To build the best gear you have to use the finest ...

To build the best gear you have to use the finest fabrics.  I met with the worlds leading technical fabric suppliers, including Schoeller, Polartec, and Toray before developing the KUIU line.

Founded in 1926, Toray is a leading chemical manufacture based in Osaka Japan. Toray fuses nanotechnology into its operations, using organic synthetic chemistry, polymer chemistry and biotechnology as its core technologies.  Using Chemistry to solve industries most challenging problems, Toray operates leading divisions in medical, chemical, carbon fiber and textile industries. Toray leads the textile industry in new technology developments in all three major groups of synthetic fibers-nylon, polyester, and acrylic fibers.  Toray is setting new standards in waterproof breathable laminates and durable water repellency (DWR).

 

Primeflex Spiral Yarn

 

Toray’s development of the patented Primeflex yarn increases fabrics durability, decreases weight, dry-time, and stretch-recovery over time. Primeflex fabrics use a patented spiral yarn technology, allowing for the yarn to stretch and recover without using elastic such as lycra or spandex.  Elastic is heavy, hydrophilic (attracts water) and has a limited life expectancy.  Toray’s Primeflex fabrics are lighter weight with much better performance and durability than competitive fabrics.

KUIU is exclusively using Primeflex fabrics for all of its outwear, which is a key ingredient to saving 4 pounds in the layering system.  The Primeflex fabric collection is a range of 100% Poly fabrics that include stretch woven, soft shell and waterproof breathable fabrics.

 

Waterproof Breathable

 

Toray has developed the highest rated 4 way-stretch waterproof breathable laminate available, which has an unmatched 20,000mmH2O/20,000g/m2 24 Hour rating.  This allows for a maximum waterproof and breathability and stretch in one package.  This is a performance level yet to be introduced to the hunting industry.


Kudos XR is a new DWR developed by Toray has reset the standard in durability and performance.  Kudos XR DWR performs better and last significantly longer.  DWR is critical for waterproof breathable face fabric. If DWR fails the face fabric “wets out” causing condensation build up on the inside of the garment.  As you see from Toray’s supporting data, not all DWR’s are the same.

It is important to understand what you are buying.  Not all “technical” gear is made using the best fabrics and technology available. Competitive price pressures have forced most brands to cut corners and move away from companies like Toray to less expensive fabric knock offs.  There is a very big difference.

By partnering with Toray, KUIU will bring to market products with a higher performance level so you can get more out of you on tough mountain hunts. Four pounds is just one result.

I look forward to your thoughts and feedback regarding this information.

Jason

This article has 47 comment(s)

  1. Tom Ryle

    Looks compelling to say the least.

    Just curious if you’ve looked at SportHill’s 3SP fabric. I don’t own any but in talking with Scott Haugen (www.scotthaugen.com), he swears by it for our wet, windy climate in the PacNorthwest.

    Here’s a YouTube clip about it by founder Jim Hill.

    -Tom

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Tom,

      Yes I am familiar with the Sporthill fabric. Toray’s fabrics are on a different level of technology and performance. I look forward to getting you in some gear so you can see for yourself.

      Jason

      • Micah

        Jason, I was wondering what you thought of Event material? Since its NOT a PU material laminate but Breathes Directly throught the material. I have had a few jackets like that and were great. Not sure how “quiet” they are but just your thoughts on a material like that since we work up a sweat hiking the mountains!

        Micah

        • Jason Hairston

          Hi Micah,

          Event is the next evolution of expanded PTFE used in Gore-tex. eVent has developed a process that protects the PTFE layer without reducing the breathability rating as much as in Gore-tex. It does breath better. PTFE has its limitations in stretch, durability and noise. The lighter weight ePTFE fabrics tend to be some of the noisiest I have tested. If you are asking if eVent compares to Toray’s laminate in breathability, Toray’s fabric finished a close second to eVent.

          I hope this answers your question.

          Jason

  2. Carl

    Good to see you’re looking at lots of options for materials, as Toray isn’t as mainstream as some. When it comes to w/b membranes, I am a very big fan of eVent in practice, due I believe not just to the high breathability numbers it posts, but to the nature of its breathing. More specifically, its lack of a PU layer and resultant air permeability seem to nearly eliminate clamminess. Just curious what you like about Toray’s better, as it’s lacking my favorite feature, is it the stretch?

    Regarding the DWR’s, they certainly aren’t all the same. Do you know which DWR Toray was comparing to? Also, is Kudos a DWR you can apply to a fabric of your choice, or is it soley the coating applied to their w/b membrane?

