Starting from scratch - First Lite or Kuiu?

Starting From Scratch - KUIU or First Lite

  • KUIU

    Votes: 39 44.8%
  • FIRST LITE

    Votes: 19 21.8%
  • MIX OF BOTH

    Votes: 19 21.8%
  • OTHER BRAND (LISTED IN COMMENTS)

    Votes: 10 11.5%

  • Total voters
    87

erichhaag

Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
13
Location
South central pa
I prefer my First lite over any brand I’ve owned, I a large guy (6’4 -290ish) and they work well for me. Most other brands seem to be short in the arms or I can’t lift my arms up without them looking like a belly shirt.
I’m with you there. I’m 6’3 235-240 and I have to wear xxl in kuiu. Especially if it’s being layered. It’s odd: their sizing model...
 

middleofnowhere

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2016
Messages
328
Location
Yucca Valley, CA
If you are buying first lite, kuiu or sitka, Xi Xinping says thank you.
10125C8E-6DB3-4C0D-82CB-8DB078C37FCB.jpeg

Gulch Gear has some great stuff: https://gulchgear.com/

Forloh: https://forloh.com/

Feathered Friends: https://featheredfriends.com/collec...ios-hooded-down-jacket?variant=20303345385526

Beyond: https://beyondclothing.com/collections/mission

Kifaru: https://kifaru.net/store/logo-gear/parkas-pants/lost-park-parka-full-zip/

Duckworth: https://www.duckworthco.com/collect...lcloud-full-zip-jacket?variant=31114739548220

Disclaimer, we own USA made products from every company except Forloh as it seems relatively new.
 

jimss

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Messages
159
I've used and abused both Sitka and Kuiu. I've been slowly but surely converting from Sitka to Kuiu pants. Kuiu pants fit me a lot better at the crotch. One of my favorite go-to shirts is the heavier fabric Cabelas microtex. They wear like iron, dry quickly, super quiet in brush, etc. The price is also right! I usually wait for great sales on Kuiu….which don't come that often!
 

Loggerdude

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2017
Messages
120
Location
Oregon
I’ve went to Kuiu,
1: quality
2: fit is the best I have used, if your hunting late season needing to heavy layer get the next size up
3: Warranty
4: pricing they look expensive, but compare the other brands. They do run sales just need to become a member for notifications
5: they have color options,
 

ID Mtn Man

Active Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2016
Messages
40
Location
Idaho
You can lump me in the Kuiu fanboy family as a reluctant participant and with exceptions. As a backpack hunter, weight is always a massive priority. Kuiu seems to consistently beat FL and Sitka on that front with their clothing. Being an Idahoan, I would love to see FL make stuff that I want, but they just don't cut it for me. Kuiu somehow manages to nail the weight to toughness ratio right.

The attack pants are legendary and hip vents are a dream! If you have an athletic build, Kuiu will fit great. For some bigger guys, it's a nightmare. I'm 6'2 and 180, and Kuiu is, hands down, the best fit for me. Everything else seems to be built for the "American average" body habitus. Sizing is set up for layering. I am on the border between L and XL with shirts and am consistently XL with KUIU tops. Waist measurements are consistent with everything else I wear.

If you get their down, go all the way with Super-down as the lighter jackets just don't cut it on fill. The shell material is pretty thin and frail, but I don't find myself hiking with my down layers. They use high quality down with water treatment. It completely destroys FirstLite's down. My one FL jacket fits like a football jersey with short sleeves and room for 2 inside. I've committed to using it until it is perforated beyond repair, but will be eagerly waiting to upgrade to superdown when the time comes. I have their down zipoff pants for glassing and would recommend them to anybody who hunts open country. They can be a lifesaver on a cold night riding through a snowstorm in a 3 season tent as well.

The Yukon gaiters are second to none. Having used Kennetrek and Outdoor Research, I still give Kuiu the edge. Velcro entry, no sagging, slipping, good protection from ground moisture, lightweight and quiet.

On camo, I have long been in the camp that it is more about marketing hype than practical. Lately, I have adapted slightly as it can tip the scales in your favor, buying you vital seconds and decreasing the distance you can be detected from. Being liberal, I might say it gives you an advantage 5% of the time rifle hunting. With human eyes in open country, I can always pick out my buddies wearing solids faster than those wearing camo. Kuiu Vias looks like vomit on Desert Storm camo, but it is one of the best performing patterns in open country country and moderate timber coverage. I've seen Sitka work like magic, but I can't handle the weight and bulkiness of their gear for my style of backcountry hunting. Light patterns always seem to perform better in every environment as the biggest giveaway is the side of a person opposite of the sun (but not necessarily skylined). This is another gripe I have with FL. Companies need to stop putting so much GREEN in camo.

