This is the 1st in a series of Icon Posts.  As I ...

This is the 1st in a series of Icon Posts.  As I have mentioned on several occasions in previous posts and articles I want KUIU’s customers to know exactly what they are buying.  I want to educated those who are interested about fabrics, technologies, suppliers and the choices that have gone into this brand and products.

This goes totally against traditional business practices especially in the apparel and pack industry. Other brands keep you in the dark about their products. In my opinion we have way too much riding on our hunts not to know how a product is made, what it is made with and the decisions behind using these materials.  It is too late if it a failure happens in the middle of a sheep hunt; gear failures can cost you your life, a hunt and at a minimum precious hours.

A lot of people have asked me why no one has developed and patented a Carbon Fiber back pack frame until now. Some have rightfully questioned the choice of CF and speculated to why. I have had many people tell me Carbon Fiber is not impact resistant enough, not strong enough, not not stiff enough citing various examples, experiences and reasons; several have mentioned other more experienced pack companies tried it and CF failed.

Those who are experts with composites and carbon fiber, experts at an engineer and aerospace level, who truly understand Carbon Fiber and its inherent principals asked the exact same question.  Except these Carbon Fiber professionals could not believe no one had developed a Carbon Fiber frame before KUIU. Carbon Fiber with its high strength-to-weight ratio and the ability to engineer flex and stiffness into a single part frame is a perfect application.

Why has no one before KUIU developed a CF frame? It is a great question; Carbon fiber is the perfect material for backpacks and backpack hunting where weight and strength are critical.

There have been several attempts by other pack manufactures using Carbon Fiber sheeting and Carbon Fiber rods and laminated have laminated Carbon Fiber onto other materials. Some have been somewhat successful while others have left much to be desired. Our research indicates the design and technology behind the Icon has never been developed before for the pack industry. Why?

After developing the Icon frame with a team of designers and engineers, I believe it is due to the extremely high development costs and manufacturing expenses. Playing around with CF is not cheap nor easy. Intellectual property, materials and molds cost thousands of dollars.  Engineers with the background to design and develop carbon fiber products are cost prohibitive.

Tom taking Daniel through his work on Cruise Missile Programs

Tom and I giving Daniel a background of our work together developing the Icon.

I came up with the vision of a hybrid frame that was light, comfortable and could carry a load on a backpack hunt.  As I began to research this concept, I tracked down a family friend who worked in the Aerospace Industry specifically with composites including CF. Fortunately, Tom graciously volunteered his time and lifetime of experience of Carbon Fiber to see my vision of the Icon become reality and bring an advancement to the pack industry that otherwise could not have happened. Without Tom’s expertise, developing the Icon frame would have not been possible and completely cost prohibitive.

This week we are publishing a feature in The Hunt called Area 57 about Tom which I believe you will find of interest.  Without Tom we would not have the Icon. I will announce the release here on the blog first.

Jason

This article has 34 comment(s)

  1. Mike P

    Look forward to the pack threads and the pack itself 🙂 , very interesting to see how its all designed.

    Mike P

    • Jason Hairston

      Thank you Mike!!

      J

  2. Curt Cabrera

    Great write up buddy…looking forward to more!
    Curt } >>—–>

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Curt!

  3. J.R.

    Really excited to see one of these this weekend. My current pack is goin on 15 years, and it’s time for a new one. I have a funky back, so fit for me is like a shoe, some will work, some won’t, so I need to try before I buy. But, I have high hopes for the ICON. It’s function is way up there, and it’s form ain’t too bad either.

    • Jason Hairston

      I look forward to meeting you on Saturday.

      Jason

  4. Quinn

    Jason, has the icon frame been tested in extreme cold weather conditions?
    Just wondering how the carbon it self stands up to -20 and colder temps ie; late season Canmore or Pedro’s Kyrgyzstan hunt. Thanx

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Quinn,

      It will not be a problem. I just confirmed this with Tom.

