In the world of technical hunting clothing Sitka has clearly made a name for themselves as arguably the premier manufacturer. They have a wide range of offerings for all types of sportsmen AND women ranging from whitetail hunters, waterfowl hunters, to mountain hunters and anything in between. With such an extensive offering and the fact that they strive for continuous improvement it’s easy to see why I’m a fan. This past year at the ATA show when I met the team from Sitka it was truly fascinating to see and understand the thought and efforts that go into their work. With all this being said, when I got the chance to try out several pieces from their Subalpine collection I was ecstatic!
The three pieces I tested were the Core Midweight Zip-T, Jetstream Jacket, and Timberline Pants. These were chosen as the best pieces to go along with me on my second season elk rifle hunt in Colorado.
I predicted temps would likely fluctuate between the 20’s and 50’s. Turns out, over the duration of the week, it got not only colder than that but warmer as well. This is why you’ve got to layer and have gear that can adapt with temperature changes. The trio of Sitka Gear I had with me did just that. When it was cold, the Jetstream Jacket and Timberline Pants were perfect for layering underneath.
On the flip side of this, later in the week when the sun came out in the afternoons the weather was spring break worthy and I had to be prepared for that as well. Here the Core Mid Weight was the perfect companion.
As with most of the high performance, technologically advanced clothing on the market Sitka uses an “athletic cut” when it comes to how they fit. Now when I say that I don’t mean the pants fit like skinny jeans and the shirts are made to show off your muscles. The fit is actually quite refreshing with both shirt and pant lengths long enough to cover a 6 foot guy without having to get a “long” or size up to an XL. The cut allows for you to be mobile without the bulk and annoyance of baggy clothing. To give you and idea see the pics below. I’m 6 foot 180 lbs.
The Core Mid Weight is a size large with the Timberline Pants being a 34R. They fit me quite well in the fact that they weren’t too tight and certainly didn’t have a bunch of extra material to get in my way.
I did bump the Jetstream Jacket up to an XL in this case so I could layer underneath in preparation for colder weather. With that you can see coat still fit nicely without added bulk but did allow me to add multiple layers underneath.
I couldn’t have asked for more out of my clothing setup. My elk hunts usually involve long hikes with lots of elevation gained and lost. So my clothing has got to be light in weight and move with my body. The Timberline’s proved to be an extension of my lower half by flexing and stretching with every move without impeding me in anyway. The Jetstream had equal abilities to conform to my movements.
The great thing about the Timberline and Jetstream as an outer shell was their ability to block the wind. As a matter of fact the Jetstream comes equipped with patented GORE WINDSTOPPER fabric which is touted as being 100% windproof. No day better signified the need for this than the last evening of my elk hunt. I was sitting at the bottom of a valley when all of the sudden a front blew through and the wind went from light to 30-40 mph in no time flat. I could literally feel the heat being sucked from my body and thought I would absolutely be cutting this sit short. As I began adding layers and ultimately my coat, it did it’s job as advertised and stopped the wind allowing me to stay out for the remainder of the hunt.
The last piece is the Core Mid Weight Zip T. It followed suit and impressed with its versatility as a base layer or worn alone during warm days. The material is very soft and comfortably worn against the skin. Another advantage of the Core series of base layers is the Polygiene odor control technology they come with. You know as well as I do, after a few days in the bush you and your clothes can become pretty rank. By stopping odor causing bacteria and fungi the Polygiene quickly becomes your friend.
So up to this point I’ve mainly talked about the overall abilities of the three products tested. On top of this the Team at Sitka goes a few steps further to separate them from the rest. I love the suspenders that come with the pants. These aren’t your grandpas either. They are small, light, and have a rubber coating on them that keeps them in place on your shoulders. I started wearing suspenders several years ago when whitetail hunting in heavy, bulky clothes. After seeing what Sitka did they certainly have a place on my technical clothing now too!
Also on the Timberline Pants are waterproof reinforcements added to the knees and butt. You don’t realize how many times you kneel or sit on something wet until you get to spend the next several hours in discomfort. Kudos to Sitka for this small but perfect addition to the pants.
The last feature I want to mention is the pit zippers on the Jetstream. When you’re moving you’re going to sweat. When you sweat you get wet. When you’re wet and it’s cold you get into trouble. If you are moving and do start to heat up just unzip and vent away that dangerous moisture so you can enjoy the rest of your hunt.
If you’ve been paying attention at all you already know that the summary is going to state that coat, pants, and base layer I tested from Sitka were absolutely amazing. They exceeded all my needs during a backcountry elk hunt this year. I really can’t find any criticisms for the gear. It was superb. If you’ve got some big hunts coming up I would recommended making the investment in some of the quality gear from Sitka. It will be worth it.
Disclaimer: I received the items in this review at no charge in exchange for a fair and honest review. I get no kickbacks if you decide to buy any Sitka products and my review details exactly what I experienced while wearing their gear. Bottom line, I’m not sure you could buy anything better or more capable. If you can, let me know cause I’d love to see it.