If you're a regular hunter, you've probably come to hear about Sitka gear. Over the nearly two decades they've been around, they've taken the hunting community by storm with their quality gear that's designed for the specific situations that hunters face every day in the field.
This sounds great, of course, but there is a downside you've likely heard hunters complain about: the price. Sitka gear is certainly top-shelf and not a budget item, but it's so expensive for a reason and more than worth the money.
Why Is Sitka So Expensive?
At first glance, the price tag of Sitka hunting gear intimidates hunters. But in the world of the best hunting gear, you definitely get what you pay for. A Sitka coat, for example, isn't just any old coat with a camo pattern on it. It's a technologically advanced piece of gear specifically designed to address the challenges of hunting. Sitka accomplishes this in a number of ways.
One of the biggest reasons Sitka hunting gear is so expensive is because of the quality, technologically advanced materials they use. Sitka is owned by the Gore company, which is responsible for manufacturing a number of advanced fabrics. Sitka then uses these and other advanced fabrics in their gear. They include:
Gore-Tex is Gore's most well-known material and one Sitka uses extensively in their gear. While Gore-Tex is great for all kinds of garments, it's especially ideal for hunting boots and clothes for a couple of reasons.
First of all, Gore-Tex solves a problem that no other material before it had been able to. Before Gore-Tex, waterproof materials always consisted of a single impermeable layer, but this means that, in addition to not letting moisture in, it doesn't let moisture out. As a result, if you hike in to your tree stand, you'll sweat, but that sweat will stay on your skin. Then, when you stop moving, the sweat will make you cold.
Gore-Tex, however, has millions of micropores that are too small to let liquid water in but big enough to let water vapor from your sweat out. Consequently, it's breathable and much more comfortable and suitable for low temperatures.
Windstopper is similar to Gore-.Tex, but it's focused on keeping out the wind rather than rain or other sources of water. It isn't as waterproof as Gore-Tex but can repel light amounts of rain.
Where it is superior to Gore-Tex is in weight and flexibility. It can stretch much better and doesn't weigh you down, so Sitka uses it for under and middle layers that can also serve as outer layers for better weather where you don't need something so heavy.
PrimaLoft is a form of synthetic insulation designed to take advantage of the warming properties of natural materials like down and wool while eliminating the disadvantages. For instance, down is considered the warmest insulator, but it stops working entirely when it gets wet. Meanwhile, wool still keeps you warm even if it gets wet, but it's much too heavy.
PrimaLoft, on the other hand, is warm, lightweight and waterproof. For this reason, Sitka uses it in their cold weather gear to keep hunters warm in extreme conditions without weighing them down excessively.
If you've used cheap hunting clothing, you've probably noticed that they start to smell bad after a while. Even in cold weather, you'll sweat and release oils that build up in the fabric. Bacteria and fungi can grow in the fabric causing odor. Polygiene includes anti-microbial silver salt in the material that minimizes the growth of bacteria and fungi, thereby minimizing odor as well.
Again, Sitka does more than just make clothing, they make hunting clothing, so their designs keep the needs of hunters in mind. For instance, weight and thickness are calibrated exactly to the type of garment and constructed in a way that minimizes rustling and excess noise. In fact, many Sitka garments even include sound-suppressing fabric.
Whether they are pants, bibs, a Sitka jacket or other clothing, most pieces of Sitka hunting gear come with strategically placed cargo pockets, zippered or not depending on what's ideal for the situation. This allows you to carry important accessories with you and have them close at hand.
The camo is another aspect of their innovative designs. Most Sitka clothing comes available in multiple different designs that are focused on the various environments where the target game lives. For instance, whitetail gear comes in camo modeled after either snowy brown Midwestern landscapes or greener Southern landscapes.
The patterns are designed to break up outlines while matching the environment's coloration to disguise you to the whitetail eye, which is very important for bowhunters that must get very close to the deer. Sitka then tests the patterns in the field to get every detail just right.
Finally, Sitka gear has a lot of innovative features that other clothing lines don't. These include mesh facemasks, thumb loops, removable pads, reinforced areas and adjustable fits.
