Roundup: Sitka vs First Lite vs Kryptek

by | Comparisons (Outdoor), Outdoor

Oh man, hunting/outdoor gear! We can talk about a single brand for hours, and here I am – writing about three of them.

Not an easy task, but definitely a fun one. Today I’ll be focusing on how Sitka, Kryptek and First Lite compare to each other. There are a few fundamental differences between them you’d better keep in mind.

Also, remember the first rule of hunting equipment: you don’t need to stick to only one brand. Mixing can be your (and your wallet’s) best friend.

Below are my short summaries if you’re not keen on reading a lot. If you want in-depth reviews, just scroll down!

Sitka Logo
  • Sitka
  • Best for:
    Outerwear/shells, rain gear and extreme conditions.
  • Recommended season:
    Mid or late season.
  • Most suitable hunting style:
    Treestand.
  • Fit:
    ★★★★
Kryptek Logo
  • Kryptek
  • Best for:
    Affordability, variety of patterns/designs.
  • Recommended season:
    Early to mid season.
  • Most suitable hunting style:
    Stalk hunting.
  • Fit:
    ★★★★★
First Lite Logo
  • First Lite
  • Best for:
    Fantastic merino base layers, underwear and socks.
  • Recommended season:
    Mid season is optimal, base layers allow for flexibility.
  • Most suitable hunting style:
    If used as outerwear, western big game.
  • Fit:
    ★★★★★

➥➥ Sitka have amazing outer layers and their gear is the best late-season solution. Their gear generally focuses on stand hunting and tough, weather-resistant outerwear. The Stratus and Fanatic line use OptiFade camo patterns to blend in and are extremely silent. 

Their Incinerator jacket deserves a special mention. This is the only hunting jacket that is insulated with a warm-when-wet blend.

Their outer shells are expensive. However, most of their accessories – beanies, gloves etc. are more accessible. You can pair them with cheaper gear.

Sitka Fanatic Beanie

Warmest headgear you'll see around. Sitka's Fanatic line is made to keep you toasty, features supreme sound supression and comes with OptiFade camo.

➥➥ First Lite emerge as the Merino King of base layers. The secret lies in their newer Merino X tech. Basically, they infuse a spandex reinforced interlock knit – better insulation with minimized fraying and almost perfect fit.

First Lite merino is like angels kissing your skin, seriously. There’s a reason why their Chama Qz shirts have emerged as a mid-layer classic.

But there’s something even better:

Their Aerowool line and while we’re at bases – their lightweight 200 Fuse henleys. 17.5 micron merino wool + 37.5 micron gentle nylon fibers, what a combination. Breathable, light as a feather and the perfect start for your layering system.

Leave the foundation to keeping yourself warm to First Lite and you’ll be happy. 🙂

First Lite Aerowool Henley

Expensive? A bit. However, this is the best 200gsm base layer you can have. Supreme moisture wicking, odor control and temperature regulation. Durable and comfortable.

➥➥ Kryptek are best suited for the early to mid-season and offer the best variety of patterns. Great for casual/daily wear too.

A lot of keen hunters/outdoor guys severely undervalue what Kryptek do. Sure, you won’t go fighting the winter cold or raging winds with Kryptep hoodies, jackets or pants.

And why would you? Just grab them for the early spring or early autumn, or wear them for the cool camo patterns they have.

Very affordable (dare I say – even cheap for the quality they offer!) and flexible enough. Bonus points if you like Ancient Greece 🙂

A pair of Alaios pants is great for early spring hunting for example. But the big boss here is the Tartaros camo hoodie – warm, durable and not expensive at all.

Kryptek Tartaros Hoodie

Not a late season solution. However, for early season hunting or casual hanging out, this hoodie is a total bargain. Lots of patterns, comfy and warm enough. Fits great too.

A few questions you should ask yourself first

I never liked flat out comparing hunting gear without taking into account some crucial factors. A few of them here could be:

  • What do you want to hunt?

  • How do you like to hunt? What hunting style are you after?

  • Which camo patterns do you prefer?

  • When do you plan to do your hunting?

  • How much are you willing to pay?

…and some others. Things like hunting style (treestand, western big game), weather conditions (cool, cold or extremely cold, rain or no rain) or your budget are of huge importance. It’s these factors that shape what is best for you.

