Sitka’s Jetstream collection has been on the top of the company’s sales charts since it was introduced 14 years ago. The jacket and vest are hailed as one of Stika’s most versatile pieces of gear, and for good reason: They’re warm, durable, block the wind, and shed light rain well. Now, after almost a decade and a half of feedback and a couple of solid years of testing and prototyping, Sitka Gear has released a fully redesigned Jetstream collection, including a new Sitka Jetstream jacket and vest.
Free Range American was one of the first to get their hands on the new products, beat them up in the field, and try out the new features.
The new Jetstream collection includes a jacket ($379) and a vest ($209) for men and women. Both will be offered in GORE OPTIFADE patterns and a multitude of solid colors — this product line has the most solid colors we have ever seen from Sitka.
“We wanted people to be able to use this collection for more than hunting, so we added some new solid colors to fit that need,” said John Barklow, Sitka’s big game product manager.
Plus, for the first time, Sitka is making a version of the new vest and jacket specifically fitted and sized for women, and I have it on good authority that there will be more to follow!
Sitka Jetstream Jacket and Vest: What’s New?
Out of the box, I immediately noticed the outer shell material on the new jacket is quieter and softer than the OG Jetstream jacket and vest. This is thanks to Sitka using new, 100% recycled polyester fabric. In many cases, quieter and softer doesn’t equate to increased durability. Of course, the new gear hasn’t been out long enough to test durability in the field, but I was told that during Sitka’s testing, the new material was found to be more durable than the virgin polyester used on the OG jacket.
While examining the outside of the jacket, I also noticed no more gray overlay film around the zippers on the pockets. Barklow explained that removing the overlay film killed two birds with one stone; it modernizes the collection’s look and makes repairs easier and more cost-effective for Sitka and the end users should they need it.
Speaking of pockets, the OG collection had two chest pockets; that has now been reduced to one pocket on the left side.
The new Jetstream jacket also has a more relaxed fit around the shoulders, elbows, and torso for added comfort when layering up. The fit also allows for more articulation in places where it’s needed most, like the elbows. The OG Jetstream was a bit tighter in those areas, making it a little difficult to add layers underneath and maintain a full range of motion.
I’ll be honest I didn’t notice any issue with the OG collection, but the extra space is definitely nice. That said, the jacket is still an athletic cut and doesn’t look or feel baggy or sloppy.
Lastly, Sitka skived and taped the jacket’s seams on the inside to bolster weather protection and reduce the bulk of the jacket. Think notching logs for a cabin, each notch is precisely cut so that the other fits on top with minimal space in between, and then it’s sealed to keep wind and moisture out.
Skiving and taping are techniques used to stitch cloth together. It includes shaving the edges of the inside micro-grid fleece backer to the laminate, stitching the panels together, and then taping them. This creates a low bulk sealed seam that is more attractive and effective at keeping out wind and moisture. The OG Jetstream collection was simply stitched together on the inside.
What Stayed the Same?
“We wanted to keep the proven and trusted DNA of the original Jetstream but bring a refine construction, fit, and increased performance, making it one of the most versatile collections offered by Sitka,” Barklow said.
The updated face fabric is still DWR treated to help shed moisture, its chest pocket still doubles as ventilation, and you still have the pit zips to dump heat when you’re on the move but don’t have time to stop to shed layers.
I have already beat this collection up on a couple of backpack fishing trips and colder evenings on the range, and I’m impressed.
First, can you say SOLIDS?!?! Sitka isn’t cheap, and when I can, I like to use my gear for more than just hunting, and adding more solid colors allows me to do just that. I can wear the same jacket out for a night on the town and in the backcountry in September.
I was most impressed by the attention to detail and the thought that went into functionality for the end user, particularly the new quieter outer shell. This is going to allow me to keep the jacket on longer, especially during high-stakes stalks on animals. Sitka took an already great product and made it even better with the redesign of the Jetstream collection.