Gassed was an understatement. We had logged over thirty miles in the first three days of our hunt. Huddled by the sputtering fire trying to protect it from the swirl of mountain winds bringing rain and sleet I reviewed the events of the past three days. My first elk had fallen no more than two hours on the first day of the hunt which brought three days of caring for the hundreds of pounds of meat was a life changing experience. Wearily stretching against the warm flicker of the fire I crossed my arms and dug down into my Sitka Gear Ascent Jacket as deep as possible and shut my eyes.
The human body is an amazing tool. Adapting to the environments in which the body finds itself is nothing short of amazing. Especially when on a hunt the body knows it is withstanding the elements and changes to preserve itself. Living in the elements for many days or even weeks at a time is possible through quality layering clothing. Adventure hunting exposes one to the reality of living in clothing for an extended period. Unlike most whitetail hunting, your clothing choices on an adventure hunt are in fact your house, your protection and guard against the elements. Choosing clothing which will provide comfortable protection against the elements for a long period can determine your effectiveness on a long hunt.
Adventure hunting is a relatively athletic endeavor. The constant ducking, twisting and weaving demands gear that can move with you not against you. Like many garments in the Sitka line, the Ascent Jacket has 4-way stretch fabric. Clothes which bind against your movements are not only miserable to wear for a week but can work against you during the moment of truth.
Sitka’s Ascent Jacket is an early season outer layer which works well with additional insulating layers. Even for whitetail season and cold weather hunting, the jacket can serve as an active mid layer to thermo-regulate the body. As a barrier against the wind and lite precipitation, the polyester lycra blend of materials quickly beads moisture. The Ascent jack does not contain insulating properties; rather its purpose is to work in tandem with specific insulating layers. Particularly in the early parts of the season when hot temperatures are typical, this jacket allows for the proper dispersion of moisture from the skin through the jacket to keep your skin dry.
Material durability is always the question. In three seasons of hunting with the Ascent Jacket I found it more than durable for traversing brush-choked country. The cross-section 4-way stretch material deflects brush quickly. For any hunter, firearm or archer, the single chest pocket provides ample room for essentials such as a range finder or additional cartridges.
The Ascent jacket does not take up much space in your pack. It is easily folded or wadded into a ball taking up no more space than a softball. It is perfect for the hunter carrying everything on their back. Sitka’s Ascent Jacket is a very affordable layer for any hunter. It is always in my gear tote since it is interchangeable across multiple seasons.
Whitetail hunters ought to seriously consider the Optifade Open Country pattern for their November jaunts in the woods. The gray based camouflage seamlessly blends with the gray hue of the woods on an overcast day when the leaves have dropped. It blends into the nakedness of the woods for an unsuspecting approach on your target buck from above. The Ascent Jacket is an affordable way to achieve efficiency from your clothing. My Ascent Jacket was the first Sitka Jacket I’d bought three years ago and continue to use it as an important part of my thermoregulating system. It can be an impactful part of your gear cache.
Multiple days of ominous weather enveloped the country we were hunting. It wasn’t until the final morning of the hunt we hastily grabbed our gear and took a short walk to a nearby meadow. My father talked me into the short hunt. Not thinking the hunt would last long I grabbed only a t-shirt and my Ascent Jacket, put on the wrong hiking socks and pants so dirty they could have stood up by themselves. The short walk turned into 15 hours of pursuit, tracking and packing for a bull which scored in the top five in Oregon in 2015.