    Best-

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Carl,

      You are correct so say, Toray is not as mainstream as other brands of fabrics in the United States. Toray much more common in the European and Japanese’s markets where performance comes before price. Toray has had a hard time in the US market because their fabrics are very expensive.

      As far as breathability, eVent is considered by most to have the highest breathability rating. In my research Toray’s laminate as a total package waterproofness/breathability/stretch was by far the best product. Specifically speaking to breathability the independent studies I have seen has Toray a close second to eVent. In my testing the breathability in some very challenging conditions has been exceptional. The best I have tested by far.

      Great questions! Thank you!

      Jason

  3. Bryan aka TradRag

    Great information but a tad over my head. 😉 Be like me explaining the process of multi-networking protocols over multiple networking mediums to support a few thousand users in both open and closed operating system environments.

    Jason, I have no doubt that your due diligence and partnering will bring us an unbelievable product. Just be sure to keep me on the ‘Buy’ list.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Bryan,

      Thanks for your reply. You got it, top of the first early buy list.

      Jason

  4. Cory Benge

    Jason,
    Again you have “perked our hunting ears” with your technical research. One question I have is regarding the quietness of these fabrics. Not so important or necessary by most rifle hunters but an absolute for all archery hunters like yourself is a fabrics ability to be quite. Will your fabric allow for up close stealth?
    For the readers out there I would like to say that 4 pounds is an enormous amount of weight savings. I have been using Sitka for over 4 years now and I have weighed every piece of Sitka gear I have. Then I write that weight with a fabric marker on the tag of that particular garment. This is a great way to quickly figure the weight of one’s hunting outfit. Can’t wait to do this with KUIU! Additionally, to get an idea of just how much this 4 lbs. will save you on your next hunt take a couple ankle weights and wear them on your next hike. About 1/2 way through drop them and continue hiking. You will feel as if you could jump over a truck once the 4 lbs is lost! Good job on this Jason!

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Corey,

      Great take on the 4 pounds.

      This is a great question on quiet! One of the amazing things about Toray’s Primeflex technology is the stretch woven and softshell fabrics are quiet. The quietest I have tested in their respective categories. The rain shell is packable and quiet for its type of fabric compared to others, but with better performance. I know for the demanding type of hunting you do it is right in your wheel house.

      Jason

  5. Mike P

    Jason,

    you lost me on about the second sentence but i think the jist of it is that this stuff works…lol

    Not sure if you can answer this or if its a conflict but how does this fabic compare to whats in Sitka gear? You set the benchmark with Sitka and i wonder how this new fabric will compare.

    Thanks,

    Mike

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Mike,

      Toray produces the best fabrics I have ever tested. They are not known in the US because in this market price comes before performance. In markets where performance comes before price, Toray is widely known. 4 pounds is one example of Toray’s advancements. I hope this answers your question.

      Jason

      • Mike P

        yep it does, thanks. Look forward to seeing and trying some of this stuff out.

        Mike

  6. Tony

    Jason,
    Great Idea working with Toray, I have had good experience with their fabrics in ski wear for years. 75+ day/season from Squaw to Jackson will show performance issues quickly. Your designs with their fabric sounds like bowhunting gear going in the right direction. I’m in, put me on your buy list.
    Thanks,
    -Tony

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Tony for sharing your experience with Toray. Their performance truly amazing.

      Jason

  7. Josh

    Jason – Thanks for the tutorial, interesting stuff. I really appreciate this sort of openness with technology and manufacturing. Your comment about price coming before quality in the American market seems right on to me, the lack of products from companies like Toray and Schoeller is a real shame.

    I also wanted to say I would really like to read about the construction techniques you plan to use for the Kuiu line…..the fabric wouldn’t be much good if slapped together with duct tape=)

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Josh,

      That is a great idea about construction techniques. I will write up a post explaining how these garments are built. I like duct tape, but not for gear:)

      Jason

  8. John McKnight

    Jason,

    Thanks for the behind the scenes look at the technical aspects of the backbone of the product design and your supplier, very informative and interesting. Great job on the product and transparency.

    Best,

    John McKnight

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi John,

      I am glad you found value in this post. I have nothing to hide with KUIU, simply the best fabrics, factories and quality I available.

      Jason

  9. Drake Atwood

    From what I have heard, the Toray face fabrics’ ability to be very water resistant, very breathable, very light-weight, very warm, and very stretchy and comfortable is superior to everything else available. I am excited to know that KUIU is using this fabric!

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Drake, I look forward to getting you into a set of this gear.

      Jason

  10. Tye Abell

    Jason,

    Sounds impressive, looking forward to laying my hands on some one day. The quiet factor was my main question, second was breathability compared to event, and you’ve answered those both clearly already. Still very excited about the line and looking forward to pictures of the camo pattern you’ve developed for this awesome fabric.

