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The Darkroom: Sitka Gear DNA
Author: The Sitka Team
Groups: Darkroom
Sep 11, 2013
Back in May, we asked the Sitka Tribe on Facebook what you most wanted to know about us. A lot of the responses were essentially some iteration of, "What is Sitka Gear's process and philosophy?"

It comes down to our mission, our DNA: build gear that expands comfort, safety, focus and success in every hunting situation. 

What does that mean?

1.) We pay zero attention to just about everything market analysts have to say. When you let marketers, analysts, and focus groups tell you what product people want next and how much it should cost, you end up creating things that solve marketing problems, but not the real problems hunters face in the field.

2.) We create gear to solve specific hunting problems that have never been tackled – like how do you keep your hands dry when pulling deeks from icy water? Or how can rain jacket pockets warm your hands without having water run down the sleeve and into the pocket? If these solutions were straightforward, other companies would have already come up with them. But the problems we're solving are complex, requiring astounding sums of time, research, creative innovation, and scientific testing.

This is how real innovation happens: On the hunt, we tune into everything that robs us of comfort, focus and success. Everyone on the Sitka Team does this, from Athletes to customer service reps, Prostaff to business leaders. Then, we do whatever it takes to craft complete solutions to the most pressing problems. For most solutions, the ideal fabric doesn't even exist yet, so we can't just buy something out of some textile manufacturer's catalog. Instead, we invent completely new fabrics designed specifically for the particular end use. That means working with brilliant chemists to combine new compounds in just the right atmospheric conditions to create new threads and membranes. We then work with talented engineers to invent new ways of weaving and laminating these advanced materials into fabrics that are lighter, quieter, more flexible, more durable, and ultimately superior for the application. We work with optical and veterinary biologists to study animal vision and understand how prey, not human hunters, see the world. We work with digital concealment experts who contract for militaries around the globe, and use the animal study findings to create the most effective hunting concealment patterns ever made. We assemble these new fabrics into prototypes that aim to solve the problems we encountered in the field. But that's just the beginning. Our athletes push their personal limits with the prototypes, hunt after hunt, to identify even the tiniest design and construction flaws. With their feedback, we redesign again and again until the piece works perfectly to solve the problem and integrates seamlessly into the Sitka system.

3.) We refuse to treat customers like guinea pigs. Some gear makers, with the best of intentions, try to get gear into people's hands without fully vetting it. But we stick to our guns on this: Test, test, test. We test dozens of parameters that affect the lifespan of a piece's functionality, both in the lab and in the field. And it doesn't stop with prototypes. We test production pieces repeatedly until we have statistically reliable data to show definitively that the piece meets or exceeds our performance standards. It can take years for a product to go from a sketch to your honey hole. But this process is key. If the gear fails on you out there, it's more than a warranty issue: it could be a missed opportunity, unnecessary discomfort, or worse. 

The bottom line: Not every hunter agonizes over their hunts or their gear to this extent, and so they may not need what we do. We exist to build gear for hunters who are unwilling to compromise on comfort, safety, and performance.

Got questions? What would you like to see next in the Darkroom? Hit us up in the comments below.



Comments
A female line would be great. Just as tall men need a different cut, the female form needs a different fit as well. And not options other than ordering men's small or youth large. I know I'm not the only woman out there that packs nine miles into the backcountry on a Friday after work for the slim chance at an elk Saturday morning... A female line of Sitka gear would make treks like that safer, and more functional for the avid female outdoorswoman.

I love work your are doing. Keep it up. I'll continue to enjoy the videos,photos and article while I patiently wait for the female Sitka line! Merry Christmas from the PNW!
Posted by Nicole on Dec 12, 2013 5:01 AM
Purchased my first set of stika gear this past year and used it this fall with great success! (Stratus jacket and bibs optifade forest color) I hunt the Midwest and was comfortable all season and harvested a great buck and a doe. Question I had was are you guys going to develop a boot to go along with your clothing? Personally I enjoy rubber boots for scent prevention and waterproof capabilities and I know that some sort of shin high boot that's slip on and waterproof would be awesome in a forest optifade color. Second question I had was something strange I experienced. One of my stands I have to walk past a infrared flash trail camera. Interestingly, when you look at the pic, the clothing appears as a solid light grey color and you can not see any "pattern". My bow has "typical camo" and you can see the pattern on the bow. Do you know what causes this/is it part of the science behind the color?
Posted by Joe Nothum on Dec 11, 2013 9:59 PM
I came across Sitka Gear via the Gore Optifade site. The designs are impressive it's just a shame you have no UK dealers. Strikes me as the perfect combination of fit, form and function- I'll just have to pick some up when I'm stateside. Unless….?
Posted by Matt Stamp on Dec 1, 2013 5:13 PM
There is a lot of gear out there that must have been designed by people that never get into the field. I scratch my head at some of the stuff I see, and unfortunately have owned, or still own. I'll give two examples. Rain gear of which the cuffs of both jacket and pants suck up moisture and transfer it to the liner, so that after a prolonged downpour you end up wet up to your elbows and knees. Winter pants/bibs, meant for layering, with zipper at the bottom that are so short that you have trouble getting into it even with just sneakers on. Did nobody think before putting these designs together? Did they not try it before mass producing it? Was there no quality control/design checking step? It baffles me. I love it that in recent years a few companies have emerged that give some serious thought to what a (mountain) hunter needs.
Posted by Frans Diepstraten on Nov 18, 2013 3:57 PM
Hey Rick! Currently, the solid color choice we have for the Ascent Pant is clay. They also come in the GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment Open Country Pattern. You can take a look at our Ascent Pant here: http://www.sitkagear.com/products/solids/pants/ascent-pant
Posted by Sitka Team on Nov 6, 2013 1:49 PM
It would be great if you had a slate grey, or an od green, brown, neutral colors. I get asked all the time about who makes the pants and where they can get them. Also what colors do they come in. This time of year over here, they truely are invaluable. Thanks for everything!
Posted by Rick Franco on Oct 30, 2013 4:05 AM
Hey Rick! Thanks for the suggestion. What kinds of colors are you looking for?
Posted by Sitka Team on Oct 29, 2013 10:58 AM
I hope this is the right forum. I am a big user of your gear in and out of season. Currently deployed to the war zone. I use the hell out of the ascent pants here. It would be great if you could offer a few more solid colors. Thanks.
Posted by Rick Franco on Oct 24, 2013 11:04 PM
Hey EXTREMESGS! Thanks for reaching out and giving us your feedback. We sincerely appreciate to hear from the tribe on ways we can be better. You are not alone in wanting a taller size option for our gear. This problem is something we want to address in the near future, and your voice will be heard through the process.

