The Sitka Fanatic Hoody is a versatile hooded grid fleece mid-layer that’s great for on-trail hiking and off. It has an integrated face mask which is good for wind and sun protection, mittens sewn onto the end of its sleeves, a kangaroo pocket, and a drop tail that works well when worn with a backpack. It’s also treated with Polygiene odor control technology which takes the bite of the body odor you generate when wearing a fleece garment.
Sitka is not a brand that most hikers and backpackers are very familiar with since most of their established customer base are hunters. But they’ve started making clothing in sports-neutral colors that non-hunters will find more appealing to wear instead of camouflage. I’ve found some of their clothing, including the Fanatic Hoody, quite good for hiking and interestingly different from the same old stuff made by the brands hikers tend to wear.
Specs at a Glance
- Weight: 18 oz (men’s XL – reviewed)
- Gender: Men’s and women’s available
- Sizing: S, M, MT, L, LT, XL, XLT, XXL, XXLT, 3XL (lots of sizes, including tall sizes)
- Material: Polyester, Elastane
Hunting is also not so different from hiking and backpacking, especially when you get off-trail and are scouting for game. Hunters use the same clothing, footwear, and navigation tools that hikers use. They carry backpacks, and tents, camp out in remote wilderness areas and rely on the same skill sets as hikers, so it makes sense that some of their clothing and gear can be appropriate for both hunting and hiking.
The Fanatic Hoody is made with grid fleece, which is grooved inside with thinner fabric channels that help vent heat and perspiration. The inner fabric is still very soft and very warm, making this a garment that’s comfortable as well as functional to wear.
The hoody hood has a built-in face mask that provides additional warmth, wind, and sun protection, in addition to camouflage. It very thin, so it’s not personal protective equipment grade, but it breathes very well. If you don’t want to use it, it tucks away in the back of the hood and you can’t feel it. I also use it as a neck gaiter by positioning it below my face. Masks like this are increasingly popular in mid-layer garments, even among more hiking-specific clothing manufacturers.
The hood is probably the least interesting feature on this hoody. It’s not adjustable, but it is fairly small when the chest zipper is zippered up so the wind doesn’t blow in around year ears. I usually wear it over a fleece hat for extra warmth on cold days. It’s also lined with grid fleece and highly elastic, so it should fit most head sizes.
The Fanatic Hoody has fold-over mittens at the end of its sleeves that can be worn instead of gloves. They have a thumb hole, which can use or you can fold the mitten back onto your sleeve. Ultimate Direction had something like it on one of their rain jackets a few years ago, but it also makes sense in a mid-layer garment. I like using the mittens in cool weather when I need to check a GPS Phone app frequently and can’t be bothered taking off and putting on gloves constantly. I think this is my favorite feature of the garment.
The Fanatic has a drop tail, which is particularly useful if you’re wearing a backpack so it won’t bunch up under a hip belt and extends below it. Good rain jackets have the same cut.
There is a zippered chest pocket over the left breast that’s large enough to carry a smartphone. I like to tuck my compass inside it, even though it’s on a lanyard around my neck, so it doesn’t bounce around annoyingly when I’m bushwhacking.
The kangaroo pocket (I just made that terminology up) gives you another place to warm your hands, shave gloves, or soften frozen food so you don’t break your teeth on a cold day!
Odor Control Technology
Being synthetic, fleece can get stinky and it’s one of the reasons why some people prefer wool mid and base layers over ones made with synthetic materials, even though synthetics tend to dry faster. While hunters need to control to minimize their scent to avoid scaring away game, that’s also true of hikers seeking mates or trying to keep them. Haha.
Seriously, I’ve been impressed with the Polygiene odor control technology that Sitka uses on the Fanatic Hoody. It lets me wear the Fanatic Hoody without having the wash it as frequently. Polygiene is based on adding silver chloride to garments to neutralize their odors and the bacteria that cause them. I’m surprised it’s not used more widely by outdoor clothing manufacturers.
The Sitka Fanatic Hoody is a versatile mid-layer that has a lot of features that hikers and hunters can like. I’ve been wearing mine through the winter and into this spring on trail hikes and bushwhacks and find it useful in so many ways. I’m glad that Sitka has decided to make it in solid colors that are less hunting specific because I probably wouldn’t wear it if it was only available in white tail camouflage. I really like cut – roomy but not oversized. It’s also available for men and women.
Disclosure: The author received a hoody for this review.