Finding the right hunting pant was one of the reas...

Finding the right hunting pant was one of the reasons we started Sitka. For years I hunted in Cabela’s Microtex and was never totally happy with the fit, design and the lack of stretch in this pant.  I believe we moved hunting the industry forward with the Mountain Pant. Then again with the introduction of stretch woven fabric technology in the Ascent Pant.

My vision for all KUIU products is to use technology and design to reduce weight and increase performance. Reducing weight does not necessarily mean a thin light-weight fragile fabric. Using new technology advancements such as fabrics without elastomers will significantly reduce weight while increasing performance and durability.

This approach will be applied to the new KUIU pant.  My goal is to develop a lighter-weight better preforming pant for tough mountain hunts.

The following is a wish list for the new KUIU pant.

  • Stretch
  • Breathability
  • Quiet
  • DWR
  • GREAT fit
  • Dries fast
  • Articulation for knee’s and hips for a full range of motion for steep technical climbs
  • Highest quality stretch woven fabric available
  • No elastomers to keep weight down and durability high
  • Clean design
  • Functional zippered cargo pockets with great positioning on the leg for easy access
  • Easy access hand pockets
  • Looks good
  • Feels good
  • Best pant the customer has ever owned
  • Tough enough Lance cannot destroy it

The goal is to design a product that comes as close to the list as possible. Obviously this is a lofty goal to meet all of these requirements, however it will be exciting to see how close we can come.

Please give me your thoughts and opinions so we can add to this list.

Also, it would be very helpful is to know what you like and dislike about the pant you are currently using?

Thank you in advance for the input and help.

Jason

This article has 40 comment(s)

  1. Nathan

    I like the idea of having built-in / removable knee pads

    • Grady

      In regards to the built in knee pads, if the pads are not form fitting to the knee they chaffe the knee really badly and are so uncomfortable they are not used. A turkey hunting clothing line tried this a few years ago and failed miserably.

  2. Bob Magnan

    Ditto on the kneepads.

    Choices on the waist adjustments would be nice too (e.g., button tabs or cinches like BDUs, AND suspender buttons AND belt loops)

    A higher hip area would be nice depending on the weather you consider when you are using it.

    Any way to get the crotch to vent AND do all the things you already have on the list?

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Bob,

      All of your comments are well noted. What knee pad system do you like?

      Jason

  3. Jon

    Regarding the new fabrics, such as the stretching mountain pants, my biggest complaint has been durability and noise. They’re certainly comfortable (with the stretch), and moisture wicking, however they just didn’t stand up to hiking through oakbrush and the other stickies you encounter on a Colorado mountain elk hunt.

    • Jason Hairston

      HI Jon,

      I get your concerns. We had picking issues with the Mountain Pant fabric and the Ascent fabric is fairly light weight for thorn brush. My goal for the KUIU pant is to find or develop a fabric that can handle this type of abuse. Not an easy task and still have a quiet performance fabric.

      Jason

  4. Bob Magnan

    How about gaiters????

    2 sets–burr proof, and snake proof?

    Forget Velcro–it defeats the whole purpose of stalking…but depending on where you are, things change.

    There is no “all in one” answer.

  5. Ryan Sanpei

    That’s a great wish list!

    While on the subject of knee pads….currently I’m using a pair of softball knee pads. My pros and cons are for the removable type. Never tried a pants with one built in.

    pros
    -great for crawling
    -helps when you’re pinned down and stuck on one or both knees
    -helps when you’re always shooting from your knees while situated on rocks and thorns.

    cons
    -can’t wear them all the time while walking, too restrictive. I need to slide then up when in use and down when not in use.
    -most of these types of knee pads are squeaky/noisey on the rocks.

    I know the goal is to keep weight down, but if you decide to include them, I’ve got a few ideas.

    Ryan

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Ryan,

      I use Arcteryx knee caps. They are super light and have a rubber face that is fairly quiet on the rocks. I have not found a built in knee pad design that works well for hunting. SEALS use a tactical pant by CYRE that has adjustments to move the knee pad up and down so it fits to everyone. The down side is this is a really complicated design and adds a lot of weight and bulk to the pant. From my research, unless you can move that pad up or down it will only fit a few correctly and the rest will have fit and comfort issues. I am looking at ways to make this work. Let me know what you think.

      Jason

      • Ryan Sanpei

        Jason,
        I understand the many concerns. What about having a removeable padded insert? You would need to have an external or internal sleeve for the insert. Without the insert, the empty sleeve could double as a knee/shin reinforced area. The main thing is that the sleeve needs to be sewn in on the low end, which means that when not in use, it would probably ride on the shins for most, which isn’t a bad thing. (I saved my shins on many occasions by wearing my knee pads low while not in use.) The tricky part would be to find a simple but effective cinching system that would bind behind the knee area. While walking, the padded insert would float with the pants, but when you’re ready to start crawling, a simple cinch in the back of the knee area will keep the padded insert at your knee. It may pull your pants up a bit for some individuals, but while crawling, all I’m concerned about is the contact points which are usually right around my patella tendon. Hope this makes sense.

