Sunday, March 25, 2012

KUIU vs Sitka Comparison Introduction

In my last post, I mentioned that I was going to do a comparison of equivalent items of Sitka vs KUIU gear.  In reading various hunting forums and talking to people, that is probably the biggest question I see or personally get asked, “Which do I like better, Sitka or KUIU?”

My plan for these reviews is compare similar items between the two companies, giving my opinions of what I like and don’t like about each one, and doing my best to rate each piece of gear.  For my thoughts on technical hunting clothing, you can click here.  For my previous review of Sitka Gear, click here.  I have added a few more pieces of Sitka Gear to my collection since I did the Sitka Gear review last year, so I will try to give my thoughts on those pieces or go back and add an addendum to the Sitka Gear Review.
I plan on breaking these comparisons into several posts: Base Layers, Pants, Jackets, and Accessories.  I have only recently purchased KUIU and Sitka rain gear, so I won’t be able to give a good comparison except for initial thoughts.  In instances where I may not have the equivalent model, I’ll compare what I know, and give my thoughts on the piece I own.

I have had this post in mind since before the 2011 hunting season, so I’ve tried to utilize my Sitka and KUIU gear as evenly and equally as possible to give each a thorough review.  I can say that both my KUIU and Sitka Gear have performed well and often times my favorite gear is that which I’m wearing that particular day.  

A few general thoughts come to mind when comparing KUIU and Sitka overall.  In regards to the camouflage pattern, I think both the Optifade Open Country and the KUIU Vias patterns work well.  While wearing them this past season, I had multiple occasions in both that I was in view of animals (deer and elk) and felt like the camouflage was effective and doing what it was supposed to be doing, breaking up my outline.  Both companies have minor color variations between different fabrics.  For instance, my KUIU 185 Merino shirt is a slightly different shade than the 250 shirt, and the Sprindrift Jacket is more muted than the other fabrics.  I’m sure this has to do with printing on different fabrics. 

Sitka has the same issue with different fabrics.  My Mountain pants are a lighter shade of Optifade as compared to my Ascent pants.  My Jetstream jacket matches the Mountain pants in regards to the lightness of the fabric.   The Sitka Merino shirt is a quite muted and different colors than the Core series Optifade shirts I have.  All in all, this isn’t a big deal.  The lightness of the Mountain Pants and the Jetstream jacket has made me self conscience in certain scenarios, but this past January while archery deer hunting one of my buddies was wearing his Mountain pants and they blended in great.  I was convinced they were a darker shade than mine, but after comparing them back at camp, they were just as light as mine.

I won’t get into the technical aspects of each companies fabrics, but the biggest difference is in the softshells and rain gear.  KUIU uses a fabric made by Toray in Japan and Sitka uses Gore proprietary fabrics.  I will go into more detail in the individual reviews, especially the pant and jacket reviews.

The KUIU gear is more minimalistic, meaning less features such as chest pockets, draw cords not routed into pockets, and overall lighter.  Sitka Gear has more features and clothing options.  KUIU is sewn in Vancouver, British Columbia, while Sitka is assembled in China.  Pricewise, KUIU is slightly less expensive with their wholesale pricing model, but at this time they are still experiencing backorders and delays.  If you pre-order from them you are in a better situation to get the gear you want or need.  Sitka is available at several major local retailers and multiple online retailers.  If you are patient, you can find most clothing discounted at least 20% off in the spring. 

From my use of KUIU and Sitka clothing this past year, I can honestly say that both are great gear and both did the job I wanted and expected them to do.  I can’t remember being let down by either company in regards to clothing performance.  There are certain pieces I like better from each company, and I will point this out in my upcoming reviews.  If I built my ultimate outfit, it would probably contain items from both Sitka and KUIU.  While both KUIU and Sitka performed exceptionally well at all temperature ranges and conditions, I find myself going towards my Sitka more if brutally cold temps were expected, but where weight was a consideration, KUIU would get the nod.  I hope you find the upcoming reviews informative and helpful in making any future gear choices.

Hard at work on the KUIU vs Sitka Comparison

Here are links to the different posts in the KUIU vs Sitka Comparison Series:
Introduction
Base Layer Comparison
Pants Comparison

Jacket and Vest Comparison

Accessories Comparison
Conclusion

1 comment:

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