The concept of layering originated in the mountain athlete worlds of climbing, backpacking and skiing. Its purpose is to maintain a steady micro-climate based on activity level and varying weather conditions. It is the ideal concept for hunters who are exposed from the cold pre-dawn hours through well after sundown. There will be times of high exertion during walking and climbing. There will be moments of absolute stillness during glassing or in the final stages of the stalk. Rain or snow is a possibility. Wind is a probability. Temperature fluctuations of up to 10 or more degrees can occur as fronts pass during a single day of hunting.
Hunting Success: Get It Out Of Your System.
Sitka's approach to performance hunting apparel is systemic. By constructing the most functional designs from the most technical performance fabrics and insulations, then combining them in various strategic combinations, Sitka systems can be matched to any hunting scenario regardless of exertion level, temperature, wind or rain.BASE LAYER - Pulls moisture away from your skin to keep you dry.MID LAYER - Insulation layers used to trap warm air and keep you warm.OUTER LAYER - Protective layer used to repel wind and moisture to aid in keeping you warm and dry.
Layering for New Zealand: How to Wear Sitka Gear
The Lightweight Core T is your best option for next to skin. A Midweight
or Heavyweight Core Shirt is also a great next to skin garment in cooler months, but can also be worn over the Lightweight Core layer when the temperatures start to fall at the end of the day.Ascent Pants are ideal for summer, Mountain Pants are good all year round trousers and Timberline Pants are best in winter in the mountains. In winter you can add long johns underneath any pants for extra warmth and as they have plenty of stretch they will remain comfortable. They are water repellent (not waterproof), so if it is really raining, snowing or you are walking through wet vegetation then be sure to wear Gaiters or add some waterproof over trousers like the Cloudburst Pants to really keep you dry and stop the wind chill.
Get a Softshell Jacket! – Your weather protection when it isn't raining. They are much quieter, more comfortable and more breathable than a rain jacket. The Mountain and Timberline Jackets are lightweight, for more warmth go for the Jetstream Jacket - more insulation, fully windproof and it has a hood too. These softshell jackets that can be worn in drizzle, snow or for pushing quietly through wet bush, when it the rain gets heavy add a hardshell jacket such as the Stormfront or Cloudburst Jacket. Too many Kiwi hunters wear their rain jacket when it isn't raining - even though their jacket may be breathable they will never be as breathable as a jacket that isn't fully waterproof - you should be wearing a softshell jacket when it is cold but isn't actually raining.Kelvin Jackets
– a range of different insulating jackets for when it gets really cold - synthetic fill jackets are a better option than standard down when there is a good chance they will get wet from the environment or your perspiration. Designed to be worn under a Softshell Jacket or Hardshell outer layer such as the Stormfront or Cloudburst Jackets.Stormfront Jacket – The outer layer for wet and windy conditions including the worst that Fiordland can throw at you. Designed for Alaskan Hunting Guides it is much lighter (doesn't absorb water!) and packs smaller than typical NZ hunting jackets and yet it is hard wearing and durable - in combination with a softshell jacket the hardshell jacket should spend most of its time in your pack. The Cloudburst Jacket is another great option - very lightweight overall, with flexible fabric but breathable and 100% waterproof.Headwear – In summer the Sitka Cap is great, as the seasons cool wear a Beanie with or without the cap. When it gets really cold the windproof Jetstream Hat or Beanie is your go to item. For concealment in warm weather the Core Neck Gaiter
or Lightweight Balaclava is a great piece of kit.Gloves – the Mountain Gloves are a great all year round in cold conditions and maintains great finger dexterity.
Where Do I Start?
Sitka Gear works best as a system so that you can layer as your hunting changes throughout the day and conditions change (we are also lucky here to hunt year round and in quite different parts of the country easily so need a flexible system). We suggest guys starting to build a system start at the base and work out - this way the gear they buy first gets worn most of the time and they quickly gain the concealment benefits for most of their hunting.
Trousers and a Lightweight Core Shirt form the base of a really great system.
Next Get a Soft Shell Jacket
After the next to skin items it is best to look at a soft-shell jacket - most hunters already have a hard-shell jacket so adding a soft shell to their wardrobe greatly improves the range of conditions they can hunt comfortably in. All outdoor gear is about compromise - what makes something better at one thing makes it worse somewhere else - the soft-shells jackets sit at a sweet spot in terms of compromises - they are not fully water-proof therefore they are much more breathable than a breathable hardshell rain jacket will ever be - but they are quiet, comfortable, highly breathable and can handle wet bush, snow, drizzle.
Then Replace Your Old Rain Gear
When it starts to rain you will need to pull your hard shell rain jacket - like the Cloudburst and Stormfront - from your pack for complete waterproofness and breathability. Because this final layer will spend lots of time in your pack - and should be returned to your pack when it stops raining - the design of these jackets and over trousers prioritises low weight, low bulk and fast drying.
Drop us a line with some details about your hunting and what gear you are looking at and we can give you specific feedback on how the items will work for you.
All our gear ships with a return form so you can get it sent to you, try it on with your other gear, see how it fits and feels and return it for a full refund or exchange at your choice.