Rain shell design and development requires a lot o...

Rain shell design and development requires a lot of thought, testing and more testing.  Rain gear can make or break a hunt and to cut corners on this gear is asking for problems.

With this in mind, I have worked very diligently in researching and understanding the different types of laminates, how each performs and what is the best solution for hard backcountry hunts.  My vision for KUIU’s rain shell is to bring to market the most advanced technologies available to maximize performance, durability and fit while reducing weight.

I have been very focused in understanding ratings of various laminates. Every manufacture seems to use different testing standards for water resistance and breathability.  Over time the use of the following measurements have become the most common cited:

  • Water Resistance: The amount of water pressure (in millimeters) a fabric sample can withstand before leakage occurs.
  • Breathability: The amount of water vapor (in grams) that can pas through a square meter of fabric during a 24-hour period.

I am developing a new waterproof & breathable fabric with a Japanese company who produces the finest technical fabrics made.  This new fabric has a water resistance rating of 20,000mm and a breathability rating of 20,000g/m2/day. These are the highest ratings available.  The testing has supported these ratings with incredible performance in really wet conditions.  Plus it has 4-way stretch and is reasonably quiet.

As with all KUIU products, I will use technology and design to reduce weight and increase performance.  Below I have outlined my design requirements for the rain shell jacket and pants.

Jacket:

  • Water Proof Breathable Laminate rating 20,000mm/20,000g/m2/day.
  • 3-Layer fabric for durability
  • 4-way Stretch for an unrestricted range of motion
  • Pit-Zips to dump heat
  • Minimize noise
  • Clean design
  • YKK Weather Proof Zippers
  • 2-hand pockets
  • Full front Zipper
  • Well-designed storm hood
  • Packable
  • Great Fit
  • Articulated elbows
  • Eliminate bulk and bag
  • Cuff pulls to seal out rain

Pants:

  • Water Proof Breathable Laminate Rating 20,000MPV/20,000MPV
  • 3 Layer fabric for durability
  • 4-way Stretch for an unrestricted range of motion
  • Full leg side zips for easy on & off + ventilate
  • YKK Weather Proof Zippers
  • No hand pockets to help reduce weight
  • Zippered fly
  • Built in low profile Dura-flex belt
  • Packable
  • Articulated knees & hips
  • Great Fit

Please review the list and let me know what I am missing for your perfect rain shell.  It is also very helpful to know what you are currently using and what you like and dislike about it.  I thank you in advance for your help.

Jason

This article has 17 comment(s)

  1. Pedro Ampuero

    Just an idea, what about doing two waterproof zippered cuts for access to the inside pants pockets?

    A tightening system for closing the legs at the bottom, and the arms at the end.

    I will add a bit of longer back on the jacket. When you bend with short jackets, the water comes right in.

    Sounds really good, can wait to try it! For me the most important thing is driying fast, volume and transpiration. Also must be tough, have got a few rain gears that after a day walking trough brush the loose all the waterproof. As well as freezing on really cold weather.

    Good luck and keep us informed.

    Pedro

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Pedro,

      I like your pocket access idea, let me see what I can come up with. Now that I think about it, I dig down underneath my rain pants to get something out of my cargo pockets a lot.

      Jason

      • Matt

        That is my biggest gripe about my SG Nimbus rain pants. There are times I spend most of my hunt in my rain paints. My Ascent pants have decent cargo pockets and my rain pants have none. It is a pain to always be digging under the pants.

        An access point of some sort would be great, especially if the access point was engineered to optimize access to your Ascent type pant.

  2. Grady

    Jason,

    I am currently wearing the stormfront rainsuit and put it through grueling tests last year in Spain Ibex hunting and a mule deer hunt and elk hunt high in utah.I also wore it each day in alberta moose and mule deer hunting. It blew my mind how well it held up. The last sitka rainsuit prior to the new ones was what I used, the lightweight in mimicry, and it held up poorly, crotch and knees from rock and barbed wire. The stormfront in my opinion was the answer to all rainsuit needs other than it was loud when extremely cold.
    I would also due away with the pockets in the jacket. Never has made sense to me unless guy’s use them as a windbreaker glassing/scoping.

    Good Luck!

