The Sitka Gear Cloudburst Rain Gear Exceeds Expectations.
There is no happy medium with raingear; it either works and works well, or it fails and fails miserably. I found that out on my recent archery hunt with a group of ladies in Illinois. When you mix all-day downpours and temperatures in the 40s, you have the perfect combination to experience a miserable hunt if you are not prepared.
As I was preparing for this trip, I knew that there would be several days of rain during the week. I have owned various brands of raingear in the past, but I was never really pleased with them. Some gear worked well in keeping me dry from the rain, but the materials were not breathable, so it caused moisture to build up under the raingear. Others failed by leaking through the zippers or the material itself leaving me soaked, cold and miserable.
On the third day of my Illinois hunt, the morning started off with the group sleeping in because the rain was heavy with high wind gusts. When the torrential front cleared to a steady drizzle with intermittent heavier rain, we all decided we wanted to go to our stands for the remainder of the day. The temperature remained in the low 40s the entire day. We had minimal cellular service in our stands so when we were dropped off in our hunting areas, the guide verified with each of us if we wanted to stay out all day or not. My reply to my guide was: “Yes, unless there is lightning, then I would like to be picked up.” It rained the entire day and did not slack off until just before sunset.
I was comfortable wearing my Sitka Gear in the stand in the wet, 40-degree weather because I had my base layers and mid-layers on, topped with the Cloudburst pant and jacket. I didn’t have any leaks nor condensation build up from body heat. I had a pretty long walk in and out of my hunting area. Since your body naturally heats up and sweats when you are on the move, I had no issues with the material building up moisture between the layers because of the breathability of the three-ply GORE-TEX® material. I was pleased to find that the zippers did not leak, and the fabric was comfortable in the stand because of the ample fit without being bulky.
Unfortunately, when I got back to the lodge, I found out that four of the other ladies, who were all wearing a different women’s brand camo, did not have the same performance from their gear. All four experienced varying degrees of being wet. One was drenched through all three layers that she was wearing, and she was extremely uncomfortable all day. The guides built a fire in the fireplace at the lodge to put her in front of until her blue lips returned to pink. I felt horrible for these ladies knowing they had put trust into gear that failed them horribly. Trying to make light of their experience, I may have ribbed them a little more than I should have while they were each rotating their clothes from the dryer.
This experience really drove home that having gear that performs 100% for you in the field is extremely critical. Paying for premium gear is actually more cost effective in the long run when the gear performs, and the quality allows it to last for many seasons—not to mention, keeps you on the hunt longer based on its performance.
The Sitka Gear Cloudburst system is engineered with GORE-TEX® and a durable water repellant (DWR) fabric treatment making it waterproof, windproof, and breathable, yet lightweight. The material is three-ply fabricated laminate construction:
The two-way polyester stretch fabric of the Cloudburst jacket and pant are cut to leave enough room for layers without being bulky. The addition of articulated elbows and knees results in a non-binding fit. All seams are laser cut and micro-taped for a more comfortable fit. All zippers have easy zipper pulls with storage tabs and heat-welded watertight seals to prevent leakage.
The Sitka Gear Cloudburst Jacket is designed with plenty of storage options that include two hand pockets, two chest pockets, and one sleeve pocket. The sleeves have adjustable Velcro wrist tabs and ¾” undersleeve zippered vents. The slight drop tail design of the bottom hem ensures that the jacket does not ride up when sitting, bending, climbing, or reaching. Pull-cord adjustments are located in the bottom hem with the adjustment toggle located on both sides. The hood stows easily by folding into the collar and zipped up for storage. The neck zipper has a tab to keep the zipper from rubbing chin or neck. The hood is fully adjustable with front adjustment pull-cords that are conveniently located in the front chest pockets. There is also a rear pull cord adjustment in the back of the hood that keeps the hood from obstructing view. The hood conveniently rolls down and stores securely in the zippered collar.
The Sitka Gear Cloudburst Pant has a streamlined fit with ample layering room compared to other brand rain gear pants I have tried. The pants have articulated knees with tapered legs to deter wind flap and the brushing of excess material in the lower leg area. There are four front slant zippered pockets for convenient small item storage. The side leg zippers extend from just below the waistband to the bottom of the pant leg and have a snap closure at the ankle. The full-length side zips make it possible for ventilation when stalking. This allows you to put the pants on over boots easily, and the pants can even be put on while in the stand. The tapered pant leg is slightly gathered at the boot but still relaxed to fit over hunting boots. This design keeps moisture from the interior of the pant leg. The waistband has a silicone strip in the front interior to keep shirts tucked in, and an elastic waistband in the back allows for comfort when sitting and bending. A Sitka Gear webbing belt is sewn-in at the waist, so you will never misplace it when packing in and out of backpacks or gear bags.
As an outer layer, the Sitka Gear Cloudburst is not laundered as frequently as layers that touch the skin or those that would hold human scent. If you do find that you have to launder the garment, it is important that you follow these care instructions to extend the life of your product:
The Sitka Gear Cloudburst Jacket And Pant is the most versatile raingear in the Sitka Gear line-up because it is not insulated, leaving it lightweight and packable. This rain gear can be stowed in a backpack, retrieved when needed, and placed on over your layers, even thicker cold weather gear, in the field or stand. It is durable enough to withstand numerous types of terrain and weather including heavy rain and high winds. The product is backed by the Sitka Gear promise to stand behind every product. They even offer a reasonable fee-based repair service for normal wear and tear. The Cloudburst is available in men’s sizes in the Optifade™ Open Country and Optifade™ Subalpine; and also available in the new SITKA Gear Women’s Big Game line in Optifade™ Subalpine.
Endorsement Disclosure: Per the guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission, the products reviewed or mentioned within this writing is an endorsement and the writer may or may not have been compensated monetarily or by “in-kind” payment to review the product. Logos and photos are the sole property of the rightful owner and used within this writing exclusively for the promotion of products herein as required by the product’s manufacturer or in efforts of product exposure for the manufacturers and/or their agents and representatives.