Sitka Stratus Jacket and Bib Review

As one of my friends recently remarked, Sitka is kind of like the Apple of hunting clothing — stylishly designed, amazingly branded, and unrelentingly cool. And just as Apple went after a certain type of person, Sitka has done the same, in this case targeting the image-conscious hardcore hunter.

Like the guy who grew up with a PC — the one who looks on as his Mac-fearing buddies swoon over the latest, greatest product and wonders if all the hype is worth it — it'd be easy to wonder if Sitka gear was overhyped, too. That is, until you actually put it to the test.

Livin' Up to the Hype


The first thing I noticed when I pulled my Stratus jacket, bib and beanie out of the box was the quality of material set before me. Sitka calls it their Windstopper fabric, which somehow combines a dense, super tough, yet amazingly soft-to-the-touch material that is great for blocking wind and keeping you warm in October. It's kind of like the NASA-grade version of polar fleece.


What amazed me was how warm and dense the material was without being bulky. The Stratus jacket has a very athletic fit that allows for an unbelievable range of motion, which is absolutely essential when you're perched in a stand or trekking through the woods. You need superior insulation because you're often standing still, yet you also need to move quickly and quietly with relative ease as deer loiter 10 yards away. The Stratus jacket gives you exactly that.

The other nice feature about the Stratus line is that it allows you to endure a pretty wide range of temperatures, which is what October often throws at you. On Friday, I was in a treestand for sunrise with a stiff breeze and temperatures in the 40s, and on Sunday it was 75 and sunny. With adjustments in layering, the Stratus gear covers that entire spectrum of weather while keeping you comfortable.

[nggallery id=91]

Turning Clothing Into Gear


What I really wanted to put to the test as I took the Stratus line to Kentucky for a weekend of whitetail hunting with Matt and Kellen from Outdoor Instincts was Sitka's motto, "Turning clothing into gear." Sure, it features top-of-the-line material and draws "oohs and ahs" from fellow hunters, but is it really a hunter's best piece of gear in the field?

In a word, yes. I don't know that you could design apparel in a more amazingly functional and stylish way. It really is all the little things that make the difference, like the sleeves on the jacket that are cut at an angle, not straight across, to fit the contour of your wrist. Or the chest pocket on the bibs that is made of a different, stretchier material that allows for air circulation and neatly cradles your iPhone or rangefinder without fogging up the lenses.

The other cool feature is the rigid but rubbery material Sitka puts around pockets and zippers to resist abrasion. They even put a similar material in the lower crease of the bib pockets where you normally clip your knife to keep the fabric from wearing out. And although I'm not usually a fan of hoods on jackets — I tend to feel like they limit my range of motion — I was pleased with the cut of the hood, which is designed for turning and looking directly behind you with ease.


Accessorize

The Stratus beanie features the same Windstopper material as the jacket and bib, but around the rear utilizes another fabric that stretches and gives contour to your skull. It's incredibly warm without being bulky, which is great for the bowhunter who's got his face up against a string or if you want to pull your hood on over top.

Finally, Sitka rounds out the package with a few options on gloves. Great for the hunter to whom tactility matters, they make a shooting glove that is lightweight, phenomenally ergonomic, and lets you feel every bit of your release and bow setup. I was worried that the gloves would add unwanted bulk and limit my feel on the release or a trigger — as I'm generally pretty leery putting anything on my hands if I don't have to — but that wasn't a factor at all. Mesh backings make them breathable, while extra padding on the palms give you support where you need it.

A Bit of Rain

The one downside to Sitka's system is that you really do have to buy most of the package in order to get all you need. On the one hand that means you have options; on the other hand, it means you're spending more on your outfit. The Stratus jacket retails for $289 but isn't waterproof, which means you've got to add the Downpour jacket — another $300 — if you want that feature. The same goes for the bibs, and since it does rain in October, I think you definitely have to look into the waterproof shells, which means you're gonna fork over quite a bit of extra dinero. A lot of people, though, will be fine spending the extra money as long as they know they're getting the best, which is definitely the case with Sitka.

Hits

  • Extremely ergonomic, form fitting apparel
  • Durable, quality materials that are made to take a beating
  • Clothing that doubles as your best gear in the field
  • Incredible warmth without bulkiness

Misses

  • Not waterproof

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Putting a New Spin on an Old Whitetail Hunt

Putting a New Spin on an Old Whitetail Hunt

Gordon Whittington returns home to Texas to relive one of his favorite deer hunts of all-time, and make new memories.

Alternative Season Whitetail Hunt

Alternative Season Whitetail Hunt

Mike Clerkin is hunting the alternative weapon whitetail season in Missouri with his S&W revolver.

How to Control Predators on Deer Hunting Property

How to Control Predators on Deer Hunting Property

In this edition of "Deer Factory," Dr. James Kroll and Pat Hogan discuss ways to help control predators on deer hunting property.

North American Whitetail - South of the Border

North American Whitetail - South of the Border

Dr. James Kroll and Pat Hogan head south of the border in pursuit of whitetails in old Mexico.

Trending Articles

Fill your quiver with the right ammo this season. Bowhunting

The Best Arrows for Deer Hunting

Tony J. Peterson - June 10, 2019

Fill your quiver with the right ammo this season.

To hear many serious trophy bowhunters tell it, Kentucky must be a figment of someone's fertile United States

Best Spots for Bowhunting Kentucky Trophy Bucks

Gordon Whittington - July 21, 2016

To hear many serious trophy bowhunters tell it, Kentucky must be a figment of someone's fertile

Good location is just part of the equation. Scouting

The Best Summer Trail Camera Strategy

Tony J. Peterson

Good location is just part of the equation.

Understanding what deer eat and how they adjust their diets to meet changing nutritional requirements will not only increase your chances of harvesting a good buck, but also your enjoyment of whitetail hunting. Land Management

What Do Deer Eat?

Dr. James C. Kroll

Understanding what deer eat and how they adjust their diets to meet changing nutritional...

See More Trending Articles

More Accessories

Gone are the days when the trail camera was considered a novelty. It's now about as common in the Accessories

From Novelty to Mainstay: Trail Camera Scouting is Here To Stay

Bill Cooper - December 14, 2016

Gone are the days when the trail camera was considered a novelty. It's now about as common in...

The trail camera world has seen lots of innovation this year, with user-friendly options for wireless cameras. These products are sure to get the job done! Accessories

The Best Innovative Trail Cameras of 2018

Haynes Shelton - June 28, 2018

The trail camera world has seen lots of innovation this year, with user-friendly options for...

If you want to fill your remaining tags on a December survivor, here are seven products that will help you ride out the Arctic-like conditions. Accessories

Essential Cold-Weather Gear for Deer Hunting in the Late Season

Tony J. Peterson

If you want to fill your remaining tags on a December survivor, here are seven products that...

Find the perfect Father's Day gift with this list of the must-have gear for Dad

For so many of us, Accessories

2018 Father's Day Gift Guide

Haynes Shelton - May 14, 2018

Find the perfect Father's Day gift with this list of the must-have gear for Dad For so many...

See More Accessories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.