Author Archives: Keenan Magoon

2018 Sitka Apex Series Review

ORIGINS

For years Sitka’s 90% series ruled the game in terms of comfortable and quiet technical hunting apparel. However, with advancements in textile development and consumer demand, the 90% series was overshadowed over the course of a time and consequently discontinued. Many fans of 90% were very sad to see it go and wondered what could possibly replace it.

For 2018 Sitka answered that question with their new APEX series. Designed for the spot and stalk hunter who demands silence and performance out of their gear no matter what.

The APEX series features the APEX Hoody, APEX Pant, and APEX Pack. All are purpose built to be extremely quiet, comfortable, and practical for hunters that prefer to sneak up on their intended quarry. I was lucky enough to put these pieces to the test on an OTC Arizona Mule Deer hunt in January of this year and I was very impressed.

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Gaiter Comparison

There has been a huge increase in the popularity and use of leg gaiters in the last few years in the hunting community. I personally had never used a gaiter until 4 years ago. However once I bought my first pair and started using them in wet and snowy conditions, I instantly realized their value. High gaiters will help prevent the bottoms of your pants from getting soaked by wet vegetation or snow while also keeping your boot uppers protected from the elements. They can also help keep out water in brief and shallow (below the top of the gaiter) stream crossings. They are not waders so don’t expect them to keep your feet dry while crossing a raging river!

I had the opportunity to personally go through and try out several of the most popular and newest hunting gaiters on the market and give my 2 cents about each of them. Below you’ll find the features of each according to the manufacturer and then my own personal experiences using them. Some of my opinions may differ from others but they are based on my experience using gaiters while chasing everything from high country Mule Deer in the heat of August and September, to late season elk hunting in the bitter cold of January.

First Lite Brambler Gaiters
First Lite Brambler Gaiter

The First Lite Brambler Gaiters are built to take a beating with their coated Nylon straps, Cordura constructed insteps, and insanely tough seams. They will keep you dry and comfortable no matter the conditions or terrain. They utilize the same 37.5 by Cocona Technology which breathes like no other but is also extremely waterproof. They are currently only available in the Fusion camo pattern but I would like to see them in a solid color in the future. They are available in a S/M or L/XL. I have  16.5″ calves and the S/M fits me perfectly.

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Sitka Timberline Jacket and Pant- Gear Review

Timberline Pant

Since Sitka Gear came out with the Timberline Pant it has become a tried and true favorite with a vast number of hunters around the globe. The Timberline Pant was created as a super durable and highly technical pant that can be used from mid-late season. The 4-way stretch material makes this pant extremely comfortable and allows full range of motion when climbing up a steep incline and crouching, crawling, or sitting. One of the coolest features is the waterproof/breathable nylon ripstop knees and seat. When you have to kneel down or sit and glass on wet or rocky ground you will really appreciate having it. The pant also features removable knee pads which are well designed and they will conform more to your knee as you wear them. They are available in solid colors as well (Lead and Moss) and the Optifade Open Country camouflage pattern.

Sitka Timberline Pants

 

For 2016 Sitka did some refining on the existing design. They developed a softer and lighter removable knee pad, articulated the knees, did away with the old integrated belt so you can use most climbing style nylon belts, and moved the cargo pockets to a better position on the leg. The material is also new which adds to the comfort and overall performance of this already great piece. For those of you who prefer suspenders they include their comfortable and well designed suspenders with this pant. They are easily removed if you’d rather wear just a belt also.

I had the opportunity to test out the new version this season and so far I’m very impressed. They are definitely more comfortable to wear and the DWR is amazing at repelling moisture in mild rain or wet vegetation. The new cargo pocket placement is just right and you can get what you need in and out of them silently and easily without looking, which is how it should be. The pants themselves are very quiet compared to competitors pants that are similar in their performance capabilities. I never thought they were loud or noisy by any means.

The Timberline Pant would be too warm for most early season hunting situations in my opinion. I would definitely suggest them for any mid season hunt where the highs are lower than 65 degrees Fahrenheit. For me personally I can wear them without a base layer down to 35-40 degrees F unless I’m sitting still for hours at a time. Obviously you can get down to much colder temps by utilizing a quality base layer in conjunction, which is great for people wanting to do later season hunts in snowy conditions. I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that these pants are the best thing out there for mid-late season active hunting such as sheep, mule deer, elk, and mountain goats.

Timberline Series

Timberline Jacket

Sitka added a new Timberline jacket to their Big Game line for 2016 which features GORE WINDSTOPPER which is seam-taped to prevent any wind from getting through while remaining breathable. The taped seams and the location of the seam away from the top of the shoulder also help maintain a high level of water resistance. The outer shell of the jacket is a High Gauge Nylon Face with knit backer which is extremely durable and lightweight. The shoulders and sleeves are a Nylon Stretch Woven shell with Lofted Micro Grid Fleece backer which helps make this jacket very comfortable and non-restrictive. This has a very nice and fitted drop away hood which will help keep those icy winds at bay as well as keep your head dry in a light to moderate rain/snow.

Image result for sitka timberline back

I have been using and abusing this jacket for the past several months in a variety of conditions and now it never leaves my pack. I’ve used this jacket from 11,000 ft glassing mule deer in the early morning wind, constant light rain and wet vegetation, to snow and freezing temperatures. As an active hunter this is my new go-to jacket, it breathes better than rain gear and unless it’s pouring rain I prefer to use the Timberline over my dedicated rain gear. Like the Timberline Pant, with a quality base layer like the Sitka Core Midweight 1/4 zip I can stay warm and comfortable in frigid temps and roaring winds in the mountains.

Whether you are hunting bugling elk in September or hunting Mountain Goats in B.C. this jacket will definitely compliment your clothing system and will more than likely earn a place in your pack for a long time to come.