KUIU MOUNTAIN HUNTING CLOTHING REVIEW
Super Down Hooded Jacket, Super Down Pants, Guide Pant, Merino 185 Zip T, Merino 250 Zip T
Field Editor – Randy Johnson, HIGH DESERT WILD SHEEP GUIDES
KUIU’s mountain hunting clothing is all about lightweight functionality and in creating the finest, high quality materials. Designed for extreme, hardcore hunters who choose to engage hunting and life at a high rate of speed KUIU’s products are top of the line. Challenging the toughest weather conditions and terrain on the planet KUIU’s clothing is designed for dependability, high performance, packability, and durability in helping hunters step up to the invigorating “highs” of Mountain Hunting.
KUIU’s recent release of their SUPER DOWN jacket and pant was exciting and revolutionary news placing the spotlight on Quixdown, Toray’s Water Repellent treatment for a Down Feather. Down, of course, has the highest warmth to weight ratios of any insulation material we use. The concerns in the past for using Down was moisture because when Down gets wet it quickly loses all of its insulating qualities and can become difficult to dry. I’ve used Down on a regular basis myself for years but the hunting industry hasn’t recommended it in regards to clothing due to the moisture issue. Enter Super Down to change the “way the ballgame is being played.” With Toray leading the way through their infusion of nanotechnology into their company operations they are now utilizing organic synthetic chemistry, polymer chemistry, and biotechnology to solve the technical fabric industry’s most challenging problems. What a positive advance.
The loft that KUIU is using in their Super Down Jack and Pant is the very best, POLISH DOWN. With most materials in any industry, not all are created equal including the Down Feather. European Goose Down has a higher quality and loft than Down from other sources throughout the world. Goose Down bought from growers in Poland has the highest rating of quality and loft of all the Down sourced in Europe. This has allowed KUIU’s Super Down products to be lighter and warmer as they have a rating of 850+.
Another big game changer for KUIU is the development of STUNNER STRETCH by TORAY. This is a series of ultra-light down proof fabrics that stretch enabling the design of better fitting garments. Clothing with Stunner Stretch are smaller in bulk and weight for packable insulation. Until now ultralight micro fabric used for packable insulation have not been able to stretch. This restricted your movement.
KUIU’s other outstanding outerwear products such as their Guide Pant are made exclusively with Toray’s Primeflex fabrics, which use a patented Spiral Yarn allowing stretch and recovery without elastic. The result is a lighter, more durable, and faster drying fabric. The Primeflex fabric allows the clothing to move with the hunter which is a critical component when Mountain Hunting. Believe me, I’ve noticed a big difference when wearing this fabric.
To manufacture KUIU’s base layering system for the 185 and 250 zip T’s their research led them to Merino Wool. This was the perfect fabric fit for Mountain Hunter’s ultralight performance demands. Just like Down Feathers, not all Merino Wool was of the same quality so KUIU found The Merino Company (TMC), based in New Zealand. TMC manages a robust global supply chain from the top Merino growers in South Africa, South America, Australia, and New Zealand. This supply chain affords TMC consistent access to the highest quality Merino wool in the world. KUIU’s Zip-Tees are made with 100% TMC merino wool. The Merino collection is incredibly comfortable next to skin, naturally anti-microbial, odor resistant and moisture wicking. Simply put, this collection is designed to be incredibly comfortable and effective in a range of conditions and temperatures, and to be worn and relied on for days and hours on end.
SPECIFICS for Super Down Jacket, Pant, Guide Pant, Merino 185 Zip T and Merino 250 Zip T
Super Down Jacket
Fill – 2.5 ounces of Polish 850+ Toray Quixdown
Weight 10 Ounces
Features two #3 YKK zippered hand pockets, and a #3 YKK zippered chest pocket designed to be used as the stuff sack with a reversible zipper. When compressed, it is about 1/3rd the size of the KUIU Spindrift Jacket, but is significantly warmer.
The tapered cuffs of the jacket include a stretch woven panel to make getting in and out of it comfortable and easy.
The Toray Stunner®Stretch 100% Polyester Fabric is treated at the individual fiber level with Toray’s Industry Leading Kudos DWR treatment.
