SITKA GEAR - Blizzard Series Parka and Pants Gear Review - By Matt Eastman

When it comes to performance hunting gear, Sitka Gear is at the top of the food chain. New to their cold weather system for 2014 is the Blizzard Series Parka and Bibs. This series offers a very innovative system for the coldest of conditions that guarantees to keep you warm and dry. Designed with the late season western hunter in mind, the highly technical Blizzard Series is perfect for low activity hunting in extreme cold weather situations. With a GORE_TEX shell teamed with 650 fill power white duck down blended with Primaloft for insulation; the Blizzard Series will keep you extremely comfortable in the worst of winter like conditions. On a cold December night I returned home to find a box at my doorstep with the Blizzard Series inside. At first glance, I noticed the gear had some bulk to it, but I was extremely surprised as I picked it up and noticed it was actually fairly lightweight. I couldn’t wait to go out and try this gear. 1505224_796970226996478_2116775528_n My first experience with the Blizzard Series took place on a late December coyote hunt in Southwest Wyoming. Let me tell you, this piece of gear is absolutely perfect for this type of hunting. The wind was howling and the temps were just above zero. The Windstopper technology incorporated with this system blocks those cold wind chills from touching your body. As I mentioned, the Blizzard Series is for low activity hunting. Coyote hunting falls into this category and if you are a serious coyote hunter, this cold weather system is a must have item. While sitting in the snow calling for coyotes for half hour sequences, freezing my tail off was always a problem in the past. In fact, it was hard to sit and call for the proper amount of time. I would often throw in the towel after 5 minutes and moved on just to get warm again. This is no longer the case with the Sitka Gear Blizzard Series. The Blizzard Bibs excel in this situation. With a GORE TEX shell teamed with down insulation, sitting in the snow is no longer a problem. Another feature incorporated with the bibs are full length welded and water tight zipper, which make slipping the bibs on a breeze, even with a pair of boots already on. 529225_796970683663099_1023156368_n Now, while I mentioned that this system is mostly for stationary types of hunting, you’ll be surprised how well it works for short hikes as well. I was fortunate to go along on a buffalo hunt in Jackson Hole, WY and the Blizzard Series worked out great. This hunt required 1.5 – 3 mile hikes every morning with temps dropping as low as -8 degrees. While my hunting partners fought the chills, I remained comfortable and was able to focus on the hunt rather than the extreme cold. 1606993_796970543663113_2085423908_n Blizzard Parka Key Features: RIRI Waterproof Front Zippers And Welded and Water Tight Zippers: An array of RIRI Waterproof Zippers and Welded Water Tight Zippers are featured on the Parka and Bibs that allow you to store important items such as electronics so that they don’t succumb to moisture. IMG_3919 Hand Warmer Pockets: Two hand warmer pockets can be found on the Parka and can be used when your hands need that extra warmth. These pockets are lined with soft fleece with down insulation to create superior warmth. IMG_3925 Lens Cloth: This was a first for me, but inside the left chest pocket, you will find a large 8”x 8” piece of lens cloth attached with a stretch cord for quick and easy cleaning on your optics. This is a simple idea, but a great one indeed. I find it easier to use than a spud cloth that is normally attached to your binos. An excellent feature, I hope to see this incorporated in most of the Sitka line up if it isn’t already. IMG_3920 Internal Sleeve Cuffs and Thumb Hole: The internal sleeve cuff along with a thumb hole fitting, found just inside the outer cuff, creates a tighter fit around the wrist and locks in heat. IMG_3922 Blizzard Bibs Key Features: Welded Water Tight Full Length Zippers: On each pant leg, Sitka incorporated full length water tight zippers which makes slipping the Bibs on and off a breeze. IMG_3927 Quiet Snap Cargo Pockets: Just about each knee you will find large cargo pockets featuring Quiet Snap technology. Believe me, they are quiet. The cargo pockets are large enough to easily fit most of your necessities. IMG_3929 Double Reinforced Seat: Added protection on your bottom area when sitting in damp or wet areas. This feature blocks moisture and fights abrasion. IMG_3926 Summary: It’s no surprise that Sitka Gear is bringing an excellent piece of gear to the table with the Blizzard Series. The price will scare you at first, but trust me when I say you pay for what you get. And let me tell you, if you encounter any kind of weather, it will be well worth it. In all of my research over the years, I’ve never seen a cold weather system as technical and systematic as the Blizzard Series by Sitka Gear. This system is truly awesome. The million dollar question I always ask myself; “Would I take it in the backcountry on my hunts?” The answer is yes, absolutely. If there is any kind of weather in the forecast, the Blizzard Series from Sitka Gear will be with me every step of the way. 1545049_796969570329877_1220109628_n Blizzard Parka Specs: • RIRI Waterproof Front Zipper • Welded and Water Tight Zippers • Two Hand Warmer Pockets, Along With an Array of Zippered Pockets • Long Cut Maximizes Overlap for Increased Protection • Internal Sleeve Cuffs • Drop Away Hood for Maximum Visibility • Durable Face Fabric • Weight: 46.4 oz. • Sizes: M-3XL • GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment Open Country, 155G/M2 Primaloft® Down Blend Silver, GORE-TEX® Laminate • MSRP: $699 IMG_3918IMG_3916IMG_3921IMG_3923 Blizzard Bib Specs: • Welded and Water Tight Zippers • Extra High Back Maximizes Overlap for Increased Protection • Quiet Snap Cargo Pockets • Durable Face Fabric • Weight: 39.9 oz. • Sizes: Reg. Sizes: M-3XL and Tall Sizes: M-XL • GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment Open Country, 155G/M2 Primaloft® Down Blend Silver, GORE-TEX® Laminate • MSRP: $589 IMG_3931IMG_38891606993_796970543663113_2085423908_n

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