first lite vs kuiu

fez

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Aug 9, 2013
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104
Looking at getting a nice outer layer for this years hunts. Does anyone have any experience with the first lite uncompahgre or the kuiu kenai?

With first lite I can at least go try it out and get an exact fit, where the kuiu I will be ordering blind. Any thoughts or suggestions would be great.

Thanks
 

VAspeedgoat

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In that price range, don't forget about sitka either. I don't think you could go wrong so go with what you can try on. They are all good quality.
 

JMG

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One thing to consider with ording something from KUIU is that it takes about a LONG TIME to get your order. I ordered something in January and still have not gotten it.

So, if you want something for your 2016 hunting season . . . . you had better hurry and order today (forget this hunting season).
 

redwoood

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Just ordered form KUIU last week. I was aware of the delayed shipping times because of the port strike on the west coast. I ordered 2 items that were backordered and one has already shipped(pack.) I believe the strike has been or is close to being resolved. They have also FINALLY figured out an alternative route for import I believe.

As for which is better...I have some first lite merino and it is good stuff. I have yet to put a piece of KUIU gear on so we'll see. As mentioned I would probably go with what I could try on. Then you have to choose which camo pattern.....that took me longer than I care to admit.
 

deer_shooter

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One thing to consider with ording something from KUIU is that it takes about a LONG TIME to get your order. I ordered something in January and still have not gotten it.

So, if you want something for your 2016 hunting season . . . . you had better hurry and order today (forget this hunting season).

So far I've been lucky that the couple things I ordered from kuiu were actually in stock but the prevailing issue I've heard is frequent back orders. i usually look at Sitka first but I just bought the Labrador sweater from first lite. It shipped fast and appears to be great quality.
 

BlakeA

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I mix and match both. I wear First Lite base layers and Kuiu pants and outer layers. The First Lite Puffy is bomb proof and perfect for day hunts when you have plenty of room in your pack. The Kuiu super down is more packable but less durable. Great for backpacking on extended hunts.
 

fez

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Aug 9, 2013
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Thanks a lot guys

BoneCollector,

I already have some of the first lite base layer stuff, so I may be like you and use Kuiu for outer layers.

I just dont want to spend that money and have my outer layers get ripped or torn on some branches

Thanks again for all your help
 

jryoung

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I have a lot of KUIU products (base layers, super down, guide/attack/tiburon pants/jackets). I just bought my first load of First Lite gear. I wore the uncompahgre out last weekend while turkey hunting and was very impressed. It regulated very well, packed down light, and shedded water easily with heavy dew on the tall grass.

I have no doubts that the Kenai is a solid piece as well.

The one thing you will need to be mindful of is sizing differences. KUIU is slim/athletic fit, First Lite is a little more relaxed. KUIU's XL's/38 pants fit me well in the fall when I have trained a little bit and slimmed down a tough....in the spring with my "winter coat" is a different story.

Some of First Lite's XLs I am swimming in, specifically the Kanab pants and Springer Vest. I had to drop to a L in both of those...I've never felt so good having to buy a L ;)
 

noharleyyet

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I wear an XL in most coats/shirts...the Uncompahgre was too big.,,,very nice jacket though. All the premium wear is crazy spendy (first ilte, sitka, kuiu) and, as you will soon learn, sells out quickly in mainstream sizes.
 

ccc23454

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i buy mostly kuiu but sizes are a pain as i am a 3xl jacket due to shoulders, not a lot of 3xl's out there and sitka has become sooo expensive. the kuiu to me is great quality and technically advanced, i like my clothes to breathe and be durable.

also: kuiu has a military discount :)
 
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Shooter09

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Jan 2, 2012
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Uncompahgre puffy is one of my favorite pieces. I have worn mine for two seasons on personal hunts, guiding hunts, and around town. It has held up extremely well.
 

nrpate05

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I have an Uncompahgre on the way, at least I hope. I exchanged some other things for the jacket and haven't heard the status from First Lite. I know they got my return items, guess I'll just have to call and see. Seems like a great jacket to round out the layering arsenal. If you're not concerned with camo, think about looking to any of the outdoor companies (North Face, Patagonia, etc.) Another thing about First Lite that has been mentioned a bit is that there sizing seems a little inconsistent. At 6'1", 180 I'm a large in most of the upper layers, except for some and a medium in the lower layers. Try on if you can!
 

Spitz

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I have tried them all. My $.02 is that the first lite products can't be beat as far as base layers and mid layers go. They hold up incredibly well to heavy abuse and being merino, they don't stink. Their merino products are superior to the other hunting brands as well and almost on par with icebreaker or smart wool products. However, Sitka and KUIU have superior outerwear both in fit and finish.
 

nmelktrout

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Excellent input on both brands here. First Lite's sizing does tend to run a little large so trying on what you like prior to purchasing is a big plus with regard to First Lite and Sitka. Sitka and First Lite are the two most durable of the big three mountain hunting brands in my opinion. However, a few of my more notable hunting companions and outfitter buddies are now swearing on the durability of their Kuiu. I would agree that FL's merino is tops in terms of quality, durability and killability. Merino blends tend to get noisier when walking through brush and I think they have a glare or sheen to them like general synthetics. The Uncompahgre is an outer layer that I absolutely live in day in and day out. Lightweight, super warm and it looks good. One thing to keep in mind is that it is not a down parka like Kuiu or Sitka.
Merino may not impress as many humans as synthetics, but it is much quieter than anything else in the mountain hunting clothing market. When you try on hunting clothing always make certain your garments pass the "scratch test." That is, run your finger nail, a toothpick, small stick or other object over a hunting garment to confirm what it sounds like when branches or brush rubs up against it. If it makes noise don't buy it. It may look cool, but you will spook every animal within ear shot if you wear it in the woods and are mobile. Disclaimer: I am one of FL's Pro Team dudes but I live in their gear because in my opinion, it is the best for my style of hunting and activity level.
-Cody

Edit: All heavy duty puffy jackets are noisy. Great for glassing and keeping you warm, but noisy as hell in the brush.
 
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fez

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Aug 9, 2013
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104
Thanks guys for all your input and experience.

Even though the uncompahgre is not a park style, will it work for those mid-november hunts with freezing temps? I do have a few of the Firstlite base layers and mid-weight layers to go with it.

Has anyone tried the "scratch" test on the kuiu outer layers that nmelktrout speaks of?
 

nmelktrout

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"killability" and a "scratch test"...

Seriously funny stuff.

If you read any of my articles or reviews you will get a better handle on my sense of humor. I try to keep everything lite and relevant and a bit off the cuff. It's kind of hard to coin phrases for the intangibles, but I try! Randy, you can zap this link if you want, but it's on our other buddy's website: http://themeateater.com/2014/merino-wool-prairie-giants-pursuit-high-plains-pronghorn-mule-deer/

"Killability" = no glare or shine, good scent control, silent material, breathable, wicking and overall durability - all qualities any serious hunter should look for in their hunting clothing.

Run the finger nail of your thumb over your jeans and you will get an idea about ye' olde' scratch test. That noise is really funny to deer and elk when they hear it coming up the trail in the morning. In my mind noisy garments are as good at blowing stalks as coming in directly upwind from an animal. Certainly not an issue when I'm sitting in a tree stand.

-Cody
 

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