By Mike Deming
In 2004, we launched the very first issue of Sportsman’s News. This was the very same timeframe that Sitka Gear was being launched out of Napa, California. Founder, Jonathon Hart, had a sincere desire to develop a line of athletic style camo clothing for the hard-core hunter - the guys that would go to any extreme to put a tag on their trophy. Until this time, the extreme hunters used mountaineering types of clothing to meet their needs.
Sitka Gear would launch the first of its’ kind layering system for the hard-core hunter. It was obvious that the hunting community was starved for high end performance gear, because soon the cover of every major outdoor magazine was graced with someone wearing a full setup of Sitka Gear. They touted that they were the best in the business and they were proving it in the field.
Having the right gear for the right scenario is essential to spending the needed time in the backcountry to achieve success.
I’ve now had the opportunity to watch this company’s brand develop over the past decade and they just keep getting better and better. A company that was once a small group of friends and hard-core hunters themselves has evolved into one of the most respected and recognizable brands in the outdoor world. There have been numerous other companies which have attempted to duplicate the efforts of this brand. Some of the biggest names in the business have also launched their own form of performance apparel. However, they are all still playing catch up.
When it comes to evaluating competitor’s products, we here at Sportsman’s News always use Sitka Gear as a benchmark for performance. I also know that other people in the outdoor industry say that they do the same. So, my philosophy is and has been, when your life could possibly depend on your gear, don’t take a chance. Only pick the best because, your life is worth it.
After wearing Sitka Gear for the past decade and in some of the worst climates imaginable, I can say that it has never let me down. I personally spend over a hundred and eighty days in the field every year and my team spends nearly a thousand man days and we have all had the same results. It is a comfortable feeling to know whatever Mother Nature throws your way, you will be prepared when you have your Sitka Gear with you.
Every piece of Sitka Gear is built with a specific job in mind. The products that you see on the shelves today were an idea on paper three to four years before. They have had numerous test models put through the ringer by their athletes and taken feedback from them, only to go through the process again. Only after the material, cut and overall performance is acceptable will it be considered for production to the public and have the opportunity to have the Sitka Gear brand attached to it. More ideas make it to the trash can than ever get to the shelves for the consumers to purchase.
Because of this rigorous testing, the products have a higher price tag than just your everyday run of the mill clothing. However, you also don’t put yourself in a position to need to test the product in the field for yourself. If you use the product for what is was designed for, it will perform and it will last. Nothing will cut a quality trip short or make it more miserable than being wet or cold or possibly both. I will guarantee that you will never regret paying the extra money for quality gear when you find yourself in one of those ‘extreme’ situations.
In the early days of Sitka Gear, Mothwing was a pattern they used, but the OptiFade pattern became the new standard as the company grew.
Sportsman’s Warehouse carries a full line of Sitka Gear, however a visit to the Sitka website at www.sitkagear.com
will help you build a system of clothing designed around the type of hunting you do. You can develop a base layer all the way through your insulation and weather protection needs. Whether you are a sheep hunter, elk hunter, waterfowl hunter or spend your time in a tree stand for the elusive whitetail, Sitka Gear has not only the clothing, but the camo that is best suited for the situation. Their camo is built around science and the animals eyes. What does it take to blend in and deceive the animal’s eye and allow you to get as close as possible to close the deal? The video on their website will give you much more information about what goes into developing and making these different patterns. I’m not going to profess to be an expert at the science of camo, but I have been able to fill years and years of tags with some pretty impressive trophies. So, I can definitely vouch for its ability to deceive their eyes.
Knowing that Sitka Gear goes to such extreme levels of testing and developing in their gear, as well as the knowledge of over a full decade of field use with tremendous success, I’m proud to endorse this company as one of our Pro’s Picks. If you are looking for the best performance clothing and gear, look no further than Sitka Gear.