A big thanks to the people who sent us the Sitka Traverse Cold Weather Hoody in order to do our product review. The temperature in Virgina is getting very cold, the highs have dropped, and this hoody will be excellent for trapping in my body heat when I’m stomping around the outdoors or shooting at an outdoor range. Today for example the wind felt like sharp needles pricking through my cotton hoody. Once I donned the Sitka hoody my problem was solved. From what I can tell, the hoody seemed breathable, waterproof and windproof. This is what I need for my outdoors excursions.
Upon unboxing the hoody from its container, I noticed how soft the hand of the material was. Rubbing this soft, yet robust material through my fingertips instantly told me this hoody would be comfortable for wear. The gentle texture would also ensure the fabric wouldn’t make noise when the body is in motion; for hunters this is particularly important info to note if they’re looking to avoid noisy fabrics. I’m not a hunter but I do go outdoors a lot in extremely harsh conditions, especially running distances before the cold break of day, and I understand the need for protection. In my hands the hoody felt lightweight and the design made it appear to be everything I hoped it would be; a utility garment made with a simple but killer look.
The look of the hoody is very sleek; very techie. The tailoring is more of an athletic cut than a boxy cut and therefore will be more form-fitting than not. This is important because it will help to trap bodyheat in. Yet, the tapered cut is good for another reason-I can use it with my firearm.
The hoody tapers at the waistline. I can easily tuck the hemlines into my trousers without it bunching up, and wear an Inside the Waist Band (IWB) holster and marry this garment with a larger outer shell jacket when it gets really cold. The hoody is long and just wide enough that I can also wear it regularly, with the hem over my trousers and marry this with an IWB. Or I can wear it solely with an OWB. Clearly, the hoody is good for regular day use or for those who want it for hunting applications.
At first I didn’t like the simple, patterned black and gray color combination but it started to grow on me. An all black color would have been a little too common. The gray color around the ends of the sleeves, inside the jacket and on the chest pocket made the hoody pop with a certain freshness rather than being stale. The clean look of the garment was enhanced by a lack of visible seams on the shoulders and sleeves. The horizontal stitching across the chest gives it a sleek mean look while providing a good fit across the torso. The Sitka Traverse also comes in the Optifade Open Country pattern and the Sitka Black. Sizes are Small, Medium, Large, XL, XXL and 3XL.
The hoody includes a protective hood, an effective yet simple built-in face mask, and two side-pockets; all done with a good athletically tailored cut. I was eager to give it a go. Trying it on I noticed that it fit over my body comfortably. The fabric is stretchy and therefore can fit over larger and smaller body types, this is due to it being made of a polyester Spandex blend. When I put the jacket on over my t-shirt I instantly noticed the soft Berber fleece backing; this is great for trapping in heat. But most importantly its good for keeping the skin warm.
The flexible fabric seemed great for high-energy activity. One of my concerns was how warm it would keep me while I ran or did brisk walking, such as today. Some materials have a tendency not to wick too well and this in turns leaves you feeling sweaty. It definitely provided me great ease of movement. The material moved in whatever direction my body moved. I could do pullups from a tree branch, raise my hands over head and hold a pistol in my outstretched arms without feeling greatly restricted. Although I have an athletic build, I’m not a big guy. I weigh in at a lean 175 lbs. While the stretchy shoulders, torso and sleeves of the hoody gave me ample room, it was a bit tight below my armpits. A larger size would do the trick for me, although the size I wore didn’t ride up my body or restrict me too much, as I contorted my frame. Breathable underarm panels or pit zippers would have been good to release heat if you got overly hot, to help regulate temperatures.
The sleeves are trim and not sloppy. It would have been beneficial to have thumb loops in order to keep my sleeves down if I wore an outer layer over the hoody such as a puffy jacket. Some jackets and hoodies have sleeves that bind or bunch up over a user’s forearms; not so with the Traverse. Yet, I feel thumb loops would be an added value to the hoody by allowing you to insert your sleeves fully inside a pair of gloves if the weather got too chilly, or so you could climb or boulder while wearing it.
Little gray piping adds to the modern look. The sleeves are made of stretchy spandex and the tailored darts allow someone with large or smaller forearms to feel comfortable.
The sleeves come with a column of soft micro fleece that runs the entire length from shoulder to wrist. You can see the heavy stitching holding the garment together.
