Sitka is known for developing high-quality gear with thoughtful features we didn't even realize we wanted -- hoodies with an integrated face mask, bibs with a built-in drop seat, and whitetail jackets with a safety harness port. And now that we have the innovation, we can't live without it. Turkey hunters have been wearing pieces from Sitka's big game line into the field for years, but we've been clamoring for a dedicated spring gobbler line. Our collective wish was finally granted in the form of the new Equinox line.
Sitka put in particularly strong efforts in learning about and addressing the need to avoid insect-influenced problems. They can be annoying (looking at you, gnats) and even downright dangerous (tick-borne diseases are a growing concern). Either way, they looked into how the clothing you wear can battle against them. Their work led to the Equinox Guard collection.
Equinox Guard Collection
For hunters, tick bites can be dangerous -- even deadly -- and dealing with chiggers, mosquitos, and no-see-ums is no picnic either. But covering every inch of skin in blazing hot weather can be brutal, and running and gunning through the woods means turkey hunters are bound to encounter these pests no matter how much DEET we douse our clothes with.
That's why Gore textile specialists and the team at Sitka set out to develop a solution for comfortably hunting in humid and hot conditions while providing maximum protection from chiggers, ticks, mosquitos, and other insects.
The final fabric featured in the Equinox Guard collection is tightly knit to block bites, but stretchy enough to move with hunters. It's super lightweight and breathable to prevent overheating, plus it sports a matte finish for concealment.
Insect Shield, an EPA-registered treatment, adds a second layer of protection with a built-in permethrin treatment to repel mosquitos, ticks, chiggers, ants, flies, and no-see-ums. It bonds so tightly to the fabric fibers that it lasts the life of the garment without requiring reapplication. And unlike DEET, which releases scent into the surrounding environment, Insect Shield is scent-free.
Combined with construction that limits skin exposure, these features offer the ultimate in bite protection. The innovation was extensively lab- and field-tested and passed with flying colors.
Sitka Gear Equinox Turkey Apparel and Vest
The Equinox Guard Hoody is constructed of ultra lightweight stretch fabric with a performance fit, great for when you're bowhunting. You can bring it to full draw without exposing much skin. The built-in breathable mesh facemask provides quick and convenient concealment that won't obstruct vision, and a long tail design easily tucks into pants for maximum protection from chiggers, ticks, and other bugs. It offers UPF 50+ protection to block harmful UV rays during long sunny hunts as well as Polygiene Odor Control Technology to stop stink as you sweat. The Equinox Guard Hoody weighs in at 6.5 ounces and comes in men's sizes medium through 3XL for $149.
The quiet, lightweight, and breathable fabric of the Equinox Guard Pant sports a raised internal grid pattern to promote maximum airflow. Two YKK zippered side leg vents with mesh gussets and front leg YKK zip pockets offer added ventilation during hot hunts. Internal leg gaiters can be worn under socks to prevent ticks and chiggers from reaching skin as you walk through tall grass. The design also features a dedicated knife pocket and hidden suspender attachment points, always a bonus in hunting pants. Like the Hoody, the Equinox Pants are equipped with Polygiene Odor Control Technology and UPF 50+ protection. They're only 13.5 ounces and available in men's sizes 30R through 44R for $249.
The Equinox Guard Glove is made with a breathable, lightweight stretch fabric with nylon Cordura between the fingers and over the fingertips for added durability and abrasion resistance. A durable AX Suede on the palm provides a solid grip. The gloves feature an exposed thumb and index finger design for trigger feel. When paired with the Equinox Guard Hoody, these gloves and their long cuffs deliver full protection from pests. At a featherlight 1.3 ounces per pair, the Equinox Guard Glove rings in at $50 in men's sizes medium through XL.
The entire Equinox Guard Collection is available in Optifade Subalpine, Elevated II, and Waterfowl Timber. Hopefully we'll see these pieces available in some women's sizes soon.
Built for running and gunning, the Equinox Turkey Vest is constructed of a 75-denier brushed-face woven polyester with a DWR finish in an ergonomic design. A removable dual-density foam seat drops down and cinches back up quickly.
Plentiful pockets provide lots of storage options throughout. A water-resistant molded clamshell pocket with a quiet, convenient magnetic closure can keep two pot calls dry in the divided sleeves and hold three diaphragm calls securely in easy-access slots. The box call pocket is also water-resistant and offers a snug fit to eliminate shifting and unwanted noise. No longer will turkey hunting in the rain be a worrisome endeavor.
Pockets on either side can store up to four strikers, and an open-top outside pocket can stow rain gear. The vest also features versatile side pockets, three internal mesh zippered pockets, a large hydration-compatible zippered back pocket, and a shallow zippered top pocket with a key clip.
The Equinox Turkey Vest features two built-in blaze orange flags that can easily deploy for safety. A removable fowl slip noose that clips onto the shoulder strap is designed to carry a bird, and four compression straps -- which also reduce overall bulk of the vest -- can secure the quarry.
The vest is one size fits all, but an adjustable pack strap system provides fits from sizes XS through XXL. It's available in Optifade Subalpine or Waterfowl Timber for $249.
I've been wearing the Equinox Turkey Vest this spring, and it's lived up to the Sitka reputation.
As a smaller framed female, I love the adjustability this vest offers and how easy it is to get a tailored fit. The number and positioning of pockets on this thing are great, and the ultra quiet magnetic pocket closures belong on every piece of hunting gear. The seat is comfortable and stays dry on wet, rocky ground, plus it's simple to perfectly position to sit in seconds.
At 44.5 ounces, it feels a bit heavy but certainly nowhere close to the high end of turkey vest weights. And I'd like the option to quickly detach the seat from the vest. The pack-like construction can get hot, so it would be nice to set aside this added layer and just perch up on the cushion when waiting for a strutter.
Overall, the Equinox Turkey Vest -- and the rest of the new turkey line -- was worth the wait.
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