With our patterns, we are not as concerned with human perception, because humans see very differently than deer and elk. While we see 20/20, an ungulate sees about 20/40, making deer vision slightly blurrier than ours. And while humans have a full range of color vision, ungulates lack the receptors for tones in the red spectrum, perceiving only shades of yellow, blue and gray - hence the coloration of the pattern. If you'd like to do further research, check our the GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment website. Thanks for reaching out! http://bit.ly/SxbUOp
Posted by Sitka Team on Oct 9, 2013 8:10 AM
just send some feedback on the contact form about it, but here's the short version:
1. Tall sizes. guys don't want to "just" buy the next size up to get the body or sleeves to fit right when they're looking at Sitka Gear.

2. Patterns. I'm in New England. Open Country doesn't work, clearly. Forest is close, but...
we have mostly hardwoods up here. More browns, less bright green/more dull green, way more grays, and slightly less white.... "Hardwoods" or "New England" ;-) pattern!
Posted by extremesgs on Oct 5, 2013 8:56 AM
Hey Jay! The waders in the Sitka Films are actually Simms. We get suggestions for waders a lot, but at this time there are no future plans to develop them. We appreciate the feedback, and will take your suggestion into consideration. Thanks!
Posted by Sitka Team on Sep 27, 2013 3:14 PM
Somewhere deep down in the bowels of Sitka you are working on waders. They are in your videos. When will you release them for purchase? Or a better way to ask may be, can you confirm that you may sell waders in the future?
Posted by Jay Lovelady on Sep 26, 2013 9:05 AM
Really like your gear! Packing for grouse in michigan, classic waxed cotton seems heavy. Hope you will expand your gear to include bird hunters soon.
Posted by Hans Jacobson on Sep 19, 2013 12:22 PM
Thanks Gunnar! We consider you apart of the Sitka Tribe, and appreciate the feedback.
Posted by Sitka Team on Sep 13, 2013 12:37 PM
Hey Derek! We occasionally hear this concern from taller guys. We definitely have the problem on our radar, and will make sure your voice is heard to the development team. Thanks.
Posted by Sitka Team on Sep 13, 2013 12:32 PM
Like the gear but I'm 6'5 and need longer pants and sleeves hope some improvements can be made for us longer guys thanks
Posted by Derek Mauney on Sep 13, 2013 8:55 AM
A great, in-depth but brief description of what makes Sitka the pinnacle of the gear industry. Well done gents!
Posted by Chad Bell on Sep 13, 2013 6:39 AM
Good evening. My name is Gunnar Allen and I praise everything that you have stated in the above paragraphs. I am the "Poster Boy for Raingear" in the wet and wild Pacific Northwest. Hunting Blacktailed deer and Roosevelt elk are my passion, besides my family. Especially in the deep, dark and thick brush and blowdown, devil caned canyons of Northwest Oregon. Your gear is the only garment that stands up to it raining sideways, while foilage is laden with water, thus each movement is like having a 5 gallon bucket of water dumped upon you. Add the fact that the ground is steep and great perspiration is a large factor in comfort when hiking these deep dark places where said trophies reside; and when these animals have been pressured. Thanks for your products, (Optifade Forest Downpour). You are the gear that I choose as this is how I feed my family and the only way of life that I choose. I ultimately test your gear every October through November and would like very much to be a part of your team. Your products are worth every penny. Thanks a million and keep up the great work.

Sincerely,

Gunnar Allen
Posted by Gunnar Allen on Sep 12, 2013 11:37 PM
I think you guys need to enter the boot race!! You have the best clothing. Now we need a matching boot. ( rubber for me). Thanks for a great product.
Posted by Chris Weeks on Sep 12, 2013 8:12 PM

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