STARTING KUIU

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Stories of Howard Hill and Art Young and Saxton Pope

My dad was a hunter, a traditional bow hunter, and all through my childhood hunting was this thing we did together as a family—it was a tradition. I started shooting when I was two or three. Every night after dinner we’d shoot in the backyard. And now, many years later, I’m doing the same thing with my son Cash.

Anyway, we took our bows everywhere we went. And at bedtime my dad didn’t read Cat in the Hat, he read stories about Howard Hill and Art Young and Saxton Pope. It was like living in the movie A River Runs Through It, only with archery equipment and deer, and instead of Montana we lived in Southern California.jason-adam-young

Most of our annual trips and vacations were hunting-oriented.Every year at least once a year, we’d go to Colorado or Utah to hunt deer. I killed and field dressed my first animal when I was nine. My dad and I were hunting wild goats on Catalina Island. I snuck up on one and shot it. It was small but still it was an awesome experience.

Throughout High School, I worked in the local archery store in summers. I made arrows, cleaned up stuff, sold stuff, I was basically a shop-kid. I didn’t care if it was cool. I loved doing anything that had to do with hunting. It was weird, I’d go to parties on the weekend and have to leave at one or two in the morning because my dad would be ready to leave for a hunt in a couple of hours. I never missed a hunt, not once.

The process and the challenge

My dad was always in good shape, and my brother and I were in good shape. We were young and we both played sports. So part of our hunting thing on these longer trips was to try and get ever further in, further away from people. That meant getting up earlier and getting home later. It was the early eighties and my dad was reading Dwight Schuh and Larry Jones. They were both writing about backpack hunting and getting further off the main roads, so pretty soon we were buying backpacks and going backpack hunting.

The process and the challenge of it and the feeling that came from being more remote and removed from civilization than ever before was rewarding. The deeper we went and the harder the trips, the greater the satisfaction. And it paid off too. We started having a lot of success. Soon it just became part of our process. We started looking for new areas to hunt, places with limited access. Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Idaho—we’d do our homework and research the topography, and we’d put these amazing adventures together with lots of animals and no people.

Football

My dad played football and my older brother played football, and so I just kind of grew up with it. I had a decent high school career, but I was a late developer and so I had an even better college career. While getting a business econ degree I played for UC Davis, a Division II team. They had a football program and it’s a really good—a hard school to get into. I’m sure I could have gone to other schools with bigger football programs but none of them had the education that I wanted.

jason-footballDuring my freshman year, I realized that I was as good as the seniors that were starting. I could outplay them, even the guys that were bigger and stronger than me. By the time I was a sophomore, I was a starting linebacker, setting single game and single season tackling records. I knew that I was fast, but I didn’t realize just how fast until my sophomore year. I could run with receivers and find the football really well. Next thing I knew, people were talking about the NFL and I was on track to get drafted.

Then in my junior year in a Division II playoff game, I got hit in the head, hard enough to break my C5 and C6 vertebrae, each in seven different places. I played well enough in my senior year but not well enough to get drafted. But I got picked-up by the Niners as an unrestricted free agent at a training camp after the draft. I was the only one out of the eighty-seven of us. That was in ’95. Then in ’96 I went to the Broncos where I continued to have all sorts of problems with my neck. So later that year (I was 24 years old) I retired.

Do something you’re passionate about

kirstyn-jason-cash-inshowroomI started working at this bar owned by the parents of the girl I was dating (my future wife). Then I went to work for a company that sold these huge air compressors for manufacturers in Silicon Valley. I did that for a year and a half. I was good at it and I realized that I liked sales. After that, I got into commercial real estate and after that, I bought a couple of franchises for investment purposes, built them up, and eventually sold them. During that process, I realized pretty quickly and urgently that I wanted to do something I felt passionate about, versus just doing something to make money. That was a big turning point for me.

It was a great experience. I learned how to be an entrepreneur, I learned that owning my own business was satisfying. I learned that making money was fine and good, but more importantly I learned that I needed to do something that I felt strongly about, like hunting for example.

