KUIU KENAI INSULATED SYNTHETIC JACKET REVIEW
IReview Gear Lead Field Editor – Randy Johnson
HIGH DESERT WILD SHEEP GUIDES
Alti2ude Outdoors Pro Staff
KUIU’s vision is to create the finest, high quality, lightweight mountain hunting clothing. Based upon lightweight functionality the team at KUIU and Toray have now designed the Kenai 3DeFX+® insulated synthetic jacket for extreme, hard core hunters who face the challenges of the toughest weather conditions and terrain on the planet. The new Kenai jacket is designed for quietness, warmth and breathability. It is dependable, packable, and very comfortable while worn during periods of high exertion.
KUIU’s recent release of their Kenai Jacket was exciting news for mountain hunters as the new revolutionary Toray 3DeFX+® insulation established a new precedence for an entirely different type of extremely breathable insulation during active exertion. This equates to a near perfect solution for strenuous physical activity while mountain hunting in cold, extreme weather.
The Toray 3DeFX+® Synthetic insulation is marketed as the first of its kind. It has been designed specifically to create a continuous fiber technology that is loftier and warmer than any other synthetic insulation on the market. The 30D Stunner Stretch face fabric does not require fabric coatings as Super Down does to keep the insulation from migrating outward. This factor has made it possible for KUIU to manufacture a jacket that breathes at a much higher rate, thus keeping the user dryer, warmer and more comfortable during long climbs and extremely active use. The lack of coating on the lightweight face fabric makes it absolutely dead quiet and perfect for stalking in close for the perfect shot.
An independent research study has shown Toray’s 3DeFX to be 20% warmer than “Primaloft One” due to its increased loft. With 90 grams of Toray 3DeFX Insulation, the Kenai Jacket is warmer than 100 grams of Primaloft One. This aspect is a very attractive but the fact that this fabric breathes much more efficiently because of its continuous fiber technology is a major game changer.
Designed as an active insulation garment one of the Kenai jacket’s strongest features is that it “emphasizes” strategic body mapping insulation. Simply defined, this means that KUIU has increased the synthetic fill in specified areas of this jacket where a hunter or outdoor enthusiast most needs it most. The Kenai highlights 90 grams of Toray’s 3DeFX Insulation in the body and top of the arms. The underarm panel is filled with 60 grams of Toray 3DeFX that makes it more comfortable to wear during high periods of exertion while climbing and hiking in the mountains.
• Toray 30D Stunner Stretch Face Fabric – 52g/m2, 100% Nylon
• Toray 3DeFX+® Synthetic Insulation
• Toray KUDOS® DWR Finish
• YKK Zippers
• Synthetic insulated mid-layer
• 15.8 ounces
• Retains warmth in humid wet conditions
• Extremely breathable
• Highly compressible
• High warmth to weight ratio
• Pit-Zips for releasing heat while on the move
• Dries quickly
• Water repellent face fabric
• Wind resistant
• 2-Way Stretch
• Stretch synthetic insulation
• Anatomical shaping for fit and comfort
• Articulated elbows
• Gusseted underarms
• Athletic Fit
• Two hand pockets with YKK Zippers
• Two chest pockets with YKK Zippers
• Adjustable storm hood
• Cinch closure
Kenai Jacket Performs Well In Cold Weather
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of lightweight, quality, warm clothing that is made specifically to meet the demands of mountain hunters, backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts. On my personal list of “gear priorities” this specific type of high performance clothing is worth every cent that I have ever invested! Since my “internal metabolism” doesn’t burn very hot I get cold rather easily and I don’t have the option of backpacking heavy, bulky clothing when I’m mountain hunting. When you are out on the top of a high peak glassing for big game you don’t have the luxury of sitting around a roaring fire. This translates into Mother Nature making it very cold and uncomfortable if you are not prepared with the right kind of layering/clothing. When backpack hunting it is essential that you pack in as light as possible without diminishing efficiency, comfort or safety. The less weight you have to carry provides the hunter with the flexibility to cover as much country as possible to locate the trophy animal of your dreams.
With that said I’m constantly researching and looking for the best in ultralight hunting clothing/gear and this is where KUIU’s Mountain Hunting clothing has become a priority item on my list of mandatory, quality gear. I’ve been wearing KUIU clothing for 4 seasons now and I believe in its use for both cold and hot weather.
I’ve loved the warmth and compactability of my KUIU Quixdown Jacket but have realized that with the DRW (Durable Water Repellant) that it doesn’t breath as well as I would like when I’m hiking and physically exerting myself. Although the Quixdown performs remarkably well when it does get wet I still must face the fact that the jacket will take longer to dry. To address this issue I’ve wondered when KUIU would come out with a lightweight, very warm synthetic material that was also compactable and quiet? I didn’t have to wait long with KUIU’s long anticipated announcement earlier this winter of their new Kenai Jacket with Toray’s 3DeFX Insulation!
