I had the chance to try out the Sitka Stormfront raingear on several hunts this summer and fall in Alaska. The hunts were in a remote part of the state where getting dry wasn’t something you could count on. There is little to start a fire with and the sun shines sporadically at best. The old saying, “It’s easier to stay dry than to get dry” had to have been coined by an Alaskan hunter. If not, it still holds true in the North Country more than anywhere else.
Given the length of time afield and the country being hunted as well as the knowledge that getting dry would be a luxury if my clothes were to get wet, it was vital to have a set of raingear that was designed for the harsh elements and terrain.
These hunts varied in intensity and topography but I found the Stormfront pants and jacket well thought out for everything I threw their way. The mountain hunts were in steep, rocky terrain with an external pack frame that weighed 20-80 pounds depending on the day. The jacket pockets were placed high enough my hip belt didn’t interfere with them and they remained usable for storage and warmth. The pit zips made a huge difference in managing my body temperature. I opened them up all the way while climbing to allow body heat to escape and then closed them up for water and glassing breaks to preserve heat. The bottoms came with suspenders that did their job well, regardless of the weight of my pack. The pants also have full-length zippers on the sides to allow ease of use in putting on and taking off without removing boots which I appreciated in the rocks. On days with intermittent showers, I wore just the rain pants with no base layer and used the side zippers to manage airflow which worked great as well as saved me the weight of an extra pair of bottoms.
I used the Stormfront system on a sheep hunt, mountain goat hunt, and a short stint in a moose camp, the only problem I ran into was while wading through alders, the bottom cuff strap on the pants would come loose intermittently, allowing the leg to ride up somewhat. Perhaps a locking buckle and strap would solve this problem instead of the foldover style of buckle, but it was a minor inconvenience given the overall performance. Busting through soaking wet brush for hours is a pretty good litmus test of raingear and the material held up well and didn’t become compromised.
If you are planning the hunt of a lifetime or even just looking to upgrade your raingear this year, the Stormfront system from Sitka is a well thought out, durable option to explore for those hunts where staying dry is a requirement.
Visit Sitka to learn more about their outerwear HERE.