I have been asked a lot about KUIU’s rain gear and how it compares to other brands in weight and performance. When researching rain gear it is really important to understand the different choices of waterproof breathable fabrics to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Below is some basic information that I hope will help you make the best choice for your type of hunting.
There are three categories of waterproof breathable fabrics, 2-layer, 2.5-layer and 3-layer fabrics. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. 2-layer & 2.5-layer fabrics are lighter in weight and less expensive. 3-layer fabrics are significantly more durable, will last longer and are much more dependable.
Two-layer fabrics glue a laminate or coating to a lightweight face fabric thus forming a single fabric. You can identify 2-layer rain gear by looking at the inside of the garment; it will typically be white or light grey.
2.5 layer fabrics add a very thin protective film to the laminate of a 2-layer fabric to increase abrasion resistance and add some protection for the laminate. You can identify 2.5-layer fabrics by the printed grid pattern over the top of the laminate.
A 3-layer fabric is made up of a laminate sandwiched between a face fabric and inside or backer fabric. 3-layer fabrics are much more durable due to the two layers of fabric protecting the laminate creating added strength. 3-layer fabrics significantly decrease abrasion and punctured caused failures so often experienced in 2-layer and 2.5 layer fabrics. The downside to most 3-layer fabrics is cost, weight and the lack of stretch.
Waterproof breathable laminates and coatings are very thin and fragile. Abrasion, stress and punctures can create tiny leakage channels. I have researched and tested 2-layer and 2.5 layer fabrics that have failed in less than an hour of field-testing. The obvious advantage is the light weight and stretch which are really nice on backcountry hunts, especially when you may only be in your rain gear once or twice.
My goal for KUIU was to develop a durable, four-way stretch, 3-layer fabric that would weigh as much as a 2-layer and 2.5-layer rain gear. I worked closely with Toray to successfully develop a fabric that is the foundation of lightest 3-layer rain gear available. This new fabric uses Toray’s 4-way stretch laminate technology with an amazing 20,000/20,000 waterproof & breathability rating.
To answer many of the specific questions regarding the features of KUIU’s new rain gear. KUIU’s Chugach Jacket weighs in at only 17oz and the Chugach pant is a mere 13oz which are on par for 2-layer and 2.5-layer rain gear. The Chugach Jacket offers a full front zip, two hand pockets, generous pit-zips and a well-designed hood. The pant has reinforced cuffs, full leg zips that double as ventilation, zippered fly and built in belt.
Photos of this gear will be released early this spring, in. I hope this information helps you in researching rain gear and helping you better understand what KUIU has coming out in the next few months. Let me know if you have any other questions or comments.