Extensive Testing and Research
One thing that factors into the price of Sitka apparel is the amount of time and money they invest in research, development and testing their new products in the field. They put in thousands of hours putting their gear through situations that hunters might actually face and stretching the gear to its limits.
This is how they figure out what needs improving and what details they hadn't even taken into consideration before. Plus, if a piece of gear isn't up to the challenge yet, they take it back to the drawing board. This produces maximum quality and success when hunting.
Thanks in large part to the advanced, breathable but lightweight materials as well as the carefully crafted designs, Sitka clothing is especially comfortable. Many pieces of gear are also highly adjustable, which allows you to get the fit just right.
Additionally, Sitka focuses on temperature regulation. Since fabrics like Gore-Tex are highly insulative yet highly breathable, they manage to keep you at close to the comfortable temperature regardless of activity.
This is usually important when it comes to hunting because your activity level is never constant. You may have to make a strenuous hike with all your gear to reach your tree stand but then you'll just be sitting in it for hours doing nothing. Even if you're still hunting, you'll be starting and stopping at regular intervals. Sitka hunting gear manages to keep you comfortable through all this.
It's not just temperature control, though. Sitka pays attention to the parts of the body that suffer wear and tear the most on the hunt and has made sure to reinforce these areas and add padding when necessary to increase comfort.
Similarly, one of our favorite things about Sitka hunting gear that makes it well worth the money is the flexibility. Sitka garments usually stretch very well. The result is that they're comfortable in all positions. We all know how tight and contorted you can get in the tree stand, so this is a big plus. Your pants are more likely to feel comfortable both standing and sitting in various positions.
Finally, Sitka addresses comfort by thoroughly designing every layer. Experienced hunters know how much the weather can change during a single hunt. Since the hunting season takes place in the fall, you can start out on a frigid morning only to find yourself roasting in a tree stand after the sun comes out. It may go from cold wind and rain to beach weather.
Most hunters tackle this problem by wearing layers, but this often ends up mismatched and uncomfortable. With Sitka, their gear is designed to be worn in layers so you can get undergarments, mid-layers and thick outer coats that all work together. Then you take off layers as the weather improves and remain perfectly comfortable.
Comfort is something you should really pay attention to, and one of the reasons Sitka is such top-quality gear but also so expensive. It's not just that you're going to be sitting in a tree stand for a long time and will enjoy it more if you're comfortable. It could actually affect how successful you are when hunting.
Hunting whitetail deer takes precision and stealth. These things are much easier if you're comfortable. For instance, if you need to accurately draw and fire your bow, you can't do this if your sleeves are too tight, bunched up or otherwise uncomfortable. Similarly, uncomfortable gear may make you squirm around more, making noise and scaring off game. Sitka does a great job with their clothing designs of solving these problems.
When people look at prices, they often don't think about durability, but this is a mistake. Think about it. If you buy one jacket for $50 and it lasts a single hunting season before the zipper breaks and holes open in several places and then you buy a new jacket for $200 but it lasts 20 years, which actually cost more?
The $50 jacket was $50 per season, but the $200 jacket only cost $10 per season. In other words, despite having a higher sticker price, the second jacket is a better value.
This definitely comes into play with Sitka gear. The construction, such as the seams, stitching, and layering, is done with a high amount of craftsmanship. Additionally, special innovations like seams tapered in apparel that uses Gore-Tex mean that Sitka garments tend to last a long time, much longer than cheaper products.
This quality craftsmanship takes a lot of time and investment on Sitka's part. Not only is the manufacturing process more intensive, but they take time to research and test their designs in the field. Yes, that drives up the price, but it ends up making Sitka gear a great value.
Deer can smell a lot better than human beings. In fact, they can even smell better than dogs. Just because you don't think you smell doesn't mean you don't to the nose of a whitetail deer.
Much of human odor comes from sweat and oil secreted by the skin. These build up on your skin and in your clothing where microorganisms like bacteria and fungi consume it and release chemicals with a distinct odor—usually not a great one from the human perspective.
