3 Essential Sitka Items to Build Your First Layering System

I started acquiring and wearing Sitka gear camouflage clothing three seasons ago. Initially, I felt a bit overwhelmed by the number of items in the Sitka catalog and by the prices! After accumulating a variety of Sitka gear during the past three seasons, I’ve narrowed down what I believe are the three best bang-for-your-buck Sitka clothing items to build a basic Sitka layering system for western hunting. The list below contains the three items I would choose when building out a budget layering system. The end of the article also contains suggestions on how I’d layer these items throughout the hunting season. The layering suggestions are designed around western hunting with a spot and stalk, active approach.

1. Sitka Core Lightweight Hoody


Sitka Core Lightweight Hoody Review

The Core Lightweight Hoody would be my first purchase when building a Sitka layering system on a budget. The Sitka Core Lightweight Hoody is my first pick for the following reasons.

First, the Lightweight Hoody is my go-to base layer. In fact, I own several Core Lightweight Hoodys because of how frequently I wear this item.

Second, this hoody is versatile and versatility is key when building a small layering system. The Sitka Core Lightweight Hoody is the perfect choice for outwear on warm, early season spot and stalk hunts. It also doubles as a moisture wicking base layer in a multi-layered Sitka system.


Build a Sitka Layering System

Thanks to polyester construction, the Core Lightweight Hoody provides the perfect combination of breathability, durability, and a comfortable fit for any hunt. It is constructed from a polyester/spandex blend that helps keep me comfortable, while still being incredibly lightweight and packable. The polyester construction ensures superior moisture wicking during periods of physical exertion and quick drying during periods of low physical activity.


Best Sitka Layering System

The Hoody features a form-fitting cut throughout the body and sleeves that doesn’t restrict movement or interfere with archery equipment. The sleeves contain sewn in thumb loops to prevent sleeve bunching when adding layers over the Core Lightweight Hoody. The Core Lightweight Hoody has a built-in facemask, an innovation that is unquestionably my favorite feature of the Hoody. The built-in facemask, in combination with the hood, conceals a hunter’s face, almost entirely.

For early season outerwear or a moisture wicking base layer, the Core Lightweight Hoody is an essential piece of clothing in my three-piece layering system described in this article.

Core Lightweight Hoody Features & Specs

  • GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment Subalpine is designed for stalking and ambushing ungulates from ground level in tree-covered and vegetated terrain.
  • Weight:6 oz. // Size: L
  • Body and Hood Fabric: Quick-Dry, Lightweight Comfort Stretch Knit (100% Polyester)
  • Facemask Fabric: Quick-Dry, Lightweight Stretch Mesh (88% Polyester/12% Elastane)
  • Polygiene® Odor Control Technology safely neutralizes odor caused from sweat.
  • Stretch Thumb Loops: Shed layers with ease without compromising your foundational layer.
  • Built-In Ultra Breathable Mesh Face Mask: Conceal your face on the move and increase your success rate.

2. Sitka Apex Pant


Sitka Apex Pant Review

The Sitka Apex pants have become my favorite pant among the pants offered by Sitka. According to Sitka, “A soft micro-grid fleece interior creates a balance between warmth and breathability throughout varied levels of activity while a bonded polyester face delivers durability, weather resistance and noise reduction. Removable knee pads and internal cargo pockets add comfort and function to an already stealthy pant that’s ready to hunt from early season well into the fall.”


Sitka Layering System

These pants live up to the marketing. The micro-grid fleece breathes enough to make these pants comfortable in the upper ends of early season temperatures. With the addition of base layer(s), I have worn these pants in single digit temperatures during Montana’s rifle deer season. Although Sitka’s Timberline pant is a better option for late season, I wanted to keep this basic Sitka system confined to three items, and the Apex pant, with proper layering, can function late into the season.


