As a hardcore hunter, having the right gear can make or break your hunt. And few pieces of gear are as important as your outer layer hunting jacket. Not only does it need to keep you concealed, it also has to keep you warm, dry and comfortable during long hours in the field or on the stand.
Two jackets that are perennial favorites among serious hunters are the Sitka Fanatic and the Sitka Stratus. Both offer outstanding performance and near-perfect designs. But they also have some key differences that hunters should understand before making a buying decision.
In this in-depth guide, we’ll compare the Sitka Fanatic and Sitka Stratus hunting jackets in detail. We’ll look at weather protection, features, fit and comfort, noise levels, scent control, and more.
By the end, you’ll know exactly which of these stellar Sitka jackets is the better choice for your hunting needs.
A Brief Comparison Table
|GORE-TEX Pro membrane – fully waterproof, windproof, breathable
|Windstopper fabric – windproof but not waterproof
|Handwarmer pockets, chest pocket
|No extra pockets
|Adjustable and removable
|More expensive, around $700
|Less expensive, around $450
|Cold, wet weather hunting
|Mild to cool weather hunting
|Athletic tapered fit
|Articulated body-mapped fit
Sitka Fanatic Overview
The Sitka Fanatic jacket sits at the pinnacle of Sitka’s hunting outerwear lineup. It’s designed to keep you concealed, comfortable and protected in the worst hunting conditions mother nature can conjure up.
- Weather Protection
The Fanatic provides complete protection from the elements.
It features a 3-layer GORE-TEX Pro membrane that is 100% windproof, waterproof and breathable.
The MicroSeam sealed seams add extra protection against spindrift and precipitation.
It’s the perfect jacket for enduring downpours, heavy snow, and bitter cold winds during late season hunts.
Sitka didn’t cut any corners on the Fanatic’s weather protection.
Some of the Fanatic jacket’s key features include:
- Hand warmer pockets lined with fuzzy Berber fleece
- Zippered chest pocket for valuables
- Adjustable and removable hood
- Elastic cuff adjusters to seal out the elements
- Drawcord adjustable hem
- Micro fleece-lined neck for comfort
It also has a minimal, streamlined design with almost no exterior logos or hook-and-loop closures. This further aids concealment when you’re on the hunt.
- Fit and Comfort
The Fanatic jacket features an athletic, tapered fit that allows excellent range of motion. Articulated patterning and gusseted underarms prevent binding, even when drawing your bow or rifle.
Sitka’s proprietary 4-way mechanical stretch fabric allows unmatched mobility. The soft, quiet, polyester face fabric feels great against your base layers.
While burly and protective, the Fanatic jacket remains light and flexible. Perfect for active hunts near or far from the truck.
- Noise Levels
Hunters rave about the Fanatic’s silent performance in the field. From the hushed GORE-TEX Pro shell fabric to the stealthy zippers, every design choice was made to eliminate noise.
You can easily draw your bow or raise your rifle wearing this jacket without spooking your quarry. Just what you need for hunting wily, older animals that are hyper-alert to strange noises.
- Scent Control
The Fanatic jacket also employs Sitka’s OPTIFADE Elevated II camo pattern. This helps conceal you from animal’s keen noses as well as their eyes.
The DWR treatment also makes the Fanatic virtually impervious to animal scents from blood, urine or rutting. Once you get back to camp, it rinses clean easily.
Overall, the Fanatic jacket lives up to its name in providing flawless concealment and stealth on the hunt.
Sitka Stratus Overview
While the Fanatic sits at the top of the line, the Sitka Stratus is another outstanding option. It’s very lightweight and designed for high-activity hunts in mild to cool weather.
- Weather Protection
The Stratus isn’t designed for truly harsh conditions.
But it provides excellent protection from wind and light precipitation.
It features a 2.5 layer Gore WINDSTOPPER membrane that blocks 100% of wind while allowing vapor to pass through.
So you stay protected without getting clammy or soaked in sweat.
While not totally waterproof, the Stratus can endure light rain and snow.
But steady downpours will eventually soak through. Just know its limits in extreme precipitation.
Key features of the Stratus jacket include:
- Elastic cuffs seal out drafts
- Low-profile, no-snag zippers
- Adjustable wired hem with cord locks
- Packs down small for backpack hunts
- Minimal logos and hook-and-loop for stealth
While not as full-featured as the Fanatic, the Stratus still has everything you need. And without excess bulk and weight.
- Fit and Comfort
The Stratus provides outstanding comfort during active hunts in its temperature range.
It features Sitka’s proprietary body-mapped patterning for maximum range of motion. Articulated elbows and gusseted underarms prevent any binding or restriction.
Materials include lightweight, flexible matrix polyester. TheStratus moves with you like a second skin.
- Noise Levels
Noise reduction was also a priority in the Stratus design. It features whisper-quiet WINDSTOPPER fabric and low-profile zippers.
You can confidently and stealthily draw your bow or raise your rifle without spooking animals. Just keep the jacket properly maintained and lubricated.
