BUILDING KUIU

ICON Pro Packs

The ICON Pro Packs have now been used in the field by Professional Guides and Customers for over a year in some of the toughest conditions around the world. The feedback received has been overwhelmingly positive, proving the ICON Pro Packs live up to the goals of the design: Durable; Light Weight; Modular, Functional and Capable of hauling heavy loads;  All while coming in at a fraction of the cost of the competition. With the 2015 addition of the 3200 cubic inch bag, the ICON Pro line can now be used for any duration; from single day hunts to 10+ day expeditions.

The modularity of the Pro packs is one of the many features that set these packs apart. Only needing one frame and suspension allows you the ability to quickly change bags giving hunters the option to tailor their bag size for their specific hunting needs. For further compatibility the ULTRA bags can also be used on the ICON Pro frame and suspension.

Icon Pro 1850: Our “go to” day pack for any hunting conditions. With the perfect amount of space for single day use, this pack is also load sling capable which adds an additional 2500 cubic inches of space to help haul out the first load of meat. With the capability to be used with out a frame, the 1850 with suspension only (no frame) is a great set up for your short day hunts with minimal equipment.

Icon Pro 3200: This pack is ideal as a large late season day pack for when the weather requires you to carry more gear, or as a 2-3 day pack when the weather is warm and minimal equipment is necessary.

Icon Pro 5200: The 5200 bag has enough space to carry a weeks worth of gear for your backpack hunt.

Icon Pro 7200: KUIU’s largest bag, with enough space to carry your gear for 10+ days with some room to spare.

Sizing and Fit

With a completely customizable fit, the KUIU packs are the only packs in the industry to be built off of a Carbon Fiber Frame. With our two different frame sizes (Tall, Regular) and two waist belt sizes (S/M & L/XL)  our packs can fit torso lengths from 15″- 22″ and waist sizes from 28″ to 44″. Using micro adjustment with the T-Lock track system, the ICON Pro can be adjusted to a perfect fit.  Pictured above is a Tall frame, on the left is the lower setting 17.5″ and the right is the higher at 22″

Regular – 15″ – 17.5

Tall Frame – 17.5″ – 22″

S/M Belt – 28″- 33″

L/XL Belt – 33″ – 44″

With a total of 14 total pockets on the larger packs, the layout of the ICON Pros help you keep your gear organized and well managed. Besides the pocketing, the the ICON Pros come with many features that may be overlooked, but are well thought out and make this pack incredibly versatile.

Internal Lashing System

The 3200, 5200, and 7200 all come with an internal lashing system pictured above. The lashing system is designed to keep heavy gear or meat high and against your back, stopping the weight from falling to the bottom of the pack, and causing an uncomfortable load. An XL roll top dry bag fits into the lashing system perfectly.

Vertical Side Pockets

The 5200 and 7200 have two vertical double zippered side pockets that are not only for extra storage, but can be used to secure and protect your rifle. With top and bottom zippers you can completely encompass your scope and action to keep debris from damaging your weapon and compromising your hunt.

External Flap

When your pack is full and you still have extra gear, the external flap on the lower front of the pack can be a great place to lash one last item. With straps long enough to go around a XL Dry Bag this area has more room than it appears and is a great place for extra storage.

If you want more in-depth information on the ICON Pro Packs, below is a video from last years Brand Live Release with Jason and Shaun.

Catalog Imagery & Riding in Ashes Short Film

I always love the feedback and passion that our customers show in every aspect of our business.

Since the release of our newest catalog we have received quite a few questions surrounding the image on the back cover.  The responses have been mixed, wondering everything from why we would have a man smoking in print, where it was from, what the image has to do with KUIU, to why we would choose this image.

I very much appreciate the questions and am glad many of you found the image stirring and thought provoking.  This is the exact reason we chose it.

The image was taken by acclaimed photographer Paul Bride on a recent red stag hunt in Argentina in which he accompanied KUIU Professional Services director Brendan Burns on a week long horseback hunt into the fabled Andes Mountains. It was a grueling trip in which they experienced many challenges both from weather and game activity.  In the end, the hunt turned out to be everything you could ask for in an adventure. In case you missed it, here is a link to the full write up on the trip. KUIU In The Andes.

Below is more information from Brendan on the image and a link to the short film Riding in Ashes.  Enjoy!

