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Kowloon, Hong Kong

Hong Kong Bay

I am in Hong Kong this week to source & review new developments and technologies for 2012 & 2013 products. This past year I have challenged KUIU’s supply partners to develop new products using innovation and technology to reduce weight without giving up performance.

I met with Toray today and reviewed several new fabric developments they have been working on for KUIU. Toray met the challenge and has developed some AMAZING light weight products. Next-level technology for ultralight layering.  I believe these new fabric developments will further reduce your layering system weight by 2 to 3 pounds. These new lightweight fabrics are quiet, durable and use a very high grade of yarn to insure quality and performance that Toray requires.

My vision and goal for KUIU is to continue to take weight out of your gear; How light we can go without giving up performance?  Is this important to you?  I know it is to me.  I always appreciate your input and feedback to make sure KUIU is heading the right direction for the future.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to comment.  Your feedback is what makes KUIU great!

Jason

This article has 53 comment(s)

  1. Dave

    Geez! My new KUIU gear is going to be obsolete in a year!

    • Jason Hairston

      Not necessarily. These will be good additions to any system and going light is not for every situation. I will share more as we move forward with these new developments.

      Jason

  2. Pedro Ampuero

    I will describe it as functional. You are doing great job Jason, keep it like that!! Just keep in mind that at the end things must be functional.

    Thanks for all your efforts, I am hunting more comfortable than ever before, and that really helps!.

    Enjoy your visit!!!

    • Jason Hairston

      Great point Pedro! I agree and this is the challenge with going ultra-light and why I have challenged our suppliers. It has to remain functional or you sacrifice too much.

      Jason

      • Kendall

        I agree. I’ve talked to some fast and light backpackers in the outdoor world, you know the guys that do the Pacific Crest Trail in record time….after looking at the gear they use and what they sacrifice in the name of going ultra light, one starts to wonder how much function (according to a normal adventurer as function is relative) is being sacrificed in the name of lightweight.

        Your experience will surely keep you on the right path to maintaining function even at the expense of adding a few ounces here and there. The Icon pack is evidence of adding a few ounces to maintain full function.

        Cool update Jason!

        • Jason Hairston

          Thanks Kendall,

          It is actually not that hard to go light as you know and as you mention it is a challenge to make it functional. This is where I am pushing. Thanks for the comment, I always appreciate your insight.

          Jason

  3. Justin

    I am so fired up to see Kuiu succeed. Its about time someone is thinking straight. Being a hardcore bivouac hunter, weight is key. And being able to count on your gear is even mor important.
    Thank You!
    Im looking forward to having the next best thing…

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Justin,

      If you count grams or ounces some of the new developments I am working on will be right in your wheel-house. I will be sampling and testing this fall and will keep you posted.

      Jason

      • David Casaceli

        Looking forward to it. Glad I found your blog, wish I was onboard with you since the beginning!

  4. Matt

    Yep, worried here too that 2011 gear might have been a worthless buy as Generation 2 will be even more impressive. Nature of the beast I suppose. Keep it rugged and tough. I”m reminded of my ascent pants; feel good, smell good, look good, oh damn put a tear in them on day two and then again on day four. Function, Function, Function out weights any type of weight savings if the gear will only last a couple days. This gear could save your life after-all….

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Matt,

      The current line will not change or be worthless. These new light-weight products will be for some, but not everyone. They will integrate into your current line and can save weight depending on the type of hunt you will be on. I will continue to push performance and weight and function with KUIU. I believe this is good for KUIU, good for our industry and most importantly good for the consumer.

      Jason

  5. Ken Allen

    I love the gear that you have already put together. I am headed out to test it again with a 5 day back country scouting trip on an amazing mule deer tag that a friend drew here in Washington. If you come up with better, lighter gear, that would be exciting. The pursuit of excellence and the desire to get better helps all of us that enjoy backpack hunting.

    Keep it up!

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Ken,

      Thank you so much for the support and interest in KUIU. Enjoy your scouting trip and shoot some photos and email them to us.

      Jason

  6. Greg pettinaro

    Speaking of light weight when I use my 6000ci pack my load grows because I have the room to pack more. The 3000ci is a little too small for a week long trip. Any word on coming out with a 4500 or 5000ci pack? great gear. Greg

    • Jason Hairston

      Hey Greg,

      I am working on several new designs that will integrate on the Icon frame for next season. A 4500 is on my development list.

