(Photo/KUIU)

Putting It to the Test: KUIU Women’s Hunting Gear Apparel Review

KUIU introduced a complete line of women’s performance hunting gear. It’s the real deal, and we never saw it coming. We put it to the test to find out more.

No one thought it would happen. Yet, here we are. KUIU, the brand that publicly said they’d never produce women’s hunting gear and then turned women off with a meager lifestyle offering — has done a complete 180 with a true, top-shelf hunting apparel line for women.

It includes layer-able pieces capable of being combined to withstand a plethora of hunting conditions. The brand uses best-in-class materials and design to give us lust-worthy jackets, pants, base layers, and more.

So while, no, we’re not eating our words (we did get a little scathing in our post from 2018) we are indeed impressed with the brand’s turnaround.

In short: They nailed it. KUIU has produced a seriously high-performing hunting apparel line for women. It fits, performs, and gets the job done. There’s no other way to say it other than the KUIU Women’s Hunting Collection is sweet. Read on for our review of several pieces in the women’s collection.

Testing KUIU Women’s Hunting Gear

KUIU Women's Line Mountain Test
The author and a group of testers put the KUIU Women’s Mountain Line through its paces.

We took to the Bighorn Mountains to put the new women’s line through some rugged terrain and unexpectedly rough conditions. Leave it to Wyoming to bring us a June snowstorm. Our original plan of hiking up to an overlook with supposed incredible views turned into a side-blown blizzard with minimal visibility. It felt fitting and was an unexpected yet welcome turn of events.

Over the course of several days, we hiked, wandered, slept in, kayaked, and took to horseback wearing the gear that KUIU claimed would be a game-changer for women who hunt.

I wanted to get my hands on the entirety of the new line, learn about its construction, and get it into the field to decide whether or not it lived up to the standards I was looking for. It’s probably important to note that I have a stupidly high standard for women’s hunting gear. If you’re going to spend crazy amounts of money on clothing you might only wear a few times a year, it had better be worth it.

KUIU Gear Test

From rugged terrain hiking to being soaking wet on horseback, we gave it our all to get a real feel for the gear. Obviously, durability and longevity are going to take time and repeated use. There were a few pieces that worked and then a few pieces that really stood out. Let’s break it down.

Reviewing the Collection

KUIU Women's Gear
The KUIU Attack Pant, Merino Tank, Kenai Jacket, Gila Hoodie, and Zip-Off Bottom.

Of the pieces I tested, these five are the standouts I want to get into — the Attack Pant, Merino Tank, Kenai Jacket, Gila Hoodie, and Zip-Off Bottom.

There are several other pieces in the lineup, with more slated to be released, but let’s look at a few of the staples.

KUIU Women’s Attack Pant

KUIU Attack Pant

Thee Pant. This is the pant that everyone raves about. The KUIU Men’s Attack Pant has been the one piece of clothing that I have consistently heard my peers wish for in a women’s cut.

What can I say other than the KUIU Women’s Attack Pant ($149) is a replica of the men’s pants tailored to fit women? They fit. They’re comfortable. They get the job done.

Hip vents allow for easy ventilation, and the Primeflex polyester is durable and has an awesome flex to it. This is the big one for me. I will wear these pants until the seams give out, which given the reputation of the men’s version, should be a very long time.

KUIU Women’s Ultra Merino 145 Racerback Tank

KUIU Racerback

This one is a shocker. I picked it up, rolled my eyes, set it back down, and grabbed my coffee. Everyone seems to have a women’s tank, and they never fit. They’re rarely comfortable. They just seem pointless.

I decided to throw this KUIU Racerback Tank ($69) on under my other gear on day two. I haven’t really taken it off since. It fits like a second skin. It is light, shockingly soft, and breathable.

The merino wool construction means it’s odor resistant and awesome at handling moisture. I see this being a perfect next-to-skin layer for early season when you might need to strip off layers, as well as being a valuable additional core layer for late season.

I had no idea I needed a tank in my life. Now, I just want it in solids.