~ Jason

Brendan

I’d love to share a little behind the photo on the back cover of our catalog. Its an amazing image that instantly brings me back to the hunt.  It was taken on the last day as we ascended up a rocky pass in the rain on the long ride out. The hunt was a grind in which not much went our way.  Weather was unusually terrible, stags were few and far between, and the distance covered  was far more than anticipated.  The difficulty made this a hunt I will never forget.

While the image may not be a traditional posed photo that you are used to seeing in hunting, it is an authentic image taken on the tail end of an unexpected and challenging adventure.  This trip was incredibly difficult and tested me both mentally and physically.

The gentleman on the back cover and in the photos below is Argentinean gaucho and guide Felipe Chandia. He is an amazing person and one of the most rugged, tough, mountain savvy individuals I have ever had the pleasure of hunting with. Hands down the most skilled horseman I have ever been around.  He had personally built or modified every piece of tack we used.  The hat he is wearing is a traditional hunting guide hat from Argentina called a Boina.

While the image may not be politically correct, its true to life.  Felipe does smoke, has never owned a vehicle other than his horses, has never surfed the internet, and has been in this particular area since he was born.  His family has been working the mountain range for well over a century, and he is the last remaining person allowed to live in the national park where we were hunting. Spending time with him is a glimpse into a time and lifestyle that no longer exists.

Hope you all enjoy the film as much as I enjoyed the adventure.

Good Hunting

~ Brendan

European Dream Season: Chamois, Boar, Black Grouse, Capercaillie, Brown Bear

Loyal customer Lionel Berthault writes about a series of once in a life time hunts.  Enjoy!

Into The Mountains: Isard

The Pyrenean chamois (what the French call “isard”) is a goat/antelope found in the Pyrenean Mountains along France’s border with Spain. Hunting them in the remote, high-mountain wilderness areas they inhabit offers one of the most demanding hunts in Europe.

Last year, when I first began telling friends about an ambitious four-hunt tour of Europe I had planned, the biggest topic of discussion around the chamois was my level of physical preparedness followed by the type of gear I had chosen to take on the trip.

The name KUIU kept coming up. Living on the remote African Island of Mauritius, I had never heard of the American company or their clothing. But then a chance meeting with KUIU European Sales and Marketing Manager, Jorge Amador, led to conversations about the various demands of my upcoming trips—particularly the hunt for free-range chamois.

Funny to admit now, but I had always thought that technology in the outdoor clothing industry had advanced to a point where all of it was pretty much the same. Amador asked me if he could try to change my mind with a few KUIU items selected specifically for the terrain, unpredictable weather and demanding physical conditions I would experience.

But not even I had expected the -10 degree weather and 80 km crosswinds I would encounter during the trip. My guide, Loïc, was a young but experienced professional hunter working for Acteon (www.acteon.com), a hunting association I have been affiliated with for well over a decade. Acteon commonly helps hunters in pursuit of such species as Roe Deer, Chamois, Mouflon, Red Deer in the most remote areas of the Pyrenees.

Missed Opportunity

Day 1 found Loïc and I high on a mountaintop in the blistering wind and cold searching for a heard of what he described as “nice males.” Snow was swirling in the incredible crosswinds, and it seemed inconceivable to me that anything would be out in such weather. But after two hours of climbing a huge male “isard” suddenly appeared high above us on a barren rock outcrop some 280 meters distant.

In the fallen snow, the animal had not seen us. Or if he had, he felt safe from harm. A tremendous ravine stood between us, so there was no chance of stalking closer.

Loïc considered the animal through the binoculars and excitedly told me this was one of the largest chamois he had ever seen. I had a good rest and confidence in my equipment, but at the shot we both looked on with great pity as the bullet struck just a few centimeters too low. Loïc would tell me later that, had I killed this particular animal, it would have been the biggest one of the 45 Pyrenean chamois his guests had taken with him that year.

Beware: Falling Rock

Day 2 dawned with more climbing and worsening weather. I hadn’t really noticed how my KUIU gear was performing—only that I was extremely dry and comfortable while Loïc was not. Not the sort of man to complain, Loïc did make mention of the gear and was clearly curious. During a one hour glassing session when the snow literally covered Loïc and me, he began asking where he could find some KUIU gear of his own.

