Glassing in the Sitka Gear Aerolite Collection
(Photo/Craig Francis, Sitka Gear)

Sitka Gear Aerolite Collection: Space-Age Synthetics for Hardcore Hunters

The incorporation of PrimaLoft Gold aerogel technology builds the lightest, warmest synthetic hunting collection from this brand yet.

Sitka Gear has never shied away from the use of synthetic insulation across the board. And it continues to double down on the efficacy of a synthetic layering system for hunters of all types.

Luckily, material technology is behind this effort, and PrimaLoft sits at the helm of developing high-performance gear to meet the needs of military professionals, athletes, and outdoorspeople alike.

Sitka’s incorporation of PrimaLoft Gold Insulation with Cross Core technology into its latest series of outerwear cuts back on weight, ups the thermal component, and increases durability.

Sound too good to be true? It’s not.

How Does Aerolite Work?

Sitka Gear Aerolite Collection
(Photo/Ben Potter, Sitka Gear)

OK, so the first thing we need to discuss is how insulation works. As much as we’d like to think these high-tech materials keep us warm, trapped air is actually nature’s best insulator. And the materials used dictate the amount of trapped air doing the job.

Say you’re wearing a down coat. It’s very cold outside, but it’s dry. And you’re very warm. The high loft of the down is trapping a lot of air inside of the coat. Then, someone dumps a bucket of cold water over your head. The down jacket compresses when wet, and those lofty (and even treated) feathers clump up. The loft is gone. It’s now very cold and you are soaked. You die.

OK, I overdramatized a bit. But to sum up how PrimaLoft Gold Insulation with Cross Core technology is different, I’ll start here. Aerogel is the world’s lightest insulator — made nearly entirely of air. It’s also super delicate, easily shattered, and water-soluble.

What PrimaLoft’s latest iteration does is encapsulate aerogel in a way that makes it ideal for outerwear. Incorporating aerogel into the weave of the fabric creates mini air pockets that insulate with less weight and bulk as well as adding what I’ll call built-in loft to the fabric. It also negated the difficult properties of aerogel with this new tech.

Unlike down or other lofted materials, you can sit on Aerolite, compress it as much as you want, soak it in water, sleep on it, whatever — and you won’t push the insulating air out of the garment. Voila! It keeps its thermal integrity.

It’s worth noting several outdoor recreation brands have already implemented this insulation in products. L.L.Bean launched a sleeping bag with PrimaLoft Gold Insulation a couple of years ago. But the hunting market is now getting this major new tech too. In comes Sitka Gear.

The Sitka Gear Aerolite Collection

Sitka Gear Aerolite Collection
(Photo/Bianca Germain, Sitka Gear)

Focusing primarily on outerwear and one sleep option, the Aerolite collection aims to outfit hunters with the best warm-when-wet technology the market has to offer.

Currently, the collection focuses on men’s gear. Offerings begin at the revamped Kelvin jacket ($299) and Kelvin vest ($199) in the midlayer range. And from there, three separate outer layer jacket and bib combinations exist for the waterfowl hunter, the Western big-game hunter, and the whitetail hunter.

Example: The Incinerator collection for whitetail hunters sounds toasty, right? These are fully waterproof, thoughtful pieces incorporating PrimaLoft for ultimate thermal performance in wet conditions.

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In addition to this apparel collection, the Kelvin Aerolite 30 Sleeping Bag is the final layer for a total Sitka Gear system approach to hunting clothing. It’s wildly innovative, and Sitka designed it to go with your entire kit. Puffy, pants, base layers, the whole shebang. It can also transition into a warm layer to wear around camp, when glassing, or in an emergency situation in the elements.

The collection is — as one might guess — costly. Pieces range from $199 to $749. Combine the Blizzard jacket and pants, and you’re looking at about $1,450. It’s not a small investment.

But for people who spend day in and day out in hazardous conditions, this lofty and perfectly warm material can be lifesaving. And if nothing else, it is a dependable sort of warmth that’s new to the market. It’s freakin’ cool, if not for everyone.

Final Thoughts on Aerolite

Camping in the Sitka Gear Aerolite Collection
(Photo/Jay Beyer, Sitka Gear)

GearJunkie will be trekking a few Aerolite pieces into the woods this fall and winter. We’re excited to test out these garments in the conditions Sitka made them for. And we’ll definitely be covering this collection more after testing.

It’s hard to underestimate Sitka Gear. The gear nerd in me is stoked on the viability of aerogel in this new wearable format.

If you’re a hunting guide, a connoisseur of cold and wet climates, or just someone who loves wearing the latest and greatest in the field, the Aerolite collection is likely for you.

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Nicole Qualtieri

Based in Montana, Nicole Qualtieri is GearJunkie's Hunt + Fish Editor. She also serves as a Board Director for Orion the Hunters Insititute, a non-profit promoting fair chase and hunting ethics nationwide. A DIY hunter, she comes from a non-traditional hunting background and began hunting and fishing in her 30s. She's been a voice for hunting, fishing, and conservation since 2014, when she got started working on the television show MeatEater. She's an avid horsewoman, bird dog aficionado, snowboarder, hiker/backpacker, food nerd, and all-around outdoorswoman. Find her online at @nkqualtieri.