Backcountry Gear System Basics

We strive to work with you to build a system that will cover all of your hunting needs. Every part of the system is important and every system is just a little different. Here we will go through the Gear we use to create your system base layers to hard shells.

Every system starts with the exact same base layers, we use these on every hunt. We actually removed a few options for this specific hunt list.

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Base Layers

Merino wool is the only thing we wear on our skin. If you look around you will see that every gear manufacturer, company, group etc. has started using merino. There is a reason for that. It is amazing. It works as advertised. We’ve been using merino wool for years, we’ve used a lot of the available makes and models. We are big believers in the Smartwool and Sitka base layers. We use the same base system year round, everywhere we go, Alaska to Arizona - this is the foundation of all of our systems.


These short and long sleeve crews are the ultimate first layer shirt for any hunting situation. From Dall sheep in Alaska, to whitetails in Iowa and this shirt can be worn just as easily on a September elk stalk in the Rocky Mountains. This shirt is your foundation for those days when it is 30 degrees at dawn, 85 at 11:00am and back down to 40 at sunset – the ultimate comfort in all situations.


MERINO 250 or CORE MID (synthetic)

These pieces provide for either a very comfortable first layer or it can be layered with above piece to create a breathable and insulated combination for all day comfort. Whether you are spending the day high in your stand or high in your favorite mountain basin, this midweight layer will provide the warmth and comfort to get the job done.


MERINO 150 Boxer

Slip on the Smartwool 100% Merino Boxer Short for the most comfortable and breathable experience you can find for those days when you will be on the move or the temperatures won’t require a full length bottom. You will be amazed at the Merino’s ability to control odor and regulate temperature on even the warmest days.


MERINO 150 & 250 (and ¾ length option)

This is the ultimate first layer in your hunting outfit. Once the leaves are off the trees, these light and mid-weight bottoms will provide warmth, breathability and odor control all day long, day after day. Also a great layer under your waders for those cold mornings in the duck blind.

*These garments will wick moisture away from your skin when you work up a sweat walking to the stand. They will never feel clammy or wet next to your skin. They won’t hold odor and they will “air out” well at camp for the next day.


Intermediate Layers / Add Ons

Traverse 1/4 Zip & Core HWT Hoodie

These Sitka Gear tops are your expedition weight compliment to the merino base layers series. The wind resistant and durable face allows the Sitka Gear Traverse tops to be worn in all technical situations, while the soft lofted inside will hold in heat and silver will ward off odor causing bacteria. The Sitka Gear Traverse tops have thumb loops on the extended sleeve cuff, a welded chest pocket, and a deep chest zip. The CORE Heavyweight series with lofted fleece insulation and a form-fitting hood for added warmth and concealment, the CORE Heavyweight Hoody keeps you from shivering on long, frigid stakeouts. Permanent Polygiene® Odor Control Technology neutralizes odor by stopping the growth of odor-causing bacteria and fungi.


Insulating Layers

Top & Bottoms

We use the Montbell Thermawrap (ThermaWrapTM) series for insulating layers. We choose a synthetic insulation for two basic but fundamentally critical qualities. It stays warm when it’s wet, and it dries quickly. PrimaLoft’s ultra-fine microfibers are specially treated in a proprietary process; the result is a fiber core with incredible insulation properties. As a whole, Primaloft is soft, breathable and water repellent. The ThermaWrap TM possess the same desirable qualities as the PrimaLoft just a separate proprietary process to get there.

One exception to the rule: we do use the Montbell U.L. Tec Down Pants. They have a full separating leg zip that allows us to get them on and off in the field without removing our pants or our boots. (if you’re sitting for a long glassing session or just cold, put these on right over your soft shells and warm up).

Incredibly light and compressible, both of these series are designed to be accessible at all times – either on your back or in your pack. Extremely hydrophobic and breathable, these jackets are perfect for glassing, as a quick-warming mid-layer, or late season layering. Designed for warmth, both offer a very high warmth to weight ratio, which is ideal for backcountry hunts. And we’ve found these to be the most durable “puffys” we’ve ever used.

*This is the cheapest insurance you’ll ever purchase or carry.


Softshell Layer

Jetstream jacket

This is our GO TOO jacket! Constructed with GORE’s WINDSTOPPER Soft Shell, the Sitka Gear Jetstream Jacket is a no brainer for cool wind protection. The soft shell fabric facing allows for a smooth and almost seamless finish to help ward off light drizzles and snow flurries. A guide’s best friend, the Sitka Gear Jetstream Jacket is a treat for glassing sheep on a wind blown ridge or stalking into a north wind. The Sitka Gear Jetstream Jacket has a new hood this year that adds even more functionality to an already proven performer in the field. WE LOVE IT FOR ALL SEASONS! Pit zips and breathability allow this garment to be worn all season long.