    With this being a poly based fabric, any idea on how bad it is about holding odors compared to other poly fabrics? I realize it will be outer layers only, but I don’t think getting at least some perspiration on the outer layers can be avoided totally.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Tye,

      I have not found odor to be a problem in outerwear with poly fabrics. Certainly not in comparison to poly baselayers. Odor build up in baselayers is due to odor causing bacteria, which loves the warm moist environment next to your skin. Outerwear, including pants do not create this environment. I have spent weeks in poly based outerwear without any odor problems, but I totally get your concerns. Great question!

      Jason

  11. Ron Green

    Very informative post. Thanks for the heads up on Toray. It appears to have many good properties to it and should work well in this application.

    I hunt mostly in AZ where early season temps can be 80, a storm can roll in, and then be in the mid 50’s with ice cold rain. My experience with outerwear (rain gear) here in AZ is that it had better breathe well if you expect to move much, otherwise there is no point in wearing it if you are on the move. You are either wet from the outside or the inside if moving in outerwear that doesn’t breathe well and have very good ventilation. Toray seems like it may have the breathability to overcome this issue.

    What are your plans for ventilation options? Pit zips or leg zip options? While zippers add weight and bulk, I’ve always thought a 3 way (full length) zipper would be good on the pants for ultimate ventilation as long as it didn’t leak and add too much weight and bulk.

    Thanks,
    Ron

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Ron,

      You are going to love this rain gear. This laminate breathes better than any I have ever tested. I have added generous pit zips on the jacket and full leg zips on the pants with a 3 way zipper to vent. The jacket is only 17oz and the pant is 13oz. The pant also has a fly and a built in belt that will keep them up. On top of all this they stretch which allows a full unrestricted range of motion. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best regards,

      Jason

  12. Keith

    Let me know when u go retail. Website describing clothing?

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Keith,

      If you have not subscribed to the blog please do so. I am anticipating a Spring 2011 launch and will be updating and giving insite to the line via the blog. More to come over the next few months. Thanks for your interest and support.

      Jason

  13. Matt

    Looks like some quality stuff. Do recall what materials the Sitka Nimbus pants were made out of? Those pants were almost my ideal raint. Stretchy, bottom to just below zips, and inner thigh zips.

    What made you go with full length leg zippers vs. up short of the knee and inner thing zips for venting?

    Any pictures of this stuff yet? : )

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Matt,

      Great questions. The full leg zips were a request from subscribers of the blog. I also like this design for the ease to get on and off. Lance Kronberger and Brian Martin also stressed this design for what they do. I do like the Nimbus design as well.

      As far as the Nimbus fabric, I am sure Customer Service at Sitka will be more than happy to share this information with you. I do not feel comfortable answering this for Sitka. I hope you can understand.

      Thanks for your support and comments. Keep them coming.

      Jason

      • Matt

        Ok, let me re-phrase.. : ) Your new rain pant material is stretchy per the notes above… How does the fabric compare to the Nimbus in terms of feel and stretch? The pants were ok to wear over bare legs.

        I liked the stretch of the Nimbus as it made the pants really tough, but it failed at the seams. According to the folks at Sitka, the those seams could not be repaired.

        How are your pants assembled? Are the seams such that they can be repaired, or does full length leg zips negate the need for seams. ??

        On a seperate note.. Any outerwear can tear.. Any thoughts on a little mini repair kit of some sort that is a seperate item or included with? This material is unique enough I am not sure the fabric repairs kits at places like REI would work. Or, would they?

        • Jason Hairston

          Matt,

          I apologize in taking so long to respond, I just returned from traveling overseas working with the development rooms and production. To answer your question, the Nimbus was considered a 2.5 layer fabric which allowed it to be light and a full range of motion. The KUIU shell pant will have fully taped seams with 13mm tape specked by Toray specifically for this fabric. Should a seam ever fail we can have it repaired, although our goal is to never have a problem at a seam. You can wear these pant next to your skin, or over base layer. Lance just returned from a wet and soggy Brown Bear hunt and wore them just over base layer. He said they work great in wet soggy stuff. I hope this helps.

          You should be able to find a rain gear repair kit at a quality gear shop that would work. I will also have a repair shop to send gear that may need a non-warranty customer problem fixed once we are up and running.

          These are all great points, thanks for taking the time to bring them up.

          Jason

  14. Richard

    Looking forward to a product line! Will this new line be available in a women’s cut as well? My wife has recently got back into hunting and now I don’t have to enjoy the high lonesome places by myself any more. She’s a fan of the Sitka line and while the athletic fit solves some of the problems it’s still not a “perfect” solution.