      Jason

      • David Casaceli

        Second the inbetween size. 4500 is about right…

  7. Doc

    I think you are doing a great thing by going as light as possible. In my experience the less weight you have the farther you can go, which can make all the difference between going home empty handed and getting that trophy game. With that said, I would like to see maybe less layers if at all possible. I know that is somewhat limited to the hunter’s situation and what time of the year it is, but late Elk season for me is a pain when it comes to packing clothing. It seems like I have 5 different shirts, 3 different pairs of pants, and on and on. It can be 40 out or -20 and it is just a pain having to plan for all that. It would be awesome if it was simpler. When it comes to the amount of clothes to bring, and not to mention all that clothing no matter how small it packs down still takes up precious space in my pack.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hey Doc,

      You bring up a great point, I am a believer in layering so you can adjust with the ever changing conditions the mountains throw at us. Multiple layers give us the flexibility we need. I am not sure how to build a simpler system; a system that does it all with just a couple of items. Mountain hunting sure makes this a challenge with weather changes, climbing, sitting, glassing, wind, rain, snow……etc…..etc. My focus now is to build a system that weighs less and packs smaller until I figure out how to do this with less items. Thanks for this comment, I love to hear this type of feed back. It inspires me to push development.

      Jason

  8. Dustin

    I’m looking forward to hearing about the new products being developed for 2012. Keep us posted.

  9. Larry Schwartz

    x2 on the emphasis on functionality! Making things lighter is one way to improve the functionality of a piece of gear, but it is obviously not the only way to do so and lighter for lighters sake is not always a good thing. I’m sure that Jason has been down this road enough to have learned that lesson.

  10. Jerry Gowins

    Improving on the best? Why not!! Kudos to you, Jason. My comfort level while out photographing wildlife has never been better. I’m looking forward to using it during hunting season for sure!

    Jerry

    P.S. You should see the looks I get when wearing the Guides Jacket in Cabela’s. “Do they sell that here?” “Nope. Here’s a card with the info on where you CAN get it”. I’m going to need more cards. 🙂

  11. norcalblacktail

    It is refreshing to see a company take direct input from the customers and turn it into a product. I admire your desire to push the envelope and thank you for bringing us gear that we can rely on. Its steps like these that are going to make Kuiu the leader in ultralight gear.

    I for one cant wait to see the new developments. I am always looking to reduce weight wherever I can while remaining comfortable and functional. So far everything I have tried from Kuiu has met those requirements and that is why I will continue to support Kuiu.

    Jason what do you think about some ultralight convertible pants for those hot early season Northern California hunts? The ability to remove the lower half of the pant without taking off your boots is a must.

    And how about a short sleeve loose fitting merino top. That and some lightweight merino boxer briefs would be great.

    The girlfriend wanted me to add that she thinks some polo shirts with the Kuiu logo on it would go good in my wardrobe. At least that way I wouldn’t mind wearing the collared shirts she is always trying to get me to wear.

    Again thanks for pushing the envelope and bringing us along for the ride.

    -Nate

    • Justin

      Convertible pants, are a big thumbs up! Took the words right out of my mouth. I dont even wear camo pants anymore. UA guide 3 pants are the best I could find.

  12. Kurt Steindorf

    I’m excited to see what you have in store for us up and comming. So far everything has been unbelieveably comfortable and durable. Keep up the great work!

  13. John

    Lightweight, functional, quiet, and not bulky. Hunting with cold mornings, hot afternoons, and cold evening hunts seem to be the norm at least when I’m hunting elk. When sitting on a wallow it drives me nuts to have to make any motion to add layers as the night air drops in.
    Excited to see what you come up with.

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks for the comment John. I certainly will keep you posted on the new developments.

      Jason

  14. Dewey Riesterer

    Good Work, Jason, I hit 65 next week and the lighter gear DOES help me to get up those BC mountains more comfortably, no question. I just got a RM Goat draw for my home area and am really keen to continue mountain hunting-fishing for another 25 years! So, bud, please remember in your designs to include larger waists, short inseams and cuts of those of us built sorta like Neandethals….no cracks here… 😉 and I am eager to buy some pants and rain gear (this IS BC!) as my sizes become available. Take care and keep up the good work!

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Dewey! Your points and comments are VERY well taken. Congrats on the Goat tag and good luck.

      Jason

  15. todd

    Light is cool and durable is a cool trick.

    I’d much rather see something waterproof and breathable. Seems to be the impossible. Somehting completely waterproof that breathes like softshell. this is where i wish the fabric/laminate manufacturers would spend their R&D dollars.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Todd,

      A waterproof breathable soft shell exists. I have samples of it from Toray. The downside to a laminated softshell is breathability, noise and the backer becoming wet and not drying. The reason a softshell is so versitile is because it blocks wind, light rain & snow without a laminate. Your laminated rainshell that does not breath as well and is noisy can stay in your pack longer if you add a softshell to your system. These are the reasons I have not built a laminated soft shell product.

