Stoney Creek’s facelift of their ever-popular Sika Jacket will be welcomed by those who already swear by them and by new hunters alike.
While this pullover-type jacket has been designed with sika hunting in mind it is a versatile piece of kit which can of course be used anywhere in New Zealand.
It’s similar in shape to the venerable old Swandri jacket, but that is where the comparison ends. The outer shell material is very soft and quiet when pushing through bush and scrub, and is stretchable – which allows good movement and makes it certainly very comfortable to wear. It’s also breathable, with an inside base lining material that provides good warmth while at the same time allowing wicking of moisture from your skin. It’s treated with a water repellant so will keep drizzle and light rain out and stop blood soaking in, although this is not designed as a totally waterproof outer layer. It will also keep most of the wind out, although it’s not 100% windproof.
Stoney Creek have gone with the Realtree Xtra Green® camouflage pattern, which is certainly a good choice for sika country.
The jacket has a half-length zip which makes getting it on and off a breeze and of course also allows ventilation when you’re getting hot. On the other hand, with the zip pulled right up your chin is covered, and a drawcord in the hood gives a good seal around your face. A really neat feature was the built-in neck gaiter which tucks away into a zipped pocket behind your neck. It’s big enough to pull up over your nose and ears, and was excellent for keeping warm while glassing in the wind; when combined with the hood it really does keep you snug.
Venting at shoulder height will let heat escape – although if you’re wearing a back pack this will be ineffective.
A 100% waterproof tail (jacket is longer at the back than the front), specifically designed to allow you to sit on it for extended periods of glassing or whatever while in the damp bush, without getting a wet backside, is a welcome feature.
On the front of the jacket is a big chest height pocket for binoculars or camera and other bits and pieces, with a neat feature: a lens cleaning cloth, attached by a cord so you’ll never lose it. Opposite the bino pocket is a small zipped GPS pocket.
I love a jacket where I can get my hands completely out of the wind and with the Sika Jacket’s big zipped through-waist pocket this was not a problem; it’s even big enough to hold a lightweight raincoat and other hunting gear.
STONEY CREEK SIKA JACKET
In the field the jacket was certainly very comfortable to wear and lived up to its Stealth Mode billing when I was pushing through thick bush and scrub. The Sika Jacket is ideal as an insulating mid-layer or as an outer layer when heavy rain isn’t an issue. With a RRP of $249.99 I thought it was good value for money.
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