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After years in the making, Kuiu has fulfilled its mission to create a line of premium women’s hunting clothing. This new ultralight layering system includes everything from base layers to insulated jackets. I had the opportunity to try out some of this new gear in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming last June. It wasn’t technically hunting season, but you wouldn’t have known it from the rapidly changing winter-like weather conditions. I hiked through a blizzard, rode miles on horseback, and explored alpine lakes. I faced almost every condition you will encounter during the hunting season and this allowed me to put the new Kuiu women’s line through the squeeze. Here are the results.
Kuiu women’s clothing line
- Ultra Merino 145 Zip Off Bottom: This soft and warm base layer allows wearers to zip off when warm without removing their boots.
- Ultra Merino 145 Racerback Tank: This lightweight and breathable merino tank is comfortable in warm weather.
- Ultra Merino 145 LS Crew: This lightweight merino long sleeve shirt helps with thermoregulation and moisture management.
- Ultra Merino Headband: Useful in both cold and warm weather, this merino headband keeps sweat off your face in the heat and your ears warm in the cold.
- Gila LS Hoodie: This quick-drying sun hoodie protects from the sun with a UPF 50+ rating.
- Attack Pants: This rugged pant includes cooling hip vents, pockets, a primeflex fabric and DWR treatment for water resistance.
- Kenai Hooded Jacket: This hooded jacket is soft, comfortable, stretchy and water resistant.
- Divide 1200 Hunting Pack Day: This 1200 cubic inch pack is durable and versatile with 2 zippered compartments.
- Pro Hat: Made from rip-stop Codura, this adjustable brim is very comfortable on the field.
How I tested Kuiu women’s clothing
I was able to test the complete system listed above in snow, rain, sleet and sun – all while participating in strenuous activities. A team of women hunters and backcountry experts wear the new Kuiu women’s clothing for hiking, paddling, bushwacking and horseback riding in the Bighorn National Forest last June. Although technically summer, I wore the garment through extreme weather fluctuations that brought out the entirety of the garment’s performance. Test conditions also included river crossing, rock scrambling and bushwhacking in temperatures ranging from 30℉ to 70℉. The varying conditions and temperatures served as the perfect testing ground for this outfit and replicated the rapidly changing weather conditions hunters experience in the backcountry.
How the gear worked
The Kuiu women’s line excelled in the harsh conditions of the Bighorn Mountains. It is a high performance system that will support the female hunter in the homeland. While some outdoor brands create a women’s version by simply managing the “shrink and pink” conversion of men’s clothing, this line is made specifically for women. From the newly constructed fabrics to the detailed female-friendly features like fit and shape – this garment is the real deal. While the entire line performed admirably, there were a few standouts.
Hooded jacket for women
I’m not lying when I say I didn’t take this jacket off for three days. It kept me warm and dry in cold temperatures and served as a comfortable indoor hood at room temperature. At 13 ounces, this jacket is extremely light, which makes it perfect for limiting weight in the backseat. As a tall individual, I was impressed by the long sleeves and just the right bust length. The hood was essential to protect me from the snow and keep me warm. While constructed as a mid-layer, the new non-quilt design results in even insulation and no seam holes. The jacket also has a stretchy design which gives freedom to move, ride, hike and shoot.
Offensive pants for women
The women’s offensive pants have a thoughtful design that was well received by all the female testers. We put these pants on many hours on horseback, fording rivers, bushwalking through sticks, and climbing over rocks. The pants wore them all. The primeflex fabric is soft and elastic. Moreover, during many days of use, they did not stretch. The assault pant stayed true to size and allowed me to move easily while protecting my legs from the elements. On an all-day hike in the mountains, the cold morning led to a warm, sunny afternoon. No problem. The open zipper openings allowed me to still be comfortable in the pants. Also, I soaked the bottom of my pants while crossing a river and they were completely dry in half an hour. The DWR treatment acts as a water barrier as well as a quick drying garment. My only complaint is that Kuiu offers a very limited size range. Size 2 to 14 means there are no options for plus-size or tall/petty women. At 6’1”, I liked the pants, but the length stopped above the boot top.
What I didn’t like about the new Kuiu women’s line
While the Kuiu women’s line is a general home direction, there are some limitations. Currently, Kuiu is offering this collection in three camo models: Valo, Verde and Vias. I’d love to see them offer these pieces in the same solid colors we see in the men’s line. Additionally, as mentioned above, I would like to see a size range to accommodate a larger range of women’s sizes. This is Kuiu’s premium line of women’s hunting gear, and access to a wider range of hunters would be beneficial.
Is it worth the money?
Field & Stream has researched this question before. Are premium hunting gear really worth the money? The Kuiu women’s hunting collection is not cheap, but in my opinion, the price matches the quality of the equipment. So if you’re looking for the best hunting gear for women, this is it. This layering system will equip you from base to outer with protection and comfort. Similar to the men’s line, the price is worth it for the serious hunter. For beginners and casual hunters, a budget option may be a better starting point.
As a female adventurer, I spend most of my time hiking, backpacking and driving. While intended for the hunter, these items easily transition into any outdoor recreation space and stand head-to-head with some of the best brands of hiking apparel. If they are on the fence, I recommend women invest in a few essential parts of this system and build their system over time.
What is expected next?
Since the start of my summer testing, Kuiu has added to its women’s line. They released the women’s chugach rain jacket, tiburon hunting pants for warm weather, as well as women’s specific hunting packs. Kuiu also released the Women’s Ultra Down Jacket and the Women’s Ultra Down Jacket. Attention to function, fit and detail ensure quality for the dedicated female hunter who wants high-end hunting apparel. After a few days of putting this outfit through its paces in all the Bighorn Wilderness had to offer, the new Kuiu women’s line passed the test.