As hunters, we can find ourselves on extreme ends of the spectrum when it comes to weather conditions. Whether arrowing hogs in the blazing heat of Texas during July, or limiting out on ducks in a midwest blind in late winter, we are bound to experience our share of challenging weather. Since we've all encountered rough hunting conditions, we know that having the right gear is crucial.
But what happens when conditions are constantly swinging? You need versatile gear on days when you're in a whitetail treestand and temperatures fluctuate from 70 degrees to 45 degrees within 24 hours. Owning clothing that will keep you comfortable in variable conditions can often be more important than having extreme-weather gear. That's why SITKA introduced its all-new SITKA Gear Traverse Collection.
If you're a long-time SITKA fan, you'll probably find similarities to some of its previously designed products. If you're a big game hunter, you likely have seen or worn the Traverse cold-weather hoody. And if you're a whitetail hunter, you're probably familiar with the Equinox Guard Hoody.
While those products were incredible, SITKA decided to consolidate its technology and comfort into one specific system, releasing the highly-anticipated SITKA Gear Traverse Collection this year. This system consists of a hoody, jacket, bib, pants, and accessories such as hats and gloves.
What surprised me the most about the Traverse Hoody was how warm it was for the weight. The hoody features a Berber-fleece interior and has body-mapped fleece that is slightly lighter weight. This gives it a great fit while also providing extreme warmth. The Traverse Hoody is a fantastic mid-layer when the temperatures drop into the 30s and 20s. It's also an incredible piece of outerwear during the early season when temperatures hover around the 40s or 50s. This hoody retails at $219 on the SITKA website and comes in Optifade Subalpine, Waterfowl Marsh, Waterfowl Timber, Elevated II, and other hunt solids.
Similar to the hoody, the Traverse Jacket features an interior of Berber fleece with a mid-weight fleece liner at the sides and underarms. This jacket features thumb slots for easier layering, and hand and chest pockets with a rather quiet zipper. Both the hoody and the jacket have a DWR (durable water repellent) finish that is great at shedding moisture and keeping you dry. This jacket retails at $199 on the SITKA website and comes in Optifade Subalpine, Waterfowl Marsh, Waterfowl Timber, Elevated II, and other hunt solids.
The Traverse bib, to put it simply, is a season extender. It makes a great outer piece from late September until early November. When layered properly, it is an excellent mid-layer during those brutal December and January sits. The bib features an extremely silent polyester knit fabric with a Berber-fleece interior. One of my favorite features of the bib is its full-length side zips, which make it great for venting on warm afternoons, but then can be zipped up for added warmth on cool evenings. Similar to the hoody and jacket, this bib also features DWR. The Traverse bib retails at $269 and comes in Optifade Subalpine and Elevated II.
The four-way polyester and elastane stretch of these pants make me think they were designed for a spot-and-stalk backcountry hunt rather than a midwestern whitetail hunt, but they're impressive nonetheless. There's not much insulation to these pants, but they do a great job shedding moisture and are incredibly quiet. The zippered seat, hand pockets, and knife overlay within the hand pockets are nice touches and the types of innovations for which Sitka is best known. My one complaint with the pants is that they don't seem to stop wind very well, which can make or break a hunt—especially when hunting whitetails. The Traverse pant retails at $159 on the SITKA website and comes in Optifade Subalpine, Waterfowl Marsh, Waterfowl Timber, Open Country, Elevated II, and SITKA's Deep Lichen.
The Traverse Collection also includes a cap, a beanie, and gloves. All three are made from recycled materials, which include high-stretch polyester, making them extremely comfortable and durable. Along with the high-stretch fabric, the accessories feature a DWR finish that will repel moisture on rainy days, keeping your head and hands dry. The Traverse gloves feature touchscreen compatibility, allowing you to use your phone or GPS without exposing your hands to harsh conditions.
The Traverse gloves retail at $40, the Traverse cap retails at $35, and the Traverse beanie retails at $30, all on the SITKA website. All the accessories come in Optifade Subalpine, Waterfowl Marsh, Waterfowl Timber, Open Country, Elevated II, and a variety of hunt solids.
Final Thoughts on the Traverse Collection
The Traverse collection is a great system for new hunters who don't want to break the bank on Sitka gear, and veteran hunters who want to add to their arsenal. The versatility of this system is truly what sets it apart. From big game hunters to waterfowlers or whitetail fanatics, this system has a place in every hunter's gear bag.
My only complaint about the Traverse collection is that I wish it were warmer and more wind resistant. When people think of SITKA gear, they expect a standard of warmth and associate the company with its patented Windstopper product technology. This system won't keep you toasty on late-season hunts, but you can purchase the entire collection for less than $1,000 on the SITKA website, and that's a great value for the technology that these products provide.
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