KUIU Women’s Kenai Hooded Jacket

KUIU Kenai Jacket

KUIU’s Kenai Hooded Jacket ($259) is a good jacket. I’ll start there. But I think the sizing is a little off. KUIU has designed its clothing specifically to accommodate layering, so you shouldn’t have to size up your outer layers. If you’re a medium, you’re a medium across the board.

I’m definitely smaller than average, but because women tend to come in unlimited shape configurations, I’m tiny but curvy. Of the jackets I tried on, the X-small fit my arm length but wouldn’t zip.

I moved up to the small, which seemed shockingly large. The arms are a bit too long, and even with my base layers, it is more than roomy. Then, when compared to the medium, there isn’t a huge difference. I think it might take some time to nail down the sizing on their jackets. It isn’t an easy task, and this line is new.

It’s a solid choice for a synthetic, midlayer puffy, and the lack of quilting means fewer stitch holes breaking down the fabric. It feels durable, packable, and warm while still being lightweight.

Just make sure you try this one on before you buy.

KUIU Women’s Gila LS Hoodie

KUIU Gila

The Gila Hoodie ($79) is a staple. The lightweight polyester feels great as a next-to-skin layer. It really does breathe as if you’re nude when exposed. It’s moisture wicking, dries quickly, and it’s a no-brainer for early season.

The odor resistance of the fabric is really key on those long, hot trips when you might break a hard sweat. It has a UPF rating of 50+, keeping you protected from the sun. There isn’t much other detail to go into here, other than it works, it’s comfortable, and it’s officially on my rotation roster.

KUIU Women’s Ultra Merino 145 Zip-Off Bottom

KUIU Zip Off

This one was another shocker. I have several sets of hunting-specific base layers, and none of the bottoms have ever fit comfortably. They either sit too high and roll or they sit too low and I’m constantly tugging at them to avoid base-layer-plumber’s-crack.

These Merino 145 zip-offs from KUIU ($109) just fit, and they feel like butter. The Nuyarn wool tech makes all the perks of merino even better. They feel like cashmere while being odor-resistant and moisture-absorbent. This is everything I’ve ever wanted in a pair of next-to-skin bottoms.

And they have zippers. Why zippers? Well, you can take them off without unlacing your boots. I can think of a dozen reasons I’d want to do that over a week in the backcountry.

Listen, I couldn’t imagine a tight layer with zippers being comfortable, but I slept in these and I slept well. The lightweight microzippers aren’t even noticeable when wearing and the flat-lock seams make them comfortable as all get out.

This is my new full-time, lower base layer. Period.

Is the KUIU Women’s Hunting Collection Worth It?

KUIU Gear Test - Rachelle Schrute
(Photo/Rachelle Schrute)

Yes. It is solid gear. I have to give KUIU some much-needed props for finally putting together a women’s line worth its salt. It’s been a long time coming, and regardless of what paths led here, they’ve done it right.

There are some things I’d like to see added. The women’s line is pretty exclusively offered in KUIU’s camo patterns. More solid color options would be nice.

I’d also like to see KUIU offer an alternative to what has become the industry’s gold-standard hunting pant for women, the Sitka Timberline. A women’s pants with a reinforced, waterproof seat and some form of additional knee protection would be an asset.

How cool would it be if they one-upped the Timberline by not highlighting those reinforced areas with a contrasting, solid color and instead integrated them seamlessly? Wouldn’t that be neat? (Hint-hint.)

I’ve always worn pretty much the same hunting system for big game hunts. I have a combo for early-season archery, one for midseason, and a late rifle setup aimed at keeping me from freezing to death. I wear some reconfiguration of the same pieces consistently because they work. KUIU has now officially disrupted my routine.

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where they’ll take the women’s gear in the future. Here’s to a little taste of redemption.

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Rachelle Schrute
By

As a fifth-generation Montanan, Rachelle Schrute comes from a long line of western hunters and anglers. Born in western Montana, she spent countless days chasing mountain elk and mountain trout with her family. She is heavily involved in Montana's conservation and wildlife management practices and has served in leadership roles within multiple conservation organizations. Rachelle is a certified Wilderness First Responder, and often spends her summers as a Wilderness Guide in Yellowstone National Park. When not gear testing or writing, you can likely find her hunting, hiking, fishing, and cooking wild game with her two children.