When it comes to premium hunting gear, Sitka is one of the most well-known and respected brands on the market. Two of Sitka’s flagship jackets are the Fanatic jacket and the Incinerator jacket.
Both are designed to keep hunters warm, dry and concealed in the toughest weather conditions. But with different features and price points, many hunters wonder – which Sitka jacket is right for me?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare the key features, pros and cons of the Sitka Fanatic and Incinerator jackets. We’ll look at weather protection, warmth, mobility, scent control and more.
By the end, you’ll have all the details you need to decide which of these outstanding Sitka jackets best fits your hunting needs and budget.
A Brief Comparison Table
|PrimaLoft Silver Eco 180g
|Maximum waterproofing and wind resistance
|Excellent water resistance and wind protection, slightly less than Fanatic
|Warmer, better for stationary hunting in extreme cold
|Very warm, excellent warmth for active hunting situations
|2 lbs 8 oz
|1 lb 14 oz
|Compresses reasonably well
|More packable and compressible
|Durable but not as abrasion resistant as Fanatic
|Outstanding mobility with Homestretch panels
|Excellent mobility and articulation
|Good, some minor crinkling
|Excellent, very quiet
|True to size
|True to size
|Optimized for extreme cold
|More versatile across wider range of temperatures
Overview of the Sitka Fanatic Jacket
The Sitka Fanatic jacket is one of Sitka’s warmest and most durable waterfowl hunting jackets. It’s designed for hunters who need maximum warmth in the coldest early season weather.
Key features of the Fanatic include:
- GORE-TEX 3-layer waterproof/windproof/breathable shell
- PrimaLoft Silver Eco insulation for warmth even when wet
- Fully taped seams for waterproof protection
- GORE OPTIFADE Concealment Marsh camo pattern
- Articulated arms and shoulders for full mobility
- Brushed tricot lining for comfort and warmth
- Microfleece-lined handwarmer pockets
- Adjustable and removable hood
- Drawcord hem for adjustable fit
- Sitka’s Homestretch Technology for maximum mobility
With its ultra-protective 3-layer GORE-TEX shell and insulating PrimaLoft Silver Eco fill, the Fanatic jacket is engineered to retain body heat while keeping wind and precipitation completely out.
It’s ideal for frigid early season hunts or late season weather, when staying warm and dry is critical.
The Fanatic provides slightly more overall insulation and weather protection versus the Incinerator. But it comes at a higher price point.
Overview of the Sitka Incinerator Jacket
The Sitka Incinerator jacket is another premium Sitka hunting jacket designed for extreme cold weather. It’s a few steps down in warmth from the Fanatic, but still provides outstanding insulation and water resistance.
Key features of the Incinerator include:
- GORE-TEX 2-layer waterproof/windproof/breathable shell
- Polartec Alpha insulation for lightweight warmth
- Fully taped seams
- GORE OPTIFADE Concealment Marsh camo pattern
- Articulated shoulders and arms for full range of motion
- Microfleece lined hand pockets
- Brushed polyester lining for comfort
- 2-way center front zipper for venting
- Drawcord hem for adjustable fit
- Micro fleece chin guard
The Incinerator uses a GORE-TEX 2-layer shell rather than 3-layer construction.
This makes it slightly less waterproof and durable versus the Fanatic. But it cuts down on weight and bulkiness.
The Polartec Alpha fill insulation is highly breathable and designed for dynamic aerobic activities. For hunters who are very active while wearing their outer layer, this gives an advantage over traditional insulation like PrimaLoft. However, Polartec Alpha doesn’t insulate quite as well when stationary.
Overall, the Incinerator provides excellent water resistance and insulation for cold weather hunting. But it’s just slightly less heavy-duty than the Fanatic jacket.
Key Differences Between Sitka Fanatic And Incinerator Hunting Jackets
Now that we’ve covered the basic features and design of each jacket, let’s take a deeper look at how they compare across some key factors:
- Weather Protection
When hunting in the elements, staying dry is critically important. Both the Fanatic and Incinerator are waterproof, windproof and breathable. But the 3-layer GORE-TEX shell on the Fanatic makes it the most impenetrable to wind and moisture.