The jacket features a high gauge, integrated face mask. Though very thin, this item is excellent to reduce those chill winds. Usually a neck gaiter or muffler can be used in conjunction with a garment. With the face mask, you can leave the rest of the gear behind at home and save space and weight. The mask is very thin but effective once the hoody is fully zipped. The mask can also be used to protect you against debris such as dust, insects and spider webs that are commonly encountered when outdoors. Lastly, I like the fact that my nose and cheeks won’t freeze off.
Sitka makes good use of the heavy stitching and grey piping on the hood.
The stretchy scuba-like, hood hugs the shape of the head. Using the hoody zipper will pull the hood of the garment in more tightly around your head and keep in heat. When not in use, the hood drapes sleekly off the neck and over the shoulders, unlike some very long, droopy hoods which do not encapsulate the head to protect it from the elements. The hood fits well over the head even when wearing a baseball cap.
The Sitka Traverse has killer details, such as the small fabric flap (above me forefinger in the image) that ensures the zipper seats beneath the fabric when the pockets are fully zipped.
Open up the side pockets and you have soft micro fleece to warm your hands. The zipper is pulled up or down with a nice, attached fabric loop.
The chest pocket is deep enough for your entire hand to be inserted into it. The side pockets are wide and tall. The pockets are excellent for housing an I.D., house keys, phone or even shotgun shells; depends on what you want it for. The flatlock seams lay flat for added comfort. The side pockets include a partial sleeve lining to further keep the hands warm.
The overall weight of the jacket is 27.17 oz. I like the lightness of the item. It can be rolled into a ball or folded neatly; either way you do it, the item will fit soundly in a small rucksack or gym bag. If you’re out hunting, running or hiking and the temperature drops too much this is the item to grab from your pack.
The collar is very soft and does not feel scratchy around the neck. There is a useful hoody loop to allow hanging on a coat hook.
The collar can zip right up to your mouth and provides a close fit to keep in heat. A good beanie can be worn for added effectiveness.
Yes, you look like Snakeyes but that’s the point, right? The mask is very breathable
The hood includes stitching in the proper places that provide a contoured fit to your noggin.
Wind and rain are two of the elements to consider when looking at clothing to purchase. If you’re going to encounter any kind of wind or rain in your neck of the woods then look for material that keeps warmth in while keeping the elements out. How did it handle drizzling rain? The jacket is not fully waterproof. It has a water-repellent finish to ward off light rain and beaded off.
While it does repel light rain, this is not a rain coat. It’s more of a base layer and can be used as an outer layer if rain doesn’t prevail. It is sufficient for light rain but should be paired with a light-weight wind-breaker or rain jacket for repelling chilling wind and heavy moisture. The Traverse hoody has excellent applications for cross-country skiing, bicycling, snow running and hiking. Maybe even use it for bouldering. Any kind of layering will just improve what you already have.
You can see in the picture above how the Traverse fits over my frame. I have a narrow waist and wide shoulders. If you’re a barrel chested dude and have big arms then I recommend going a size up. The front of the jacket hem falls over the pants about mid-zipper. I think this is excellent for concealed-carry. If it were longer it might slow your drawing speed. Notice the bat-wing size width of the collar? When the collar is fully zippered it will encapsulate your neck and jaw line. Excellent! I like the pull-tab on the zippers to help you draw the jacket open and closed.
Side View. Notice how the back hem of the jacket sits over the rear of my body? This is great for concealed-carry. The hood of the hoody is short rather than droopy and won’t bunch up when I’m seated in my car. Sleekly designed. Notice the lack of seams on the shoulders and sleeves? Again, very techie looking.
A good garment that won’t hinder drawing your weapon speedily. In the image above I’ve got it zipped up but the jacket unzipped and opened up quickly unlike some zippers that have a tendency to not slide open well. I’m using a generic soft holster. The jacket is intentionally tailored to follow the contour of the body and hugs the arms. Not sloppy at all. No useless or endless amount of material to pull away from the body.
In this image I’m using the Alien Tuck 3.0 holster on my backside. The jacket hem is long enough to help conceal a firearm, yet it is robust enough around the waist that no printing happens to give your carrying status away.
Functionality: 4/5 Thumb loops and breathable armpits would be ideal
Durability: Too soon to tell
Comfort: 4/5 Tight under the armpits. Might fit differently for each person
Overall Total: 18/20
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Sitka Traverse hoody via Spotter Up. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
– High Gauge Knit Face
– Polyester Spandex Blend
– Full Zip
– Integrated Face Mask
– Zippered Chest Pocket
– Hand Pockets
- High-loft Berber-fleece backing traps body heat
- Polyester and spandex blend eliminates bunching and binding
- Ideal as a midlayer or outer layer
- Contoured hood with integrated facemask