      Jason

  5. Jake Abbott

    Really looking forward to these writeups.

    I am on the fence about whether or not I want to get the ICON system, or another pack. I have really high hopes for the ICON system!

    I think there is a good chance it will make an awesome pack for my Southeast Alaska Mountain Goat hunt this fall!

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Jake,

      Please let me know if I can answer any specific questions for you regarding the Icon.

      Jason

      • Jake Abbott

        I’m mainly curious to see how its going to hold up. I’ve had too many packs that have failed.

        if you’ve ever been hunting in S.E. Alaska you know how tough it can be. Going from brushy devils club infested hillsides to rocky outcroppings.

        I’ll be the first to admit, I’m somewhat apprehensive as it seems like a rather radical design thats out of the norm. If it holds up I think it will be top notch.

        Can you tell me about how much use you’ve put under them, and how they’ve held up?

        • Jason Hairston

          Hi Jake,

          Where do your packs typically fail?

          Jason

      • Jake Abbott

        Straps (Stitching), buckles, and zippers.

        Also, with the copious amounts of rain we get here, its always nice to have a pack that sheds water well, rather than getting water logged.

        Also needs to be fairly quite as there is lots of brush and thats typically where the big boys hang….

        • Jason Hairston

          The deadly Pan handle! Yea you are hard on gear weather you want to be or not. I am not concerned with the stitching, buckles or zippers with the Icon. By construction this pack is not waterproof and will leak. I recommend a rain fly for the Icon. We are building one that will be out soon or we can recommend one. The only waterproof pack I know of is made by Arcteryx NAOS and ARRAKIS packs. They are seam sealed and quite a work of art. The Icon fabric is not silent but it is remarkably quiet for a 160D fabric. I hope this helps in your research for a new pack. I would love to get you set up in an Icon. Please let me know if you have other questions.

          Jason

    • Jake Abbott

      Jason,

      I appreciate you taking the time.

      Over on the Alaska Outdoor Forums ( http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/showthread.php/95205-KUIU-Lightweight-Hunting-Gear?p=925347#post925347 )

      Your gear has quite the following. A question that was raised about the frame system was this:

      On steep hills when the going gets tough we’ve all done it before. Sat on our buts and somewhat slide down the hill if you know what I mean.

      With the frame system being somewhat exposed, will this cause significant damage?

  6. JR

    Hey Jason… Its been said, but the awesomeness of this pack makes me want to say it again, I sure wish there was a smaller pack option, a 1500 or even a 2000. Thanks for hearing your consumers…

  7. jon hill

    so when are you shipping what we already ordered ?

  8. George Hicks

    I can’t wait to try one of these on this weekend. I have a couple of backpack hunts this year and love the thought of a quality, functional, lightweight pack that gives me the option to come out HEAVY. I am getting too old for two-trips back to the truck but the other light-in/heavy-out packs on the market are not light and are not functional. I have opted for mountaineering packs and made do with them for hunting, but they are not conducive to heavy loads like this pack.

    Jason, are there any plans for other bag sizes in the future? My personal ideal size would be 4,500 cu-in, but then again if I do want the one-trip out option I will need something larger. Is the design of the 6000 cu-in bag such that I could load say 4000 cu-in or so of gear and
    (internal sleeves/pockets and/or cinch/compression straps, etc.) and have the weight optimally distributed?

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi George, I will take you through the 6000 on Saturday to give you an idea of how well and how versatile this size is.

      J

  9. Merch

    How about some pictures of the pack loaded. Perhaps with a bow strapped to the pack or a rifle. It would be nice to see rigged up for a seven day hunt. Tent, bedroll, spotting scope etc. Really show the versatility.

    Thanks

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Merch,

      Great idea. I will include this in this series of Icon posts.

      Jason

  10. Merch

    I think I better start saving. The rigged up pictures might be just enough “justification” for me to order.

    Thanks

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Merch! They will be coming.

