Merino Zip-Off Bottoms: Function and Efficiency

Last week while browsing a few different forums I noticed more than one question surrounding the design and use of our Merino Zip-Off Baselayer Bottoms. Like they used to say in school, if one person has a question, then there are likely others wondering the same thing. The Zip-Off Bottoms have become one of my favorite layering pieces over the past year, so I’d like to make sure everyone is clear on how they work and why they were designed the way they are.


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The first thing that most potential buyers notice and question about the zip-off bottoms is the length. They are obviously different in that regard from traditional long underwear that ends around the ankles, and it’s a normal instinct for potential buyers to initially shy away from a product that appears to fit differently than what they’ve become accustomed to wearing for years. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have my share of eyebrow raising moments as Shaun catwalked the halls of the KUIU office in his mid-calf length baselayer bottoms during the developmental stages of the product. Fashion sense aside, the shortened length concept makes sense and works in the field. There’s really no reason to have a baselayer insulate the lower leg within the upper of the boot… that’s what socks are for. Furthermore, the beauty of the zip-off feature is that the user doesn’t need to remove his pants or even touch his boot lacing to add and/or remove this layer. Lastly, the garment weighs less without the excess fabric.


The functionality of the easy-on, easy-off design could not be better. Gone are the days where you tough out the bitter cold in the mornings to avoid having to basically change clothes later when the sun came up in order to shed my traditional long underwear. It’s not that we don’t have time on a hunt to take our boots and pants off and then put them back on again, but let’s face it… it’s an inconvenience that’s typically avoided until the heat of a baselayer bottom becomes completely unbearable. The zip-off bottoms change all of this. It’s a no-brainer to put them on in the morning when it’s cold, and it only takes about 15 seconds to remove them, put them in the pack, and continue with the day as soon as it gets too warm.


This image provides a better look at how the zip-off bottoms work.

A couple frequently asked questions are how does the zipper feel against the leg, and how do the upper closer tabs feel against the waist? The answer is pretty straight forward- you really don’t ever feel either of them. The size 3C YKK zippers are small and soft, and have an inner trim that closes off contact between the skin and the zipper teeth (detailed photo below). Though slight in size, these zippers have proven to hold up very well. We have yet to receive a single warranty claim against the performance or longevity of the zippers on the zip-off bottoms.


Next to skin side of leg zipper. Notice how no zipper teeth are exposed.

The upper velcro closure tabs are designed in a way that keeps all of the hook and loop material out of contact with the body. Additionally, there is almost no bulge or change in thickness along the waistband that would create an uncomfortable pressure point while wearing a pack waist belt over the top.


The velcro side tabs create a very smooth and comfortable transition between the front and rear panels.


I hope this helps clear up some questions surrounding this baselayer piece. The Merino Zip-Off Bottoms are undoubtedly KUIU’s most under-the-radar innovations of the past year.

GIVEAWAY (Update Below)


JAMES PARMER, your name was drawn as the winner of this Giveaway. I have emailed you with instructions. Thank you to all who took the time to comment on this post. Your responses are invaluable to those who come across this post down the road while researching this product.

On a side note, it was brought to our attention yesterday that the previous SUBSCRIBE feature used for this blog has sent a some unrelated emails to our readers. We immediately deactivated and removed the problematic subscription provider, and have replaced it with a new one that will not send any unwanted emails. Thanks to those of you who notified us of the issue.

Todd Harney

Wilderness Athlete Seminar at the KUIU Garage Sale

During our Garage Sale event here in Dixon back in May, we had a number of guest vendors put on short seminars to talk about their products and services. Mark Paulsen, founder of Wilderness Athlete, gave a great talk that touched on a number of overlooked nutrition fundamentals that apply to backcountry enthusiasts of all ages and experience levels.

I hope you enjoy and learn something new from the video.

As a reminder, we are offering a couple Wilderness Athlete products in the KUIU Gear Shop. Visit the links below to learn more:

Gear Shop: Wilderness Athlete Hydrate & Recover

Gear Shop: Wilderness Athlete Energy & Focus

On a side note, our Archery Blacktailed Deer season opens here in California this weekend. With any luck, someone here at the office will have a success story and photos to share on The Hunt next week. Stay tuned and best of luck to all of you who will be out scouting or hunting this weekend!

Todd Harney

Raingear Packability Comparisons

One of the most frequently asked customer raingear questions around here is: How small does it compress? It’s a very valid question, and one that people rightfully expect an accurate answer to.

The question came up over and over again in the live feed for yesterday’s Teton revealing, so I’ve decided to put this together here today to help provide a quality response. Below are photos and dimensions of each of the KUIU rain sets, compressed (folded and rolled) as if they were to be stored in a pack. We will begin with the smallest (Teton) and work up to the largest (Yukon).

Teton Rain Jacket and Pant


Dimensions/ Size Large

Jacket: 14 cm long, 27 cm circumference

Pant: 15.5 cm long, 22.5 cm circumference

Ultra NX Jacket and Pant


Dimensions/ Size Large

Jacket: 16 cm long, 26 cm circumference

Pant: 21 cm long, 23 cm circumference

Chugach NX Jacket and Pant


Dimensions/ Size Large

Jacket: 20 cm long, 32.5 cm circumference

Pant: 22.5 cm long, 26.5 cm circumference

Yukon Jacket and Pant


Dimensions/ Size Large

Jacket: 28 cm long, 32 cm circumference

Pant: 30 cm long, 29 cm circumference


That’s it! Quick post this week, but this but a long overdue one.

Todd Harney