- Scent Control
Like all Sitka gear, the Stratus also employs OPTIFADE camo. This helps conceal you from animal’s keen noses and eyes.
Overall the Stratus may not be Sitka’s most heavy-duty jacket. But it provides excellent concealment and protection for high-exertion hunts in mild conditions.
Sitka Fanatic And Stratus Feature Comparison
Now that we’ve reviewed both jackets, let’s compare some of their key features and capabilities:
- Fanatic: GORE-TEX Pro membrane, totally windproof, waterproof and breathable. Maximum protection.
- Stratus: WINDSTOPPER fabric, windproof but not waterproof. Mild to moderate weather use only.
- Fanatic: More feature-rich with hand warmer pockets, zippered chest pocket, adjustable hood.
- Stratus: More minimal with elastic cuffs and adjustable hem only. Lighter weight.
Fit and Comfort
- Fanatic: Athletic tapered fit facilitates movement. Quiet, flexible shell.
- Stratus: Wide range of motion from body-mapped articulated design. Very lightweight.
- Fanatic: Extremely quiet GORE-TEX Pro shell and hardware.
- Stratus: Also very quiet with quiet zippers and shell fabric.
- Both feature Sitka’s OPTIFADE camo technology and DWR treatment. Excellent odor absorption and concealment.
As you can see, both are outstanding jackets tailored for different needs:
The Fanatic is the ultimate heavy weather hunting jacket. It provides complete protection along with excellent comfort and concealment. Perfect for harsh late season hunts.
The Stratus trades total waterproofing for extreme light weight and breathability. Ideal for active hunts in mild conditions. Packs down very small.
Depending on the conditions you hunt in and exertion level, one jacket likely suits your needs better. Use this comparison to decide which Sitka model is the best fit for your hunting.
Sitka Fanatic And Stratus: Pros and Cons
To further compare the Sitka Fanatic and Stratus jackets, let’s break down some of their major pros and cons:
Sitka Fanatic Pros
- Total waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX Pro protection
- Tough and durable construction
- Very quiet and stealthy
- Excellent scent control
- Full feature set for utility
- Athletic tapered fit allows full range of motion
Sitka Fanatic Cons
- Expensive (nearly $700)
- Not as packable as the Stratus
- Can run warm if not properly vented
Sitka Stratus Pros
- Very lightweight and packable
- Allows excellent ventilation
- Quiet and stealthy performance
- Stretch fabric provides full range of motion
- Lower price (around $450)
Sitka Stratus Cons
- Not fully waterproof
- Lacks some utility features
- Won’t suffice in extreme cold and precipitation
As you can see, both jackets have their own sets of advantages and tradeoffs. The Sitka you choose really depends on your budget, the conditions you’ll be facing, and whether you’ll be wearing it over static or active hunts.
Which One To Pick?
So in the battle of the Sitka hunting jackets, which comes out on top?
For most hunters, the Fanatic is the best overall choice thanks to its:
- Complete GORE-TEX weather protection
- Stealthy, scent-free performance
- Excellent comfort and fit
- Useful features like hand warmer pockets
The Fanatic truly lives up to its name in providing flawless performance across a wide range of hunting conditions. It’s built for reliably keeping you concealed, comfortable and protected when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
That said, the Stratus is ideal for:
- Budget-conscious hunters
- Those who hunt in milder conditions
- Hunters who need maximum breathability and ventilation
- Backpack hunters needing ultra-packable gear
So depending on your needs and budget, either of these outstanding Sitka jackets will serve you well. Use this guide to make the buying decision that’s right for the type of hunting you do.
Whichever you choose, you really can’t go wrong with Sitka’s premium hunting outerwear. Both the Stratus and Fanatic are expertly designed to keep you concealed, protected, and lethal out there in the field.
Also Read: Comparison of Sitka And KUIU Proximity Jackets.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The main differences are that the Fanatic uses 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro for complete waterproofing and weather protection, while the Stratus uses Windstopper fabric that is windproof but not fully waterproof. The Fanatic also has more features like hand warmer pockets and a zippered chest pocket. But the Stratus is lighter weight and more packable.
No, the Stratus uses quiet fabrics and hardware just like all Sitka gear. Customers praise how stealthy it is on the hunt. Just keep it properly maintained with lubricant on the zippers.
Yes, the Sitka Fanatic hunting jackets use Gore-Tex Pro material that is fully waterproof, windproof, and breathable. It will keep you bone dry in the worst downpours.
The Stratus offers good warmth for high-exertion hunting in mild to cool weather. But it lacks the complete weather protection of the Fanatic, so it won’t suffice in extreme cold and wet conditions. Layer accordingly.
When shopping for an outstanding hunting jacket, you can’t go wrong with either the Sitka Fanatic or Stratus. Both are expertly designed using premium materials to keep you concealed, comfortable and lethal on the hunt.
Use this detailed comparison to decide which model aligns best with your needs and budget. And enjoy many successful seasons ahead with your new Sitka jacket!