2-way Stretch, Ultra Packable, Athletic Fit
Available in Visa or Verde Camo colors
Super Down Pants
Weight 10 ounces
Ultralight and packable
1.6 ounces of 850+ Quixdown
Full leg-zips enabling you to put this pant on WITHOUT the removal of YOUR BOOTS. This pant can be zipped down to ventilate and align with all other KUIU pants. Zippered fly, snap closure and elastic waist with adjustable Velcro tabs. Two YKK Zippered hand pockets designed to be used as a stuff sack with a reversible zipper. The Toray Stunner Stretch fabric is treated at the fiber level with Toray’s Industry Leading Kudos Durable Water Repellant.
• 274g/m2 Toray Primeflex 4-Way Stretch Soft Shell
• Weight 18 ounces
• Weather resistant and highly breathable
• Wind resistant, durable mid-weight soft shell
• Durable Water Repellent finish to help bead water from fabric •Anatomical
shaping for fit and comfort when climbing
• Gusseted crotch and articulated knees for comfort
• Two thigh pockets with #3 YKK zip, two hand pockets, two rear pockets
• Front Fly #3 YKK Zip two zipper heads
• Web & Bar-tacked PU-button and belt loops-double bar tacked
Merino Wool 185 Zip T
• Weight 9.6 ounces with 185 gram, 17.5 Micron, Interlock 100%
• Zero Itch, moisture wicking and breathable
• Flatlock stitching
• Mechanical stretch textile for unrestricted mobility–fabric is inherently
stretchy without the use of Spandex fibers, making it more durable
Anatomical shaping for fit and comfort with gusseted underarms
• 13″ YKK reverse coil # 3
• Quick-pull zip for easy venting
• Temperature rating of 0 to 110 degrees F
Merino Wool 250 Zip T
• 11 ounces, 230 gram, 20.5 Micron, Interlock 48% Merino Wool and 52%
Polyester from The Merino Company- No Itch, mid-weight, moisture wicking
• Flat-lock stitching
• Breathable and Quick-drying – Temperature rating of 0 to 60 degrees F
• Mechanical stretch textile for unrestricted mobility–fabric is inherently stretchy
without the use of Spandex fibers, making it more durable
• Anatomical shaping for fit and comfort with gusseted underarms
• Beamis heat set, welded zippered chest pocket
• Chest: 13″ YKK reverse coil #3 with low profile zipper head • Pocket: Laser cut
and heat set Beamis Bonded, 3″ YKK #3 reverse coil zipper with low profile
After many years of battling some cold days and nights out on the mountain as well as more high desert plateau’s than I can remember while backpack hunting I can’t place a price on the importance of lightweight, quality, warm clothing. On my list of gear this type of clothing is worth every cent I’ve invested! Since I’m a person who doesn’t maintain an abundance of body fat for insulation against the cold I can freeze my butt off rather quickly. To top it off my resting pulse rate has been as low as 50 with blood pressure dipping to 90. These personal physical qualities translate simply into a metabolism that doesn’t burn fuel to heat me up. I’m sure that most of you can verify that there’s nothing more uncomfortable than trying to glass while shivering in a bitter wind. With that said here is where KUIU’s Mountain Hunting clothing has become a mandatory “change agent” for my list of quality hunting gear. I’ve been wearing KUIU clothing for two seasons now and swear by it for use in cold or hot weather. Last year I wore the KUIU Attack Pant, Guide Jacket, Guide Vest, Merino Crew Shirt, and Guide Beanie in their new Camo Verde and came away knowing that I would be researching and incorporating more of their gear as quickly as KUIU founder, Jason Hairston, could get it down the pipeline and out on the market!
To start the New Year I decided it was time to try out KUIU’s transformational Super Down Hood Jacket, Super Down Pant, Guide Pant and Merino 180 and 250 Zip T base layers. For the past 2 months I have put this clothing through the mountain rigors of some very cold, miserable weather conditions as well as terrain!
First off, let me say that my new Super Down Jacket and Pant have been incredible. They are not only light to pack but are easy to put on and the Polish 850 Quixdown is toasty warm. When it got extra cold at night on several of my backpack excursions I didn’t hesitate to slip these two valuable pieces of clothing on over my long johns and crawl into my sleeping bag knowing that I wasn’t going to be shivering all night. For hunters in tree stands and glassing from the tops of cold, windy ridges, KUIU’s Super Down should become an important component of the gear you kept in your pack. Super Down is a wind killer and I was surprised at how well the Quixdown performed under wet conditions. The (DRW) Durable Water Repellant really does the job it was designed for. Even when it did get wet I found the Quixdown was reasonably quick to dry. The hood on the Super Down Jacket was a great idea and I used it extensively. Very important to me was the compactability of my Super Down Jacket and Pant. Engineered so that you can compress them into one of their side pockets that have been designed with a two way zipper that serves as your stuff sack. These two items of clothing take up very little room in my backpack. When you are out on hunting adventures for up to 10 days at a time every ounce counts and space is at a premium even in the biggest of backpacks. Take my words of time worn experience, you won’t be sorry when you purchase KUIU’s Super Down Jacket or Pant. I like them better than the Kelvin Sitka Jacket and Pant I’ve now used for 5 years.