Any experienced hunter knows this is more than just hard on your own nose, it's detrimental to your hunt because game is more likely to smell you and avoid the area. Veteran hunters go through great lengths to control their scent and prevent producing new odors while hunting. Sitka gear is one of the best ways to do that for a couple of reasons.
For one thing, the breathability and lightweight of Sitka clothing helps minimize sweat buildup. Thanks to the micropores in materials like Gore-Tex, sweat evaporates more quickly, meaning there isn't as much time for bacteria to metabolize it and produce odors.
More significantly, the Polygiene technology included in most Sitka garments uses silver halide, also known as "silver salt" to restrict microbial growth. These compounds provide a large number of silver ions all at once. These interfere with microbial growth in a number of ways and can even damage bacterial and fungal cells that have already grown.
Obviously this technology is quite advanced and requires a more intensive manufacturing process, not to mention research and development. Plus, silver is not exactly cheap. The result is that Sitka gear might cost a little more, but it better addresses scent and odor, one of the biggest obstacles hunters face.
Sitka stands behind their products with a full guarantee and lifetime warranty. This means that if at any time you have a defect or malfunction of the gear, you can simply send it in and get a free replacement.
The types of defects covered include:
- Zipper malfunctions
- Snap failures
- Seam stitch or tape failures
- Gore-Tex failures
Naturally, this warranty only applies if you use the gear appropriately.
Additionally, Sitka will repair any gear that gets damaged at a reasonable cost. This includes tears and cuts, abrasion, even sun fading. You send in the gear, they give you an estimate, and if you approve it, they fix it up.
The internet is full of stories of hunters finding out just how serious Sitka is about its warranty and customer service. They aren't trying to get items off the shelf. They're building long-term relationships with their customers.
When looking at the Sitka and Kuiu warranty, we have found the Sitka warranty to be better and cover your garments more extensively
Click her to learn more about Kuiu vs Sitka, and which company makes better hunting clothes.
What this tells you is that Sitka expects their gear to last a long time. Otherwise, it wouldn't be profitable for them to provide such a strong warranty with their gear.
Again, this warranty suggests that the material is high-quality and that the construction is durable. You're paying for a product that could potentially last you years. Obviously you'll have to pay for this quality, but with the warranty, you have the confidence that that initial cost is spread out over a long time, meaning the gear is actually a much better value than a lot of other products.
The Story Behind Sitka Gear
Sitka was started by a group of avid hunters—and not just weekend warriors, but serious hunters going at it in the extremes of the Montana Rocky Mountains. They kept ending up disappointed with their gear and its lack of specialization. They noticed that other extreme sports like mountaineering, rock climbing and skiing all have specialized clothing with features aimed at those sports' specific obstacles and situations, but nothing of the sort existed for hunting. They set off to make their own and founded Sitka Gear in 2005.
To make gear designed for extreme hunting conditions, the Sitka crew needed some serious research and development involving a lot of technological innovation. They started looking into the science of sound, deer vision, odor production, weather proofing, just about everything that comes into play in while hunting.
Eventually, Sitka came out with their first line of gear, but it didn't stop there. They became obsessed with innovating and addressing every little detail they could. Over the years, they've developed new solutions for all kinds of problems, constantly coming out with even better gear.
As they've grown, they've established more testing centers in different environments and developed relationships with hunter groups and conservation organizations. They even give grants to scientists and researchers studying the environment and ecosystems. Aside from helping them design gear that's targeted at the exact needs of the modern hunter, this keeps them involved in the hunting community and dedicated to ensuring successful hunting for decades to come.
Is Sitka Gear Worth It?
At Deer Hunting Guide, we believe Sitka gear is more than worth the money. For the quality you're getting, not to mention the specialized hunting features, we actually think it's pretty inexpensive.
These hunting-specific features include:
- Weather proofing with materials like Gore-Tex
- Great temperature control with insulation but breathability
- Quiet fabric
- Anti-microbial odor-eliminating technology
- Stretch fabric
- Plenty of zippered pockets
- Detailed and effective camo patterns
Additionally, Sitka gear is durable and supported by a lifetime warranty. In the long run, you'll get a lot out of your Sitka gear and it will increase your chances of success when hunting. That makes it well worth the price.