I spent a couple hours yesterday just surfing the web looking for waterproof/breathable jackets made for hunters and the truth is that there isn’t much out there worth considering.
Sitka Gear, Kuiu and First Lite all have their entries but then there is a significant step down to the Cabelas Quiet Pack Rain Jacket which has a dated design (it is exactly the same stuff I was using 15 years ago) and is heavy but it is quiet and very capable. I like the Outfitter camo and they offer matching pants or bibs which is my preference. BTW, none of the big three make shell layer bibs and that is a mistake. Bibs aren’t fashionista sexy but they are still the best way to go for layering flexibility, ventilation and to wear under a pack belt so lets get on the stick and remedy that boys.
Anyway, it is comforting to know that you can still get a full set of good performing Gore-Tex shell gear from the folks in Sidney for less than $400 bucks. It will cost you more than twice that from the same retailer if you want it to say Sitka Gear on the label.
After that pickens get pretty slim. You could include Arcteryx LEAf and Helly Hansen Impertech but that is really about it. So as far as we have come in the last 5 or 6 years we still have a ways to go in my opinion and that usually comes by way of strong competition. The one element still lacking in this space? Combining the durability, efficient design, high quality materials, light weight and outstanding performance which that we have now with the all too elusive low noise feature.
That is the holy grail of shell layers for hunters and we are not there yet my friends.