It’s unusual to fall in love with a midlayer. But that’s exactly what happened when I first put on the Sitka Gear Fanatic Hoody for this review. And the passionate affair continues.
If you’d have seen my hoody collection in college, you’d have come across a wide swath of giant lacrosse-themed cotton behemoths of old. I lived and died by the hoody in college. It was my daily go-to for class, the gym, sports practice, everyday life, and the occasional wedding.
OK, maybe not for weddings, but you get my point. Hoodies had a place in my life that slowly faded once entering the working world. Slowly but surely, hoodies were replaced by sweaters, cardigans, and more real-life-appropriate items. One glance in my closet will tell you that no college hoody has survived the real-world makeover of my closet.
And yet …
The Sitka Gear Fanatic Hoody Takeover
When I first pulled the Sitka Gear Fanatic Hoody from the box, it was a flashback to old times. Here was the classic hoody of my college years, but upgraded. There was a hood, yes. There was also the classic but streamlined kangaroo pocket (my fave!). The interior was soft and delightful.
But alas, this was microfleece, not cotton. This surely wouldn’t pill the softness away with each wash. The built-in mittens promised warmer hands in cold moments. The profile was fitted, flattering, and long — long enough to cover my hips and long enough through the sleeves that I could stretch out both arms and maintain coverage. And the built-in face mask meant that forgetting my buff (which I do basically all the time) would no longer be an issue.
Not only was this a hoody I could hunt in, but it was also a hoody I could live in. And with its ability to provide near-complete coverage, it’s basically the real-life version of SNL’s Turtle Shirt.
Putting the Fanatic Through Its Paces: Review
The Fanatic Hoody saw me through the entirety of my 2018 season. Between scouring the windblown sagebrush steppe of eastern Montana, packing out my deer, and keeping warm through a five-day hunting camp in Montana’s high country, it was the piece I was always wearing. It worked as a midlayer with base layers and as outerwear on warmer, sunnier days. It kept me warm, and the breathability was noticeable when I had to move quickly.
To further bring this point home, I was literally always wearing it. I lived on the road through fall, going from one camp to another and then back again. Laundry was a far-off concept when I had places to be. And the one time I recall smelling anything was when I was sitting in the goose blind and I got a whiff of mule deer.
Oh, right, I thought then, I haven’t washed this thing since I filled my tag. I looked down and caught the blood splashed on the wrists. Our days seemed numbered. Stained items get banished to the thrift store bins. I felt a bit nervous.
Into the laundry it went. And somehow, some way, it came out stainless. It hadn’t shrunk. It actually looked as if I had just pulled it out of the box. The joy of this moment was only overshadowed by the fact that I hadn’t needed to wash it. The Polygiene odor technology had proved its merit over a season of wear through multiple circumstances.
Why Have One When You Can Have Two?
My biggest beef with the Fanatic was only having one, to be honest. And wearing camo in public outside of hunting season is something I personally strive to avoid.
Enter the solid black Fanatic. It’s all the fabulous components of the camo hoody in the most flattering color. I also wore the black one hunting for an entire week when I forgot my camo hoody on a recent hunting trip. That means I have at least another four weeks of wear before I need to throw it in the washer.
Sitka Fanatic Hoody: Field Tested, Life Approved
I have to admit, I’m kind of embarrassed that I went so long without washing it. And actually, in the goose blind, I leaned over to my hunting partner and quietly asked if I was that person.
“Nope,” he replied. “You smell like a girl.”
A girl! I didn’t smell like a rutting mule deer?! Life is full of wonderful surprises — and the Fanatic Hoody is definitely one of them. It’s a multitasking, flattering, comfortable workhorse of a midlayer.