Looking for a hoody for the beginning of archery season that can take you through those hot days, but is still comfortable on those cool mornings and evenings as we head into fall? I have been looking for just that. One of the things I want more than anything is to carry less gear and I have been looking for something I can wear that won’t mean that I have to take more layers with me at least until it starts getting colder. I decided to buy an early-season lightweight hoody, but the question was: Which one?
I love testing new hunting gear and hunting clothes like this I feel like I am buying and testing all the time. I really like specialty apparel, especially apparel that allows me to cut back on bulk and can minimize what I am carrying. So I started researching different options and while I really liked options from Nomad, First Lite, Kuiu, and a few others; I ended up deciding to review, test, and compare the Sitka Core Lightweight Hoody and the Asio Gear Lightweight Hoody.
Everyone looks at shirts like this differently and wants different features, etc. There were a few things I was looking for specifically when I started my comparison of each of these products.
I wanted an early-season hunting garment that had the following features:
- A combination of a hot weather shirt and hoody.
- A quarter-zip front to allow air in while walking to my stand
- An integrated mask
- Something that wouldn’t make me sweat to death, but would take the chill off in the morning as well
- Wick sweat away and dry quickly
- Comfortable when worn against the skin and quiet
- Able to draw my bow without restriction or noise
- …and had a decent option for early-season camouflage
I ordered both the Sitka and Asio Gear hoodies and once they were both delivered, I began my evaluation.
The Sitka Core Lightweight Hoody Review
Sitka Gear is one of the higher-end and more technical hunting apparel brands on the market. A lot of their products are fairly expensive, but they also come with an incredible warranty. Sitka was originally owned by Jason Hairston, who sold the company to GORE-TEX in 2009. Jason, then went on to found Kuiu, another hunting performance apparel company you may be familiar with. You can see his incredible story here.
I have never owned any Sitka gear and was able to get a substantial discount on the hoody. I am a retired Army veteran and was able to get accepted into their Pro Program. If you are a First Responder or military vet, I highly suggest applying as you can get discounts as high as 40% off their products.
Some details on the Sitka Core Lightweight Hoody:
- List Price: $129
- Made of 100% Polyester
- Facemask: 88% Polyester/12% Elastane
- Quarter-zip design
- Weight 6.6 ounces
- Polygiene® Odor Control Technology
- Comes with Thumb Loops
- Size Tested: Large
- Camo Tested: GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment Subalpine (meant more for stalking and ground hunting, but I like it for the early season in the treestand)
My first impression of the hoody was that it fit like a base layer. In fact, Sitka advertises this garment as not just a hot weather piece, but as a base layer, you can wear all season long. I tried it on in about 68-69 degree area in my basement where it felt fairly cool, yet when I put this on, it felt warm. It definitely felt like a base layer versus simply an early archery season shirt.
The one thing that stood out was that the sleeves made my arms feel slightly itchy, a feeling that did go away after the initial wash. At 6.6 ounces, it felt very light in the pack, lighter than the Asio, but when I put it on, it felt heavier and a little tighter. I am 5’8″ tall and 190 lbs. I have a thicker build in my chest and arms and the hoody felt a lot like most Under Armour cold gear shirts feel.
The quarter-zip feature allows you to unzip the hoody down to your stomach (see the video above) and will definitely allow you to let air flow in when hiking into your stand. After some limited testing outside, I found that it wicks sweat away from your body pretty well and it also dries pretty fast.
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Facemask and Hoody
The hoody and facemask fit loosely but could be tightened up when I pulled the zipper up the whole way in the front. You can fit a ball cap under the hoody without an issue. The mask is made of mesh and it is very comfortable and breathable. The thing I liked the most about it is you can either have the mask in the front over your face or around your neck, or you can flip it over your head and store it in the hoody itself. Very nice.
When I look at something like this, my first thought outside of comfort is how will this work when I am hunting? This is a very quiet garment and did not notice any sound from my movements, even in a very quiet environment. When I recorded the video, I had my microphone attached to the chest area of the hoody and there was no discernible noise coming from it. I did a few test draws with my bow and had no issues or restrictions with drawing the bow, so this is a definite plus as well.
