July 19, 2019
It was a beautifully eerie sight, but the limited visibility prevented birds from spotting our decoys and had us missing the minimal shot opportunities.
Our final day in Kansas began with an Argo trek through thick, heavy fog to a blind at the center of a pond. This was the dampest, chilliest morning of the week – ideal conditions for putting the full Sitka Women’s Waterfowl System to the test.
Six women with different body types – we got early access to try out this foray into the women’s waterfowl world during the hunt of a lifetime at Hooray Ranch in Kingman, Kansas.
The same female input and extensive field testing that went into the Sitka women’s whitetail and big game gear shaped this dream of a line for the ladies.
Their team is always looking to tweak and improve designs based on feedback, as seen in the revamped 2019 Fanatic series.
So even after creating a near-perfect lineup, Sitka solicited our nitpicky suggestions – and they were few.
You won’t find any unnecessary feminine frills like pink logos, aqua accents, or metallic stitching in this line. Women’s hunting gear usually leaves much to be desired, but this system is packed with practical features I never knew I needed.
A week of belly laughs, mixed bag limits, and newfound friendships later, I came home with some lifelong memories and a new favorite set of gear.
Work the System
The only thing worse than shivering in a subpar getup is sweating in a bulky suit once the sun appears. That’s why this line includes 13 new items to form a complete layering system, finished in Optifade Waterfowl Marsh.
During our mid-December hunt, weather shifted from a 20-something daybreak to balmy temps by mid-day. So we shed layers throughout the hunt to stay warm, dry, and comfortable.
Starting with soft, moisture-wicking base layers followed by functional mid layers and extreme-cold outerwear, Sitka rounds out with this system with glove and headwear options.
This isn’t just cropped menswear. I’ve tested plenty of gear that doesn’t account for the female form or offer an appropriate athletic fit. But even layered up in the full system, this clothing didn’t feel bulky and fit my frame.
Devil in the Details
My biggest gripe with any hunting apparel is the lack of accessibility when nature calls after one too many cups of morning coffee. But the Hudson Bib features drop-seat functionality to remedy this situation, thanks to full-length side zippers – which also allow for easy on and off without removing boots. The bibs also sport adjustable no-buckle suspenders that lie flat for no interference or clanking when shouldering a shotgun. And reinforced puncture-resistant knee overlays hit at the right spot when kneeling for added protection.
As a lefty shooter, I can’t comfortably utilize chest pockets – which are traditionally located on the left side only. But zippered upper storage pockets on either side of the Hudson Jacket eliminate this issue as well.
The high hand pockets on several pieces allow for snugly resting forearms on the warm chest, so I could opt for thin gloves rather than a heavier pair that would limit dexterity. Plus high collars provided warmth and concealment for the neck and face, without the need for a gaiter or mask.
And while the naysayers may balk at investing in gear of this caliber, I have yet to wear out a piece of Sitka Gear and or find another women’s line that can compete with the quality, fit, and performance.
The Sitka Women’s Waterfowl System is now available.
For more details on this hunt, check out The Awakening by Sierra Langbell in our August Gear issue!