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SITKA Customer Service | Photos by Matt McCormick | 8.25.2019

Top 5 Questions We Get On Each Layer In Your System

  • Pursuit: Everyday
  • Environment: Logo Wear

Meet our Customer Service team. When they’re not fielding calls, they’re out in fields, marshes and forests chasing the same game that you are. So if you have questions about gear, systems or sizing, know that you can talk to someone who’s been there before. Call them, email them or message them on live chat. They’re here to help, even in September.

Below, our CS team answers your top questions on layering to help you build your system for the upcoming hunting season.


1. What is the difference between the 2019 baselayers and 2018 baselayers?

"The new baselayers for 2019 have been redesigned to improve breathability and move moisture out of your system faster. The new textile dries up to 10% faster in the lightweight version and 25% faster in the heavyweight. In the heavyweight bottom, we removed stitching around the thigh area to improve comfort in those long hauls in the late season or sitting in your stand. We designed and developed these new textiles specifically for our baselayers as we weren’t satisfied with the options available on the market."

- Tanner Johnson

2. Why do I need a baselayer?

"The right baselayer is the backbone to proper moisture and odor management within a system. Its primary function is to pull moisture off of your skin and quickly move it to the next layer. The process continues layer-to-layer until the moisture exits the system. Managing these factors is how you maintain thermal comfort as well as UPF protection and concealment when used as active outerwear in warmer conditions. All good structures start with a good foundation and, without it, the system won’t be optimized."

- Jesse Phillips

3. What are the differences between Synthetic and Merino Wool, and when should I use which?

"Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages that come into play while out in the field. Merino Wool naturally fights odor and has a higher warmth-to-weight ratio. On the other hand, synthetic baselayers are typically more efficient at managing moisture and are more durable. In general, we recommend a synthetic baselayer like the Core Lightweight Hoody as a foundational layer for active pursuits where moisture management is critical. Our synthetic baselayers are also treated with Polygiene® to eliminate the build up of odor. A SITKA merino baselayer is a great option in cold weather or during static hunts where warmth and scent suppression are the primary concerns."

- Hayden Kelly 

4. How and when should I use Core Lightweight, Midweight & Heavyweight layers?

"Baselayers are critical to building an effective layering system. They move moisture away from your body and should provide the appropriate amount of thermal comfort. What should you do if you are too hot to put on an insulating layer, but too cold to only be out in the Core Lightweight? The appropriate option is to add a midlayer, such as the Core Midweight Zip-T or a Heavyweight Hoody to your system. The same thing can be done for cold temperatures. I use the Midweight and Heavyweight to fill gaps in my layering system. In colder conditions, the Core Midweight can also be worn next-to-skin if Lightweight isn’t enough. On the other hand, the Heavyweight should only be used as a midlayer, and is not meant to be worn next-to-skin. What you choose is based on an understanding of your personal needs, conditions, and physical exertion."

- Sam Larson

5. Did SITKA change the sizing of its base and mid layers?

"We changed one product in our base and midlayer line up. We added more room in the 2019 Heavyweight series to allow it to layer better on top of a Core Lightweight or Midweight piece. The Heavyweight performs best when worn as a midlayer. Please see our Sizing Chart for a better understanding of our different Fit Options."

- Ross Marler


1. Synthetic vs Down Insulation – when should I pick one over the other?

"We take advantage of both of these insulations for different types of situations. Down insulation is going to be lighter weight, more packable, and warmer for its weight than synthetic. It performs best in dry, cold environments; its warmth is compromised when it gets wet. Synthetics are a bit less packable than down garments, but provide more durability and maintain their warmth when wet. When making your decision, it’s important to note that even in our down garments, we blend in synthetic fibers to help protect the down from wetting out. If you are expecting wet conditions, are deep in the backcountry or value durability, one of our Primaloft® synthetic layers is a great option. If you are hunting in temperatures below freezing where moisture isn’t a primary concern, or are looking to pack the most warmth at the lightest weight, then down insulation is for you."

- Ross Marler

2. Kelvin Series: What are the best end uses for each product?

"For a light insulation piece for early or midseason, I would go with the Kelvin Active Jacket or Hoody. These pieces can be worn as a standalone insulation layer in the early season, or as a breathable midlayer in colder weather. They are made with a Polartec® Alpha® insulation which will keep you warm and breathe well when you’re on the move. If you are looking for that traditional “puffy” insulation piece to add to your late season setup, I would take a look at the Kelvin Lite Hoody or the Kelvin Hoody. The Kelvin Lite Hoody is our most versatile insulating layer with 80 g/m2 of Primaloft® insulation. Is it tapered specifically to be layered under an outer shell comfortably if needed; this allows you to combine layers and take it later into the season. The Kelvin Hoody is a little bit warmer with 133 g/m2 of synthetic Primaloft® insulation. It is perfect if you are looking for a warm layer to throw on in the late season for extra warmth while glassing or sitting around camp. Last but not least, we have the Kelvin Down WS Hoody, or as I like to call it, your “walking sleeping bag.” Designed to layer over all your other gear, this hoody is your go-to when you need to stay behind the glass despite high winds or frigid temps. The down-synthetic blend insulation is packable and resilient against moisture, and the GORE WINDSTOPPER® laminate is 100% windproof. If you are heading out in harsh conditions and want to leave the mountain on your own terms, this is a great piece to have in your system. For women, we have the Women’s Kelvin Active Jacket (identical to the men’s version aside from the cut), and the Women’s Kelvin WS Hoody. Designed for the latest part of your season, this fully synthetic jacket is going to be your go-to packable insulation piece for late season hunts. The WINDSTOPPER® Technology incorporated into this piece allows for ultimate protection from the wind during long periods of static activity. I owe a lot of my success in the field to this setup, as it has kept me comfortable in some of the most unforgiving circumstances."

