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SITKA Team | 7.26.2019

Layering 101 with SITKA Gear Founder, Jonathan Hart

  • Pattern: Subalpine, Open Country, Elevated II, Marsh, Timber
  • Pursuit: Big Game, Whitetail, Waterfowl

System Thinking

As humans, we are at a genetic and physiological disadvantage to survive in wild places. Yet we’re instinctively drawn to test our mettle against species who have adapted for millennia to thrive in these challenging environments. At SITKA, we build systems to level the playing field with wild animals in their domain; giving hunters the ability to adapt to the rapidly-changing conditions encountered in the wild.

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The Problem

SITKA was founded on the idea of using innovative technology and layering systems to solve the problems that plague hunters: moisture management, temperature regulation, protection from the elements and stealth.

Layering and glassing in Optifade Open Country.

Moisture Management

On many hunts, there are periods of high activity followed by long periods with very little movement. During high output climbs or hikes into a stand, you will generate heat and your body will begin its natural cooling process by breaking a sweat. If that moisture stays trapped against your skin as you transition into a static period, the cooling effect can be devastating. The movement of moisture off of your skin and out of the system is critical to staying dry, comfortable, and focused on the hunt.

Temperature Regulation

The conditions experienced in the field are dynamic and rapidly-changing — a far cry from the temperature-controlled environments of modern civilization. Without the natural ability to regulate temperature that animals possess, humans are left to rely on the gear they carry to prevent vast swings in temperature from compromising the hunt. Based on the needs of your hunt, selecting layers that allow for the most efficient regulation of temperature will ensure you can withstand the widest range of conditions.

Protection From The Elements

Sometimes it’s the blistering sun, sometimes it’s wind, rain, sleet or snow. Regardless, the elements are always a variable to be considered when preparing for a hunt. The selection of products and textiles that deliver UPF, windproof or waterproof protection will allow you to leave the hunt on your terms, not Mother Nature’s.


Lastly, the ability to close the distance on your prey is uniquely a hunting problem, making scent, sound and sight the enemies of the hunter. We consider this in the development of every product; each layer within a SITKA system plays a role in increasing the odds of going undetected. Throughout any system, we select textiles, treatments and technologies that are engineered to suppress sound, fight odor and offer full concealment.

Optifade Subalpine layering system at altitude.

The Solution

If built appropriately, a skin-to-shell system can solve these four main problems. A SITKA system is comprised of three primary layers: baselayers, mid/insulation layers, and outerwear — each of which provides specific qualities aimed at solving for moisture management, temperature regulation, protection from the elements and stealth.


SITKA baselayers are engineered to pull moisture away from the body and rapidly move it out of the system. A variety of weights and construction techniques create the ability to stack baselayers as the temperature drops, without sacrificing its primary function of moisture management. The integration of technical hunting features like form-fitted hoods and integrated facemasks deliver full concealment, while odor control treatments are applied to suppress scent on extended hunts.


Mid/Insulation layers function to retain body heat when the temperatures drop. For periods of high output, we have developed breathable insulation pieces to retain heat without retaining moisture. For static periods, we offer a range of lightweight loft insulation layers that pack down to reduce bulk. These loft layers utilize synthetic insulation or down/synthetic blends to ensure your lifeline is not compromised by moisture or compression.


Outerwear is your first line of defense against the elements. Our unique construction techniques in these layers deliver maximum mobility, breathability and durability. High-performance laminates create a fully windproof and waterproof system, protecting the layers underneath, while proprietary concealment technologies allow you to disappear into the environment.

Bow hunters layer up in Optifade Subalpine.

The Systems

We understand that the system you use for an August sheep hunt isn’t going to cut it for December green heads. For this reason, we’ve created specific systems for early seasons, mid-seasons, and late seasons across all pursuits: big game, whitetail and waterfowl.

Early Season

SITKA early season systems are designed to withstand the blistering conditions of late summer hunts. Whether you’re glassing on an exposed hillside or stalking in an open plain, the early season system utilizes products built to deliver maximum breathability and allow for evaporative cooling without sacrificing durability and packability.


Our mid-season systems are designed to deliver comfort, performance and protection in the wide range of conditions experienced during mid- to late Fall. These systems will insulate against cold, pre-dawn and moonlit hours while giving you the ability to easily doff a layer during the heat of midday sun.

Late Season

Lastly, our late season systems were designed for the most demanding winter conditions. Built to endure, and excel in, unrelenting late-season weather with the combination of our most durable textiles and fabrics guaranteed to keep you warm, dry and focused on the hunt. We don’t simply build jackets and pants. We build fully-integrated, high-performance skin-to-shell systems for all types of hunting. Our systems will relieve you of the physical and mental distractions brought on by inclement weather so you can remain focused, silent and ready for the moment of truth — and stay there until the job is done.