Women’s SITKA Gear Raises the Bar for Women’s Hunting Gear: Late Season System.
By Nancy Jo Adams
I experienced SITKA Gear for the first time this past September on an archery hunt in Missouri, and I couldn’t have been more impressed with the gear’s fit and performance. When November rolled around, I found myself packing my gear bag for an annual Kansas whitetail hunt with full confidence in the SITKA Gear system I had planned to bring.
In preparation for my Kansas rut hunt, I had spent much time checking the extended weather forecast two weeks in advance. I knew that it was going to be mild the first two days of this hunt, but then it was going to turn cold with a brutal wind for most of the hunt. There was no rain or snow in the forecast. I decided on packing eight pieces for this trip.
The Core Base Layer System is designed to keep body warmth in while wicking away perspiration built up from activity. The soft micro-grid backing is smooth on the skin and dries quickly. The women’s Core mid-weight long sleeve crew and has a natural crew neckline, thumb holes to eliminate sleeve creep when layering, and a mid-hip-length tail that keeps the shirt tail tucked in. The Core heavyweight bottom has a yoga legging design with a wide natural waistline that doesn’t require elastic or a waist cord. The snug but comfortable doubled ankle cuffs keep the pant legs from riding up without cutting into the skin. The material retains its shape, even over several days of hunting.
The Fanatic Hoody is an excellent layering piece or as an outer layer in warmer temperatures. The smooth-faced material with a lofted grid fleece interior design incorporates mapped insulation. It not only stays warm where needed; it also reduces bulk when layering. The half-zip style allows for a built-in hand muff, and the sleeves offer a flip-over hand mitt to keep your hands warm on the hunt. The torso length is form fitting and covers the hip. The Fanatic Hoody has a built-in lightweight face mask that is virtually hidden when not in use, but can be conveniently pulled over the head to us as a facemask when needed.
The SITKA Gear Fanatic Jacket and Bib are known as the flagship gear of the women’s whitetail line, and this comes as no surprise. The combination of hydrophobic Berber fleece face fabric, PrimaLoft® Silver Insulation and 100% windproof GORE® WINDSTOPPER® membrane is ideal for keeping a treestand hunter warm in any cold to harsh weather, even damp weather and snow.
The SITKA Gear Fanatic Bib offers customization and comfort like no other hunting bib on the market. The Quantum adjustable suspenders allow for an easy custom fit that doesn’t grab when standing or gap when seated. The full front length zipper and full side zips allow for easy on and off in the field, even over hunting boots, and the inner material mud panels located at the bottom quarter of the leg is easy to brush any dried mud off. The convenient interior hook and loop adjustable waistband offers a customizable fit. The front panels offer independent soft-lined hand warming pockets that are comfortably placed in a seated position. There are two four-way stretch waist panels offering extra room when layering.
The SITKA Ground Shield that is strategically placed in the seat and hamstring area guards against any cold transfer or wet and icy dampness from the treestand seat to the hunter. The full-length Berber fleece exterior is quiet and offers four gear pockets conveniently placed at the knees on a forward panel with easy access zippers. The articulated knees deter from binding and bunching at the knees on those long days in the tree stand during the prime time of the season. If you wear rubber boots similar to the LaCrosse Elevated II Alphaburley boots, you will have no issues with pant legs bulking because of the low-bulk hem on the SITKA Gear Fanatic Bibs.
The SITKA Gear Fanatic Jacket is one of my favorite pieces; I like it so much, I purchased the Fanatic Lite in the men’s line. The design of the Fanatic Jacket is perfect for the archery hunter that spends most of their hunting time in a treestand. The signature diagonal zipper results in a full front insulated hand muff to keep hands warm. The slightly tapered sleeves have internal stretch cuffs to keep the cold out. The hood is removable and the high neck offers an edge that is soft against the skin. The right front panel has a magnetic closure rangefinder and grunt tube pocket with a tab for connecting any lariat for items. It also has a zippered pocket ideal for smartphones, GPS, or other small electronics. A safety harness pass-through port located between and above the shoulder blades allows the correct attachment point. It includes a flap to seal off the port when not in use. Even though the Fanatic Jacket is designed for bitterly cold temperatures and made of Berber material, it was more fitted and streamlined than other heavyweight jackets I have used in the past to stay warm on the hunt. The Fanatic Jacket offered me ease of flexibility of movement in the stand while offering me the protection needed for the harsh temperature and wind.
The SITKA Gear Fanatic Beanie made of GORE® WINDSTOPPER® laminate with a soft Berber fleece lining offers several unique features that make this a dependable beanie in cold weather. A four-way stretch, air permeable band warms the neck and ears without impeding sound. A feature that is the answer to many women’s request in the quest for the perfect beanie is a ponytail port which keeps the beanie secure, in place without rat nesting long ponytails, and doesn’t restrict movement.
Regardless if you are new to hunting or have been hunting for numerous years, you know the importance of a good neck gaiter to keep you warm. Unfortunately, you also know how ill-fitting many neck gaiters can be and the condensation issues of some materials. The SITKA Gear Fleece Neck Gaiter is silky smooth and lined with double-thick, high-pile fleece that pulls away moisture from your skin, keeping condensation on the exterior of the neck gaiter. The fleece lined edges keep the gaiter from chaffing the delicate facial areas, and the design holds it in place. The gaiter is just the right length that it can be used solely as a neck gaiter or raised over the bottom portion of the face, across the ears, up high on the neck and across the back of the head while still keeping enough length to keep the cold air out and warm air in.
The perfect companion for the Fanatic Jacket and Bib is the SITKA Gear Fanatic Gloves. The four-way stretch knit polyester blend material with a soft backing and leather pull tabs make them easy to put on. The cut and sewn edge of the thumb and index fingers on both hands allows for finger dexterity. The gloves pair perfectly with the Fanatic Jacket muff pocket and the Fanatic Bib hand warming pockets.
I spent eighty-one hours in a tree stand in NW Kansas experiencing temperatures dipping down into the low teens, with wind gusts up to 40 mph, wearing only these eight SITKA Gear pieces mentioned above. I was comfortable and warm the entire time I was on the hunt. I usually have multiple extra layers, and several packs of hand and body warmers opened and placed strategically, which was not the case on this hunt. I packed a wool sweater as an extra layer in my backpack but did not have to use this garment even on the coldest day. To say that I am pleased with the performance of the SITKA Gear Late Season line would be an understatement. I am so confident in the SITKA Gear performance, the quality of the materials and craftmanship in the garments that I would trust this gear even in subzero temperatures. It only makes sense, fewer clothes required in your gear bag, dependable performance, and quality that will last many seasons. SITKA Gear is a good investment that will keep you in the stand and on the hunt through those extremely cold, and sometimes harsh, late season hunts.