If we’re starting with money, it’s no secret that Sitka gear has always been rather expensive. Comparing First Lite or Kryptek with Sitka’s prices is like cooking at home and eateing out at a mid-range restaurant.

That said, I don’t agree with some people who say that Sitka is overpriced. It’s just where their gear should be considering its insane construction quality.

Anyways – now that we know the questions, let’s see their answers.

Sitka vs Kryptek vs First Lite gear:
Which works best for what (and when)

Using the comparison chart I posted above, let me go a bit more into detail for each of these three hunting/outdoor brands.

Let’s start with Sitka. 

Yes, their gear is more expensive. However, they also produce the most durable, reliable and resistant to weather conditions gear.

This is why they’re the best choice for outerwear or hard shells a.k.a. protection. Sitka gear will prove to be a bit too heavy for early season and you don’t need to splurge on their stuff in such cases. However, for mid to late season it’ll make all the difference.

Also, no other brand is as great as Sitka when it comes to treestands. Their Whitetail line or the popular Stratus line are top of the top.

If you’re looking for rain gear, their Dewpoint line outshines (ha!) any stuff Kryptek or First Lite can even dream to offer. Lightweight and flexible, it will keep you safe and dry even in a serious downpour.

(Remember that no rain gear can leave you silent on the prowl, though. Don’t expect to move without making some noise.)

Two drawbacks of Sitka. First, their fit can be a pain sometimes. You might need to size up with some of their gear depending on the cut/garment used.

Second, they might feel heavier for early to mid season compared to some other brands. This also depends on your body type, endurance and personal preferences, though.

Hunting gear recommendations: my thoughts on Sitka, First Lite and Kryptek.

Moving on to Kryptek…

Kryptek are not only affordable but a very, very nice solution for early to mid season. Highlander patterns – looking at the legendary Tartaros hoodie, are awesome for that elk rearing its antlers in the early season.

While some of their gear leans on the heavy side, their Stalker camo hunting pants are surprisingly light. As I pointed out before, if you’re into stalk hunting as a whole, getting a Kryptek set will not cost you a fortune and it will be a blast to hunt in.

The main drawback here…I don’t really think their rain or late season gear is as great as other brands’ offers. They’re alright, but that’s it.

Last but not least, First Lite!

Now that’s a tough nut to crack.

Personally – and I’ve seen a few other people echo the sentiment, I feel the First Lite are an amazing way to do your base layering. Shirts, socks, underwear – take your pick.

The secret? Their merino wool is simply amazing. It’s merino for hunting, not just outdoors compared to the merino I discussed in my Woolx/Smartwool etc. article.

It doesn’t scratch, it doesn’t give up on you at lower temperatures, it’s 100% comfort and quality. Here’s a video on the topic, actually:

The Aerowool line – and especially the underwear, are what I absolutely recommend to any hunter. These compression socks are also great, as is the Chama Qz I mentioned before.

Regarding underwear, I’ve heard some people say good things about Kryptek’s Hoplite. No experience here, so let me know in the comments if they really fare better than the legendary First Lite quality.

If you want to use First Lite as outerwear, they are decent at treestands and pretty good for western big game. That said, I’ve seen a few people complain about the quality of stitching and overall durability compared to Sitka.

Wrapping it up

As I mentioned, one of the fundamental things you should remember is that no one forces you to stick to only one brand for your hunting gear.

Mixing them isn’t a sin. Well, as long as you keep the same camo pattern jacket and pants, that is!

Each of these three brands is a reputable, quality one. Thankfully, they do run some discounts/promotions from time to time – be it on Amazon, their official sites or other retailers. You can also always search around for second-hand bargains – especially on Sitka gear.

That said, the fresh feeling of new, unused hunting gear ready to help you conquer the vast outdoors is like no other feeling. 🙂

By the way, if you are wondering why I didn’t include Kuiu in this article – I’ve actually already written something about their gear. Check my Kuiu vs Sitka comparison to see why I consider Kuiu to be great for active hunting.

Founder of ToolingFun. Couldn't even change a lightbulb in my teenage years. Discovered the joy of DIY projects during my 2nd year in college. All about tinkering around, trying fun tools and projects, and giving my opinion on industry brands!