      I am curious, what application/reason do you want this jacket for? To cut down on the number of jackets you have to have in your system? I certainly can develop this product if guys need it. Please let me know.

      Jason

      • todd

        Thanks for asking.

        Yes, if my raingear would breathe like softshell, i’d never take it off. Basically one wouldn’t have to carry another jacket…………..which is by concept……..lighter.

        • Jason Hairston

          Todd, the manufactures have this goal in mind, however it may be unattainable using the current technology of ePTFE or PU laminates by how it functions. Hopefully a breakthrough will come along that fixes this all.

          Jason

  16. Ryan Sanpei

    This is great news! Can’t wait to see what you’ve got up your sleeves. The fabrics from Toray has been the best “all around” fabrics that I’ve ever used! I can’t stop talking about the Attack Pants. I’m hoping for a thin lightweight base layer shirt from Toray. Neck gaitors too please, or even a 3/4 “built in” gaitor. While I’m dreaming, please find some ultralight Vias material to cover the limbs on my stickbow. 🙂
    Have a safe trip home!

    • Jason Hairston

      LOL! Thanks Ryan, I am so happy to hear your compliments!!!!

      J

  17. J.R. Young

    Jason,
    I am glad to see you are out seeking to improve upon your product and what you deliver to the user. Not that it “needs” it, but it has been clear to me from the outset that you believe there is always room for improvement. To me, that is one of the most important aspects about KUIU in that I can rest assured that no matter what, you and the team are working to be better.

    Lightweight is very important to me. Though I’ll admit my biggest weight savings currently can come from my waistline. That said, function and quality are also very big factors as well. Lightweight only goes as far as a products ability to perform and function.

    I received my shipment of my attack pant, guide jacket, 185 and 250 zips, neck gaitor and belt lastnight and as I poured over the craftsmanship, every seem and every stich I confirmed my opinions that this is some of the best made gear on the market. There were no loose threads or sloppy seams. Reinforced stiching at pressure points were uniform and clean. The craftsmanship above the excellent fabric is simply fantastic.

    I hope that going forward that the entire scope of function, performance and craftsmanship will continued to be taken into account. I would love to shed a few more ounces if not pounds along the way, but am happy to keep a few extra ounces if it means a better complete package. However, I have a feeling that you won’t sacrifice one benefit for another and more importantly won’t be satisfied until you find something “better”.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi J.R.,

      I LOVE quality and will not sacrifice this for $. I will continue to challenge my suppliers and push the bar on weight, performance and quality. KUIU’s current line is the most technically advanced layering system available by any brand from skin to shell, however this is just the beginning for KUIU. Just by my nature of never being totally satisfied, I will always searching and looking for improvements.

      Jason

  18. Jeff M. Valunas

    Jason-
    This is the reason, I took to KUIU so quickly and with such resolve! Your passion in this area, is second to none, in my opinion. I am confident that if you make it, (for production/ sale), that it is going to be AMAZING!!! I know everything I currently have from KUIU, is already beyond AMAZING! The fact/ privelege that you share all this with us, that care about this stuff… Makes you, and KUIU, the BEST!!!
    Enjoy your visit, and thanks for pushing the line, way beyond were it had currently been, prior to KUIU!!!

    Safe Travels, Friend-
    Jeff M. Valunas

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Jeff! These types of developments are what get me excited! Thanks for the kind words my friend.

      Jason

  19. Mike

    I was able to use my Kuiu gear on a recent Mountaineering class graduation climb in Canada. Overall it worked very well and I now see other Kuiu items which could do double duty for mountaineering in addition to their hunting use. A pair of soft shelled Guide Gloves in a drab (non-camo) color would have been great I think for wear under some larger gortex type shell mittens at the mountain top (10-15 degrees with 25 mph winds) and great worn alone when down on the glacier (25 degrees and no wind). The Kuiu shell Chugach Pants with full zip would have been great to have also for a waterproof, breathable lower outer layer that could easily be changed without messing much with my gaitors/boots/crampons (these will be a future purchase). Keep up the good work.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hey Mike,

      Very well noted on the glove is a solid color. Please look for them in Major Brown and Burnt Olive in the future. Thank you for taking the time to comment it is good to hear that KUIU is functioning well for Mountaineering as well.

      Jason

      • John C

        Great news on the gloves! How far in the future shall we be looking?

