Review: Sitka Ambient 75 Hoodie

When it comes to layers for trail running, hunting, or summer scouting, I’m always trying to find the balance between weight and warmth. I want a jacket that I can throw in my pack and forget about until a freak snowstorm or stiff breeze blows in. Lately, I’ve been turning to Sitka almost exclusively for functional, well-thought-out gear that performs in all conditions (Sitka is also known for their athletic cut, which fits me well). Case in point: the new Ambient 75 Hoodie. When I picked it up, my first thought was how unbelievably light the jacket is. It weighs a fraction of a comparably-sized waffle-fleece layer, but even more unbelievable is how warm it feels. That’s thanks to a mix of Primaloft Evolve active insulation and Polartec stretch grid fabric (essentially a micro fleece). Each material is placed in strategic spots—insulation on the torso and hood; fleece on the arms and hem—so the garment breathes while I’m moving but retains heat as soon as I stop. Both materials are soft, supple, and comfortable. So much so, in fact, that I’ve recently found myself wearing the jacket without any shirt underneath. Still, the exterior is 20D Ripstop fabric, so it has excellent abrasion resistance. While I wouldn’t go on a brush-busting mission with it, the coat is durable enough for mild thorns and scrapes, or run-ins with overhanging bushes on the trail.

Lately, I've found myself primarily using the Ambient 75 Hoodie as a chilly-morning hiking layer. Even with a heavy pack on, weight training in mountains near town, I don’t find my back getting sweaty. My favorite feature, though, is the 3/4 -length zipper, which unzips almost down to my belly button. If I do start heating up, I can simply unzip it all the way, and cold air flows in and around my entire torso, so I don’t have to stop and peel the layer—only to put it back on as soon as I stop for a minute. Come archery and early rifle season, I already know that I’m going to be living in this jacket. Well done, Sitka.

$279; available online at, or at the Sitka Depot in Bozeman.