Sitka Layering System for Elk

The bonded face of these pants also makes this pant the quietest option in Sitka’s lineup, and a must-have for spot and stalk archery hunts. A Durable Water Resistant (DWR) coating helps the pants repel moisture and light precipitation. The Apex pant also features sewn in pockets for removable foam knee pads. I opt to leave the knee pads in the pants, because they add comfort when crawling on stalks or glassing from a kneeling position. The pants also feature cargo pockets with quiet snap buttons, designed for bowhunters. If I have one complaint about the Apex pants, it is the quiet snap buttons. The buttons are quiet, but accomplish this at the expense of a secure button closure. I purposely avoid putting expensive items like my rangefinder or cell phone in these pockets, because I don’t completely trust the buttons on the cargo pockets.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the Sitka Apex pants. They’re comfortable, they fit well, they’re quiet, and very versatile with proper layering.

Apex Pants Features & Specs

  • GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment Subalpine is designed for stalking and ambushing ungulates from ground level in tree-covered and vegetated terrain.
  • Weight: 14.7 oz. // Size L
  • Fabric: Polyester Face Bonded to a Micro-Grid Fleece Interior.
  • Durable Water Repellent finish resists light precipitation and prevents the face fabric from wetting out.
  • Articulated Fit: The Apex Pant offers an articulated fit with tapered legs for maximum range of motion with minimal bulk to reduce friction and noise.
  • Removable Knee Pads: Removable knee pads offer additional protection whether you’re scrambling through talus in the Northern Rockies, picking your way through cactus in the Sonoran Desert, or field dressing an animal.
  • Cargo Pockets: Quick, quiet access to stored essentials.

3. Sitka Jetstream Jacket


Sitka Jetstream Jacket Review

The Sitka Jetstream Jacket is an excellent option for anyone looking for a lightweight, breathable, wind resistant, and water-resistant jacket. The Jetstream is arguably the most versatile jacket in Sitka’s lineup, which is why I selected it for this three-piece layering system.


Sitka Layering Guide

The jacket features GORE WINDSTOPPER product technology, which is quite effective at cutting the ever-present western wind. Sitka applies a durable water-resistant (DWR) coating to the jacket, which helps repel moisture and light precipitation. The Jetstream jackets also features armpit zippers to help with heat management during periods of high activity.

Similar to the Apex pant, the Jetstream jacket utilizes a micro-grid fleece backer, which gives the jacket a superb warmth-to-weight ratio. The Jetstream Jacket is also designed to be packable and can be easily stored in a backpack or daypack. This makes it great for backpack style hunts where space and weight savings are always important considerations.

Sitka Jetstream Layering

Jetstream Jacket Features & Specs

  Recycled polyester fabric with polyester micro-grid fleece interior

  • GORE® WINDSTOPPER® product technology makes the jacket 100% windproof
  • Durable water repellent finish sheds light precipitation and keeps fabric from wetting out
  • Taped and skived seams for added weather protection without added bulk
  • Zippered hand and chest pockets provide secure storage
  • Pit zips allow you to dump heat when you’re on the move
  • Updated fit for a relaxed, comfortable feel with plenty of mobility
  • Total weight: 26 oz.

Create a Layering System From These 3 Items

Early Season

  • Apex Pant and Core Lightweight Hoody
  • Add Jetstream Jacket for mornings/evenings, windy conditions, glassing, or periods of low activity.

Mid-Season

  • Apex Pant and Core Lightweight Hoody
    • Add a synthetic lower body base layer to increase lower body warmth
    • Add a upper body base layer to increase body warmth, and wear Core Lightweight Hoody above the base layer to retain a camouflaged top layer.
    • Add Jetstream Jacket for mornings/evenings, windy conditions, glassing, or periods of low activity.

Late Season

  • Apex Pant and Core Lightweight Hoody
    • Add a quality merino wool lower body base layer to increase lower body warmth
    • Add a quality merino wool upper body base layer to increase body warmth, and wear Core Lightweight Hoody to retain camouflaged top layer.
    • Add Jetstream Jacket for mornings/evenings, windy conditions, glassing, or periods of low activity
  • Consider adding additional insulation layers as the first upgrades to this layering system to make it functional deeper into the late season.

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Budget Friendly Synthetic Base Layers


Quality Merino Wool Base Layers