As an experienced bow hunter, I am actively seeking the best gear for early-season bow hunting. Last season, I field tested and reviewed the Asio Gear Lightweight Pants and Hoodie, the Huntworth Gadsden Lightweight Hunting 1/4 Zip pullover and Durham Lightweight Hunting Pants, as well as the Forloh Insect Shield SolAir Lightweight Pants and Hoodie.
Now, I am shifting my focus to Sitka’s Equinox Guard System by reviewing both the Pants and Hoody, both in the Subalpine Elevated II camo pattern. I was able to test the Equinox Guard system against the three other early-season options I talked about above this season.
When you can contrast and compare hunting clothes like this, it really can give you insights into their quality that you might not otherwise think about and that definitely happened in this review. I am 5’8″ tall and 185 lbs. I wore a size large hoody and a size medium pants for this review. So let’s get started.
*See how all four systems I tested this year compared: Best Early-Season Bow Hunting Clothing: In-Depth Reviews & Rankings
In addition to these criteria, for early-season hunting gear, I am looking for clothing that is quiet, comfortable, wicking, has water repellency, and ideally, provides insect protection. I also want this clothing to help beat the heat in the early season and keep me cool.
Scent control is always a priority for me, but is not something I have high expectations for in early-season hunting clothes due to how hard it is to implement into a thin moisture wicking garment.
Sitka Equinox Guard Hoody
The Sitka Equinox Guard Hoody is a high-performance hunting garment designed to offer protection against insects. It’s made from a lightweight, breathable, and stretchy fabric that’s comfortable and moisture-wicking, ideal for hot, humid conditions. The hoody features a built-in mesh facemask and a long tail that tucks into your pants, providing maximum coverage against chiggers and ticks.
Sitka Equinox Guard Pants
The Sitka Equinox Guard Pants are built for the early season, offering a balance of breathability and durability. They are made from a 4-way stretch polyester fabric that is both quiet and comfortable. The pants feature reinforced knees for added protection and comfort, and cargo pockets with silent snaps for storing essentials. T
hey also have a dedicated knife sleeve and an internal pocket system for keeping your gear organized.
Common Features for Both
The hoody and pants are treated with Polygiene Odor Control Technology for enhanced scent control. They both also come in a variety of solid colors and camouflage including the Elevated II, Optifade Subalpine, and now Timber variations.
The fabric is treated with Insect Shield, which repels a variety of insects, including mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers, and midges. Despite its protective features, the hoody remains lightweight and comfortable, making it a practical choice for early-season bow hunting.
Sitka Equinox Guard Hoody and Pants Review
I conducted this Sitka Equinox Guard Hoody and Pants review starting in May of last year during turkey season. The bugs were bad and having this system for that feature alone was a lifesaver. Unfortunately, I needed it even more when I used this system for multiple hunts during the archery season all the way into November.
The Insect Shield protection incorporated into this system was something I really wanted to test after fighting Lyme Disease with long runs of antibiotics two years in a row. This became something I found to be one of the Equinox Guard’s strengths through a very buggy season.
Sitka Equinox Guard Hoody Review
The Equinox Guard Hoodie truly surprised me with its fit and lightness. The moment I put it on, I noticed how well it fit my body. It was significantly more comfortable and better fitting than the Sitka Core Lightweight Hoodie I reviewed last year.
The hoodie felt light on my body, which is a crucial factor when you’re out in the field for extended periods. The half-zip design allowed for excellent airflow, which was particularly beneficial when walking to my stand in the early season heat. Despite the warm conditions, the hoodie dried quickly from sweat or light rain, keeping me comfortable throughout my hunts.
The built-in face mask was another feature that stood out. It was lightweight and breathable, which made it comfortable to wear for extended periods. The Insect Shield treatment was a game-changer during my spring turkey hunting.
I was in areas where the bugs were relentless, but the hoodie kept most of them at bay. Despite the humid conditions, the hoodie remained breathable and comfortable, which is a testament to its design and the materials used.
- Lightweight and breathable, making it ideal for warm, muggy weather.
- Insect Shield technology effectively keeps bugs away (The hood fits over the brim of your cap completely and the built-in mask assists for full Insect Shield coverage).
- The hoodie is extremely quiet and flexible, making it easy to draw your bow.
