The market for premium camo clothing seems to be growing every year. However, Sitka Gear remains at the top of the list for most hunters looking for the best gear on the market. Sitka has changed how hunters think about their camo clothing. Now it isn’t just a jacket and a pair of pants we wear in the field, it is a legitimate piece of gear that is essential to your success in the field. In 2015, they had a complete re-launch of their whitetail gear as well as a redesign of their baselayers.
In the past, the Sitka baselayers provided the benefit of their Optifade Camo and that was about it. It was an essential part of any system and aided in wicking moisture away from the skin but it wasn’t a very soft fabric. Another drawback was that you needed to wash them after a day’s use in the field. They absorbed a lot of sweat and would have a pretty nasty odor to them if you put in a hard day in the field.
When the new product lineups launched in 2015, consumers saw some major redesigns to the Core Series from Sitka. Not only did they add some pieces, but they changed textiles. This change in fabric made the Core products much more comfortable to wear as a next to skin baselayer. Sitka changed to a Bi-Component Polyester Spandex blend. This allows the gear to stretch and move with you while moving in the field. It also made the feel of the gear against you skin softer than previous years.
One of the most exciting changes to the design of the new Core Series was the inclusion of a technology called Polygiene. This is Sitka’s answer to odor control. To put it simply, Polygiene is an antimicrobial treatment in the Core Series. It is a silver salt (silver chloride) that is infused into the threads of the fabric. The silver salt prevents the growth of odor causing bacteria in your garments. The best part is, you can go days without having to wash your shirt and it will not smell like a gym locker-room. When it does come time to clean your garments, nothing special is needed. This is unlike some of the carbon based scent elimination products on the market today.
So how does it actually work in the field? I spent 8 days in Montana in mid-September chasing elk. The whole time I was wearing various items from the new Core Series in Optifade Open Country. I tend to sweat a lot when very active so I knew I could put this gear to the test. After a week on the mountain, I can honestly say that there was no funk in my baselayer gear. A simple washing cycle when I got home made the shirts seem like new! I have also used the Optifade Elevated II gear while chasing whitetail in Wisconsin. I never once worried about deer catching a whiff of me after hiking into my stand.
One of my favorite new pieces from 2015 in the Core Series was the Lightweight Hoody. I have it in both the Elevated II and the Open County patterns and is an essential piece of gear that is always on my back or in my pack. It is extremely lightweight and provided excellent concealment. When you need some protection from the sun or wind the hood comes in very handy. It also works great when you need some extra concealment as you prepare to stalk your prey. The best part about the Core Lightweight Hoody is the inclusion of the Polygiene technology.
Throughout the Big Game, Whitetail, and Waterfowl lineups, there are various pieces of gear in the Core Series. Both lines include tops and bottoms and are designed to be worn as an against the skin baselayer but I have found that the midweight or heavyweight gear works great as an outer layer on nice days when a little extra warmth is needed. No matter what game you are chasing they are the key to your Sitka system.
As a member of the Sitka Whitetail Ambassador Team (SWAT) and a GORE HuntingTech, I get a lot of this gear provided to me for use in the field. I was excited to get my hands on the Core Series baselayers when I heard about the changes. Being 6’5”, the old baselayers didn’t fit well as they were all too short in the torso and sleeves. However, that has changed with Sitka’s redesign. I actually have some baselayers that fit me properly. The fact that the garments are now softer on the skin and provide some odor control properties, make these essential parts of any Sitka system. When building your system, make sure you start with the Core Series and work outwards. You will not be disappointed.