I posted on the blog a couple months ago about a p...

I posted on the blog a couple months ago about a prototype jacket and pant made with a new 3-layer Swiss made Schoeller fabric development that Lance Kronberger would be  testing.  

Lance has challenged me to develop a jacket and pant the he and his guides could not destroy during a season of 100+ days of guiding. A lofty goal to say the least.  Lance and I designed this gear for his needs; reenforced knees, seat, chest pockets, over sized cuff tabs and velcro, internal sat phone, chest and shoulder pockets.  Durability and features were more important than weight.

Enclosed is a report from Kodiak by Brendan Burns:

Due to weather and geographic location of where they hunt, Alaskan/ Canadian Guides have different needs in hunting gear than most of us in the lower 48.  For them weight is not as much of a factor as durability and function.  It boils down to use, they may be wearing one piece of gear for 90 days straight, using it hard, and it needs to last multiple seasons. On any given day professional guides are as likely to be loading a boat motor on to floatplane or falling a tree with a chain saw, as hiking 10 miles in the rain.

Like all the KUIU line, the Schoeller set is well thought out. With weight not being a factor there are some extra creature comforts built in that are not essential, but nice to have. The extra chest and shoulder pocket on the jacket will make a few people smile.   The pants are a cool cross between the Attack pant and the Chugach pant.  By moving the cargo pockets on the pants forward and higher up the leg you are still able to have a full zip for easy on and off.  The reinforced knees and seat are not too big to hinder movement.

Part of the testing process is finding out how a fabric face and membrane react to heavy use in real conditions. We did a head to head test, I wore our Chugach and Lance wore the Schoeller prototypes for 10 days on Kodiak. We experienced a lot of rain and wet damp conditions and your gear never had time to dry out, a true torture test for waterproof/breathable rain gear.

What we found was typical of most waterproof/breathable rain gear on Kodiak. Days of Heavy rain, wet brush and in constantly damp conditions the Schoeller DWR began to fail, the face fabric became wet which affected the breathability and created condensation build up. Once wet the gear remained wet, heavy and miserable to wear.  After a few days Lance ended up switching over to our Chugach gear.

This testing is not a knock on the Schoeller, but more of a nod to how great the Chugach product performed.  Rubber rain gear was essentially created for the type of conditions Kodiak will throw at it because all waterproof/breathable gear eventually fails here. Our Chugach gear remained dry and breathable for the entire trip. Toray’s Kudos DWR was simply amazing even in wet brush it continued to perform and never held any water.

In conclusion our recommendation to Jason was to develop this gear using a Toray 3-Layer fabric versus Schoeller.  A fabric similar to the Chugach product line, add the reinforcements and  pocketing and you would have the perfect product for professional guides.


This article has 9 comment(s)

  1. Rob Lund

    This is pretty interesting. It is very cool of you to share this.

  2. Jason Owings

    Wow great post. I recently began looking to add some durable rain gear to my hunting wardrobe but wasn’t convinced the price of the chugach line was worth it but after reading this post looks like Kuiu will be getting another $600 from me. Now trying to convince the wife will be next!

  3. beaupurvis

    I like it!I continue to admire your tenacity in checking out product ideas. It makes me to continue to feel like you will be my outdoor clothing supplier for ever!


  4. Rob B

    J, you’re literally reading my mind! please tell me you’re going to add these upgrades to the chugach jacket. Or make a “lite” version that would be similar to the original and have an additional chugach with the additional pocket and pit zips. If you had a chugach with pit zips, the additional pockets and in olive drab green I would buy it tomorrow! I sweat when I eat, so pit zips are a must for me, especially in early season BC. Cheers J, keep up the great work.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Rob,

      Thanks for the comments. The Chugach does have pit zips. I am working on a “Professional Grade” Jacket and pant for 100+ days a year guides hammer this gear. If development continues on track this will be available next spring.


  5. Rob B

    Well hot damn. Thanks J, again you’re the man.

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Rob!

  6. Louis

    Hi Jason,

    I know I’m grave-digging your blog, but any update on this “professional grade” gear, particularly the pants? Was excited for a super tough, durability over weight line of gear, while still using your materials and design principles but haven’t heard anything about it this year.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Louis,

      We have a new product called the Yukon Jacket and Pant that will be coming out in 2013 that will be what are looking for. They are a fantastic set of “professional grade” gear. More to come on the Yukon gear soon.