Kelvin Pant, Vest, Jacket
A lightweight, extremely warm layering solution superior to fleece or down.
An extreme heat to weight clothing layering system that hunters or mountaineers can utilize for a number of applications while spending serious time “out on the mountain” facing Mother Nature’s nasty, uncompromising mood swings in weather. Sitka’s PrimaLoft One Insulation is a must if you are looking for lofted, warm insulation, high wind resistance, less bulk and light weight. The Kelvin pant, vest and jacket is thermally efficient, has superior water resistance, dries faster than down, and is breathable. The Kelvin series can be layered underneath hard or softshell outerwear for insulation against the cold, or simply pull it on as your outer layer to lock in heat while glassing from a windswept ridge or peak. Slip on the vest and jacket on a bitter day and you will never leave them behind. The pant is form fitted to layer easily, with zippers on the lower legs to make it very simple to get over your boots. It is designed with very basic pockets to keep weight low, and a sleek, built-in belt to cinch down when you need it. All come in 100% Polyester colors: GORE® OPTIFADETM Concealment Forest and GORE® OPTIFADETM Concealment Open Country style.
When you spend as much time out on the mountain as I do lightweight, quality, warm clothing is at a premium. I’m one of those people who doesn’t have a lot of body fat for insulation against the cold. On top of that my resting pulse rate can get as low as 50 with blood pressure hovering under 100 which translates into, “freezing my butt off when others are having heat stroke!” Believe me, there’s nothing more uncomfortable than trying to glass while shivering in a bitter wind. Here’s where my Sitka’s Kelvin pant, vest and jacket have become huge “change agents” that I’ve added to my mandatory personal list of clothing items when facing colder conditions.
I’ve always been a big advocate of down but once it gets wet you are in big trouble because you lose its insulating capabilities. Wool is great but for extended backpack hunts every ounce of extra weight is important. Here’s where Sitka has hit a home run with their Kelvins.
Utilizing the Kelvin layers late last fall on some frigid, late season sheep hunts along with a November buffalo hunt in southern Utah’s Henrie Mountains I was provided with the perfect elements to review this gear in brutal field conditions. They definitely lived up to my expectations. My problem with getting cold easily was solved by the Primaloft One insulation that the Kelvins use for insulation. Primaloft One is a high performance, insulating material, that helps you retain warmth. Combine this with its water resistance and suddenly you have addressed key factors that are vitally important in mountaineering and hunting situations. Traditional down fill loses all of its insulating capabilities when it gets wet, but I found Primaloft One to retain its insulation when wet. While chasing my bull buffalo last November I spent several days out in a very wet snow storm and found that my Kevins consistently kept me warm and dry throughout this extreme hunting condition.
I also appreciated the fact that my Kelvin pants, vest and jacket were extremely compressible, light as a feather, and not bulky at all when packing for a day or week. Also, I just hate it when I have to dress in multiple layers of clothing to combat cold conditions. I used to feel like I couldn’t even move because of all the clothing I piled on. Now, after using my Kelvin gear, I never feel this way. I can add the Kevin system, when needed as an extra layer, and everything fits comfortably without the typical bulk and clumsiness that comes with wearing traditional layers. To me, this is incredibly important when stalking animals in difficult terrain.
Many times I spike out for multiple days on the mountain in cold temperatures and used to pack the heaviest sleeping bag I had to stay warm. Now, I can pack my lighter, Northface Blue Kazoo down bag, slip on my Kelvin pants and jacket before crawling into bed, and sleep warm all night. Most people probably won’t go to this extreme but I have also utilized my Kevins in this manner.
I do suggest that if you are hiking through thick undergrowth, make sure you wear your Kelvin gear as a layer underneath your other clothing. Just like down, you don’t want to tear the Kevin fabric and lose the Primaloft One. I found that the fabric was susceptible to catching on branches and tearing so I was very careful when wearing this gear in certain types of terrain.
I found the camo colors in Sitka’s GORE® OPTIFADETM Concealment Forest and GORE® OPTIFADETM Concealment Open Country to be very satisfactory in meeting my needs. I do believe, however, that many people will be very hesitant at the steep price tag for Sitka’s Kelvin Gear. The vest will take a bite out of your wallet at the tune of $144, the pant $169 and the jacket $199. Having the very best in gear is critical to me since I spend weeks out on the mountain each year facing numerous dangerous situations relative to inclement weather. Therefore, I’m willing to pay the higher price but with this I demand excellent service and product warranty. Please note that I have found Sitka to be very good at replacing or repairing any gear that I’ve ever experienced problems with.
What They Could Do Better
- I’ve been very happy with the Kelvin gear. If Sitka could come up with a tear resistance material it would be perfect!
SITKA GEAR Kelvin Pant, Vest, and Jacket Review