the fabric to be as comfortable as a pair of my favorite pajamas. With a great ability to stretch enough when needed thanks to the stretch woven fabric. The material is not silent but is very quiet. If you’re knee knocking while walking or hiking there defiantly wasn't’t any loud sweeping noise. They were not baggy or bulky and had plenty of pockets with ample storage of whatever you may need to bring along and have quick access to. Some genius features, for example; there is no Velcro or noisy zippers on the cargo pockets but rather a metal to rubber silent snap, and I do mean silent. There are smaller zippered side pockets on top of the larger cargo pocket. All zippers use a positive engaging sealed fabric over the teeth making them very quiet. Large hand pockets, and the same quiet zip posterior pocket. The mountain pants featured an integrated adjustable low profile belt fitted into the waist. If you do much kneeling or have bad knees, they do have a built in easily removable knee pads with fully articulated legs. The inside cuffs of the legs have a rubbery nylon type material so if you not wearing gators, you’re not soaking the insides of your pant legs from the ground moisture or from your boots. These pants insulated well with mid to lower fall temperatures when layered with the CORE base bottoms. My only dislike; I personally wasn't’t a fan of the knee pads I found them to make the knees rub when walking and didn't’t find that at this stage of life I needed them for the infrequent amount of time I knelt down. Although the integral belt was handy, I prefer to use a 2 piece inner and outer duty style belt. My inner belt barely fit though the extra belt loops, so it would be nice if they were larger and a few more of them. I wore these pants For the majority of my first 9 day field review at the end of the trip, I noticed that the Optifade pattern on the outside of the knee was fading and not as dark as the majority of the pattern. I am not abusive to my gear as I couldn't’t afford to hunt if I had to replace it every other year and so I do have a high expectation for wear ability. So it’s disappointing seeing obvious wear after only 9 days. I rated these pants at 8.5/10

KELVIN LITE JACKET – This Jacket Is Incredibly well insulated, At only 14.4oz The Heat to weight retention is remarkable. This jacket stuffs easily into a small space, making it a great addition to a day pack, without compromising valuable space and weight. When added to existing layers the ability to retain heat will surprise you, I was skeptical at how light and well this performed. It lived up to all it's specifications an excellent layer. I rate it at 9.5/10

DEWPOINT PANTS & JACKET. The Ability of a Gore-Tex Material to repel water and retain heat is outstanding. Being Cold and wet is any hunter’s recipe for a Miserable trip. Aside from the mental toll that being uncomfortable for hours on end takes on your psychological ability to focus on the task at hand. My least favorite feeling in life is being cold and wet. These pants are Brilliant. Light weight, and they are able to easily slip over any pair of hunting boots thanks to full length side welded watertight zippers. The only negative things I could say about these pants is that there are no exterior pockets, Not a big deal because you can open the zippers to access inside pockets of your main pants. The material is louder than the Mountain Pants, but when it’s raining out its hardly noticeable. However, a little extra caution may be required on stalking due to the extra noise. Being aware of the handicap is probably enough to combat the added noise.

DEWPOINT JACKET – Same fantastic material as the DEWPOINT pants, The Gore-Tex fabric with 2-way stretch. The jacket Keeps Heat in and has venting to dissipate when needed, this was Extremely comfortable and Kept me Bone dry in the wettest of conditions. I gave these pants and Jacket 9.5/10 Well worth the investment.

Conclusions

I would have to say that I am very much impressed at the adaptability and compatibility of the SITKA GEAR system I used. The interchangeability of the different components allows you to truly Use only what you NEED and not be loaded down with bulk when you don’t need it. The majority of the items I would fully recommend to anyone looking to step up their outdoor performance gear. The price points for these components seem to be worth the investment. When you’re hunting and exerting yourself in adverse conditions, the last thing you need is to be distracted by being simply uncomfortable. The potentially serious situation caused by distraction of being focused on the under performance of your gear leads to the separation between mind and body, and ultimately can ruin a hunt. The gear I used allowed me to forget about the weather and focus on the Hunt.

By Joshua Ladoucier 




Posted September 26, 2014 by Josh Ladoucier






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