One of the best times to bowhunt is the late season when conditions can be brutal. Extreme cold and wind can make your hunt miserable without the right gear. The bow season in Ohio runs into February so I got a chance to review the new Sitka Incinerator Aerolite Bibs and Jacket. This system is designed for hunting in brutal cold conditions.
Right out of the box I couldn’t believe how light this stuff was. And quite honestly, I was skeptical. It just didn’t seem to have enough insulation for the cold temps I'd be hunting in. My Sitka Fanatic Jacket is bulkier than this new Incinerator Aerolite.
After putting it on and moving around - the first thing I noticed was that I was heating up, fast. I had to unzip to vent everything including the bibs. I shot my bow a few times and I knew there was something special with this system. This stuff was extremely warm while I was moving, but how about when I was sitting in the cold and wind for hours?
The next day I got my chance to find out. It was 8 degrees with a 15-30 mph wind, and I had my first of two doe tags, to fill. I sat about 90 minutes when a group of does came into my snow-covered brassica plot. I drew my arrow back, released, and made a great shot. The doe didn’t go far, and my first tag was filled.
Two days later I returned to the same stand however this time the temperature was colder, yet a sunny 5 degrees with no wind. A doe came into my field, and I made another perfect shot.
This Incinerator Aerolite system performance was outstanding. I was very warm, it cut the wind effectively, and was extremely lightweight and flexible in extreme cold weather conditions. I was able to draw without being restricted by layers and bulk. It was also quiet - not quite as quiet as my Fanatic jacket, but very close and perfectly acceptable for close range bowhunting.
For my system I used the Aerolite Incinerator Bibs and Jacket. Under the jacket I had a stratus Vest as a mid-layer and a Fanatic Hoody as my base layer. Under the bibs, I wore an equinox midi pants, and merino heavyweight bottoms. On my head I used the Fanatic beanie over the hood of my Fanatic hoody. For gloves I used Incinerator flip Mitts for my first hunt, on my second hunt I used the Stratus gloves. The Stratus gloves were inadequate in 5 degree weather.
The only problem I had with the incinerator is that it’s just too warm for any serious hike to the treestand. Sitka designers understood this so they built in a compression strap to roll up your incinerator bibs and jacket and pack it into the field. Both pieces roll up to about the size of a football.
The incinerator shell is made of GORE-TEX 2-layer fabric with a quiet, brushed, polyester face so it stays dry in heavy rains and wet snow. Synthetic PrimaLoft Gold Insulation with Cross Core technology replicates the warmth and compressibility of down, but with the benefit of warm-when-wet performance. Lightweight high-loft insulation is infused with silica aerogel, a nearly weightless material that’s composed of more than 95% air and acts as additional thermal insulation.
Now if you don’t know what any of that means, don’t worry. Neither do I. It just works and that’s all I care about.
The bibs have a zipper that runs their entire length for outstanding venting control and an easy on-off. The jacket has an integrated yet removable hood, Internal cuffs that seal in heat, a zippered chest, and pockets for your hands, rangefinder and grunt tube so you can access your essentials while up in a tree.
Finally, the jacket is cut for total freedom of movement for typical bowhunting activities such as climbing your stand and drawing your bow. The bibs weigh 49 ounces, and the jacket is only 42 ounces.
As far as fit goes, I generally take a large jacket but I ordered the XL so I could layer up - just in case. After trying this, I would recommend just going with your normal size. Sitka factored layering into the design. So, in other words, if you take a large, order a large.
There's no way to sugar coat the price on this system, it's salty. The Bibs and jacket retail for $649 each. So, you're looking at $1300 retail for the Aerolite Incinerator system. This is serious gear for serious hunters like me who regularly bowhunt extreme conditions. I understand that outerwear technology like this is not cheap. However, it should last you dozens of seasons. Particularly since you only use it in extreme conditions. In reality, unless you gain or lose significant amounts of weight, it should last you a lifetime with proper care and storage.
I was very impressed with Sitka’s new Incinerator Aerolite system. It kept my warm under brutal cold conditions without the typical weight (and bulk) we’ve all suffered with during brutal cold hunts. You can check them out at a Sitka dealer, or you can learn more about them at Sitkagear.com.