        Ryan

        • Jason Hairston

          Hi Ryan,

          This design makes the most sense for a knee pad set up in a pant. I will see about getting a sleeve made in a proto pant to test. How thick does the foam need to be?

          Jason

      • Ryan Sanpei

        Hi Jason,
        My current removable knee pads have foam that’s about 3/8″ thick, and the foam weighs about .6 oz.

      • Ryan Sanpei

        I forgot to mention that you may want to cup, dish or contour a small portion the of the foam insert for the knee cap area. It may sit in place better when cinched down.

        • Jason Hairston

          Thanks Ryan, well noted.

          Best,
          Jason

  6. Jorge Amador

    Hi from Spain

    Actually the backpacking pants are greats but they fail in two ways for us:

    Noise, are noisy walking and out of the trail. Posible solutions?, maybe add other material,as micro fleece,in some places.

    Resistance and durability, greats for walking long distances but not for brush country, seams are delicates.

    I would like to see practical cargo pockets, big enough to carry a pair of gloves

    Jason, i would take a look the new Schoeller fabrics

    Sorry for my english

    Jorge

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Jorge,

      I have looked hard at Schoeller fabrics and agree they make a remarkable stretch woven. However, I have not found one that is quiet enough for hunting. I also agree with you on designing a practical cargo pocket and putting it in an accessible location on the leg. Thanks for the comments and let me know if you think of anything else.

      Jason

  7. Brandon Hammonds

    Dries fast, morning dew seem’s to be a killer! The wet dew never seems to dry and over time seems to be the part of the pant that does wear out the fastest. Front pockets that don’t seem to make the pants tight is another issues I have not liked.

    Brandon

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Brandon,

      Great feedback. I HATE front pockets that are not designed correctly and promise this will not happen on the KUIU pant. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

      Jason

  8. Aaron Raichel

    I like pants that have re-inforced knee’s and seat. Also like cargo pant style.

    Thanks for all the research.

    Aaron

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Aaron,

      I completely understand reenforcing wear points. There are a few high quality performance fabrics that do not require reenforcing and will save a few ounces and allow the pant to be more comfortable. You will see this with the new KUIU pant.

      Jason

  9. Brian

    The Ascent pants were great except the noise. The last pair I bought sounded like I was wearing a set of trash bags for pants. Soft quiet breathable material would be great. The last thing I would want is for my pants to make noise when rubbing up against some sage brush 15yds away from a big mulie buck. I do like the suspenders.
    It sounds like your on the right track.

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Brian,

      We do not what you in trash bags stalking mulies with the way you shoot. You need all the help you can get:) I promise to make this pant quiet for you.

      Jason

  10. Bryan aka TradRag

    What about a version of the pant that is convertible for those long treks in. I’m referring to a pant that zips off at the knee and converts to shorts. May drive cost up but I would definitely wear a pair.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Bryan,

      I love the versatility of this design. Let me think about this one for KUIU.

      Thanks,

      Jason

  11. Larry O. Fischer

    Jason,
    the toughest pant I’ve ever worn have been Cabela’s Microtek, the Sitka pant offered the stretch, but lack durability. Tested both on a west Texas javalina hunt, needed a lighter to put my Sitka pants back together. However out of the thick brush I like the breathability of Sitka better, combine the two and you have a winner? I know easier said then done! As far as knee pads, I thought you Bay area California boys grew up with built in pads in all your pants!

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Larry,

      Thank you for the comments before your last one. I should have figured you would have something to say regarding knee pads. Too funny.

      Jason

  12. Mike R.

    I like your wish list. The only thing I might change is the zippered cargo pocket. I liked the pockets on the ascent pant because they were quiet and easy to get into but still pretty secure.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Mike,

      Your comment regarding the zippers is well noted. I will take a look at the pocket design and see what we can come up with.

      Jason

  13. Tony Mudd

    Jason,

    My biggest issue with the Ascent pant was the noise, the mountain pant was a bit quieter, but still a bit noisy. The pockets need to be deeper. The inseams longer. There are some excellent recommendations and comments, especially Larry’s!

    Tony

  14. Pedro Ampuero

    Dont like knee pads. I hunt a few days per season, and rarely used one. Also, dont see which are the advantages of having them incorporated. If you are going to need one, you just pick them from your pack, and put them on, but the rest of the time you are much more comfortable.

    I dont like also zippers on the bottom. Usually put my pants before my boots, so I only think that feature is interesant for the raingear.