Too inconvenient to hunt in just a day

About a year after my football career ended, I drew a tag in eastern California in this area where neither my dad nor I had hunted before. We met up there opening weekend. We hunted together over the weekend and found a group of bucks living far enough away from the truck that it was just too inconvenient to hunt in a day. So I went and got my backpack and my sleeping bag and packed some food and backpacked in by myself for about four days. And I killed a really big buck. And that was it. I was reminded all over again that backpack hunting was right for me. Not long after that I was hunting deer in Nevada and elk in Idaho, and right back at it.

About eight years later, I was on a hunt in Idaho with a friend of mine, Jonathan Hart. Around this time, I was starting to really struggle every Monday morning because my heart just wasn’t into my work anymore. We were about 15 miles in. The terrain was rough and the weather was pretty bad, so we naturally got to talking about a technical layering system designed specifically for hunting. We started talking about what we were wearing, what worked, what didn’t, what was missing, what was unnecessary. We were wearing a pretty random and eclectic mix of outdoor clothing and hunting gear. There was some Patagonia capilene, some Cabella’s s_jh-7micro-tech shirts and pants and Jonathon was wearing a cotton and poly camo baselayer. We talked about technical fabrics and features and different camos like Predator. I liked Predator; I liked the way it looked and the way the lights and darks worked to help you disappear in the timber.

The more we talked, the more we saw a real opportunity, and by the end of four days, we had a fairly well thought out plan for a line of technical clothing based on a complete layering system. We came back enthused, but with no real idea how to get started. So we sat down together a few times and continued to talk about it. Then we’d get on the phone and talk about it some more. One thing led to another and the holidays came and went and we still hadn’t made any real progress. Until when six months later one Monday I thought to myself, okay that’s it-I’m over this. I’m going to sell my business and start a hunting clothing company. It was early summer in 2005.

We decided to call the company Sitka

First step: we approached Mothwing. We asked them if we could adjust the colors for western hunting, and we asked for a year-long exclusive with these new colors. Mothwing, new and looking for customers, agreed to it. Then we went to an industry trade show in Salt Lake City called Outdoor Retailer where we met with a guy who worked for Polartec. We told him what we were doing and why we wanted to use Polartec, and we asked if he knew where we could get our s_jh-4clothes made. For some reason he took us seriously enough to give us a lead on a cut-and-sew house in Oakland, California. The sewing house was run by a lady who used to work in-house for The North Face. We met with her, dropped our Polartec contact’s name and convinced her (eventually) to make us a sample line. We had no idea what we were doing. We just went to REI where we bought dozens and dozens of technical garments that we liked and wanted to reference (we left the tags on so we could return them later) and took them with us to meet this lady, who was dubious to say the least, and explained to her one piece at a time what it was that we wanted to make.

That winter we went to Shot Show with our samples that didn’t really fit, weren’t really made from the right fabrics and weren’t really in the right colors. We shared a booth with Mothwing and convinced Schnee’s, the catalog to be in, to put our entire offering in their catalog. They liked whats_jh-5 we were about and they trusted us to get it right in production – which we eventually managed to do through a factory in Asia that was willing to reverse engineer our samples.

Later that summer, after getting the gear made right and shipping it, Schnee’s called one day to tell me the catalog was out. An hour later they called to say they had sold our first three pieces. Later that week, they called to say they had sold 286 units and that our closest competitor had sold only three. It basically came down to the fact that there was nothing like Sitka on the market. People loved it—it was the first technical hunting clothing company ever, and there was a demand for it.

For the next three years, we continued to make improvements and refine our process. I started going to Asia to meet with legitimate technical fabric houses and manufacturing facilities. We started working with better fabric suppliers.  Basically, we went from garage start-up to a serious corporation. With more and more employees and expectations and a more formalized process, there eventually came a push, internally, towards eastern markets and a broader overall appeal. But on a personal level, I continued to find inspiration in the mountains as well as high-end fabrics and materials. About this time, Gore offered to buy the company. They did end up buying Sitka, giving me an opportunity to move on and refocus my energy on ultralight mountain hunting and a new business model.

KUIU

I wanted to make the lightest and highest performing Mountain Hunting clothing possible. I wanted to create a brand that stood for uncompromised quality, uncompromised performance, and where the whole process—the design and technology and sourcing, are shared with the consumer. From my experience at Sitka, I knew this idea wasn’t viable or realistic within the existing retail model—everything I wanted to make would just cost too much. So I thought, why not bypass the retailer? Why not take the middleman out of the process and move everything one step closer l_jh-6to the customer? By selling direct online we could make the best products, keep the prices down and manage, to our standards, every aspect of the customer experience. So I started KUIU.