      J

  11. Glen L

    I appreciate the forwardness of this issue. I bought a new pack for my sheep hunt in the Yukon last August. It was a complete failure. Under heavy load climbing back up the mountain, I would literally have to stop, take the pack off and fix the internal structure/frame. This was in the middle of a 30 hour death march and I’m sure you could hear me cussing all the way down here! Needless to say, it will never go on a sheep hunt again. I am anxious to see how your pack works as it is on my “to-buy” list!

    • Jason Hairston

      I will take you through the Icon during this series of posts and you can decide if this is a pack that will stand up to your abuse.

      Jason

  12. Jeff M. Valunas

    Jason-
    As has been the case, for the last few months. I always get a smile on my face when I see in my email inbox, the following- ‘Building KUIU- (New Post)’. I pay attention to the news, which is always ‘grim’, or ‘End of the World’ stuff. When I see a new post from ‘KUIU’, I know I am going to be one of the first to hear the ‘glimmer’, or in ‘KUIU’s’ case a 100 year Solar Flare, of Light… I have numerous Q’s, about the ‘Icon’; However- I am going to patiently wait further posts… As I know you will more than likely address, and explain, with the AMAZING Transperancy you have provided us, to this point! Look forward to those!!! On a slightly different note- On my first order, not even considering how AWESOME the craftmanship from TAMODA APPERAL COMPANY is, I was pleasantly surprised to see how everything was packaged. Everything other than the apperal, was completely recycle-able. No thin, non-recycle-able bags, or tags… Just the gear, and recycle-able content. WELL DONE! Us as hunter’s and Outdoorsmen/women, need to continue to be stewards of the envinorment, and KUIU is taking that into consideration, apparently. Yet another ‘Gold Star’ for you and KUIU! And just in case anyone is having an issue with pulling the ‘Country of origin, material, how to care label’, simply a little ‘tug’ in a diagonal direction, and not even a single stitch is effected.
    Customer Forever-
    Jeff M. Valunas

    • Jason Hairston

      Thank you Jeff! Very Very nice words, this is so appreciated. Ah, yes we think about our packaging and how to minimize the impact on our environment. We have eliminated just about everything in our packaging except recyclable materials. If you visit our offices most of our furniture is made with reclaimed wood, agin trying to do our part as a company. It is our small part as a company. Thank you for noticing and commenting!!!!!

      Jason

  13. Steve Ameral

    I have put the pack on and it is amazing. The flexibility when you turn and bend is incredible.
    I have ordered the 3000 and it is half the weight of my unloaded current day pack. I can collapse it down to hold all my normal day pack stuff and then have the capacity to carry a boned out deer.
    This thing is super comfortable.
    Once you have the frame you can buy different bags so if I go on a backpack hunt I will get the bigger bag and be good to go.

    • Jason Hairston

      Thank you Steve for your input.

      Jason

  14. Matt

    Keep them coming! Love reading about the design and materials used.

    • Jason Hairston

      Many more to come on the packs.

      Jason

  15. Billy Ward

    I am really excited to receive my new pack. I have six old packs for sale cheap. Most of the new packs on the market are junk, or the ones that aren’t junk are way to heavy. I like all the features I see on this pack, the meat cell is an awesome idea, and the frame looks killer. Its about time we had a good change in the hunting gear world. I was tired of disposable clothes and gear that maybe lasts a year. I received my KUIU clothes yesterday they fit well the fabric feels tough, well built. There is only one problem with them, my wife Kory says, they are to nice to take hunting.

  16. Jon Gunderson

    Jason, I might have missed it, if so I apologize. I can see where you have torso adjustment, but do you also have different size belts. I have a problem with them being to big. Will you be able to fit a small guy with 29-31″ waist. Good to see you are doing well.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Jon,

      Nice to hear from you. We can fit you, I have tested the belt on a 30″ waist and we still had room to cinch. I hope you are doing well as well.

      J