"It's just plain awesome!" Those were the words that my dad used to describe the SITKA Whitetail kit that I bought him two years ago for Christmas. He was able to spend more hours in the stand than ever before and saw more deer than ever before, and all because he was more comfortable than ever before. He did not add any extra scent-prevent clothing or sprays; he was just able to sit stiller because he was able to relax and not think about being cold. That is the advantage of high performance fabrics and building a kit from multiple layering options.
Why do I keep talking about a kit? The folks at SITKA see their product line of soft goods as gear. As gear, they view it as a complete kit: from base layers, to insulation layers, to hats and gloves, to the final layer of outerwear. It all comes together to form the perfect complement of gear. Since their inception in 2007, their motto has been "Turning Clothing into Gear." Gear that is just as important as a bow, a safety harness, a set of binoculars, or anything else you might need when you head into the woods. Their product lines are designed to take the hunter from the heat of an early August hunt all the way through the coldest February hunts you can find. It's a simple concept: you just add and subtract pieces as the weather dictates, which far too many soft goods manufactures are overlooking these days.
You will not find any moisture-absorbing cotton products in their line. Their garments are all made from a variety of high performance fabrics such as Gore Tex, Gore Wind Stopper, Prima Loft, and Polar Tech, which are all designed to keep the hunter dry and comfortable. Another advantage of using these fabrics is that you are not adding tons of bulk, which allows you full articulations of limbs, making it easier to take the shot whether it is with a bow or a gun. Additionally, by keeping bulk and mass down, it makes it easier when traveling on multi-day hunts or carrying a bag of a couple dozen decoys on your back. If you have ever done it, you know that every pound matters. If you are asking yourself why SITKA's products do not have a layer of carbon or silver or some other scent- absorption system, it is simply because you do not need it. While you are wearing moisture-wicking fabrics, they wick the odor-causing bacteria away from the body, and the body odor is never permitted to develop.
I recently spoke with Kevin Sloan, President of SITKA, and he said that he and his team focus on three things when designing gear: First, they use the latest technology available. Second, they use the best performance fabrics available. Third, they create concealment patterns that work in a variety of terrains by breaking up the human silhouette. At SITKA, whether you choose their Open Country pattern (designed for hunting the vast expanses of the Western plains and the Rocky Mountains), their Forest pattern (designed for the Whitetail woods), or their latest pattern, Waterfowl (designed to allow you to decimate ducks and geese), you can rest assured that you have made the right decision. Their camouflage patterns are not the latest set of photos of trees, sticks, and brush: their patterns are based on real science and how animals see and perceive the world around them. These patterns will not blur or run together, causing a dark blob. As Kevin told me, "it's not about how you look; it's about how your gear performs in the woods." For example, the science behind the Waterfowl pattern is based on waterfowl coming in at a 45 degree angle from 45 yards out, which happens to be the way most waterfowl approach when they are entering the shooting zone. Waterfowl is at home in the marsh just as much as it is at home in flooded timber, river bottom, or corn field.
Whenever you start to use high tech fabrics rather than cotton, the price of the garments is going to go up. Is the extra price worth it? Absolutely! You see, at SITKA, a piece of their gear is designed to keep you in the field longer by making you more comfortable. To paraphrase Kevin Sloan, "Look at it this way...What is the best investment for hunting in 2013: a new gun, a new bow, or a SITKA kit that can extend your hunting time by a few hours each day?" Whether you are in the mountains chasing sheep, sitting in a treestand on a frosty November morning, or are bunkered down in a duck blind in January chasing late season Mallards, a SITKA gear kit will keep you in the moment longer so that you do not miss that shot of a life time. It really all comes down to what you value. Do you value being warm and comfortable? If so, then skip the new bow or gun this year and purchase a SITKA gear kit. You won't be sorry that you did.
There are reasons why companies like Gore, Prime, G5, Beretta, Benelli, and others are flocking to join the ranks of SITKA by using high performance fabrics that are moisture-wicking, waterproof, wind proof, breathable, and have the ability to stretch and keep you comfortable all day. The fabrics stretch and allow you full articulation, resulting in a full range of movement. Add in the use camouflage patterns that actually keep you concealed up close at the moment of truth and concealed at a distance instead of turning you into a giant blob, that are versatile, break up the human signature, and are based on science (not hype, brainwashing, or spending excessive advertising dollars), and you have a system of gear that no hunter should ever leave home without.