I started blogging about the process on a blog called Building KUIU. I was already interested in transparency and making real connections with customers so I thought: maybe I’ll write about what it takes to build a company and get it off the ground from the start, all the decisions that have to be made, etc. The first day, I remember, we had 30 views and I was shocked. Someone had posted something on Bowsite about me, about how I had left Sitka and was starting a new company called KUIU, and it just started from there. I can’t remember exactly what post it was or what it was about, but we hit 200 views in one day and I realized that wow, this is working.

Eventually I started writing about researching and designing specific pieces in the line. I would share thoughts about each piece, like this is the fabric I’m thinking about using, or this is my target weight for this piece. Guys started commenting; with no solicitation they’d write in and say “hey, have you thought about this”, or “I like pockets here but not here”. I loved the input—it was l_jh-5encouraging, and more than that, it was really helpful. So more and more I started directly asking people for their opinions about specific things like camouflage for example. What did they want? Hoods, yes or no? PrimaLoft vs. down?

So more and more I decided that I was going to share everything with the KUIU customer. I’m going to tell them as much as I know about the products, as much as I know about the fabrics, and as much as I can share about who makes each product and where they come from. I wanted total transparency. I never understood why, unless you have something to hide as a company, you wouldn’t tell your customers who you’re buying from and how you’re making things. I have nothing to hide. I want to invite the customer in and share what’s happening, from the insider perspective.

And so people kind of went crazy

The momentum thing really hit home when we released our pricing model. We went from 200 subscribers to 2,000 in a matter of days. Consumer Direct Pricing was like the final piece of the KUIU puzzle. It was like, okay, the line looks great, my background givess_jh-9 me the credibility, the fabrics sound amazing, production sounds amazing, and now you’re telling me that I can afford it. And so people kind of went crazy.

I mean, you look at this market, the history of this market, and basically the hunting industry was
built around specialty pro shops. Specialty pro shops have always been the bridge between manufacturer and customer. The owner/buyer of the pro shop would go to the buying shows, do the research, have the reps come in and present product to them, and then they (the buyers) would make the decision as to what their customers needed and wanted.

Then Cabela’s and a number of other big box retailers came along with their massive selection of product and put all the specialty pro shops out of business. And there went salesmanship, education, knowledge and firsthand experience, all of it, right out the window. This forced customers to do their own research and education. Customers still had to pay 40-50% more than what it should cost because that’s the standard retail mark-up. But for what? The privilege of walking into a store with too much product, not enough speciality, and no knowledgeable staff. Where’s the sense in that?

Roots and tradition of hunting

s_jh-2I grew up reading about hunting lore and legend (Fred Bear, Saxton Pope, Art Young) and listening to hunting stories told around the campfire. Hunting has always been as much about adventure and experience and survival as anything else. I mean, the kill is the reason for taking a bush plane into Unalakleet, landing on a gravel bar and floating a river for nine days. Without a tag and the hunt you wouldn’t have a reason to be there. But the whole process—the gear selection and packing, the travel, all of the pieces that need to come together, and all of the hard work and effort hiking and setting up camp and dealing with the weather—that’s all a part of the experience.

The roots and tradition of hunting have always been important to me. I want KUIU to continue to contribute to the tradition through storytelling. I want KUIU to be a source of inspiration by living and breathing Mountain Hunting.

The pinnacle of hunting

I also want our customers to know they can absolutely and unconditionally trust KUIU. I want them to know we live and breath Mountain Hunting, that we do our homework and research, that we’re out there hunting in and testing all of our products— in the hardest and most demanding of environments and conditions. In fact, the standard against which we measure and test KUIU is sheep hunting. Sheep hunting is an expedition. Weather and storms are always an issue, temperatures swing wildly, and it’s often wet and cold. The landscape is harsh and unforgiving—steep rock fields, glaciers, roaring river crossings, often requiring bouldering and sidehilling. Sheep hunting requires huge investments in terms of money and time. It requires massive amounts of physical and mental preparation. It’s the pinnacle of Mountain Hunting, and as such, it’s the most demanding on gear. That’s why we exist, to build gear that meets these demands.