The Sitka Core Lightweight Hoody is a little warmer for the early season than I expected, but as temperatures drop into the 60s, I can see this being a great item to wear into the woods. It is a very comfortable base layer and can be used all season long. The zipper allows for air to flow as you walk and then it is warm enough to let you take the chill out of a cool morning or into the early evening. I am not sold on the Optifade Subalpine camo, but for the $129 price tag, it can be worn all season long. Not bad at all.
If you want to see the Core Lightweight Hoody in action, make sure you watch the video above.
Check out the Sitka Core Lightweight Hoody here now.
Asio Gear Lightweight Hoody Review
Asio Gear is a relatively new company that was founded in 2020 and is based in South Carolina. Asio’s niche is that they make whitetail bowhunting apparel and gear for bow hunters. The owner, Joe Miles, is passionate about whitetail deer hunting and he does most of the product videos himself. It is a relatively new brand and this is my first foray into trying one of its products.
The pricing on Asio Gear is slightly less than you will find on the Sitka website, but their focus on quality means you are going to pay a quality price when you buy their gear. Let’s check it out.
Some details on the Asio Gear Lightweight Hoody:
- UPF 50+
- 100% Polyester Birdseye Mesh
- Quarter-zip design
- Built-in hood and facemask
- Quick-drying Antimicrobial for Scent Control
- Treated with the highest level of Durable Water Repellant (DWR)
- Size Tested: Large
- Camo Tested: WHITETAIL TREESTAND HUNTING: ASIO RAPTOR CAMO®
The first thing I noticed when I put on the Asio was how light and breathable it felt. It felt cool and very comfortable right away. It has a looser, less restrictive feel than the Sitka, but did not feel like it was overly loose. Remember, both garments I tested were size large. This did not feel as much like a base layer and feels much more like a hot weather/early season top. In fact, you could probably wear this hoody when doing your summer scouting if you wanted to have a lightweight, breathable top that had long sleeves you could push up when you got hot.
The Asio also has the quarter-zip that allows you to unzip it while walking into your hunting spot or scouting and then zip it back up after you dry off. When doing a short outdoor test in 85-degree temps, this top wicked very effectively and dried off quickly too. I was very impressed with how light and cool it felt even in the hot weather and humidity.
Face Mask and Hoody
The facemask and hoody were almost identical to the Sitka but may have been slightly looser in the hoody itself. The mask is very breathable with the polyester birdseye mesh and was very comfortable to wear. The mask can be worn by itself or with the hoody and when it is not in use, you can have it around your neck in front of you or you can flip it over behind your head and store it with your hoody.
For early-season hunts in temps over 60 degrees, this lightweight hoody from Asio is a great solution for both comfort and concealment. The camo is great for that time of year and the garment itself is very quiet. It fits loose on me and moves very well when climbing a tree or pulling back my bow. I was also very impressed with how quiet it is. This is very huntable.
As a hot weather, early-season hunting top, the Asio Lightweight Hoody is a great combination of cool and comfortable. I like how it feels and look forward to using it this season. It is a pure early-season hunting top though. I do not think it will keep me warm beyond 60 degrees when I need to shake that early morning chill. It is not a base layer and I am not sure how it will fare as one heading into the season. I am going to give it a try and we will see what happens. All I can say is, for the category it is in, I really like it.
If you want to see the Asio Lightweight Hoody in action, make sure you watch the video at the top of the page.
Check out the Asio Lightweight Hoody here now.
*Want to see more Asio Gear Reviews? Check out my extensive Asio Mid-Season Gear Review here.
Sitka Vs Asio Lightweight Hoody Comparison
When comparing these two hoodies I found a lot to like for both, but I also found that what one company markets as a lightweight, early-season hunting top might not fit with what another company does. The Sitka is a base layer you can use early, but it is a base layer. It will be great for those cool October mornings when the weather is chilly when you go in and chilly when you go home at night. It can be used all season long.
The Asio on the other hand will treat you well from August through the beginning of October and maybe even longer if you hunt in places where the temperatures stay over 70 degrees for a lot of the archery season. The Sitka is slightly more expensive at $129 than the Asio is at $99. Both are high-quality bow hunting hoodies I can definitely recommend and I can say, if they last you several seasons, they are both worth buying.
Watch the video above to see how the Large size fits me and you can see the differences in how they look as well. I will be following up on this review and comparison at the end of the season after I put both of these through a lot of use when the archery season kicks off in a few weeks.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.
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