I wasn’t at all surprised to find that KUIU’s Guide Pants performed every bit as well as their Attack Pants that I simply wore the heck out of last fall. Designed to be a little warmer than the Attack Pant, I found the Guide Pants to be very comfortable. To truly understand what I mean, you will have to wear a pair for yourself. The Toray Primaflex 4-way stretch fabrics used in these pants are absolutely the best in providing comfort! I hate pants that feel as if they are binding or restricting my knees or hips when climbing in steep terrain so I demand clothing that will not restrict my movement in any way. I found the Primaflex material provided the most comfort in a hunting pant that I have ever worn. It allows me to move with the mobility and fluidity that I demand. The Guide Pant is also tough and durable. It’s amazing, but I haven’t even ripped a hole in these pants once and I’ve beaten my way through some really thick oak thickets, mountain rosebush, and forests of Pinion Juniper. Although hunting clothing doesn’t always fit you properly I didn’t have any issues with the cut and fit of KUIU’s Guide Pant or any of their clothing I have worn.
Equally impressive was how light the KUIU mountain clothing was yet it also demonstrated some outstanding insulation qualities for warmth. My Guide Pants ventilated well when I was hiking under heavy loads! If you are like me I seem to always need to make use of my pockets so I have really liked the thigh pockets with YKK zippers. These pockets are exactly what I demand in a hunting pant. These pants are also designed with two hand pockets and rear pockets that have zippers to keep you from losing anything. After countless miles of hiking I’ve found that my KUIU clothing is tough and has met my hunting challenges in every way. I have appreciated the weather and wind resistance of KUIU”s material. Many other small features such as the articulated knees in the pants as well as the double bar tacked belt loops and the soft brushed lined collar on the jacket make this clothing a Mountain Hunter’s dream.
The 185-gram Interlock, 100% TMC merino wool is absolutely “great.” When you think of wool you may have the perception that is will itch. That’s not the case with Merino Wool. I found it to be very comfortable on my skin, and is naturally anti-microbial, odor resistant and wicks moisture, besides being warm. After spending extended days out on the mountain these qualities become very important to you. I liked the welded chest pocket on the Crew-Tee and enjoyed the stretch Spandex fibers used for the mobility and durability.
You won’t find KUIU clothing or gear in any of the outdoor stores or catalogs. Jason Hairston chose to market KUIU differently. He bypasses the retailers, keeps the middle-man out of the process and only sells online direct. This is a conscious effort to provide hunter with the very best products and to keep the prices down. If you have ever been to the KUIU website you will find out that they ask you, their customers, to give them direct feedback on your experience with any of their gear, good or bad.
The price of any quality gear is not cheap and it is the same with KUIU. As I’m writing these reviews the Super Down Jack is priced at $249.99, Super Down Pant, $199.99, Guide Pant $199.99, 185 Merino Zip T, $79.99, and the Merino 250 Zip T, $89.99. For any product of this quality you should expect to pay these kinds of prices or more.
Please note that a very important aspect of purchasing expensive hunting gear is what kind of customer service can I expect if the product has something wrong with it. At this time my KUIU gear has performed so well that I haven’t had to return anything. When I’ve had to phone them regarding a question the KUIU team has been extremely customer oriented and have treated me as if I were part of their family. If you will go to the KUIU blog on their website I’m sure you can research what other mountain hunters have had to say about the KUIU customer service.
What They Could Do Better
I loved KUIU’s Mountain Hunting Clothing and look forward to their new hotter weather clothing for desert sheep guides like me who spend part of our season in temperatures that can just make you sweat thinking about the heat. I understand that Jason and his team at KUIU will release this clothing sometime next spring.
In concluding this review, I highly recommend KUIU’s Mountain Hunting Clothing and all of their gear or accessories for the hard core, passionate Mountain Hunter who is looking for high performance gear. The only thing the KUIU team can do better is to continue researching and “picking the minds of hunters like you and me” to keep better products coming to us in the future.
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