So about a year ago, when I was home visiting my Dad, he was very excited to show me some new gear he had just bought. He is an avid hunter, and he is regularly going to places like Alaska where he will spend up to two weeks hunting in the frozen wilderness. Because he is going to such extreme climates, it is essential that he has the best gear available, because his life depends on it.
So if it is good enough for him to survive in the Alaskan wilderness, I decided it may be good enough for me to go skiing in. So I started borrowing pieces from my dad and testing them out for skiing.
One thing to note for anyone who checks this gear out, don't be turned away by the fact that the first picture you see is in camouflage because it also comes in solid colors such as grey, brown, and olive green. Just look through the pics and you will see the other colors. And the only place you can buy it is online. Because they are only online at kuiu.com it is all wholesale prices.
I am a huge fan of Arc' teryx. I have a lot of their gear. The biggest thing I do not like about Arc'teryx is the amount of money I have to spend to get their gear. In my opinion, from testing and using products from both companies I think that a lot of their products are very similar in quality and performance. But Kuiu gear costs less. This is not because it is made with inferior materials, but because it is only sold online at wholesale with no retail markup.
The specs discussed below are just pulled off of their website product descriptions.
The first thing I tried were the base layers. Made from 100% Merino Wool. The base layers are two layers, one thin, soft one against the skin, then a thicker, warmer, slightly rougher one on top of that.
Merino 185 Zip-T $79.99 / Merino 185 Bottoms $79.99(Thin, soft layer against skin)
-Zip-T 9.6 ounces, Bottoms 8.6 ounces
-185 gram, 17.5 Micron, Interlock 100% Merino Wool from the Merino Company
-Moisture - wicking
-Naturally Anti-Microbial & Odor Resistant
Merino 250 Zip-T / Merino 250 Bottoms (Thick layer, really warm, but need the thin layer underneath as it is not soft against skin)
-Zip-T 12.5 ounces $89.99/ Bottoms 11.2 ounces $89.99
-250 gram, 20.5 Micron, Interlock 100% Merino wool from the Merino Company
-Some Itch Second Layer
-Naturally Anti-Microbial & Odor Resistant
Very comfortable and warm. Never been cold when wearing the base layers. They still retain heat when wet, they move moisture away from the skin very well, and they are fast drying. When my Dad was using his Kuiu gear on hunting trips and I had to wear my own stuff I used some Under Armour cold weather "tights." These worked great until I started sweating, then once they are kinda wet, and you get in line for the lift, they get really cold. I have also found that the synthetic material starts to really smell, and the merino wool doesn't do that. I have been told that 100% Merino wool is best, lycra and polyester blends are a cheaper way to make the product and it doesn't move moisture as well.
After using the Kuiu base layer, then being really disappointed going back to my Under Armour, I decided to invest in the Kuiu base layers for myself.
He has also let me try the Super Down insulator jacket and pants.
The Super Down Insulator Zip-T $199 / Super Down Pant $199
-7 ounces (Zip-T) / 10 ounces (Pant)
-Premium Polish 850+ Torray Quixdown
-20 Denier Torray Stunner Stretch 100% Polyester Fabric
-Torray Kudos DWR
-2 Way Stretch
This jacket / pants is truly unbelievable. If I had to recommend just one piece from this line for skiers it would be the Super Down. As we all know there are many different types of down on the market. Synthetic vs real down. Synthetic dries faster and still retains some heat when wet. Traditional down is much warmer than synthetic down. But traditional down does not retain heat when wet and takes a very long time to dry. The Kuiu super down is a new category. It is made with real down feathers, premium Polish 850+ Torray Quixdown. What makes this jacket / pant different is that the feathers have been treated with a DWR treatment which makes them waterproof. So you now have a "real" down jacket that is superior to a synthetic down and a traditional down because it is warmer than the synthetic and will function when wet.
As of right now I only own the base layers. My Dad owns the whole layering system. When he is not out hunting he lets me use the whole system to ski in and I absolutely love it. I will be placing an order for my own Super Down set when I get my next pay check. I will be saving up and acquiring new Kuiu pieces for myself.
I am not the only person who really likes this gear, check out their reviews and you will get a feel for how great this product is. Here is a link to a few reviews
I have used all of the other parts of the layering system and will write more reviews for the other pieces in the future.