  20. Chris stone

    I can’t imagine how you can improve on such great gear….. It’s very hard to.. Jason I’m pleased with all my kuiu gear so far!!! Just got my icon 6000 and am blown away… Before i was training with a 60 pound bag of sand ‘in’ my cabelas pack and it was brutal especially on the shoulders and back… I put that same sand bag ‘in’ the icon and was so shocked how i could barely feel the weight… The 60 pounds felt like nothing…. So far i love this pack!!! One little question on the pack is near the top little concaved section where the sheep logo and icon 6000 lettering is a seam with some grape purple colored goo or liquid…. Is this some kind of glue or sealer??? Today was the first day i used it and it was 90-100 degrees for a six mile hike… I’m not to worried about it but just curious to what it could be??? Again thanks for great products and my elk hunt will be deff more enjoyable!!!

  21. Scott Paschall

    My wife and I are making another attempt at the remote kenai mountain caribou herd here in Alaska. I drew the tag two years ago and got skunked after three attempts. Each one of those attempts I covered about 55 miles of rugged AK mountains with a 60 pound pack. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. We are both working hard to get in top shape for the late Sept hunt. I’ve been following your blog and am scratching money together to try and start shaving weight by buying kuiu gear. I’m very excited about your stuff. One of the biggest issues up here is no matter how much weight you cut, the amount of clothing that has to be taken will tip the scale. I like the direction you are going and look forward to the gear you are talking about in this post. I wish you were working with American companies but I understand you must go where the technology is. Keep up the good work and if you need a review from the hardest hunt I have ever done, let me know.

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks for the comment Scott! I will be looking forward to your report and hearing about your hunt and adventure. It sounds amazingly perfect!:). Good luck and thank you for choosing KUIU.

      Jason

  22. Matt

    Jason,

    As always inovation is what drives KUIU. I think your gear will always be changing. I buy your current line with confidence as it fits my needs. As long as your prices remain competive, more and more your gear will make it up here to AK.

    Here is to hoping you get the ultra ultra light stuff down, and then move back to your mid weight series. Have you seen the Wild Things Tactical line? I’m thinking your mid weight stuff would blow that away.. KUIU Tactical, has a nice ring to it… : ) Any updates on that mid weight Green Rain Gear Lance was testing for you?

    Best of luck and safe travels.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Matt,

      Thank you for your comment, well noted. As far as the Schoeller Jacket and Pants Lance tested, the face fabric “wetted out” and he ended up switching to the Chugach in the middle of the bear season and liked it much better. The Toray fabric never held water, never created condensation or leaked and was lighter and more comfortable to wear especially after the Schoeller fabric was wet. Toray developed a new fabric for KUIU that we will be testing this fall for our “Guide Tough” rain shell.

      J

  23. jaymarkwood

    How about a Primaloft One vest and pants in Vias camo for 2012. Plus 250 weight merino beanie and gaiter.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hey Jay,

      I have the Primaloft Pants in development for 2012, no vest planned but it is certainly one we should put in the line. I like the idea of a heavier weight beanie and gaiter, let me work on that.

      Jason

      • Larry Schwartz

        Jason,

        Has any thought been given to making the sleeves detachable on the Spindrift jacket? Maybe the hooded version could have the hood and sleeves removable with some sort of attachment like velcro.

        Larry

      • jaymarkwood

        Fantastic! Put me down for the Primaloft One pants, 250 weight beanie and gaiter. I am sold on Kuiu’s design.

        • Jason Hairston

          GREAT to hear! I am VERY excited for the Primaloft pants as well. I am working on a great design for these pants.

          j

      • David Casaceli

        Like the Gaiter idea as well. I don’t know many people anywhere who have found ones they like…

  24. Mike P

    Jason,

    I know we talked in the past about using softshell for packs and you mentioned you thought it may not be durable enough but i really feel after using the guide jacket that the material would hold up well for packs…

    So my wish list is… a KUIU pack made from the same Toray material in the guide jacket…around 2000 ish cubic inch with carbon stays for some load carying ability for the first load out, lightweight/thinner/quiet shoulder straps and hip belt. Build it on the Icon 3000 bag design with the same style of shape and pocket arangement. Small mesh pockets on the hip belt for Cliff bars, calls, etc. And it has to be 2 – 2.5 lbs 🙂

    Would be a run and gun style pack like alot of us lightweight backpackers use but be durable enough and queit enough for hunting.

    The other thing and its been mentioned is the Spindrift pants…a must have for later season mountain hunting, need to have a zipper like the Chugach pants so you can put them over your boots as well.

    Cheers,

    Mike P