All right whitetail hunters, it is go time in the Midwest. I have had this review of the Sitka Fanatic Hoody on the mind for some time now, but just haven’t had the chance to get it written and posted. Since it is our favorite time of the year with the rut fast approaching, what better time than now to drop a review on a piece of gear that I have used and abused.
Let me start with, I am not a Sitka fan boy by any stretch. I think they make some good pieces of kit, but it is pricey. I had no intention of wearing the Sitka Fanatic Hoody last year, and purchased it on last second at Cabelas before heading off to chase elk.
Grunt, Snort-Wheeze, and Rattle this to your buddies!
Let’s start with the bones of this mid-layer. It is constructed of a soft grid fleece, that is quiet and does a great job of heat retention. That is the point of a mid-layer after all. I have worn this now on two western hunting trips and on full whitetail season as an insulation layer. It is durable, I am hard on equipment and this piece has stood up to my abuse admirably.
There are a few things that I look for in a mid-layer that I consider must haves. Especially when I use this both for hunting whitetails out of a tree stand and chasing elk on the mountainside. The top three features in my mind, are a hood, a half zip, and thumbholes. These should be fairly straight forward, the hood keeps the wind off my head. The half zip lets me cool down while hiking or climbing a trees tand. Last, the thumbholes keep this layer in place as I am adding layers during long cold whitetail sits. The Sitka Fanatic Hoody has all three.
The Sitka Fanatic Hoody also has additional features that set it apart from some it’s competition. It has a hand warmer pocket that is similar to your favorite hoody. The sleeves are cut long, long enough that you can roll them down over your hands to block the wind and retain heat. I found both features functional on the mountain side and on whitetail hunts. The sleeve length is especially nice when using a climbing tree stand on a cold morning as it keeps my bare hands from touching the ice-cold metal.
Now lets move on to the one feature I was not fond of, the facemask. I find this feature a little on the goofy side and the first thing I did when I got home was break out the scissors and cut it out. This may be all mental on my side, but I couldn’t see wearing a facemask.
After two seasons out west, and one full whitetail season under its belt the Sitka Fanatic Hoody has proven to be a durable option. As I am writing this, I am picking my hoody apart with a fine-tooth comb. There are no tears, the seams and zippers are all like new. The Sitka Fanatic Hoody is starting to show some signs wear. The wear signs that I see are piling of the fleece. The hand warmers at the end of the sleeves are by far the worst example (see picture). There is slight piling of the fleece under the arms, but outside of those two spots, it is like new.
Overall the industry seems to be moving towards more form fitting or athletic cut hunting clothes. This piece is a break from that, as it fits more traditional, much like your favorite hoody. Minus the elastic in the bottom.
Outside of a pair of Sitka gloves I scored in the Cabela’s bargain cave, this is the first piece of Sitka gear I used. I am very impressed with the build quality and thought that went in to laying this piece of kit out. I am going to evaluate some of the other Sitka whitetail options as my budget allows and it just so happens their catalog was delivered today.
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