I've been a big fan of wearing technical clothing for hunting long before there were any technical hunting clothing companies. I want to introduce a new company in the hunting clothing and gear market to those who haven't heard of them yet. KUIU is a company that has designed and brought to market a technical hunting clothing system and lightweight backpacks for the hunter looking for the most advanced hunting gear. The company's founder is Jason Hairston (one of the previous owners who started Sitka Gear), so he knows a thing or two about technical hunting clothing.
KUIU (pronounced Koo-U) is an island in the Alexander Archipelago in southeastern Alaska. Jason started the KUIU blog back in February 2010 to share his vision in developing technical hunting gear. He openly sought comments and opinions that helped shape the KUIU gear to what he brought to market. (I don't plan on going into much detail in this post about the individual items themselves, but I invite you to check out his blog at http://kuiu.wordpress.com/ and the KUIU website at http://kuiu.com/ for detailed information on all the available gear.)
KUIU officially launched their sales site on March 30, 2011. Among the many things that KUIU is doing differently from the rest of the hunting clothing market is a direct sales approach. You won't find KUIU in your local big box hunting retail store or pro shop. This is allowing KUIU to cut out the 'middle man' and keep prices lower (Click here for KUIU's pricing structure) than what would be offered should the gear be sold at retail. In saying that, Jason designed this gear as a system for the mountain hunter who is demanding of their gear and wants the lightest, most functional gear possible. He chose materials that would suit his goal best, and without a set price point. Some of the first class materials that make up KUIU gear include Merino Wool (from The Merino Company) for the base layers (two different weights), Toray Primeflex fabrics (both soft shell and waterproof/breathable fabrics) for the outerwear, Primaloft insulation for the insulating layer, and Pittards Leather for the gloves.
Part of Jason's vision for KUIU (and a way to keep prices lower in order to not have to pay camouflage licensing fees) included a new camouflage pattern, called Vias. It is a macro pattern that in my opinion will do a great job here in Arizona, and just about anywhere else in the west. From the pictures Jason has taken with it (see below), it blends in well at both close and long distances.
Vias Camouflage Pictures
(Pictures taken NE of Reno, NV. Pictures used by permission from Jason Hairston)
In addition to clothing, KUIU is introducing a line of hunting backpacks, the Icon 3000 and Icon 6000. These packs are worth looking into if you are in the market for a new lightweight pack. They utilize carbon fiber technology for the frame. Be sure to check out the KUIU website and blog for additional information.
I have ordered some KUIU gear myself and look forward to testing it out this spring while turkey hunting and next fall while elk hunting. I will definitely report back with my own review and let you know what I think about it. Until then, go check out KUIU before they sell out of their first production run.