There’s no doubt that both Kuiu and Sitka produce some serious high-class hunting gear. The gear produced by these two industry giants is high-tech, comfortable, durable, and it looks awesome. However, this stuff isn’t cheap. A single complete set-up from either of these brands will cost you more than a grand. However, you certainly won’t be cold wrapped in this garb, even in extreme hunting conditions.
Sitka Vs. Kuiu, Who Makes Better Hunting Clothes?
But is it worth the investment? Before your drop $600 on a hunting jacket, let’s take a closer look at each of these high-end outdoor brands.
In serious hunting circles, Sitka Gear is recognized as some of the toughest and most technologically advanced clothing on the market. However, the company prefers their camo clothing be called “gear” due to the technology incorporated into each piece.
Sitka Gear is also developed in systems. The pieces are designed to perform together to provide maximum comfort and performance. You can choose a system to meet your specific hunting needs. After all, the needs of a deer hunter spending hours in a North Carolina treestand differ significantly from the elk hunter hiking the Colorado backcountry.
Sitka Gear stands out from your run-of-the-mill hunting clothing for several reasons. First, their designers focus on small details that make a huge difference in the field. From integrated knee pads to Sitka’s Safety Harness Pass-Through, it is apparent the company understands how the tiniest features can make a huge impact on the hunting experience.
When it comes to technology, Sitka Gear really shines. They actually use body heat mapping to determine the best distribution of insulation, allowing heat to escape in critical areas while retaining it in others. The result is lightweight gear that isn’t at all bulky, yet keeps you comfortably warm no matter what weather you face during the hunt.
One of the most exciting elements of Sitka’s gear line is their Optifade technology. Unlike standard camouflage that attempts to blend into the background, Optifade uses a digital pattern that fools the eye. These digital camo patterns make it hard for the eye to focus, so the eye loses its ability to see a hunter’s shape.
The most common complaint about Sitka hunting gear is that some of their outer layers are magnets for burrs and seed pods. Some pieces will catch every small twig, thorn, and blade of grass you pass on your way to your stand. However, these are meant to be outer layers, so you can alleviate the problem by stowing your outer layers in your pack until you arrive at your hunting location. This is supposed to be a layering system, after all. Still… if you’re listening Sitka, the addition of a brush guard on the knees and lower legs would be much appreciated.
Kuiu was founded with one goal: to make the lightest and highest performing mountain hunting clothing possible. Like Sitka, the company uses cutting-edge technology to produce rugged, reliable hunting gear.
Like Sitka Gear, this high-performance hunting clothing is designed to be layered, with each piece working together to create a full system. Because the Kuiu system is designed in layers, you can scale your insulation up or down depending on the weather and your activity level.
Although Kuiu uses some awesome synthetic materials in their gear, their advances in natural material have revolutionized cold weather hunting gear. For instance, Kuiu is one of the first gear manufacturers to incorporate natural down into their insulation. Down is lightweight and a great natural insulator that outperforms most synthetic fibers…at least when it’s dry. Once it gets wet, down loses its loft and its ability to trap body heat.
Kuiu solved this problem by coating their down on a microscopic level. The result is highly water-resistant down that traps heat effectively, even in damp weather. Plus, it keeps the overall weight of your hunting gear super light.
One of the most exciting elements of the Kuiu line is their odor-resistant ULTRA Merino 145 base layers. Featuring Nuyarn technology, Kuiu merino wool gives you all the benefits of traditional merino. However, this wool has more stretch and dries more quickly. Hunters will also appreciate the addition of convenient zippers on their base layers. This one small feature allows you to pull your base layer pants on or off without having to remove your boots. (This was obviously designed by a hunter!)
If you are a female hunter looking for high-performance hunting gear, don’t waste your time looking at Kuiu. Although women are the largest growing hunting demographic, Kuiu hasn’t caught up to the stats. Company founder Jason Hairston told Men’s Journal in 2017 that he wouldn’t make clothing for women because he wants “to make Kuiu an aspirational brand.” (He also said he wouldn’t make clothing for “fat guys,” so if you aren’t an athletically built man, you’ll also need to look elsewhere for your high-end hunting gear. )
To be fair, the company has since released a line of women’s wear. The line only has a limited number of pieces (a down vest, an insulated jacket, a base camp sweater, and some pink cotton T-shirts and hoodies), none of which will keep a serious hunter warm and comfortable on the mildest hunt. For women, the message from Kuiu seems to be to just stay at camp.
In spite of the shortage of quality hunting gear for women, I know several serious female hunters who like Kuiu gear so much, they just make do with the men’s gear. This definitely speaks to the quality of Kuiu’s hunting gear.
Summing It Up
Both Sitka and Kuiu produce some of the best high-performance hunting gear to ever venture into the wild. Declaring one a clear winner of the other is an absolute impossibility. If you have the funds, either brand is well worth the investment. And although both these brands sell a complete gear system, there’s really no reason you couldn’t mix and match pieces. (Unless you’re a die-hard fanboy of one specific brand. If that’s the case, carry on.)
However, if you are a woman or a larger hunter, you’ll probably want to go with Sitka Gear. They have an awesome women’s line that matches the performance of their men’s gear. The only real difference is it is cut to fit the proportions of the typical female. The company also offers their men’s gear in sizes up to 3XL, which should accommodate even the largest hunters.