- Cheyenne Wallace

3. Celsius Midi Jacket vs Celsius Jacket?

"The difference between the Celsius Midi and the Celsius Jacket boils down to active insulation versus traditional fleece insulation. The Celsius Midi is air-permeable and extremely packable with a nylon outer-face that reduces binding between layers. The Celsius Jacket will have a tougher face fabric that will be more durable and a better choice for an outer layer insulation piece. It just depends on how you want to optimize an insulation layer into your system."

- Jesse Phillips

4. Kelvin Hoody vs Kelvin Down WS Hoody?

"The biggest difference between these two layers is the insulation package. The Kelvin Hoody is 100% Primaloft® synthetic, while the Kelvin Down WS is a down-synthetic blend. The Kelvin Hoody teams up well with outerwear that already incorporates GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ with WINDSTOPPER® Technology. The Kelvin Down WS Hoody works best when you want to pack one solid insulation piece on late season hunts that require maximum warmth."

- Jon Douglas

5. Duck Oven Jacket vs Fahrenheit Jacket?

"The fully synthetic Duck Oven Jacket was made specifically for wearing under waders with its high-loft fleece in the bottom third of the torso. The Fahrenheit Jacket is a down blend insulation layer that offers a lightweight option for waterfowl hunters. The Fahrenheit Jacket has full synthetic insulation from the elbows down to help manage moisture. Both of these insulation pieces use GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ with WINDSTOPPER® Technology. The Duck Oven Jacket also edges out the Fahrenheit Jacket in durability, but neither of these jackets are an ideal abrasion-resistant outerwear piece. If you live in your waders and need a good insulation piece, the Duck Oven Jacket is for you. If you need a more versatile lightweight insulation, definitely look towards the Fahrenheit Jacket."

- Zach McCarthy


1. What is the difference between GORE-TEX® and GORE-TEX INFINIUM™?

"The GORE-TEX® brand now offers new technologies beyond just its original waterproof technology. GORE-TEX® products with the GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY™ promise are totally waterproof and highly breathable. GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ with WINDSTOPPER® Technology, on the other hand, is not waterproof, but is completely windproof, highly breathable and water-resistant. Going forward, GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ products will include high-performance, non-waterproof technologies to provide a range of specific performance enhancements and functionality."

- Hayden Kelly

2. Should I size up in outerwear for layering?

"All of our gear is designed to layer, so sizing up for outer layers is not necessary. For example, a large Jetstream Jacket is going to fit more loosely than a similarly-sized baselayer, midlayer, or insulation layer. There is no need to size up."

- Max DeMarco

3. How many layers do I need to keep warm?

"When it comes to layering, there is no one right way because everyone produces heat and perspires differently. Women tend to run a little cooler than men so I would recommend a five layer kit including a baselayer, midlayer, insulation and an outer layer with a rain shell in the pack. How many of these layers will be needed or used at a given time depends on temperature/conditions and activity. Having all of these layers at your fingertips allows you to customize your system to the conditions and exertion level you’re facing on any given day. Make sure to take the time to shed layers so you avoid overheating. I always start a hike feeling cold, assuming I will be warm within 5 to 10 minutes of my hike. This helps me plan what I will wear first thing out of my tent."

- Sam Larson

4. Why are there so many product options?

"We design specialized gear, purpose-built for a specific use to cover all sorts of different terrains, weather conditions and individual tolerances to both cold and heat. We offer a multitude of options to give the end user the freedom to really dial-in their system."

- Jon Douglas

5. What are the differences between all the rain gear options in the Big Game Category?

"It really comes down to what you’re looking to get out of your rain gear. All of our GORE-TEX products with the GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY™ promise are equally waterproof. The main differences are features, weight, packability, warmth and durability. If you are looking for something that is lightweight, packable and versatile for any type of outdoor adventure, I would get into the Cloudburst system, every time. Redesigned this year, the Cloudburst system is going to be your go-to packable rain gear to throw on if the weather turns south. If you spend a majority of your days hunting in the rain or in super wet climates, the Stormfront system is for you. Designed with an updated GORE-TEX Pro laminate, the Stormfront system is going to be the durable setup you need that will hold up for those longer trips in the backcountry. If you’re looking for rain gear for early season archery hunts where silence and stealth are crucial, I’d suggest the Thunderhead set. This system has a brushed-face fabric which makes it the quietest Big Game rain gear system we offer. Lastly we have the Blizzard system, which is our warmest Big Game waterproof system available. It’s insulated with a down/synthetic blend which makes it ideal for those northern trips where you are sitting static in subzero temps all day long. Whichever system you choose, just make sure you clean and wash your gear throughout the season so it will meet your expectations every day in the field."

- Cheyenne Wallace

SITKA Gear customer service fielding calls from customers.

How can we help? From support with your order, to product questions, to help with your packing list for the hunt of your dreams, you have access to our entire team and vast network of expert guides.


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877-748-5247 (877-SITKA-GR)