To kick off the New Year with a bang I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of the
new Kenai Jackets from KUIU to use on some cold weather backpack trips that I had
scheduled. I chose to go with the hoodless jacket as I prefer to wear a head cap for
warmth such as KUIU’s Guide Beanie or Merino 145 Beanie. For over a month I have
field tested this jacket under very harsh mountain conditions in some very cold,
miserable weather in rugged, rough terrain! I’ve been extremely pleased with how well
this jacket has performed. I have loved the warmth that the new synthetic down fill has
provided me. At only 15.8 ounces the Kenai is only slightly heavier than the KUIU
Superdown jacket. The Toray 3DeFX+® Synthetic Insulation is extremely breathable,
quiet and comfortable to wear. I love the jacket’s compactness yet it maintains the
“loftiness” that I appreciate with down. Please see the following picture of my Kenai
jacket in its blue stuff sack next to my KUIU Super Down jacket shown in Verde camo.
Impressive huh? The Kenai synthetic fill also insulates better than down, Superdown or
Primaloft when it gets wet.
Kenai Jacket Compressed in Blue Stuff Sack Next to Superdown Jacket in Verde Camo
The Kenai has performed flawlessly for me although I have found that while sitting in a
cold wind out on a high ridge or rocky point for long periods of time that it is best to
wear a light “wind jacket” over my Kenai. I have had several extra cold backpack trips
this winter where I’ve worn my Super Down jacket underneath the Kenai while I’ve been
sitting stationary for hours glassing and this layering concept has worked very well for
me. When hiking with the jacket on I’ve found that I don’t feel wet and clammy as it
vents/breathes very well. The water repellant Toray 30D Stunner Stretch Face Fabric –
52g/m2, 100% Nylon is very comfortable to wear and most importantly is extremely
quiet. It should be noted that since the face material is almost noiseless I’ve had to
be careful not to tear it while sneaking through thick brush that can snag and rip
the face material.
I’ve enjoyed the athletic fit of the Kenai although I personally prefer to order my shirts and jackets a size larger than what I normally wear because I don’t like to feel constricted. I have appreciated the two chest pockets featured in this jacket. Those pockets provide me instant access when I need items that I use a lot. Another innovative feature of the Kenai that I believe makes a difference is the “zip pits” under the arms that can be unzipped to provide additional ventilation and eliminate any heat buildup. Great concept.
“Pit Zips on the Kenai Jacket”
The Kenai jacket is light to pack and for extra cold weather I have no issue with taking both my KUIU Super Down and Kenai jackets with me. For hunters in tree stands or for those of you who spend long hours glassing from cold, windy ridges, I would utilize both jackets.
From my years of experience out on the mountain I believe you will be very pleased with the purchase of KUIU’s new Kenai Jacket. At the present time KUIU is taking internet orders for this new jacket that will become available this spring. You are not charged for the purchase until the item ships to you. The hooded jacket is priced at $199.99 with the hoodless Kenai like I have at $179.99. Yes, the price of any quality gear is not cheap. However, as many of you know KUIU’s marketing concept is different in that they bypass retailers to keep the middleman out of the process. Therefore, they only sell online direct in a concentrated effort to keep their prices down yet provide hunters with the very best products. When ordering it is very important for the consumer to get the correct size so I suggest that purchasers review KUIU’s detailed size chart on their website.
Another suggestion I have for hunters and outdoor fanatics who want the best in quality gear and like to do their research before purchasing is to access KUIU’s website at http://store.kuiu.com and read their blog and forum links. On the forum you can read the comments of mountain hunters everywhere who always have some great questions and thoughts. I’ve always appreciated the fact that Jason Hairston and the entire KUIU team are not afraid to ask you, their customers, for direct feedback. They want to hear about your experiences with any of their gear, good or bad. You will find that they are very receptive to new ideas. I personally have found that if an item of gear hasn’t performed as expected that KUIU is willing to make the necessary improvements that will make it better in the future.
When I purchase expensive hunting gear I expect the very best in customer service from any vendor if I find that their product has something wrong with it. In instances where I’ve had to contact KUIU regarding a question or concern the KUIU team has always been extremely customer oriented and have treated me with respect.
In concluding this review, I highly recommend KUIU’s Mountain Hunting Clothing and gear. The hunting and outdoor clothing/gear market is very competitive in today’s world and healthy competition, in my opinion, is great for you and I as Mountain Hunters. Each one of us is different and we have our likes and dislikes. That is precisely why we are unique individuals with the freedom and ability to make educated choices. I encourage you to always do your research. Take a serious look at the KUIU clothing/gear and the accessories they offer. I believe you will find it to be high performance, cutting edge gear designed for hard core, passionate hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. I know that I haven’t been disappointed.
What They Could Do Better
Great jacket. Keep the innovative quality products coming down the pipeline KUIU!
As always, thanks for reading my reviews everyone. Good luck and continue to “keep your boots” warm for your next adventure out on the mountain.
Randy Johnson, HIGH DESERT WILD SHEEP GUIDES
KUIU Kenai Insulated Synthetic Jacket Review