    Big cargo pockets on the pant. Like zippered pockets, specially for the front and back ones. Have lost a lot of things in the woods for not having zippers.

    Double button for the waist. I always use belt, for the knife, etc.. so I dont feel the need of waist adjuster or similar features.

    And durable! Some forests are tough.

    Good luck!,

    Pedro

    P.D: Jorgeee! Spanish Power!!hehe

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Pedro,

      Thanks for the comments on the pants. They are all well noted.

      Jason

  15. Nathan C.

    I would definitely second some way of ventilating the crotch of the pants.

    Also look at an easier way of removing and attaching the suspenders to the pants. Something softer and more low profile than the plastic clips would be great as the waist belt on a heavy pack (fully loaded with meat and gear) along with the plastic clips would rub my lower back raw.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Nathan,

      Thanks for the feedback on the suspenders. I certainly do not want to rub anyone’s back raw with a bad design. Let me know if you think of anything else.

      Jason

  16. Drake Atwood

    A lot of really good comments so far! The Mountain Pant was the first thing to sell me on Sitka. To me, the pant is most important, as far as clothing goes, and I really have nothing negative to say about the Mountain Pant. I love its cut and fit, the range of motion with the stretchy fabric, quick drying, quietness, deep zippered pockets, and the weight and durability of the fabric. I just wish I had more pairs of this pant. The only down side that I can think of is that it picks up burrs a little, but no biggie. I’ve got hundreds of miles on my Mountain Pant and they’re still going strong. The Ascent is great for warm weather hunts and I like the zippered bottoms…but to me they are way too noisy for bowhunting. They are also too light to wear on a brisk 15-20 degree September morning elk hunt, unless you wear baselayers underneath them. I wish they protected my legs better from brush as my legs get pretty hashed if I’ve been hunting in heavy brush. Would it work to make the front of the pant a little heavier to protect the legs and keep the back of the pant really light to cut weight and add breathability? With all that said, I do love these pants for those hot evening hunts. I like the way the cargo pockets are on the Ascents…but I also like the way the cargos zip up on the Mountain pants…a combination of the two styles would be nice. I agree with Pedro on the knee pads. As often as knee pads are used, it doesn’t seem necessary to make them standard. Plus they would probably drive up the cost. It seems like knee pads work better if they are independent of the pants, but that’s just an opinion.

    I’ve spent the last couple weeks wearing all of my Sitka gear hunting bear and so I have a couple other things fresh on my mind… It seems like the DWR finish increases noise. Is that true? If so, is it really that necessary? Also, the welded gray rubber seams around the zippers on the pitzips, cargo pockets, and other pockets on the gear seem to always be rubbing on something and squeaking, whether it’s my binoculars, armguard, bow, or just another one of the same seams. Is there a quieter version of these seams?

    I would like to see 3 different weights of pants from KUIU: one extremely light similar to the Ascent but quieter, one like the Mountain Pant, and one a little warmer similar to the first 90% Pant you made. I like the softer, quieter, breathable, more comfortable stuff. I agree with the comments on a possible ventilated crotch and also like longer inseams. I would love to see KUIU pants cut to fit like the Mountain Pant. Cant wait to see what you’ve come up with!

    Drake

    • Jason Hairston

      Hey Drake,

      I appreciate the detailed comment and totally agree with you on the mountain pant. As far as the bonded taped seams, yes there are other ways to get this done very well. As far as pant weight, how often are you in a Soft Shell pant? I do some late season hunts in cold weather and like the flexibility of a layered system versus a heavy pant? Let me know, because this certainly is a product that would make sense for KUIU.

      Best,

      Jason

      • Drake Atwood

        I wouldn’t wear a soft shell unless I was treestanding. I thought it would be nice for sitting in extreme cold weather when it’s below zero or in the single digits in heavy snow with a cutting wind chill. A soft shell pant for sitting is probably outside the scope of what KUIU stands for, which I can appreciate….but I thought I would see what you think.

        • Jason Hairston

          Hi Drake,

          This is good to know. I was not sure if you personally liked a warmer pant for mountain hunts, some guys do. Keep the thoughts coming.

          Thanks,

          Jason

  17. Matt Burke

    To me, the original Sitka mountain pant was just about perfect – great fit, stretch, quiet material, no noisy zipper pulls, etc. – really an excellent product. My only complaints were the quality of the stitching (it tended to fail over time – especially the inside of the ankle cuff) and that they could get ripe around the nether parts after a few days in hot weather. Some folks complained about the material’s tendancy to pull loops in thorny brush, but that was cosmetic.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Matt,

      If you liked the Mountain Pant, I think you will love the new KUIU pant I am working on. I look forward to getting you into a pair.

      Jason

  18. Knee Pads For Work

    I like the idea of having built-in / removable knee pads. Grady. July 30, 2010 at … fpadsk.wordpress.com