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63 thoughts on “STARTING KUIU

  1. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be really something which
    I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for
    me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

    • Jason,
      I am stoked that I finally ordered your highly recommended products, and to later find out you were a fellow Aggie. I was one of the clowns that only made it as far as “red shirt” for Coach Bronson… but I remember hearing your name all the time after I gave it up. You were awesome. Glad to see you still doing so well and providing such a great service. Way to make us proud!!!

  2. Cool story about how Kuiu came to be… I really like your product line and look forward to making my first purchase!!! I’m looking at the Guide DCS Jacket in Vias Camo. Great Looking Stuff you produce!

  3. Just got my first Kuiu product – the Kenai jacket and think it is a hit. Looked a bit more into your website and really like what I saw. I grew up and continue to live in Nebraska and am a trad/primitive bowhunter. I’ve done a fair bit of hunting in Alaska, Canada, and the western states. Being middle-aged now, I find myself wanting clothes that are light but a bit warmer. For what it may be worth, you may want to consider making insulated pants out of the insulation used in the Kenai. I know you have the down pants but a more affordable option might sell well for you. Similarly, a jacket like the Kenai but with more insulation for stand hunting (or old guys).

    Best of luck and keep up the fine work! Don

  4. What a great story. I love supporting privately owned businesses where folks put there heart & soul in it. I just took early retirement at 62….. & yes it’s wonderful!! I live & hunt on my own 80 acres in Minnesota that I just bought 3 months ago. Over the years I owned a dozen different business. & can honestly say…… I went in to each one because I thought it would be fun. Looking back, most of them were just that “fun” & I’ve been very blessed. Keep up your dream & never-ever let anyone tell you…… This or that won’t work! Follow your path, the personal pics are great.

    Sincerely,

    Mark

  5. wonderful post, very informative. I’m wondering why the opposite specialists of this sector do not realize this.

    You should continue your writing. I am confident, you have a great readers’ base already!

  6. Jason I’m an instinctive longbow hunter and I wear glasses so when I pull the bow back I can’t wear a ball cap as the string hits it although it keeps the rain off my glasses. Make an option to your guide beanie with a short brim and I’ll buy it as I think many more that wear glasses will. Love your stuff. ” mad dog Mahoney” Ps I’ve been now hunting since 1957 and I know good gear.

  7. You guys are the best company there is. My whole family has your cloths. Whats cool is that you guys are out of Dixon and we live in California so they just went down there to get some. I haven’t got any cloths yet but i will in the next month for a zone. I have only heard good things about your product. And I like how you guys “skipped the middle man” that was a great idea. Mainly i just wanted to tell you that you guys and girls are the best there is. Thanks for making the best there is

  8. Hey there, im really interested in some of your products and im just wandering if you will post to Australia?
    Cheers

  9. Great bio i do appreciate the transparency. I am a hunter (not sheep) and do appreciate the technical side of the fabrics and the products as i in my job have to source fabrics and manufacturers in China (the company i work for makes high end ergonomic office chairs). Keep up the good work.

  10. Inspirational story. Parallels much what we’ve gone through, but it’s exciting to see that pay-off is a real possibility. As students, its hard, but we’ll get there. Much respect, sir.

  11. Very impressed with your product line. I have been doing a lot of reading about it. Love your website and your story. I look forward to ordering from you soon. Time to make some decisions. All the best.

  12. Hey Jason, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your efforts to start Kuiu. Your products are top of the line and the most reasonably priced hunting clothing out there. You have me hooked for life on your gear because of the way you run your business and your commitment to the hunting industry is unmatched. I will continue to to promote Kuiu gear to all my friends and fellow hunters I meet in the future.

    Thanks, DJ Kooken

  13. I’d really love to buy your gear as the quality is fantastic but none of your pants have an inseam less then 34″. If you could make some lines with smaller inseams that would be awesome.

    Cheers
    Hopefully a future customer

    • Hi Jeff,
      Our pants are easily hemmed up if you need a shorter inseam. Any seamstress can do this for a very minimal cost. Good luck!

  14. Such an inspiring read! Thank you for your dedication and being who you are and sharing a great story. The American Dream defined.

  15. What A great Story Jason!! Thanks for sharing. It’s great to see somebody that used his passion to his benefit. Can’t wait to slowly add to my Kuiu collection. Love your product. Just hurry up and get my Attack Pants already!!! HA!!