The Fanatic is designed to keep you dry in the nastiest early season storms. The fully taped seams create a waterproof barrier that seals out all external moisture.
While the Incinerator is also waterproof, its 2-layer shell and seams that are only critically taped fall just short of the Fanatic’s weather protection.
Warmth is another top consideration when choosing a premium hunting jacket. Both the Fanatic and Incinerator will keep you toasty in frigid conditions. However, the Fanatic again comes out on top here.
The Fanatic uses heavy-duty PrimaLoft Silver Eco insulation, which is designed to replicate goose down’s superior warmth. The 180g fill weight provides excellent insulation even when damp.
Meanwhile, the Polartec Alpha insulation used in the Incinerator is intentionally lightweight and breathable. This makes the Incinerator slightly less warm than the Fanatic when standing in cold conditions. However, the Incinerator excels when you’re active.
So for standing in a tree stand on bitterly cold mornings, the Fanatic has the edge for warmth. But the Incinerator may be the better choice if you’re covering big miles on foot in search of birds.
- Weight and Packability
When hunting, extra weight quickly takes a toll on energy levels. Both the Fanatic and Incinerator are designed as lightweight insulating pieces.
However, there are some notable differences.
The Incinerator uses a lighter 2-layer shell and fill material to cut down on ounces.
It weighs 1 pound 14 ounces.
The Fanatic clocks in at a heavier 2 pounds 8 ounces.
The 3-layer GORE-TEX and heavy PrimaLoft insulation add bulk.
In terms of packability, both jackets are reasonably compressible into their own built-in stuff sack. But the Incinerator’s lighter shell and fill compress down a little slimmer.
So for those trying to shed every possible ounce, the Incinerator gets the nod for packability and weight. But the Fanatic is still respectably lightweight given its heavy-duty materials and insulation.
- Scent Control
Staying scent free is one of the best ways to avoid spooking wary waterfowl and deer. Both the Fanatic and Incinerator incorporate scent control technologies to keep human odor contained.
The GORE OPTIFADE used in both jackets is treated with a durable water repellent that also helps absorb and retain odors. Both jackets are also designed with antimicrobial linings that prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria.
When it comes to built-in scent control, the Fanatic and Incinerator are essentially equal. However, the Incinerator weighs less, which could translate to slightly less body odor permeating the material over the course of a long day.
Overall, both jackets offer excellent scent concealment right out of the box.
- Durability and Hunting Performance
Hunting jackets must stand up to brush, branches and barbed wire without failing. The Fanatic’s burly 3-layer GORE-TEX shell makes it one of the toughest waterfowl jackets available. The reinforced shoulders, hood and high wear areas can take abuse season after season.
Meanwhile, the Incinerator’s pared-down 2-layer shell makes it slightly less abrasion resistant versus the Fanatic. While far from flimsy, it probably won’t last quite as many years under extremely rough use.
Both jackets feature articulated patterning and gusseted underarms that maximize natural movement. The Fanatic wins again here though, as its Homestretch panels provide excellent mobility when lifting arms overhead and drawing bows. The Incinerator is mobile too, just not quite at the Fanatic’s level.
For serious Western hunters who crawl through the brush after elk and muleys, the Fanatic’s rugged design holds up better over time. Waterfowlers who really put their gear through the wringer season after season will also appreciate the Fanatic’s unmatched durability.
- Fit and Versatility
A hunting jacket needs to allow easy layering while maintaining a non-restrictive fit. Both the Fanatic and Incinerator run true to size while accommodating mid and base layers underneath.
The Incinerator’s lighter shell and insulation make it a bit more versatile across temperatures. With just a lightweight merino layer underneath, it can be worn into the 30s or 40s.
Add a heavyweight base layer and it’s toasty well below zero. There’s also excellent temperature regulation thanks to the center front zipper and underarm zips that allow venting.
