This year at the 2015 ATA show, Dennis Zuck, Whitetail Category Leader for Sitka Gear was kind enough to give us a look at their all new Whitetail line of hunting clothing. Over the years, I have grown used to the exceptional quality of clothing that Sitka Gear produces. But this year, they took things to a whole new level starting with a completely re-engineered pattern, Elevated II.
Elevated II plays successor to the original, and highly successful Optifade Forest pattern. Elevated II was designed using the same scientific principles as its predecessor, however Elevated II now sports a higher level of contrast throughout the pattern. Still considering the micro/macro pattern science for those close encounters, the higher contrast now allows Elevated II to break up your silhouette better at longer distances as well. Another great thing about Elevated II is that by introducing lighter tones, the pattern works better as an all season camo where as Optifade Forest was less suited to the inevitable change in the fall foliage.
Elevated II by itself was a huge hit for SITKA GEAR this year, but it was far from the only change introduced at the ATA show. Nothing was safe from internal scrutiny as SITKA GEAR put everything back on the drawing board. Starting with new materials, SITKA GEAR rebuilt their entire Whitetail line to better meet the needs of the treestand hunter.
I won’t go into the Sitka Gear methodology in terms of why they develop their clothing the way they do, I’ll leave that reading to you. If you care to study up on the company, you can find all of the information you need HERE. Instead, I’m going to delve right into the new products and enhancements made for 2015.
To start things off, we have the CORE series. These are considered to be next-to-skin/base layer garments. Sitka has introduced 10 new items to their CORE series, 8 of which contain their Polygiene Odor Control Technology. Within the CORE series, there are 3 standard weights, Lightweight for early season, Midweight for cooler temperatures, and Heavyweight for those days the thermometer bottoms out. Each item is designed to provide optimal results in it’s respective temperature limitations. And a great new feature for the CORE series tops, they all feature an extended tail in the back of the shirt to make sure you don’t get any unwanted breezes.
Next are the insulation layers. Sitka has introduced two products for this line. The Celsius Jacket and Celsius Shacket. Both pieces contain PRIMALOFT insulation. The Celsius Jacket is described as the Whitetailer’s puffy jacket. But it’s not your typical puffy jacket. Sitka has sheathed all of the jackets PRIMALOFT in an ultra-quiet Micro-Fleece to make it warm as well as quiet. The Celsius Shacket was one of my personal favorites at the show this year. The Shacket is a first of it’s kind! It is designed to give you insulation where you need it, and only where you need it. Featuring short sleeves, the Shacket is features a quilted design and very little bulk. It is ultra soft and quiet, with none of the typical noise you get from other insulation jackets. The Shacket is a must have for 2015!
Next we have the Outerwear. For those of you who have previously complained that Sitka Gear was too limited in their Whitetail series offerings, prepare to be silenced! Sitka Gear has released 11 new pieces this year. A few of the outerwear pieces are largely unchanged from last year, however all Whitetail gear from Sitka is now offered in the new Elevated II pattern. But for the new and improved items, they are sure to satisfy even the pickiest whitetail hunter. From the warm early season until the bitter cold late season, Sitka Gear has you covered. The early season Equinox Series features a durable 4 way stretch material that is both water repellant and super quiet when traversing through thick underbrush. The newly designed Stratus features and all new Gore WINDSTOPPER material that is the most quiet WINDSTOPPER to date. Whether you choose to wear the Stratus Jacket and Pant alone, or pair it with the new Stratus vest, you are certain to appreciate the extreme versatility of this system. The newly designed Fanatic Series features the same WINDSTOPPER as the stratus, but is more robust and engineered for the truly fanatical whitetail hunter. Both the Fanatic and Stratus series are super quiet and guaranteed to keep you comfortable on the stand. Best of all, the Fanatic series offers three different tops: The Fanatic Jacket, The Fanatic Hoody, and the Fanatic Lite Jacket. Both jackets come with diagonal zippers to free up room for valuable real estate on the front of the jacket for pockets. The hoody isn’t just a hoody, it is a hoody on steroids. Sitka coins it a “stealth hunting apparatus”, and from our initial impressions it will be just that. In my opinion, the Fanatic Hoody is going to be another must have for my collection this year.
Moving on, Sitka has taken their Accessory line and developed it to the max. No matter your preference of gloves, hats, belts, etc…once again Sitka has you covered! They have ramped up their accessory line to a total number of 25 items, each one serving a well thought out purpose. A trend you’ve likely noticed by now in all of Sitka Gear’s products.
Wrapping things up, Sitka has introduced 3 new packs for the Whitetail line. The Tool Box, Tool Bucket and Launching Pad. The Tool Box and Tool Bucket are very similar in design as a top load pack. The Tool Box is geared more towards half day sits and the Tool Bucket is designed for the hard-core hunter who makes those all day sits through the critical days of the rut. Both packs are extremely durable and designed for maximized organization and efficiency in the treestand. The Launchpad is a brand new idea from Sitka Gear. It is for all intents and purposes a way to get your gear from home, to your hunting area. Focusing on keeping your clothing from being contaminated by foreign odors, the Launchpad has large mesh pockets which are ideal for organizing your hunting clothing so that you can quickly get dressed once your arrive to your spot. The Launchpad also features large mats positioned in the center of the pack that are used to step on so you can dress more easily without running the risk of getting your feet dirty or wet. Lastly, the Launchpad is capable of holding your bow as well, so once packed, the Launchpad can be grabbed without fear that you are forgetting anything.
I think it goes without saying, this is not the Whitetail line of old. Sitka has put massive amounts of time and energy to develop a line of outdoor gear that will not only meet, but exceed the expectations of the Whitetail hunter. As much as I would love to go into granular detail on every new item released in the Whitetail line by Sitka Gear, there is simply too much to cover in one article.
For more information on the Whitetail line, as well as the other great lines by Sitka Gear, be sure to keep an eye out for updates on http://www.sitkagear.com.
For a nice video overview of the Elevated II pattern and Fanatic series, be sure to check out our 2015 ATA Video HERE.