By now you have probably heard of the hunting industry giant, Sitka Gear. They design and manufacture a variety of hunting systems for big game, whitetail, waterfowl, and work applications. Their camo patterns are designed based on years of scientific research based on the animal’s perception of their environment. They implement Gore & Gore-Tex technology to ensure efficient rain and wind resistance. I don’t want to sound like a Sitka fan boy, but I truly enjoy the gear and want other hunters to take a comprehensive look at Sitka systems before writing them off due to a hefty price tag.
One of the most frequently asked questions in hunting forums lately is, “Is Sitka Gear worth the price tag?” This is often followed up with a comment like, “I can’t imagine paying over $200 dollars for a jacket.” Trust me, I understand the frustration. Hunting to most of us isn’t a life or death situation. We don’t need the meat from our harvest so badly that our lives depend on it, but hunting is our passion and we care about it enough that we want our gear to complement our adventures. In my opinion, Sitka Gear is well worth the price. In the following paragraphs I will attempt to explain why.
Layering has always been an issue for me. Layering effectively allows you to hunt in the widest range of condition. Jonathan Hart, Sitka Gears founder, says it best, “Layering leads to more hours in the field, which leads to more opportunities for success.” Most of us don’t know what we are missing when it comes to layering. We grew up wearing 3 different hand me down camo patterns that are all the same thickness and consistency. I always struggled to keep warm because I lacked a complete system designed to keep my core body temp at the optimal temperature. Growing up in Oklahoma, I have learned first hand that changing weather conditions can ruin hunts. Having the ability to add and strip certain layers based on changing conditions is extremely valuable to me. If you are hunting a constant climate it may not add as much value to your experience, but for me it means a lot. I have tried many different brands throughout the last 10 years, and I can honestly say I have not owned a more comfortable piece of camo. My mountain pants feel like a pair of soft pajama pants yet have been durable through snow, rain and thorn patches for the last 3 years. This gear is built to last a decade and the customer service department is extremely responsive to customer needs.
Another thing I enjoy about Sitka Gear is their attention to detail in their systems. They aim to build comprehensive systems that include base layers, mid layers, insulation and outer layers. My traverse cold weather hoody comes with a built-in face mask that helps conceal my face in spot and stalk situations like when I was hunting antelope in the open country last fall. My mountain pants also come standard with knee pads. You probably wouldn’t think you would ever need those right? Since I have used them, I can’t go back to normal bottoms. They are a life saver when stalking game and crawling on your knees. Sitka’s innovation is truly ahead of the industry. Sitka gives the consumer innovative features before they even know there is a feature missing from their existing gear and that is what separates them from other companies.
Our gear is an investment. Sitka’s gear is extremely pricey, but in my eyes it is a wise investment for the hunter who knows he or she will continue to hunt in the future. If you aren’t extremely committed, this gear may not be for you and that’s okay. Purchase the gear that is in your price range and that suits your needs at the time. Not all of us have a thousand dollars to drop on a complete system. I sure didn’t when I start compiling my open country Sitka system. Piece by piece I compiled a complete system and it took a lot of birthdays and Christmas’s to accumulate what I have now. Trust me, it is worth the wait.
As hunters, we gravitate towards the gear that fades into the background of our adventures. It isn’t about what brand you wear or how much your camo system costs. Instead it is about how comfortable you are while hunting, your ability to adapt to changing conditions, and having a complete system that will keep you in the field longer. There are likely other brands that can compete with this concept, but Sitka has been my choice for the past four years. As hunters, we spend immense amounts of time preparing for a single moment in the field. When that moment comes, I expect myself to be at my best and my gear needs to follow suit. Sitka Gear has cost me a good amount of money, but it has also allowed me to stay out doing what I love with the people I love and that to me is priceless.