A Spotter Up Review! Hoody
When it comes to getting deep into the outdoors, all clothing is not created equally. Gone are the days of trying to pack in flannel-lined canvas like cold weather gear. Enter the days where every ounce counts.
Science and hunting have become far closer bedfellows in these modern times. From glass used in optics to fuels used in backpacking stoves, hunting and backpacking are increasingly becoming more efficient.
“The Times, They Are Changing”
I used to pack in a thick, down jacket that while providing a good amount of warmth, was not kind on space and on top of that, was weight costly. The camouflage for that jacket is monochromatic and very specific to my regional hunts, high desert brushy areas.
When we examine the types of companies that are leading the charge in apparel for outdoorsmen, Sitka takes the cake with name recognition and word of mouth credibility. I’ll be honest; the price of their clothing has been the number one deterrent in my not purchasing their product. I’ve always invested in quality gear and wanted the best of the best when it comes to my rifles, optics, packs, food and other assorted gear. For whatever reason, I have always had this mental separation between gear and clothing. This has been remedied with my recent opportunity to review the Sitka Kelvin Down WS Hoody.
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Technology in the Sitka Kelvin Down Hoody
Let’s start with the first demonstration of technology, weight. This “hoody” which packs like a hoody, weighs in like a hoody but certainly acts more like a hardy cold weather coat boasts a weight of 32 oz. That’s 2 pounds for us freedom loving Americans. When you put the hoody on, something doesn’t click. In 30-degree weather, I was slightly above comfortable in the warmth scale, closing in on sweating. With that comfortable level of warmth setting in, confusion joins it. It feels like there is literally, nothing hanging off of your shoulders. A lot of high quality, durable materials go in to the making of these hoodies and there is, generally speaking, an expectation that quality and weight should be associated. Don’t believe me? Remember in Jurassic Park, when Timmy reaches to the back of the transport vehicle on the tour and produces the largest pair of night vision goggles I’ve ever seen.
Gennaro asks: “Are they heavy?”
Timmy replies: “Yeah”
Gennaro then deduces the following: “Than they’re expensive, put em’ back.”
Considering the value of having a lightweight hoody that will protect you from some pretty harsh conditions, a 2 lb. addition to your load out is an absolute asset.
No Expense Spared
When I refer to high quality materials, I’m talking about very recognizable terminology. This hoody is insulated with 250 grams of PrimaLoft Gold down, 70% water resistant European goose down and 30% PrimaLoft Gold synthetic insulation. Just know that this hoody is filled with the very best material that it could be filled with. The hoody is then wrapped up with an outer fabric made of GORE WINDSTOPPER. What that means for you is that you are not making any sacrifices for the ultra warm, ultra light hoody. The outer shell takes all the annoyances of the wind thrashing up against you and doesn’t allow any of it to seep through. The GORE WINDSTOPPER outer shell is also water resistant. I got rained on while wearing it and no water seeped through the shell either. If you’ve ever been hunting before, you know that scents count. The hoody didn’t emanate any odoriferous scents after being rained on either. The integrity of the outer shell and inner lining were not affected at all by the rain, remaining soft and pliable.
I’m Quirky… I know.
I want to stress a point about this jacket that I really love. The inner lining of this hoody is very comfortable. One of my favorite things to do while backpacking is turning in for the night. There is always a sense of satisfaction or determination associated with it for me. I’m either excited that I made the grueling hike to get into where I set up camp, or I’m determined to get up the next day and get after it. Whatever that “it” might be. Catching a monster fish, getting on a monster deer, whatever it is I love turning in because I know the next day is bringing something good. When I turn in for the night in cold weather, I typically take off the ol’ pantaloons and socks, and crawl into my sleeping bag. I zip it halfway up and then wear a jacket with the hood up over my head. This jacket is the most comfortable of its type that I have worn. I look forward to using it for one of these trips. The hoody has the benefit of a brim, which does a good job of rolling the rain off to the side of your head instead of in front of your face. The other nice thing about it for me is that when I do sleep in it, it won’t let the hood fold over my face unless I want it to. The last feature of the hood is the ability to really cinch it down using elastic cord and spring-loaded clips. The cuffs of the sleeve have elastic sewn into them which means that the cold won’t come creeping in while your trying to be still on a hillside, glassing.