  16. Love all of the gear I have bought so far.. I was about to buy a Yukon Jacket in Major Brown but you guys are out. I am hoping that you will have a Yukon Jacket in Major Brown soon and possibly have Yukon Gloves in Major Brown in the future.. Being from the Midwest and doing 90% of my hunting in the Midwest the color Major Brown makes the most since for me.

  17. I just like the valuable information you supply for your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and take a look at once more right here regularly. I am somewhat certain I will be told a lot of new stuff right right here! Best of luck for the following!

  18. Do you think that you will be offering a 4000-4500 cubic inch pack anytime in the near future. That size seems to be the sweet spot for me and I am remaining optimistic that you might. Thanks for your awesome products.

    • Ben, a 4000-4500 sized bag is unlikely. It would be borderline redundant as we now offer the 3200 as a size down from the 5200. Since these bags are so compressible, the 5200 is very close in size to many 4500s out there when lightly loaded. Good luck with your upcoming pack purchase.

  19. Hi Guys

    I’m considering purchasing the Scarpa Grand Dru GTX. The key thing is that I’d like to try them on before buying… What differences there are between the DRU and the Mont Blanc besides the colour? I could try the Mont Blanc on at the local store if they are essentially the same.

  20. Great business model, great products! It is obvious that your complete line is made by hunters, for hunters. I recommend your products to everyone I know. Well thought out, tested, it just works.

  21. I bought your clothes for my deployment to Afghanistan on the Advice of fellow Special People and wore them for my deployment because It worked well in our training in the Ranier area. I used your base layer and your intermediate layer jackets/pullovers. I had our Supply people stock some things for Mountain Terrains and our team that work so well that they are still there even though I am not. Other teams who wore North Face, Patagonia and others were struggling when we were nice and warm. Buy a series of clothes a nice set of Scarpa GTX’s and you are set for some of the harshest environments on earth. Wish you made more Hot weather stuff for rainforest use, plan on a Vacation to South America in the Fall. Buying more of your stuff for non-Taxpayer funded adventures out west now.

  22. Guys the gear is great and well suited to a range of environments.

    But the delays in filling orders is extremely disappointing and frustrating.

    My Attack Pants have bean on order since 10th of February and still not even a arrived. I know the you suffered a dock workers strike, but three emails ( I’m in Australia) and I still cant get a accurate delivery date; two approximate times (mid March & start of April) provided and passed.

    Yes, the business model is great at keeping costs down on quality gear but you need more accurate info from your suppliers on what is being shipped so you give blokes like me more accurate feedback.

    Now two months into the hunting season down here and turning into winter. I need to know what is going on with accurate answers not lip service and estimation.

    Dave

  23. I’m going to place my first order and give you a go, i hear great things. I’m a fitness instructor for the USMC as well as a guy who hunts in hot weather often. Where I work we exercise, hike, run & run the obstacle course in pants & t-shirt when the Marines are in uniform. I’m going to try you Tiburon pants but my size is 31W x 30.5L. You like most other places only do even sizes. (30, 32,…) 98% of the time 30s a bit small & 32 is way to big to exercise in. Why is it that you can’t set the machine up or the lady up to put out a 31 X 31 then we can all have state of the art equipment that fits? I can also tell you before i get them the 34″ inseam is going to give me way to much crotch room (and thats a huge issue during physical training or hiking a load up hill) & is going to make the cargo pocket to low for me at a 30.5 inseam!
    State of the Art is only State of the Art if it fits?

    • Joe, the rise or crotch depth is dependent on the waist size- not the inseam length. You should be just fine there. The length can easily be hemmed to your desired length once you get them. Most people with a true 31 waist, myself included, are just fine with the 32 pant. You should give them a try before worrying too much. Good luck.

  24. My husband loves your products! I am curious if you have thought about smaller women sizes? Keep up the good work!

  25. Love your products . I would love to see kuiu make the ultimate bird hunting vest for long days chucker hunting .

  26. I have an icon 5000 Pack and I would like to know if Ultra 1800 or Icon Pro 1850 or Ultra 6000 will fit my frame? If so what is the price of the bag of each one of these models. And is it advisable to do so?

