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  • Writer's pictureJon Osborn

Gear Review: Sitka Mountain Pants

Updated: Mar 7


Man turkey hunting wearing Sitka camo

Overview:


I’ve called myself a bird hunter for decades, but if I’ve learned anything over the years it’s that turkeys rank right up there as some of the toughest game to hunt. Shifty old gobblers earn those scimitar spurs through years of experience, and their wariness is the stuff of legend. As my turkey obsessed buddy Boom says, if turkeys had any sense of smell, no one would ever shoot one.


Moral of the story: there are no guarantees in turkey hunting – period. Wind, weather, and the mysterious, fickle nature of birds are wild cards. But there are some controllable factors, and the odds improve by pinpointing where the birds are roosting, getting into the woods well before first light, and becoming proficient with calls.


The right clothing offers another distinct advantage.


A few years ago, when I really started taking turkey hunting seriously, I decided to upgrade the faded camo I’d been using at work in favor of some legit, performance hunting clothing. Word of mouth and a few hours searching the net led me to Sitka’s website, and ultimately to their Mountain Pants.


Dad and son wearing camo and holding shotguns and a turkey

What I Like:


Sitka advertises their Mountain Pants as “the Swiss knife of big game pants.” Like a wary old longbeard, a career in law enforcement has made me naturally suspicious of inflated claims, but so far, the reviews have proven true.


At its most basic, a turkey hunter’s clothing needs to be quiet, camouflaged, and comfortable.


Quiet: Let’s start with the silence factor. It’s mid-morning in late April and you’ve finally called a gobbler into shotgun range. Earlier the only sound you’d heard were distant gobbles, but suddenly there he was, strutting and dragging his wingtips within spitting range. You raise the gun to take a shot, but your sleeve catches a blackberry cane, making a noise like securing a rain jacket with a rusty zipper. Ol’ Tom leers at you with an apprehensive eye before turning tail and sprinting for the distant tree line. Your hunt is officially over.


I was impressed to learn that Sitka’s Mountain Pants are made of four-way, stretch-woven polyester fabric. It’s a little like suppressing a rifle. Nothing beside death itself is ever dead quiet, but this stuff it darn close. And it’s not just the fabric. The snap closures that secure the side pockets are silent, too. That means no noisy Velcro or popping snaps when pulling out a diaphragm call. Zero.


Pattern: Sound suppression is important, but turkeys have incredible vision, as well. Sitka’s Mountain Pants come in three colors, two camo patterns and a khaki color simply called, “dirt.” I chose “Opti-fade Subalpine” because it matches my environment best. In late April, sprigs of green are starting to emerge, but the background is mostly a brown and gray mishmash of last fall’s leftover leaves.

Patterns that blend in up close often appear like a dark blob when viewed from farther away. Fortunately, this isn’t Granddad’s repurposed Vietnam-era camo. Opti-fade is a modern iteration with just the right mix of lights and darks so that it blends with the background from near and far.


Close up of a man wearing Sitka camo holding a shotgun while turkey hunting

Comfort: Then there’s the comfort factor. Truth is, the more comfortable you are, the longer you’re able to stay still. Discomfort starts with a case of the fidgets and eventually leads to throwing in the towel and heading home. The sissification of society is a real thing, but that’s not what I’m referring to here.


In my neck of the woods, turkey season begins the third week of April and extends through the end of May. That leaves a lot of weather variables to the imagination. Early spring can be snowy, rainy, or even bitterly cold. May, on the other hand, can be buggy and hot. Or cold and rainy. Or everything in the same day. It’s a schizophrenic season, for sure.


All told, it’s the little things that make a collective difference, and the folks at Sitka considered every minor detail when designing the Mountain Pants. First, they incorporated articulation and spandex into the fabric. A little stretch goes a long way for anyone who’s experienced the moose-knuckle deluxe treatment from less flexible pants.


The Mountain Pants do a decent job blocking the wind. It’s not Gore Windstopper, but a cool spring breeze won’t whistle right through, either. Plus, Mountain Pants are treated with a DWR (durable water resistant) finish, so light precipitation beads up and runs off, rather than soaking in. Again, they aren’t waterproof, but they are moisture resistant, and that goes a long way toward comfort on dewy, misty mornings.


Man wearing sitka camo turkey hunting

Fit: Some of the website reviews noted issues with sizing. While there’s no such thing as “one size fits all,” I love the fit. For what it’s worth, I’m 6’01” tall and weigh a shade over 200 pounds. Overall, the Mountain Pants run slightly long, which works for me because I despise highwater pants with an abbreviated inseam – even more so when it means exposing my lily-white legs or socks, which can be dead giveaways in the field.

Value: At $209, the cost isn’t a showstopper but did make me ponder whether the end-product would justify the investment. Reputable hunting friends promised the Mountain Pants would deliver, and over a hundred online reviews offered compelling evidence, so I finally pulled the trigger and haven’t looked back since.


Durability: These aren’t brush pants and shouldn’t be treated as such. In short, grouse and woodcock hunters, brick layers, and roofers should search elsewhere. Mountain Pants are intended for turkey and deer hunting, and for those uses, they’re highly durable.


close up of man holding shotgun wearing camo turkey hunting

What I Don’t Like:


Knee Pads: The Mountain Pants come equipped with removable knee pads, but I wasn’t a fan of them from the beginning. It’s a great idea in theory, but unnecessary in the region where I hunt. So far, I haven’t run across prickly pears or scree in the Midwest.


turkey spurs and empty shotgun shell

Perfect For: Turkey and early season whitetail hunters looking for a comfortable, performance pant that fits well without being baggy. Overall, Sitka’s Mountain Pants have a lot going in their favor, but versatility is probably their biggest selling point. These pants cover all the turkey hunting bases and do it well.


Stars: 4.5 out of 5.


Learn more about the Sitka Mountain Pants here.

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