The Fanatic leans heavier towards extreme cold thanks to its thick insulation. While too warm for milder weather, it’s the ultimate shield against bitter late season conditions. Venting options are more limited on the Fanatic as well.
For hunters who only expect to wear their jacket in frigid conditions, the Fanatic excels. But the Incinerator is the more versatile year-round option.
- Noise Levels
Crinkly, swishing jacket materials will spook animals in a heartbeat. Both the Fanatic and Incinerator shells use quieter fabrics that don’t make excessive noise. However, the Incinerator has the edge here.
The lighter Polartec Alpha fill and smooth-faced shell don’t catch and make small sounds like the Fanatic sometimes can. When drawing your bow or raising your gun, the Incinerator is less likely to allow any smaller sounds.
However, while the Incinerator wins for noise levels, the Fanatic is far from deafening. As long as you’re not swishing the jacket around, noise shouldn’t be an issue.
- Cost and Value
With premium features and construction, both the Fanatic and Incinerator carry premium price tags. However, there is a notable difference in cost.
At the time of writing, the Incinerator retails for $549. Meanwhile, the Fanatic costs a hefty $699. That’s a $150 price difference between the jackets.
The Fanatic justifies its higher price with maximum ruggedness and weather protection. For hunters who need total insulation and waterproofing, the Fanatic delivers.
But for those on more of a budget, the Incinerator provides excellent performance and warmth at a lower cost. While not equal to the Fanatic, it’s 95% of the jacket for a significantly lower investment.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The main differences are that the Fanatic uses a 3-layer GORE-TEX shell while the Incinerator uses a 2-layer shell, making the Fanatic more waterproof and durable. The Fanatic also uses heavier PrimaLoft Silver Eco insulation while the Incinerator uses lightweight Polartec Alpha, so the Fanatic is warmer but the Incinerator is more breathable and packable. Finally, the Fanatic costs around $150 more than the Incinerator.
Sitka’s warmest jacket is the Fanatic. With its 3-layer GORE-TEX shell and heavy PrimaLoft Silver Eco insulation, it’s built to retain body heat in even the most extreme cold. The Incinerator and Stratus jackets are also excellent cold weather options, but a notch below the Fanatic’s warmth.
Yes, Sitka Fanatic jackets like the Fanatic jacket itself use GORE-TEX technology to make them fully waterproof. Both the outer shell fabric and the seams are engineered to prevent moisture from entering while allowing sweat vapor to escape. Fanatic gear is waterproof enough for the worst rainy hunting conditions.
The Stratus uses a lightweight GORE-TEX Pro shell while the Fanatic uses a heavier duty GORE-TEX 3-layer shell, so the Fanatic is more durable and waterproof. The Fanatic also has heavier insulation, making it warmer but not as breathable and packable. Finally, the Fanatic is more expensive – about $150 more than the Stratus jacket. The Stratus sits between the Incinerator and Fanatic for weather protection and warmth.
So when choosing between these premium Sitka jackets, should you go for the maximal weather protection and warmth of the Fanatic, or save some money and weight with the Incinerator?
For hunters who simply need the best cold weather performance available, the Fanatic is the clear choice. It’s built without compromise to retain heat and keep wind and rain completely out.
For late season hunts in the nastiest weather, no other jacket compares to the Fanatic’s combination of GORE-TEX protection and PrimaLoft insulation. Just be prepared to pay a premium for such outstanding performance.
The Incinerator hits an appealing middle ground. It’s nearly the equal of the Fanatic for a lower price, keeping you dry and warm across most cold weather hunting scenarios. The Incinerator is also lighter and more versatile across a wider range of temperatures compared to the Fanatic.
For hunters who want excellent cold weather performance without overspending, the Incinerator is a great option.
Ultimately, choosing between the Sitka Fanatic and Incinerator jackets comes down to your budget, hunting conditions and personal needs. Either option will provide outstanding protection and performance for many seasons in the field.
And with Sitka’s lifetime guarantee, you can be confident investing in one of these premium waterfowl jackets.