  27. I want some of this gear so bad! Right now I hunt in mis-matched hunting clothing that I find on clearance and would love to own an outfit of matching high quality gear like kuiu. I made a cart and it is about $530. I am saving up money, but with youg children and bills, there is no way for me to afford it. My question is, do you offer any discounts or have sales? I got your bino harness for my birthday and it’s hands down the best piece of gear I own! Please let me know if there is a chance to get a discount or if you guys possibly sell seconds at a lower rate. I am not begging, I am just trying to do all I can to get into a kuiu outfit for my upcoming hunting season. Thanks for your time and great job on this company.

    Regards,
    Jim Bryant

  28. I have been using Kuiu gear for a few years now, I am an avid sheep hunter and have ultra merino underwear, Yukon jacket, Chugash pant, Icon pro 7200 pack and attack pants. Mid layers next. I am posting here because today I was so impressed with the customer service I got I had to say thanks. I called in at 5:10 pacific and talked to Matt, he called back in a few mins to let me know what would happen with my mixed up order.
    Way to go guys, great gear and great service make me a keep coming back; even though I am paying 25% more due to the Canadian dollar.
    Bryce Bekar
    Whitehorse Yukon

  29. HI I REALLY LIKE WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT AND YOUR PRODUCT LINE, I HUNT IN PENNSYLVANIA, MISSOURI, AND AN OCCASIONALLY IN THE WESTERN STATES ( EVERY COUPLE OF YEARS I BOOK A TRIP ) I DO A LOT OF STAND HUNTING IN PA AND MISSOURI AND SPOT AND STALK IN THE WESTERN STATES WHEN I GET TO GO. I’AM A LITTLE CONFUSED ABOUT WHAT HUNTING COAT AND PANT TO BUY TO FIT MY STYLE OF HUNTING, I ALREADY WEAR A MERINO WOOL BASE LAYER, UNDER AMOUR TREESTAND MID LAYER BUT I NEED A LIGHT WEIGHT WARM OUTER LAYER WHICH WILL PERFORM WELL IN THE TREESTAND AND ON A SPOT AND STALK HUNT IN THE WEST. I’AM LEAVING EARLY OCTOBER FOR A SPOT AND STALK ELK HUNT IN IDAHO AND WOULD LIKE TO HAVE SOMETHING WELL IN ADVANCE SO TO BREAK IT IN BEFORE I LEAVE.CAN YOU HELP ME WITH THIS. I HAVE E-MAILED YOU BEFORE BUT RECEIVED NO RESPONSE. I WILL WAIT TO HEAR FROM YOU. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME. JOHN

    • Hi John,
      I forwarded your message and email address to McCade in our customer service department, he will follow up with you shortly to help talk you through the items that best fit your style. There should be no issue in putting together a system that works for both your PA hunts at home and your occasional trip out west. Best of luck! -Todd

  30. I really enjoyed reading your story. I myself grew up hunting…. if you can call it that. When my grandfather was alive we hunted longer hours but most of the time we were confined to the truck do to his wheelchair. After he passed deer hunting turned into “deer camping” and then “beer camping” I seem to be the only person in the camp who truly wants to pack in and get away from the masses. Though in Oregon my hunting partner lives less than a mile from you guys.
    I started bow hunting a couple of years ago, so that I could actually hunt every year and you are right packing in is the way to go. Being a dad myself I just got my daughter shooting a bow this year. I now have a hunting partner that is willing to get out of road range in the woods with me.
    Your products come HIGHLY recommended! Lindsey and I are pinching pennies, you will see a order from us as soon as we can get the money saved.
    Thank you again, for the story and the products.
    Scott

  31. What an awesome story! it is so refreshing to see a successful business model like yours. On top of that, the product is exceptional! I can’t tell you how frustrated it is to go into a place like Bass Pro Shops and get zero service. Hell, they’re not even nice! And we suckers pay for that! I’m sold top to bottom on Kuiu! Can’t wait to try out the new Teton line in a few weeks hunting blacktails in the Marble Mountains.

    Keep up the good work!

  32. I get this.

    This is beyond the cliche “do what you love” crap you read about in all sorts of self help literature.

    This is about courage. Courage to step out of line and do something new simply because it is what you feel is right.

    I think Kuiu is just an outlet for your creativity.