The Kelvin has a total of four pockets. Two conveniently placed deep pockets in the front of the jacket on either side of the body and two within the inside of the jacket on either side of the breast. The outer pockets are convenient because if you weren’t wearing gloves, you could tuck your hands inside them for warmth as they are insulated as well. The inner pockets hold the material stored within them close to your body via a durable mesh type material. These pockets are also deep and capable of keeping things warm as they hold your contained object in between the insulation of the jacket and your body. The jacket secures in the middle of the front utilizing a #5 YKK Vislon Short zipper. What this means for you, is that even the zipper is designed to be lightweight and built by the premier zipper manufacturer in the World. The pocket zippers are smaller inside and every zipper on the jacket utilizes nylon string to ensure your ability to manipulate it with gloves on.
When we talk camouflage, I start to get picky, snobby even. I love Kryptek. It has been my single most favorite brand of camo for a long time, that is, until I opened the box holding this hoody. Sitka makes this jacket in a couple of different camo patterns. The one I chose is Subalpine Optifade by Gore. I have never seen a type of camouflage so diverse. The research, engineering and scientific thought that goes into the development at Gore shines in this arena. In the Arizona high desert, my preferred hunting grounds, we deal with a lot of high brush. We also have vegetation ranging from cactus to Juniper to evergreens. This jacket works literally up against and within every one of those and all of the plausible combinations that I would encounter. The pattern is scientifically developed to break up your body shape using digitized macro patterns of (in the Subalpine variety) browns, tans, greens and blacks. If you can’t tell, I’m in love with this pattern.
Standing at about 6’2” and weighing in around 250 pounds, I typically wear an XL sized t-shirt. I ordered this jacket in XL. The fitment of it is a little big. I’m not talking about wearing your dad’s sport coat kind of big, but it’s slightly larger than I anticipated. I opted not to send it back as when I am in colder weather, I like to layer anyway. The other advantage to having this piece of gear on the slightly larger side is that it moves really well. The fabric by itself is surprisingly quiet. The old pinch and rub test doesn’t illicit much noise at all. The fabric holds a soft nature without the “crunch” or denim rigidity that I expect from cold weather gear. When I put a pack on, I can still move and bend well. The jacket and pack combination doesn’t prohibit my arms reach in any way shape or form either. The pack doesn’t elicit any more noise when rubbing up against the jacket, which can sometimes be an issue when you have the meeting of two materials that are not similar.
I work in law enforcement. I had a training day with my squad and decided to take the Kelvin Hoody in with me to show one of my coworkers who is also an avid hunter. After about an hour of the jacket sitting on a counter, I noticed that it kept moving, shortly after that, I caught three of my coworkers slipping it on and walking around in it. They were all very impressed with the jackets weight and comfort. They were all admiring the camo pattern and asking me where they could buy one of their own.
I’ll admit, there is a bit of sticker shock involved when I see that the jacket retails at $389.00. Included in that price is a durable stuff sack that assists this jacket in packing down to a medium size that easily fits within a pack. I have found other version of this same jacket in different camo prints for around $270.00. Consider that we are no longer in a time where clothing is simply clothing. Your clothing choice is as much a piece of gear as your backpack or sleeping bag. I have spent $400.00 on far more dumb pieces of gear and things that I don’t ever use. When you are out in the sticks, freezing on a hillside, this is the gear that makes a difference. Good cold weather gear can make a trip. If you are not able to afford the sticker price outright, save for a while. Put your dollars away for a few months and then spend the money. This jacket is absolutely worth every cent.
Let’s rank it!
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.