- The hoody has Polygiene Odor Control, but the website description does not specify if this is Polygiene Stay Fresh (an antimicrobial) or Polygiene Odor Crunch (an odor adsorber like activated carbon).
- It’s on the higher end of the price range, which might not be suitable for all budgets.
Verdict: Highly Recommended
The bottom line is this hoodie is a high-end option that can be used in multiple hunting scenarios where heat, sweat-wicking, and bug protection are needed the most. I came away loving this hoodie and highly recommend it.
*To get a great deal and free shipping on the Sitka Equinox Guard Hoody, click here.
Sitka Equinox Guard Pants Review
The Equinox Guard Pants are some of the best hunting pants I’ve worn. They’re slightly heavier than other early-season pants, which initially made me skeptical. However, after wearing them in the field, I found that this little bit of added weight made them extremely versatile, allowing me to wear them well into the mid-season when I added a baselayer underneath them.
The pants feature zip vents on the sides, which I consider to be essential during long hikes to my stands. Despite being slightly heavier than other early-season pants I’ve tested, they managed to keep me cool in the heat. Zip vents are something I look for in all the hunting pants I wear, so I was happy that the Equinox Guard Pants had them.
The water-resistant and durable fabric of the pants was another standout feature. They held up well in various conditions, making them excellent for bow hunting. The built-in leg gaiters were particularly effective during my hunts in buggy swamps and creek bottoms.
I was constantly surrounded by ticks and other insects, but the pants kept them at bay, which was a huge bonus.
- Durable and water-resistant, with a design that resists abrasion from underbrush.
- Internal leg gaiters provide added protection from ticks and other insects.
- The pants are equipped with hip zip vents for added breathability (which I love).
- Diaganol zippered leg pockets are built for easy access for bow hunters.
- The pants have Polygiene Odor Control, but the website description does not specify if this is Polygiene Stay Fresh (an antimicrobial) or Polygiene Odor Crunch (an odor adsorber like activated carbon).
- The pants cost $249, which might not be suitable for all budgets.
- The pants are not as cool as you might expect from early-season pants, which could be a drawback in extremely hot weather environments.
- Not as quiet as I would like, but they are not terrible either. I assume it is the DWR treatment and built-in durability that keep them from being optimally quiet. In comparison to other products I have tested for early-season use, these pants were the noisiest in a group of very quiet pants.
Verdict: Highly Recommended
The Equinox Guard Pants are some of the best hunting pants I have tested. The quality, attention to detail, function, insect protection, and versatility are above and beyond others I have tried. If you want an early-season pant that can be worn a long time through the season, these are it.
To get a great deal and free shipping on the Sitka Equinox Guard Pants, click here.
When it comes to camouflage, I have strong feelings about the effectiveness of disruption-style patterns. They’re designed to confuse and distort a deer’s vision, making the hunter blend seamlessly into the environment and this is extremely important when bow hunting. Sitka’s Optifade Elevated II camouflage pattern, which is used in the Equinox Guard Hoodie and Pants, is a prime example of this style.
Sitka has been an innovator in the field of deer vision-optimized camouflage. They’ve conducted extensive studies to understand how deer perceive their environment and have used this knowledge to design their camouflage patterns. The Optifade Elevated II pattern is a testament to this research. It uses a combination of micro and macro patterns to create a disruptive effect, which is particularly effective in confusing deer vision and is optimized for elevated, tree stand hunting.
The pattern is a mix of light and dark colors, which helps to break up the human silhouette at both close and long ranges. This is crucial when bow hunting, as it allows the hunter to get closer to the deer without being detected. The pattern is also versatile and works well in a variety of environments, from open fields to dense forests.
In my personal experience, the Optifade Elevated II pattern has been very effective. It’s allowed me to blend into my surroundings and get closer to deer than I’ve been able to with other patterns. The effectiveness of the pattern, combined with the other features of the Equinox Guard Hoodie and Pants, makes this combo a great choice for early-season bow hunting.
In this Sitka Equinox Guard Hoodie and Pants Review, I found that both are high-quality options for early-season bow hunting. They offer a great balance of comfort, durability, and practical features like the side zip vents on the pants and the built-in mask on the hoodie.
While they are on the higher end of the price range, their versatility and performance justify the investment. However, if you’re on a budget, you might want to consider other options. Despite the lack of scent control, I would definitely recommend both the hoodie and pants for their overall quality and effectiveness in the field.