    Don’t look beyond the true leadership role you are playing not only for the industry but also for a group of hunters that want to see their vision articulated in your brand.

    Just don’t let Hubris get the better of you.

    Best of luck.

    I’m your latest customer.

    Brad

  33. I love this stuff. So much, that my wife says she’s tired of seeing me in it. YOUR PANTS ARE THE MOST COMFORTABLE PANTS I OWN. PERIOD! Suggestion: Make some khaki colored pants. Same everything, just not the cammo. I would make them my everyday pants, and wear them to the office. Please!

  34. Hi,

    I don’t understand why, considering that your pack frame is the same all your packs, Kuiu doesn’t offer the bag(s) separately?

    • Hi Rick,

      We do sell the bags separately. They are the “Bag Only” option in the dropdown menu for each pack style in the online store.

      Todd

  35. I baught the Guide pants, vest and jacket for an Alaska hunt and was really impressed with them. They are the most comfortable and for the weight the warmest hunting clothes I’ve ever owned. It rained every day for eight days and the few days it tried to clear up there were 30 to 40 mph winds out of the north so I ended up wearing my light weight rain suit the entire time which caused a lot sweating. I was amazed how fast my Kuiu clothing dried out. Sleeping in a tent for 8 days everything was damp in the morning except my Kuiu. Before my next trip I will be purchasing the Kuiu base layers and rain gear. Thanks for making such a great product.

  36. I am back from my Alaska Moose hunt, I used your Guide gloves they worked very well held up good and keep me dry that was a plus because it rained or snowed every day for 2 weeks. I like your products keep up the good work!
    Thanks Terry Wright LaCrescent MN

  37. I just got back from Alaska, and I got all my gear with Kuiu, the backpack, the pants, jackets, shirts, a friend recomend me to buy it. I wasn´t sure about if it was going to work, but after 15 days in the mountain, on a dall sheep hunt, every Kuiu item that I buy, worked great….. Thanks for be in the market for all the hunters like myself, who likes and enjoy xtrem hunting.

  38. What a enjoyable read!

    Your company makes terrific products. I used a breadth of your attire on a goat hunt this year. After hunting in some Kuiu rain attire last year, I broadened to pretty much a full system this year – including the pack. Going into the hunt, I was confident about weight and breathability, but wasn’t sure how durability would play out across the line.

    Not an issue at all.

    Without sacrificing it’s other benefits – including fit and comfort – it is basically all made tough. In fact, I’ve had a few necessarily abrasive moments where I felt certain I had damaged the pants, or a woolen sleeve – but nope! Not a ripple or rift.

    I also appreciated how well my rifle carried on my pack using the rifle sling accessory and the compression straps . . . with a water bladder on the opposite side, and little thoughtful balancing, it was comfortable.

    In any event, yours is an interesting history of a good business.

  39. Fascinating story. I have just purchased my first technical gear hunting clothing pieces. After doing some online research, I found Kuiu and I am very impressed with the clothing and business model. I can’t wait to get out and try my new gear out.

  40. As a young business owner and hunting enthusiast who started at 5, I really appreciate the time and energy you are investing to be as transparent as possible in this business. I consider all my hunting gear as investments and I will certainly spend my money with confidence on your products. Kuiu will be with me in the mountains of Northern Quebec for my next moose hunt. You are a very inspiring figure to the new generation of outdoormen and business owners. Thank you!

  41. Just got my Kuiu bino harness in the mail and got it all adjusted. Man this thing is awesome! It’s so easy to use one handed! Keep up the good work Jason!

  42. Good Evening,
    I read about your company and totally agree that you the best business model:
    Direct To Consumer: That dog will hunt….

    I live in Atlanta but go to Kansas and Indiana to bow hunt every November.
    I was considering buying Sitka but it is too pricey.

    I do not deal with rain in Kansas but it does get very cold.
    My biggest question is: Do you have insulated bibs?
    If not, what do you suggest for tree stand hunting in the wind all day in 10-20 degree weather, colder than that and I sit in the cabin and watch Outdoor TV.

    Best Regards,

    Joe Livesay
    561-262-4293

  43. Yesterday I got the opportunity to model the Teton line for Leopold in a Montana photo shoot. The cool thing was it was also in Teton County Montana. Fell in love with the pants and jacket. Looking forward to getting my self a set. I’m super impressed with your business and products. It’s affordable for hunters like me that can’t afford break the bank pricing. Thank u so much!!

