Early season archery and muzzleloader hunting requires a special kind of gear. You need to have clothing that is quiet, comfortable, lightweight, and will not absorb odor. All of these things are essential to getting close and allowing you to fill your tag with those close-range weapons.
The Apex System is purpose-built for just this type of hunting. The Apex Hoody is built with a merino-nylon blended fabric that gives you natural moisture and odor management. It has reinforced shoulders, arms, and elbows and the elbow pads are a huge benefit when you are waiting on your knees and elbows for that buck to stand up so you can take a shot. With the hood over your head, you can also deploy the built-in face mask, leaving only your eyes visible. It has a kangaroo style zipper pocket with mesh dividers, which is ideal when you decide to leave your pack on that last 100 yards of the stalk, but still need a place to put a rangefinder or other items. It has a durable waterproof finish that will help in resisting light precipitation.
The Apex pant has a soft micro-grid fleece interior which is extremely comfortable. It also helps with breathability. They are also built with a durable water repellent finish. The legs are tapered giving you minimal bulk and reduces noise when walking significantly. The cargo pockets on each leg are very large and have dividers to keep items separated, which eliminates unwanted noise on those final closing yards. The built-in knee pads are a lifesaver when you are spending significant time crouched and combined with the elbow pads in the hoody, could be the difference between painful failure and success. Both the pants and the hoody material have good four-way stretch that allows for extreme comfort and no binding, which is often common when stalking and moving slowly. Both pieces are right about a pound in weight, making this setup extremely lightweight.
Next, top off this setup with the Apex pack that weighs in at only 36-ounces. It is a frame-less pack that is 1,800 cubic inches, which is enough to carry all your daily needs on those early season hunts. It is hydration compatible and has extremely large pockets on the waist belt. It has a large main compartment with an internal zipper compartment that is ideal for items like extra calls and archery releases. It also has a fleece-lined top pocket that is a great place to store electronics like a GPS or cell phone. A water bottle pocket on each side gives you plenty of extra water to head deep into the backcountry without the worry of getting dehydrated.
The pack, hoody, and pants all come in the Optifade Subalpine pattern, which are designed for those up close and personal encounters.
The Apex System is the ideal early season setup and will take you well into the fall. We are truly seeing the next phase of Sitka Gear’s Purpose Driven Design of products.
My name is Lisa Deming. I'm the editorial assistant for Sportsman's News Magazine. I have three kids and we live an active outdoor lifestyle.