Starting from scratch - First Lite or Kuiu?

Starting From Scratch - KUIU or First Lite

  • KUIU

    Votes: 26 44.1%
  • FIRST LITE

    Votes: 10 16.9%
  • MIX OF BOTH

    Votes: 14 23.7%
  • OTHER BRAND (LISTED IN COMMENTS)

    Votes: 9 15.3%

  • Total voters
    59

Mc Fraser

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2018
Messages
344
Location
Calgary, AB
I buy based on how well it suits my needs, that being said for personal reasons and not based on performance, I stay away from KUIU and Sitka. Sitka is anti-O&G - imagine the hypocrisy - their merchandise is made from and with the help of hydrocarbons. KUIU advertises they are not to be associated with big brands because they don't sell to and let their business be run by big retail stores and investors - they are a family business. That's great, but why do you manufacture in China and ask consumers to pay the highest dollar? Their marketing strategy and business model are great, but it also insults my intelligence. That being said I like FL some UA and everything that is wool.
 

middleofnowhere

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2016
Messages
326
Location
Yucca Valley, CA
...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.
My wife and I are now complete fans of Gulch Gear. Both of us have full sets of their camo. It is every bit as well engineered as Kuiu (yes I own pants and a puffy). I’ll be purchasing a second set of Gulch for both of us before fall this year.
 

WyoHunter1

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2015
Messages
218
Bought my son Kuiu gear for christmas and got myself a new Kuiu Quik Down coat for myself for casual use. It only weighs a few ounces and is very warm but but I dont think it would make it past lunch time on opening day of hunting season. Only wore it a few times and I have a rip that is molting feathers on the outside and one on the inside. The material is so thin it just wont hold up. Definitely not a $280 coat. Hope my sons gear does better.
 

ID Mtn Man

Active Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2016
Messages
35
Location
Idaho
Bought my son Kuiu gear for christmas and got myself a new Kuiu Quik Down coat for myself for casual use. It only weighs a few ounces and is very warm but but I dont think it would make it past lunch time on opening day of hunting season. Only wore it a few times and I have a rip that is molting feathers on the outside and one on the inside. The material is so thin it just wont hold up. Definitely not a $280 coat. Hope my sons gear does better.
Any ultralight puffy is going to be like this. Despite how frail some of the outer fabrics are on them, I chose weight and compatibility over durability and always carry a roll of tenacious tape with me. Some of my solids have turned camo with all the different color patches. In fact, I have a FL Brooks that needs about 8 more patches on it and a mason jar full of little pieces I caught from it. My lightweight down gear is usually only warn when I'm sitting still, or above treeline. If I plan on crashing through brush, I chose DWR coated fleece.

Climbers, mountaineers and skiers have been patching puffies for years. Spend a minute in any ski town and the Patagucci Posers will be strutting in their bright new jackets with fresh desiccant packs in their pockets while the true powder-hounds, ski patrol dudes, etc., will have a half a roll of duct tape on their coffee and grease stained gear.
 

Ram1970

Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2021
Messages
8
Location
minnesota
A mix of Sitka, fl, and kuiu. Kuiu attack and guide pants are great. Sitka synthetic base layers, I really like their hooded tops, fl outerwear.
 

KSB209

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
250
Location
Republic of California
Any ultralight puffy is going to be like this. Despite how frail some of the outer fabrics are on them, I chose weight and compatibility over durability and always carry a roll of tenacious tape with me. Some of my solids have turned camo with all the different color patches. In fact, I have a FL Brooks that needs about 8 more patches on it and a mason jar full of little pieces I caught from it. My lightweight down gear is usually only warn when I'm sitting still, or above treeline. If I plan on crashing through brush, I chose DWR coated fleece.

Climbers, mountaineers and skiers have been patching puffies for years. Spend a minute in any ski town and the Patagucci Posers will be strutting in their bright new jackets with fresh desiccant packs in their pockets while the true powder-hounds, ski patrol dudes, etc., will have a half a roll of duct tape on their coffee and grease stained gear.
Your write ups are awesome and spot on in my experiences as well. I started with Sitka and went to KUIU because othe fit. I’m 6’4” and a little over 200# and had to size up to 2xl for the ability to layer but still fits me like a XL.
Have the super down jacket and it doesn’t have many miles on it but I don’t expect it to last long without a few duct tape patches.
Merino vs synthetic base layers. Have both. Usually sleep in the wool (don’t like smelling myself) and wear synthetic when active and hiking.

What are your thoughts on the Kenai jacket? I wanted down for the weight but I want something a bit heavier for warmth and not sure I want the Pro down jacket just in case it gets wet.
 

ID Mtn Man

Active Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2016
Messages
35
Location
Idaho
What are your thoughts on the Kenai jacket? I wanted down for the weight but I want something a bit heavier for warmth and not sure I want the Pro down jacket just in case it gets wet.

The Kenai is a phenomenal synthetic jacket and I have a few buddies who swear by theirs. I don't personally own one, but had a Teton jacket until a Wirehaired Griffon named Toby had it for lunch. The Teton was their cheaper line, but very similar to Kenai in insulation material and fabric. It definitely made the list for favorite pieces of hunting gear destroyed by bird dogs. It was warm, super tough, and one of my favorite pieces of gear. Damnit Toby! Not sure what the fabric was, as the specs are hard to find on discontinued gear, but it was surprisingly good at shedding water for the first 2 seasons. I was pretty rough on it which accelerated the wear. I probably wore it for 100+ days hunting and skiing. Near the end of it's life it was probably 75% as effective as brand new, but still awesome-sauce.

The fabric on the Kenai is a 51G with DWR coating. The Super Down is a 9D. The G is for grams/m2 and D is for grams/9,000 m yarn- hard to compare except that 9D is about as ultralight you can get. From hunting with guys that have the Kenai, the material is definitely more durable, windproof and better at shedding water, but by no means going to keep you dry in a downpour. My experience with ALL DWR coatings is that they will inevitably wear and lose their water repellant properties.

In regards to the insulation, 3DeFX+ Toray is all marketing hype for classic Polyfill/Primaloft material. It uses polymer fibers like any other insulation material, the difference is slightly larger size fiber. It is rated about 30% better than "traditional" fibers in a lab according to ASTM standards. Toray never tells us what they are comparing it to. While it MIGHT have better properties, I don't suspect you are going to notice anything revolutionary about it. You'll see similar quality in most higher end synthetics found at REI or similar stores. Essentially, you know it's not cheap knockoff stuff in a typical Cabelas jacket.

The takeaway? DWR jackets with synthetic fill will do well if taken care of. All synthetic insulation loses quality with repeated wear and compression cycles. The microfibers will crack and break down. My hunch is that this is accelerated substantially when cold. Store at room temperature on a thick padded hanger to prevent a crease in the shoulder, minimize folding, avoid folding in the same places, and don't compress too often. I've learned with my synthetic to alternate between 2 folding styles, any more than that, I can't keep track. Don't use it as a pillow, and keep it out of a stuff sack. Backpacking pillows are so light these days and have one of the best ounce to quality of sleep ratio. Don't expect compressibility anywhere near down. Overall, I think it is better suited for day hunts or short 2-3 day overnights when you have room and can afford the weight. If you have bird-dogs, keep blood soaked, gamey smelling clothes in a vault.
 

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