*Kuiu cons and gripes:
For the last 5 years I've used a KUIU 7200 pack and I'm over it. Will be going with a Mystery Ranch Beartooth after wearing just about every $600+ pack out there. The KUIU pack has served me well, but the extremely narrow frame is a major pain when packing out animals. Heavy loads tend to shift on the frame a lot- imagine trying to keep a load tethered to a skinny pole without spinning, it's impossible. The original Kuiu pack frame was wider and had a load shelf. They really screwed up trying to get more Gucci with a narrow frame and without an integrated load shelf. I will keep the smaller, 3200 bag for day trips and summer mountaineering trips.
Every time I take the pack off, it wants to fall over which really can be a pain. Mystery ranch bags have flatter bottoms and seem to be the only pack out there without this problem. Any time I need to get something out, I find myself having to undo all the compression straps. Access is average at best. The load cell on top is poorly designed and wants to slip off. I took mine off and converted the pack to a roll-top.

I've been on the phone with Kuiu customer service who have always sent me hardware for sewing projects and repairs free of charge. I get the vibe that they really don't want to listen to constructive criticism. I have had the exact OPPOSITE experience with First Lite, who will happily talk your ear off on the phone.

As far as buying American made hunting gear, I would absolutely love to. I've yet to try on anything that fits me and matches my style. Maybe some day, we'll get smart about not outsourcing pollution to our neighbors for cheap labor. It's just too hard for companies to compete. For now, I guess you can call me a disgruntled Kuiu fanboy.
 

Chadp82

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 3, 2020
Messages
132
Location
Colorado
My $0.02..... go for comfort and durability. I have various pieces and brands.

A couple of years ago I stumbled across Vertx pants, specifically the Hyde series. Work great for me! They are a hiking/tactical pant. They are since discontinued. Not camo, but I spent 90+ degree days and below freezing days (with a base layer underneath) on my sheep hunt in 2020 and they served me well.

I like Sitka tops, but also have a few “midwayusa” brand layering items I wear frequently (a camo fleece vest mostly). A few other brands are also in my bag.

Some people get hung up on brand, pattern, etc. Wind and approach style are more important.

To the original post, cant go wrong with either brand. Go try them on and see what you like!

PS - A lot of game has fallen to Carhartt and flannel :)
 

Chadp82

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 3, 2020
Messages
132
Location
Colorado
Just curious, when you say headed west, what do you mean? Where you headed and what are you looking to hunt? (Sorry a bit off topic, but relevant I think)
 

dfanonymous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2016
Messages
1,406
I chose other as I’m partial to Under Armour. Specifically the ridge reaper line.

That said, I mostly just wear parts of hunting layers and sometimes mix them with some of my old military PCU stuff (pantagucci and beyond, orc etc.

Sometimes I wear all the under armour stuff as a system. Depends how the coffee taste in the morning I reckon.
 
Last edited:

sp6x6

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Messages
4,250
Location
NW MT
Out enjoying life
 

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vancewalker007

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Messages
581
Heading West this year and have the opportunity to start from bare bones on my hunting clothing. Just as the title says if you were starting from scratch without considering price which company would be your choice?

I dropped a poll on here and would appreciate this forums input.

Grazie!

SDB
Depending on where you hunt, ie. typical weather, I would think you could mix various brands together to have a successful set of gear. I think once you get some of these pieces you'll quickly understand how being dry, warm, and comfortable on a strenuous hunt pays off. One of the features of modern hunting clothes that isn't usually focused on is its bacterial resistance. Not every piece will have this feature but if you pick carefully you can get through a week hunt on just a few pieces because you can wear them multiple days. For example, Merino wool is naturally bacterial resistant. Base layers in Merino will not stink up with one wear.
 

Huskershooter6.5

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2019
Messages
48
Location
Nebraska
In my experience I’d say a little of both. If you are wanting merino wool, then first lite base layers for sure. I think it’s the best merino in the market. Kuiu has some great designs though. The cool off zippers on the attack pants give them a edge for sure. Took a kuiu pack full of first lite clothes on a Montana archery elk hunt last fall and no complaints.
 

ID Mtn Man

Active Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2016
Messages
40
Location
Idaho
As far as many have mentioned, merino is great under certain circumstances and has some magical properties. During archery season, it does a phenomenal job keeping scent down and I wouldn't consider going without. That being said, it has limited properties when wet.

I cannot afford the weight consequence of carrying "backups." If my clothes get wet, I have to wear them dry, otherwise I'm carrying a wet ball off the mountain. For this reason, I go synthetic from mid-late October and beyond. Synthetic will dry much faster. Might be offending some here, but everything has its trade-offs. Stone Glacier did a great job with a video showing this and most lab testing has validated drying properties of synthetic beats merino. I used to think I needed Under Armor base layers, but the poly is the exact same as everybody else's. You might get a little more bacteriostatic synthetic and better scent control with some brands that have silver in the weave. Silver fabrics are proven and not snake oil.

Being a proponent for down, this might make me a little bit of hypocrite, but I generally keep these layers dry. Getting to a dry spot and throwing down tops and bottoms over a soaking wet body will dry you out FAST.

I'm prepared to be roasted.
 

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