If you’re a serious hunter, getting the right gear is essential. But knowing where to start can seem overwhelming. Three of the biggest names in the game right now are Sitka, Kryptek, and First Lite. But what kind of gear do each of these companies make, and which one is worth your money?
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Our Best Pick
|#3. First Lite|
#1. Sitka Gear
Sitka gear is specifically designed for hunters who tend to hunt in extreme weather conditions. It’s also made for those who prefer stand hunting to more active hunting. The considerations of Sitka gear make it ideal for stand hunters who need thermal protection, but it won’t perform as well for people who need active hunting gear.
The weather-resistant outerwear can keep you warm in the late season cold. The fabric also tends to be silent, eliminating the chances of your rustling scaring off the prey. One particular showpiece is the Incinerator jacket, which is designed with an insulated lining that warms up when it gets wet. You’ll be comfortable and warm in the cold.
Sitka gear does tend to be expensive. It’s also heavy, and it doesn’t have a tailored fit. Since it doesn’t fit like a glove, you won’t get the same flexibility that people usually want in more active hunting gear.
#2. First Lite Gear
First Lite is a gear manufacturer that focuses more on base layers than outerwear. The flexible gear functions well under heavier pants and jackets.
First Lite’s inner gear is unparalleled because of the manufacturer’s Merino X technology. The fabric uses an interlock knit that’s reinforced with spandex, allowing for better durability and insulation. The added stretch also means that the fabric will fit near-perfectly regardless of your body type.
If you want to layer your gear, First Lite is where you should start for your bases. The lightweight Aerowool line is super comfortable, flexible, and insulated. For those who engage in hunting that’s too active to utilize the Sitka gear, you can combine First Lite and Kryptek gear for a highly flexible outfit that’s still warm.
#3. Kryptek Gear
Kryptek gear is some of the most affordable outerwear on the market. It’s also highly flexible and optimized for stalk hunting. Because the fabric is lightweight and doesn’t offer a lot of insulation, it will serve you best in the early to middle season. This gear also has the best pattern variety, so you can find camouflage that’s truly perfect for your environment.
This isn’t the kind of gear you want if you’ll be battling extreme weather. It won’t insulate you against strong winds, and it won’t protect your body heat against the winter cold.
But in the fall and spring, when the weather is pleasant, this gear is comfortable and ideal. You can even wear it casually on a day-to-day basis thanks to the cool patterns and comfort.
If you want an early to mid season piece that’s relatively warm, the Tartaros camo hoodie is where to go. It’s durable, warm, and inexpensive. The stretchy fabric is easier to move in than a bulky jacket. Another ideal piece is a pair of Alaios pants, which you can use for your early spring hunting adventures.
There are several important differences in the gear. Some of the designs are meant to be used in different ways. You can mix and match different layers, or you can get a line of outerwear that all comes from the same manufacturer.
The Sitka gear is optimized for use as an outer layer of protection. It’s designed for people who plan to sit in their tree stands for several hours as opposed to hunting actively. Sitka gear is the type of gear you want if you’re going to be hunting in extreme cold, rainy conditions, snowy conditions, and high winds.
Because of how heavy Sitka gear is, it’s recommended for use in the middle to late season. The weather may be too warm in the early season unless you’re far enough north. The heavy construction also makes this gear best for tree stand hunting.
Kryptek has gear that’s less optimized for extreme weather but that offers a better fit. Since it’s lighter weight, it tends to work well for the early to mid season. Once the weather gets colder, though, it might be too chilly. The flexibility and good fit make it ideal for stalk and active hunting.
Kryptek gear is best for those who are looking for an affordable, high quality option. There’s also a much wider variety of designs and patterns than with a lot of other gear, so you can find the perfect camouflage for your hunting environment.
First Lite works best as base layers that you can put outer gear over, but you can also use the gear as outerwear. This gear is ideal because it comes with socks, underwear, and merino base layers that are both warm and flexible. The optimal time to use this gear is in the mid season. If you do use First Lite gear as outerwear, it’s best used for hunting western big game.
All three of these gear manufacturers have solidly constructed pieces that will appeal to a wide range of hunters. The best one for you really depends on what you’re looking for.
For stand hunters who want highly durable and insulated gear that performs well in extreme weather conditions, Sitka has you covered. If you prefer a more versatile and flexible set of gear for active hunting, then the multiple pattern options and optimal fit of the Kryptek are good. To add some flexible and comfortable thermal layers for the mid season, the First Lite gear is a great choice.