There are lots of variables we cannot control while on a hunt. The weather is possibly the most impactful of those ever-changing variables. My clothes/gear change as fast as the forecast on my weather app, and for good reason. If you do not plan and adapt to the current conditions, you might as well plan to fail.
Sitka Mountain Evo Jacket
Hunting in the west means you will be hunting in the wind. When the forecast calls for milder temps with little or no precipitation, my go-to has been the Sitka Mountain Jacket. It would take the place of a rain jacket that might be called for if there was more rain in the forecast but still blocked the wind when I needed a wind blocker. I packed the Mountain jacket all over the West for many years, and it proved a valuable asset worth its weight in my pack. But there was one glaring problem, in my opinion, about the Mountain Jacket: it had no hood.
This past spring Sitka released the Mountain Evo Jacket. I reached out to see if this new jacket was what I had been asking for, essentially a Mountain Jacket with a hood. While the Mountain Evo shares many features with its predecessor, the Evo has new features that might make it better than just a Mountain Jacket with a hood. More here.
The Mountain Evo Jacket uses GORE-TEX INFINIUM fabric with WINDSTOPPER technology that has proved over the years to cut the wind that can drive us down off a glassing point. It is very lightweight and has a very small footprint in the backpack. All seams are welded together, and it has zippered side hand pockets and a chest pocket. The hood is designed to offer protection from the wind while not blocking vision. My Evo is a size large and weighs 14 ounces.
Fit and Comfort
The cut and design of the Mountain Evo are completely new and offer a different feel than my Mountain jacket. The Evo has WINDSTOPPER in areas like the chest, sides, lower back, and hood but also has 4-way stretch panels under the arms and in the upper and middle back. The result is the ability to block wind, keep your core warm, and dump excess heat and moisture when needed. The stretch panels also give the jacket an unrestricted feel that I really like. I forget I have it on.
I tested the Evo this past spring in a multitude of different climates and activities. Running in sleet and rain while training for races, hiking up and down Total Archery Challenge events, and hiking with a weighted backpack, the Evo lived up to my expectations. It is more than a Mountain jacket with a hood, and I use it for more activities than I ever asked from its predecessor. The Evo is designed to be a windproof active layer that you can wear during the most strenuous times but breathe well enough that you can keep it on all day.
While not as silent as some other materials, such as fleece, the Evo is quieter than I expected from a windproof layer. I think it will also become quieter with wash cycles and wear.
In a stalking situation on a bedded animal, I would have no worries about noise from the Evo unless it was dead calm, and of course, if it is dead calm, I would not need a windproof layer. The Evo will shine in active hunting situations like elk hunting, where a hunter moves and constantly stops in varying mountain weather. Paired with a puffy jacket, the Evo will shed the wind while glassing and keep me comfortable while not moving.
All I wanted was a hood on my windproof layer, I got a lot more, and I could not recommend the Mountain Evo enough. Available here.
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