Review of StormKloth II Outerwear
We’ve tested numerous brands of hunting outerwear (intentionally and unintentionally) over the years and there are several things we look for. Comfort, Mobility, Durability and Value are among those attributes. After wearing this apparel in a variety of hunting situations and weather conditions this past season, the folks at StormKloth are getting high marks in this review. Be warned, we’re down right giddy over this stuff so continue at your own risk. “StormKloth II” refers to a second generation material that incorporates the introduction of fleece into the product for more warmth without bulk. The original StormKloth material was built for warmer weather and although they still offer it, we like the idea of one fabric handling a variety of weather conditions for full 3 season use.
Let’s take a look at the StormKloth II products we tested:
(Click on the Bold Headings to See Each Garment)
Jacket: Features waterproof zippers on the front, pockets and underarm vents. The hood features a built-in brim and draw-cord for a snug fit. The back waist has a longer tail with a draw- cord to eliminate drafts.
Pants: Feature a unique gusseted stride to deliver unrestricted movement. Gripping dots at the waist keep the tails tucked. These pants offer adjustable waist tabs, 2-snap front, 17” leg zippers, and 6 roomy pockets with zippers and storm flaps.
Beanie: Low profile design fitting snug and made of the same 4 way stretch material as the jacket and pants.
Gloves: feature hook & loop wrist closures to keep weather and water out. A tacky grip on the palms and fingers provide a secure grip and reduces hand fatigue.
Baclava: Snug, comfortable fit with soft fleece inside and air holes in front.
StormKloth II materials and the science behind them:
Stormkloth II is a 4-way stretch high-performance 3-ply fabric composed of an interlocking knit shell, a waterproof breathable membrane and a polyester fleece lining. That all sounds great but how does it work?
The 3 layers of fabric that are utilized in StormKloth II products attempt to address the elements that most hunters are concerned with: Wind, Water and Temperature (both hot and cold). Here’s how we felt the StormKloth II material stacked up to these elements.
Wind: With proper base layers, we felt the StormKloth Jacket and pants provided superior protection from the wind. Ideally, we want the wind in our face as we’re sitting on stand. Anything above 5 mph however and things get a little uncomfortable when you’re sitting for hours. The Interlocking knit shell did a great job at blocking the wind and protected us from any associated wind chill.
Water: We like the phrasing that StormKloth II uses to describe the relationship between water and the interlock knit outer layer of this material. This kind of phrasing gives you an indication of what kind of company you’re dealing with; honest and direct without trying to play games with advertising. StormKloth calls these garments “Water Repellent” in an attempt to show how they deal with “moisture” and not a torrential downpour. We find that hunters sometimes confuse the use of such terms. “Water Repellent” is different than “Water Proof” so don’t expect this stuff to be the equivalent of full-on rain gear in Monsoon-type conditions! However, the StormKloth II material does an excellent job of keeping water on the outside of the garment and not penetrating the inner layers of your clothing. We wore these garments on stand during brief rain showers, fog and snow and our base layers stayed dry in all conditions. On one such occasion in late Firearm season, we were caught off guard when a snow storm pounded the mountain we were hunting. By the time we reached camp, the outer surface of the SKII fleece seemed soaked and we thought for sure our base layers would have to be hung up to dry. Not the case! Our base layers were dry and the outer layer of the SKII did its job perfectly by preventing moisture from penetrating. Any moisture that was able to enter was wicked back to the surface. The self sealing zippers aided in this factor. Not only do you get a barrier with the outer interlock knit layer to prevent the entrance of water, you also get a moisture wicking inner layer to keep the water away from your body should any find its way in. Because of all this, drying time is also reduced when washing, or in the case of our return to base camp, after an unexpected water soaked hunt.
Temperature: We found the fleece in StormKloth II to provide warmth in colder conditions but at the same time it didn’t cause us to get over heated on our way to the stand. The polyester lining and membrane wicks away moisture, whether originating from perspiration or water entering from the outside. Another nice feature is the addition of zippered underarm vents to further aid in keeping you cool in warmer temperatures.
Full 3 Season Use? If you’re looking for an all-purpose type hunting outfit that is going to allow you to hunt in fluctuating temperatures throughout the season, we would highly recommend taking a look at StormKloth’s offerings. The moisture wicking ability of the material combined with the warmth retaining ability of fleece make StormKloth a great choice for our NY weather. We could be hunting in 60 degree temps one day and 20 degree temps a few days later. The performance aspects of StormKloth II allowed us to not get “Sweated Up” on those warmer days while giving us that added warmth on the colder days. Of course, we would recommend a layering system underneath the StormKloth II garments in order to fully reap the benefits of this material.
Fit and Mobility: Maybe it’s 4 way stretch fleece or the deep, zippered pockets covered with storm flaps, but we haven’t been this impressed with an apparel product in years! Not only does the Jacket and Pants allow for full range of mobility, but they’re down right comfy! The soft fleece is ultra quiet and the pockets seem perfectly placed. Another attribute of the StormKloth II material is that it will not shrink at all and has retained its original fit and shape after several washings for us.
Available Patterns: Our StormKloth II garments came in Realtree All Purpose HD and we found this open pattern prevented us from looking like a dark “Blob” on the ground or up in a tree. StormKloth II is also available in Advantage Max-1 camo and Blaze Orange.
Overall Value: At 90$ a pop for the Jacket and Pants, we realize that you’re going to want some opinions about this stuff before purchasing it. Feel free to visit www.stormkloth2.com to take a harder look. However, as previously mentioned, both Dan and I are 110% in agreement that StormKloth II will be our garment of choice for 2010. The combination of fit, performance ability, wind block, and warmth make StormKloth II a perfect choice for variable 3 season weather.
Our Marks on StormKloth II Outerwear:
Fit and Comfort: 5 out of 5: Imagine going hunting in your favorite pair of sweatpants and hooded sweatshirt, except for them being durable, warmer, windproof and water repellent!
Mobility: 5 out of 5: From the gusseted panels in the pants and jacket, to the 4 way stretch fabric, we found these garments to provide maximum range of mobility.
Durability: 5 out of 5: We had zero issues with stitching, buttons, or zippers on these garments.
Offerings: 5 out of 5: StormKloth offers garments in the second generation fleece material and in their original material (geared for warmer climates). They offer vests for layering and a full line of beanies, neck gaiters, balaclavas, leg gaiters and gloves. You can choose from 2 different camo patterns and blaze orange.
Overall Value: 5 out of 5: If you can’t tell by now that we HIGHLY recommend the StormKloth II products, go back and read the review again!