Timberline Pant

The Timberline Pant is the next evolution in backcountry gear. A mid-weight all purpose fully articulated pant that takes the punishment, so you don’t have too. Waterproof/Breathable seat & knees protect all areas that you will make contact with Terra Firma. Thermo-molded, closed-cell foam knee pads protect your wheels and won’t retain any moisture. Not only will these pads protect you from the sharp, hard objects they also keep your knees dry and warm when in contact with the ground. Extremely durable pant, made to hunt. We are very excited about this addition.

Mountain Pant

Taking the Ascent Pant to the next level, the Mountain Pants add on more features, more aggressive patterning, and more durable fabric. With the hunting guide and hardcore hunter in mind, the Sitka Gear Mountain Pants include removable knee pads for stalking, a low profile, built in webbing belt that fits underneath your pack’s hip belt, and full size cargo and thigh pockets. For the extended back country trek, or the professional hunter, the Sitka Gear Mountain Pants are your go-to pant. We love em!

Ascent Pant

While growing as the main stay with hunters all across the west, the Sitka Gear Ascent Pants are strong on all fronts. The pant offers maximum breathability and mobility. With a roll up pant-leg system, and a five pocket configuration, Sitka Gear Ascent Pants are for hunters on the move. Used in conjunction with our Base Layer the Sitka Gear Ascent Pants can bring you well into mid-season hunts when the temp starts falling.


Hardshell Layer

Coldfront Series

Tailored for cold and wet weather, the Sitka Gear Coldfront Series has no equal. Constructed with GORE-TEX Softshell technology, you’ve never experienced anything like it. Teamed with a lining of microfleece, the Sitka Gear Coldfront is your choice for the coldest and most wet conditions imaginable. No detail is left behind. Articulated elbows for full range of motion, a bomber hood, water tight chest and hand pockets, taped and welded seams that are guaranteed to keep the water out in the worst of conditions. Full length leg zips, and the same genetics as the jacket, the Sitka Gear Coldfront Pants are unrivaled at best. Featuring a gusseted crotch and articulated knees, the Sitka Gear Coldfront Pants are a testament to the evolution of mankind. Waterproof, breathable, and built to play hard-ball in nature’s worst conditions. The Sitka Gear Coldfront Jacket & Pants command a view from highest perches of rainwear technology. – 100% Waterproof and highly breathable The Coldfronts are THE gear for your Peninsula Bear Hunt, the Sheep Hunt of a Lifetime or your one-layer solution!

*The second generation Coldfront hermetically seals out moisture and cold. More breathable and durable, with improved stretch and a more functional layout than its predecessor, it is a finely tuned solution for late-season backcountry hunts.


Stormfront Series

Built with intense durability in mind, the Sitka Gear Stormfront Series employs a 3-layer GORE-TEX Performance Shell making it some of the most abrasion resistant, breathable rain gear on the planet. Designed for Alaska guides that depend on their hunting gear, the Sitka Gear Stormfront Jacket has it all. Articulated elbows for an unrestricted range of motion, pit zips to dump heat during a climb, and taped and welded seams. The Sitka Gear Stormfront Jacket also features water tight chest and hand pockets and a bomber hood that will withstand prolonged exposure to nature’s wrath. The perfect partner to the jacket, the Sitka Gear Stormfront Pants serve as a critical shield against a saturated mother earth. Designed to satisfy the heartiest breeds, no detail was spared on this burly better half. The Sitka Gear Stormfront Pants feature removable suspenders, gusseted crotch, articulated knees, and full length leg zips.

*The newly redesigned Stormfront Series is fit to comfortably accommodate maximum layers on top of your cold and wet weather layering system, in an uninsulated shell form. Constructed with a GORE-TEX® laminate, the Stormfront Series is hunting’s go-to protection for extended wet weather protection, period.


Stormfront Gaiter

The updated Stormfront Gaiter includes all the benefits of its predecessor in a lighter and better performing package. The top is comprised of a 3-layer GORE-TEX® Pro laminate to shed water when crossing creeks or dew-soaked grass while the lower third is built with a rugged CORDURA® nylon for boot protection and a reinforced scuff guard for added abrasion resistance against scree and scrub. We removed the external buckles and added our internal ladder lock system for a lower profile, durable gaiter that completes head-to-toe protection for nimble mountain assaults.