Sitka Fanatic Hoody Review

Sitka Fanatic Hoody Review

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.

Sitka Fanatic Hoody

Warmth
Quality of Construction
Versatility
Fit
Sizing

Warm and Functional

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.

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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
The Fanatic Hoody is made with breathable grid fleece.
The Fanatic Hoody is made with breathable grid fleece.

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 mitts have a thumbhole.
The mitts have a thumbhole.

Grid Fleece

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.

You can also fold the mitts completely over for maximum warmth.
You can also fold the mitts completely over for maximum warmth.

Face Mask

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

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 hood is deliberately well-fitting to maximize peripheral vision.
The hood is deliberately well-fitting to maximize peripheral vision.

Mittens

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.

Drop Tail

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.

The drop tail extends below a pack hip belt so it won’t bunch up.
The drop tail extends below a pack hip belt so it won’t bunch up.

Chest Pocket

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.

Kangaroo Pocket

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.

The Kangaroo Pocket gives you a quick place to warm your hands on a brisk day.
The Kangaroo Pocket gives you a quick place to warm your hands on a brisk day.

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.

Recommendation

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.

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12 comments

  1. It is nice to see some reviews on items that are targeted to a different outdoor audience. This kind of looks like a Patagonia R1 on steroids :-).

    Thanks for the review.

  2. I have one of their Core Lightweight hoodies with the built-in ninja mask and it is a really nice light , breathable layer. The hunting clothing companies are getting very innovative and it is well worth checking out their offerings. They seem less concerned with fashion and virtue signaling and are offering some interesting fabric options and construction. You get less color options , unless you like several versions camo ?

  3. Sitka gear is hands down some of the best you can get. They have fantastic customer service and stand behind their products. I had an older discontinued hoodie that suffered a broken zipper, and they replaced it with a new model with no questions asked.

  4. I’ve gotten a couple pieces of gear from Sitka and Kuiu (which the Sitka founder created after selling that company to Gore-Tex). I have been very impressed with everything I have bought so far. Some of my friends have been purchasing First Lite as well and they are quite happy with their gear for backcountry hunting.

    This hoodie looks like no exception and love seeing these hunting companies incorporate UL backpacking tech into their products

    • I had no idea that Sitka was sold to Goretex. That would explain things.

      • How do those mitten feel when they are not in use. Does it make it feel like an uncomfortably tight cuff or end up too loose after wearing it for a while that it doesn’t stay in position and start to bunch up or did they hit that sweet spot where it sits comfortably and holds position?

      • They hit the sweet spot. They just feel like a normal sleeve when they’re rolled back.

  5. I would prefer some colors other than black, green, and camo. A dark red or blue maybe.

  6. How is the sizing? The garment in the photos looks fairly loose. Not form fitting like an R1.

  7. The Sitka Apex merino wool hoody is awesome as well!
    Love their stuff. They have a great discount program for veterans/LEOs/first responders/guides as well.

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