Sitka Gear Ambient Hoody Review

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Sitka Gear Ambient Hoody Review

“Yikes!” was my gut reaction just a few days ago, stepping out of my pickup in the parking lot at work. It was raining hard, and some wise coworkers had gotten the spots closest to the door of our office. The next few minutes made me love my favorite piece of gear even more than I already did. I walked in the door, my Ambient hoody fairly well soaked, planning to hang it up to dry.

I got distracted by a conversation with an unnamed party (whose review is also on this page) for about 10 minutes. When I made it up to my office, I sat down only to realize that my jacket was already bone dry. I had forgotten that I was wearing one of the few truly innovative pieces of outdoor clothing ever created by man.

Sitka’s Ambient mid-layer line is, admittedly, not as cheap or nostalgic as a wool sweater or waffle-weave top. That’s because it’s filled with Primaloft Active Evolve® insulation – a remarkably efficient new material from the most qualified minds on the subject.

Active Evolve® was created to be lighter, warmer, more breathable, and quicker-drying than any other mid-layer material… ever. Once the folks at Sitka got a whiff of this, they grabbed this futuristic material and ran with it. I won’t pretend to have a clue how it works, but trust me, it does. It genuinely feels like magic, and I’ll tell you why.

Key Word: Thermoregulation

The Ambient Hoody is a great all-around piece, and I never want to hunt, hike, or do anything else without it. I wore it as my only layer here in the desert when it was 35 degrees in the morning and 80 degrees by nap time, and I was comfortable the whole time. I also wore it next-to-skin on Kodiak Island (nod if you’re sick of a few of us saying that) with only a soft-shell jacket on top. It was freezing cold and windy, and we hiked our tails off. I was warm when I needed to be, but never hot when moving around.

Water-repellent is not new, and neither is warm. What is new is ONE piece that does both and does not require a wardrobe change at the top of the hill. The Ambient breathes so well that I found I could hike full-steam for an hour and get to the top of a ridge, only to stare longingly at my favorite puffy jacket. The Ambient refused to overheat like a down jacket when I was on the move, and it would gently cool me down and keep me from getting that cold sweat feeling after glassing for a few minutes.

It’s shockingly lightweight, Sunday-morning comfortable, fairly packable, and has worked so hard to keep me comfortable that I can’t even believe it’s real.

You can still grab this (discontinued) version on BlackOvis at a discount, and there is a new full-zip version that hasn’t hit retailers quite yet. The Ambient line also includes a non-hooded jacket, a women’s version, a vest, and a UL (ultralight) version that I look forward to checking out.

$279.00 Buy now on Amazon


Levi Sopeland

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