    After taking a mountain goat with her muzzleloader this fall, sheep hunting is next up on the radar [yes I know, poor me 🙂 ] and some gender specific technical gear would certainly be welcome.

    Richard

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Richard,

      I have had this request several times and thank you very much for asking. I would love to make a woman’s system at the level of this product line. They would appreciate it more than the men. Unfortunately, my plate is going to be full for a few seasons getting KUIU off the ground. I hope you will understand.

      Jason

  15. Mike P

    X2 on What Richard asked? My wife likes my Sitka gear and the material its made of but she is not a fan of camo and it doesnt fit as well as women specific gear would. Seeing as you will likely make KUIU in non-camo she in interested in it.

    Mike

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Mike,

      See my response to Richard. I just do not have the resources to take on a women’s line with a new brand. I agree with you there is a place and need for technical gear for women.

      Jason

  16. Jeff Ramirez

    Hi Jason,

    I want to start off by saying thanks for giving hunters what they have been wanting for years. The technology has been out there but not specific to hunters. You have done some great things with Sitka Gear and I look forward to using the KUIU products.

    OK, I would like to go back to Cory’s question regarding quietness of the fabric. I own the Stormfront jacket and pant. Great products but a tad bit noisy for bowhunting. Especially the pants (legs rubbing against each other). How will the Toray fabric compare? Thanks.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Jeff,

      Thank you very much for the kind words. Sitka was an amazing ride for sure.

      Great question. Toray’s laminate is different technology, which allows for it to be quieter. It is designed to be packable and is not silent. The only way to accomplish this is to apply a fuzzy face fabric to muffle the noise. Then your rain gear is heavy, bulky and will not dry once wet.

      If you try KUIU’s rain gear and do not believe it is the best you have ever worn, send it back and I will give you your money back.

      Jason

  17. Matt T

    I have been fan a Sitka for the last few years it has followed me around to many different continents. I have noticed a slight change in there product not what it was. But thanks for making that stuff to make some great memories.

    I use mostly woolpower from Sweden. Its some great stuff is this going to b similar to that or mayb better?

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Matt,

      The Merino Company is second to none in quality and consistency of their yarn and fabrics. The KUIU next to skin is a 185g/m2, 17.5 Micron fabric which is incredibly soft and comfortable and is the nicest merino I have tested. It is amazing stuff! I am certain you will not be disappointed. I hope this answers your question, let me know if you have others.

      Jason

  18. Matt T

    This may be a dumb question. Is this like the whole system or just base layers. Is it going to be at the SCI show. Im preparing for trip to Asia for sheep n would love to see the stuff.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Matt,

      KUIU is a complete skin to shell system. When are you leaving for Asia? Where are you hunting? I may have a set of preproduction samples at SCI I to show you. I just had KUIU proto’s tested on an Ibex hunt in Kyrgyzstan in some really tough conditions with great results. Are you looking for a layering system for your hunt? Feel free to email me @ jasonh@kuiu.com

      Jason

  19. Russ

    Jason,

    Is there a reason you didn’t use eVent for your W/B fabric? I’ve been using an Integral Designs jacket constructed of 3-ply eVent and it has become a favorite. It breathes so much better than my Gore-Tex it’s not even funny.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Russ,

      Great question, I took a hard look at eVent, which in the case of breathability is fantastic. Toray has the most advanced laminate technology available, with a 20k/20k waterproof to breathability rating, plus 4-way stretch and Toray’s advanced fabrics and DWR. Torays product has tested extremely well in the toughest conditions we could throw at it. It is a really amazing product.

      Jason

  20. Micah

    Jason, With this Toray material on with the shell is it going to be insulated with microfleece or anything?
    Just wondering since its a layering system if you intend to have several softshell jackets for several climates? Ie what do you plan to have for Cold weather insulation?

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Micah,

      These are 3 layer hard shells, designed to reduce weight and bulk. To adjust in extreme temperature changes we will offer a packable Pimaloft jacket used to regulate your temperature in cold conditions. I hope this answers your questions. Let me know if you need any more clarity.

      Jason

  21. Dave C.

    Jason, if you ever need help communicating with your Japanese manufacturers, let me know. I live in Okinawa and my Japanese is passable. I’m sure Toray has some solid English speakers, but just in case… Also, if you’re ever here in May/June come on down to Okinawa and I’ll take you on a marlin fishing trip. You can lend me a waterproof jacket to test (we get A LOT of rain and I’m always fishing in it). 🙂

    • Jason Hairston

      Dave thank you for the kind offer. I will be in Osaka this spring working on some new development projects at Toray and will let you know my travel schedule. I would love to go fishing and have you test a set of gear.

      Jason