  3. Mike R.

    Wow, I’m really excited about these pieces of gear! That being said I would say no snaps on the pants. I hate snaps, they never seem to stay together.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for the input on the snaps. What closure type do you prefer? Button? Elastic waist and draw cord? Let me know when you get a moment.

      Best regards,

      Jason

      • Mike R.

        I prefer buttons.

  4. Tom

    This sounds perfect!

    I use Cabela’s MT050 when I absolutely have to, otherwise I leave it in my pack. I simply don’t like getting soaked from the inside. I use a dimestore umbrella sometimes when walking a logging road or even hunkered at the base of a tree.

    Sometimes I’ll wear a base layer under my rain pants when moving through brush during the late season, then take them off when I get where I’m going.

    The MT050 takes a lifetime to dry because of the all the layers, which is also why they are heavy and hot!

    -Tom

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Tom,

      Hunting in a Rain Forest presents a very unique set of challenges for any rain gear. With the amount of moisture and precipitation you encounter any rain gear will be put to the test as you well know. You have high humidity during a storm, lots of tough climbing and pressure of the thick under-brush pushing moisture against your rain gear. If we can make you happy we have developed a great product. Thanks for taking the time to share your insight.

      Jason

  5. Jon

    I’m currently using the sitka gear stormfront lite and my only complaint is they’re shiny. Your upgrades would also greatly improve my currently used rain gear.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Jon,

      Thanks for the input. I understand what you are saying regarding the shine and will make sure to address this with my fabric supplier.

      Jason

  6. Joaquin d’A

    Jason,

    I’m not sure if by “packable” you are considering the ability to stow into a pocket or not.

    This would be so valuable when packing all the stuff for the hunt. It’s all the difference in finding a place for a small and compact package than to a small and compact piece of cloth that will surely loose its shape after the second time you dig in your pack searching something else. Because we all hope to use it the less the better! And it will travel along in the pack just in case…

    I suppose it won’t add any significant weight to your system.

    Best of luck with that demanding and fantastic hunt you start soon!

  7. Alec

    Raingear to me is one of the most important pieces of gear. That being said, I live in north west Washington, and hunt the western Washington high country is absolutly soaking wet conditions, so I use rain gear on almost every trip. I have been waiting to but Sitka rain gear because I want to see what you guys come up with. I have used alot of gear that is “water proof” or “water resistant”, but I always seem to end up getting water in it. I think two important thinks that I have found to keep dry or the quality of the zippers, and of the storm hood, both of these can make a huge difference. I also think the zippers for accessing pockets underneith is a great idea. Your rain gear sounds like it is gonna be great, I hope I will be able to afford it and use it! Good luck!

  8. Janis Putelis

    First, I wanted to say great job on the site, it’s been fun reading along and watching as your gear grows. There is definitely room for better gear in the hunting market and it seems KUIU is going to fill it.
    On rain shells, I use an Arcteryx Alpha Lt and love it. Weighs way under a pound, has pockets that are accessible with a pack on, super tight hook and loop wrist closures, pit zips, and an adjustable hood. Only drawback is it is noisy. But truth be told, I’m usually not stalking in close while wearing a rain shell. I mostly hunt elk and deer and would probably wait out the storm before getting within bow range. In my opinion, keeping it light is foremost. Skip the packable pocket option, the jacket rolls up fine on its own.
    Thanks again for letting us tag along on the KUIU adventure! janis

  9. Matt

    I have and use several different sets of waterproof / breathable rain gear.

    Patagonia Rainshadow
    Cloudviel Zorro
    Sitak Nimbus
    and a Go-Lite jacket no longer made

    Not to concerned with packability as long as they can fold up well. I have no complaints with the above rain gear, except for my above comment on rain pants. Ascess to the next layer down pockets would be great.

  10. Matt Burke

    The full length leg zips are a feature I really like – good to see you have that on the list. Correctly designed, that will allow access to pant pockets.

  11. Jesse

    I know this is old but I would love to see a set of rain gear with the option of a hood that zips off. I oten have a hard time hearing with a hood on and dont wear so it turns into a funnel for the water to wick down my back. I would rather have no hood and a high collar. Just a thought.

    Thanks,
    Jesse