By Robert Hanneman
If you ask five different hunters who makes the best hunting clothing, you’re going to get five different opinions. My personal opinion is that KUIU makes the best hunting clothing on the market today. For the last two hunting seasons, I have been wearing KUIU hunting gear. I have had the chance to test their gear in many different climates and seasons. I am not the typical guy who has always worn high-end hunting clothing, but my brother is that guy as I believe he owns every piece of gear Sitka has made. For me, I always made sure I had the best boots, optics, rain gear, and pack I could afford but usually wore cheaper cotton hunting clothes. Instead of buying the higher end hunting clothes, I spent my money on going on extra hunts. I still remember a few years ago my brother had talked me into buying a set of Sitka gear and at the last minute I bought a general deer tag in Idaho instead. Hopefully that gives you a good idea of where my priorities lie!
When I made the switch over to KUIU the first decision I had to make was which of the two camouflage patterns I wanted to wear. I had hunted with guys in the past who had worn both Vias and Verde. Both of the camouflage patterns always seemed to work well in whatever type of habitat I observed them in. In the end, I decided to go with the Verde pattern because it had more green and I spend a lot of time hunting the Northwest every year.
I really like all of the gear that I own, but with this article I wanted to share my favorite pieces of gear that KUIU produces. In the past, I had always used a Nimrod binocular harness. It served me well, and I never intended to change until I tried the KUIU binocular harness. The KUIU harness keeps your binoculars covered from the elements. I use the XL binocular harness they produce to hold my 10x50’s. One of the difficulties of hunting in cold weather is keeping your binoculars from fogging up. I have found that keeping the binoculars warm cuts down on fogging. To accomplish this, I put a hand warmer in my KUIU binocular harness. If you spend a lot of time scouting off a four-wheeler, I would highly recommend this harness as it fits tightly to your chest and will cut down on the dust.
Rain gear was something of which I always bought the best I could afford. Over the years I have used Cabela’s, Sitka, and Rivers West. Last season I bought a set of the Chugach NX rain gear from KUIU. During my 2013 hunting season, I experienced a lot of rain during my Wyoming antelope and elk hunts. Besides my hands, I was dry during all those hunts. I have been more impressed with this rain gear than any other gear KUIU makes! To solve the problem of my hands getting wet, I picked up a pair of KUIU’s Yukon gloves. They use the same technology in these gloves as they do in their rain gear. These gloves are awesome, and with fully-taped seams, you are not going to get wet.
Weight is everything when it comes to backpack hunting, and to save weight, years ago I switched to using a down coat as my insulation layer. Marmot was my coat of choice for a number of years, but now I am using the Super Down line of down products. For most hunts, I just take the Super Down hooded jacket, but if I am in extremely cold climates, I will wear the Super Down hooded jacket and the Super Down jacket over the hooded jacket. The Super Down pants are awesome, but the only time I really use them is when I am going to be glassing for a long time. If I am up and moving, I just get too warm in the down pants. On backpack hunts, I use my Super Down gear as my pillow at night. On extremely cold nights, you can wear your Super Down pants and jacket in your sleeping bag for extra warmth. All of KUIU’s down products are treated with Quixdown, which puts a water-repellent finish to the down.
I spent a lot of time in June and July scouting and then started hunting in August. With daytime temperatures in the 90’s, I needed a lightweight pant that holds up to the abuse I put it through. This year I started using the Tiburon pant. This pant is perfect as it is quiet, does not pick up a lot of burs, and has vents on the outside of the legs that you can open to allow better airflow. The Tiburon pant matched up with an Ultra Merino 125 shirt is the perfect scouting setup, in my opinion. Just recently, KUIU introduced the new Tiburon shorts. I have not had a chance to see them yet, but I will pick up a set for scouting season next year.
KUIU gear is only made with high quality materials, and you can expect it to last for years. Just like all the rest of higher quality hunting clothing, KUIU is expensive, but you get what you pay for. I really think you will be as happy with KUIU gear as I am.