Early season whitetail hunting can be hot in Texas. That's why this awesome Sitka Gear apparel makes such a difference.
If you're like me, you're gearing up for archery season. I'm in Texas, where it never fails; every year I find myself sweating through all my clothes in the November heat.
There isn't much elevation to the land I hunt, shade barely cuts down the temps, and warm weather can continue even into December. A lot of the camo hunting apparel I own is for colder weather, and it's just not worth wearing it on early season sits. You'd think by now I'd have learned, but it took until this season to discover how nice an early season hunt can be when you aren't drenched in your own sweat!
Hunting gear is normally catered to folks who don't have to deal with such a hot mess, which is why I was so anxious to try out a new early season system from Sitka Gear that's cool and breathable, wicks sweat, provides great range of motion, and still maintains full body camouflage coverage.
The Sitka Core Lightweight Hoody, Traverse Pant, and Mountain Jacket are going to make this season, at least the warmer parts of it, a whole lot better. The GORE OPTIFADE Concealment Subalpine pattern is among the best in the business, and the lightweight fabrics make the effects of heat diminish.
I couldn't be happier to test this stuff out this season, and I've got some initial thoughts that I wanted to share.
Core Lightweight Hoody
Most whitetail hunters have probably tried some sort of base layer with a "keep you dry" type of technology at work. Sitka Gear takes moisture wicking and maneuverability to the next level.
Since I mainly hunt whitetails from a bow stand in the early season, I typically am aiming to have the lightest, most concealing gear. The Core Lightweight Hoody checks all the boxes in my book.
It's made of a stretch polyester, which goes above and beyond what you'd expect from an apparel standpoint.
When I first read up on the permanent Polygiene Odor Control Technology that Sitka included in the base layer, my eyes brightened. I'm a stocky fella, and with that brings plenty of sweaty challenges. Sweating through clothes while a whitetail strolls ten yards from you sounds like an impossible encounter, but I think my odds have increased.
The Polygiene Oder Control Technology says it conceals all of my worst odors and allows me to have encounters I've never experienced. I even noticed that after taking off the hoody, there's a low amount of moisture and odor to deal with. Typically, my camo is soaked and stinking up a storm in my hunting bag. This hoody changed all that.
The concealment features in this hoody are impressive to say the least. The attached hood comes with an imbedded face mask made with lightweight mesh ventilation. A feature like this is worth the money, because you don't have to worry about face paint or an external mask.
I typically hike a good distance to my hunting location, as opposed to driving a side-by-side, in hopes of not spooking game. My first test for these Traverse hunting pants proved how comfortable they were to hike in.
I was even presently surprised at the durability. Believe it or not, they didn't even snag on a Texas cactus when I accidentally rubbed up against one! There's little chance of pulling threads while rubbing against tree branches. The durability is indeed impressive.
There is extra pocket fabric support for knife clips and extra stretch in the knees, meaning these pants couldn't fit the situation better. I even used my handgun holster and felt no tightness or uncomfortableness the entire time.
I even managed to spill water all over these pants mid-hunt, and noticed the beads run right off. There's a water repellant finish on them that is better than anything I've worn before. The same Polygiene odor technology is at work in the pants, and it came to the rescue by being breathable and not letting outside moisture in.
My first takeaway from the jacket is that it fits along with the rest of the system because of its ability to breath. I've had jackets in the past are either too cool or too warm. The Mountain Jacket opened up my eyes to the idea that you can have the best of both worlds: warmth and breathability.
Most of you are probably familiar with GORE-TEX, but they have reinvented the technology to keep you dry while breaking the wind. It's called GORE-TEX INFINIUM, and it's a three-layer form fit technology that basically does it all.
Even with a blustery breeze, the jacket did not disappoint. I couldn't feel the breeze at all under my outer layer, and I kept the jacket on for the comfort of the wind break until it warmed up later in the day.
Add in a lightweight ESW Hat, and the Sitka system is basically complete.
Close Encounters to Prove the Effectiveness
Hunters always bring up the same question in terms of gear: does it really matter to the animals? If I'm in the whitetail woods, I know what hunting clothing I'll be wearing.
The Subalpine pattern from Sitka matches well with a variety of surroundings, and it provided me with an encounter I've never had before. The clip below is something I've never experienced while bowhunting; two fawns bumping into the tripod stand I was hidden in.
They sure didn't seem to mind a sweaty hunter wearing the Sitka Early Season Whitetail System up above them very much.
If that doesn't make for great gear, what does?