    Patrick from Teton County!!

  44. Jason ,
    Great story . I’m a small business owner as well with some of the same beliefs and business mados. I just received my first 2 items your bino harness system and your socks from New Zealand! Both performed exactly as expected and your “how to” videos on you tube are the “cats meow” . I look forward to ordering more Kuiu gear hear shortly and the videos of all things answer almost questions anyone could ever need a answer to.
    Keep up the great work with new products and development!

  45. Jason, you epitomize the classic American success story. Congratulations!
    This month, for the first time, I tried a few Kuiu products on a challenging Alaskan bear hunt – Icon Pro 1850 backpack system, Phantom bino harness and Nothstar gloves. I was more than please with each of the items; each are some of the best, if not the best, products I’ve ever hunted. Once home, I found “Starting KUIU” on your website, and was even more impressed with Kuiu and your business model and the way you do business. Best wishes to you and your family, and I look forward to doing more business with Kuiu.

  46. Hey Jason
    My husband & brother love your gear and I cannot get them to stop buying. My husband has been with you since the earlier days and is very appreciative of your quality and dedication. He is the type of man that believes in the challenge of the hunt. He does all his hunting either on foot, mnt bike or horses, if able. Unfortunately for me, the only piece of KUIU item I own is a hat. As a woman and a hunter,I cannot find descent clothing that is worth paying for. Any chance there is some development for a women’s clothing line? I’m kinda getting tired of wearing the hand me downs of KUIU, but they are pretty cool.

    Respectfully, Melissa Garrett in beautiful Idaho & Washington State.

  47. Today I received my Kuiu catalog in the mail. As someone who has been researching clothing for my first purchases (my son and I just got into bows and 3D shooting), I wanted to send the following feedback:

    In this day where corporations are faceless, and customers are just numbers I cannot tell you how much I appreciated the little detail of having my name hand printed on the delivery portion of the envelop. This little touch showed that I was treated with respect as a potential customer, and added a personal touch that is often missing. I should also point out that this was after receiving an email response back from Tim in customer service, who said he would personally take care of this.

    It really is these little things that make a difference. Your clothing is already regarded as one of the best systems out there., but It is these little differences that make new customers feel welcome, and keep existing customers happy.

    Jason and company, thank you for getting these little touches right.

  48. I was just here looking at finding some good gear for my first bear hunt in the mountains of Colorado. I am 15 and has not hunted much due to parents being in the military and so far have yet to kill my first deer but have learned enough from my step dad about hunting and have trained hard for that one shot.My step dad reccomended me to kuiu and after doing my research on yall’s gear and looking at your story I’m completely sold, I’ve never seen a company with such high quality, transparency and a lower price and I am extatic about using your gear for my hunt.

  49. Hey man, I wanted to drop a message for you and congratulate you on your hard work, dedication, and especially success. I do a fair amount of hunting but I’m not even remotely committed to it like most of your customers. The reason I’m on your website actually, is a new friend of mine David Steele, turned me on to your site to do a case study about your business model as he’s helping me write a formal business plan for myself (Wake Wax). As a potential customer and business owner, it is so relieving to see people chasing their passions and doing so with such transparency in their business so I wanted to commend you for that. Anyway, I think that’s about all I had to say. Don’t want to keep you from actual customers. The value you provide is surely working so keep it up!

    Cheers,

    Zach Duncan
    Co-Founder and CEO
    Wake Wax, LLC.
    zach@wakewax.com
    (480) 703-5125

  50. I remember when you first started KUIU. I read everything you were saying and wanted so bad to buy but could not afford at that time. I remember one “deal” you offered the black base layer t-shirts for an unbelievable price of $19.99 with the (very cool) KUIU logo and I bought 2. They are still used and greatly valued. I am retired and living on a fixed income but still back pack to hunt and fish at 68. Saving for your Ulta 6000 Backpack system and sleeping system. I`m afraid if I quit backpacking I will get old.
    Wayne Freier

  51. Ordered a xxl shirt fits like a small or med , very disappointed, want to use your gear but one item of my order dint ship and one sized wrong,hope you get sorted out or I’ll be moving to a different brand.

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