The discussion was cut short, however, when a strange and thunderous crashing drew our attention. Crashing down the mountainside came a boulder the size of a small house. It rolled and tumbled and there was no place for us to go. Thankfully, it steered 100 meters to our right, falling some 200 meters at an incredible speed, before crashing to a stop and exploding—a thousand pieces of rock flying in every direction—like a bomb.

Late that afternoon, Loïc and I were considering heading back to camp, when we spotted an old female chamois running, dancing and jumping from rock to rock. It was as if she were playing in the snow. She was only the second chamois I had ever laid eyes on, but she looked beautiful—a fine trophy in my estimation—so I decided to try for her.

Quartering away at some 180 meters, the doe was slightly above us. I took a prone position as Loïc reminded me to compensate for the wind. The wind never stopped blowing in two days on the mountain. I had to guess on the speed of the crosswind and how much it would cause the bullet to drift. Making a quick compensation, I fired and as if by magic the animal drop cleanly in its tracks.

Looking back, the shot was more luck than skill. Snow completely covered us, and the wind was blowing so bad—causing the snow to swirl in great, white gusts—that I could hardly even see the animal in my Leica scope. Given the extreme conditions, taking the doe so cleanly was like a gift from the mountain, one Loïc and I were overjoyed to receive.

SLOVAKIA: WILD BOAR

A couple weeks later I flew to Budapest, Hungary, and then drove three hours east to reach the Slovakian hog hunting grounds owned by a friend, Miroslav (www.abcentrum.sk/en/).

A long-time acquaintance as well as a good agent, Miroslav sends me some clients every year in Mauritius. He is also well known in European hunting circles where you’ll only hear good opinions about his organization.

This particular hunt was going to be very unique for two reasons: 1) it was a management hunt and 2) we would be using night vision equipment; a first for me when hunting wild boar.

Night Ops

Being responsible for herd management, Miroslav believed night-vision technology provided the cleanest and most effect method to cull the largest boars from the population. We would only be targeting the largest boars and, if successful, Miroslav promised a glass of pàlinka, a traditional alcoholic drink, to celebrate.

That night as we headed out, clouds hid the moon overhead and a crusty layer of snow covered the ground. It made for noisy walking—so loud I could not imagine that any animal would let us get close. But the view through the night-vision binoculars showed otherwise.

It seemed as if everywhere we looked there were little white spots—animals of every size and sort—and only after about 20 minutes we came to a clearing in the forest where a group of at least 20 wild boars were rooting in the snow for food.

The range was 130 meters, and Miroslav immediately pointed out a big male. I took a rest and readied my rifle, a nice R93 Blaser equipped with a 3x night vision scope. The big boar stood broadside as I took a rest and fired.

At the shot, the herd scattered, the boar going one way and the rest of the herd going the other some 300 meters before disappearing into the forest. Miroslav was convinced that I had missed.

Boar Down

But we only traveled a short distance along the boar’s trail before finding him quite dead. Miroslav guessed the animal’s age at three years and its weight around 200 kilos. Some great genetics here, I thought.

The next night I shot a smaller boar after a short stalk. But the first night’s hunt will always remain the highlight of my trip to Slovakia.

SWEDEN: Black Grouse and Capercaillie

I had always heard that hunting in the magical country of Sweden is a fantastic experience, and after spending some days with Camp Lapponia, I can say that it is more than magic: It is pure, white, unique, fantastic, intense and very, very cold.

Some years ago, I met Emil Nicklasson (camp-lapponia@passagen.se) and promised to do this trip with him and his company. When considering what and where to hunt, I have always been drawn to challenging species that inhabit remote and inhospitable terrain. When planning such a trip, choosing the guide is also of the utmost importance. The guide or outfitter’s passion—his way of speaking, his way of listening, his way of being—has always weighed heavily into my decision.

For me, Emile is the perfect professional hunter: a local with strong ties to the area he hunts; a strong man and musician who can play accordion; a kind man who listens to his clients and always does his best to make you feel comfortable.

Big Birds on Skis

Lapland’s Vhilemina airport is so small that it looks more as a bus station than an airport. When I arrived, the temperature measured -18. Everything was snow covered: white, white as far as the eye could see and nothing moving anywhere over the barren landscape.

The picture reminded me of my first trip to Alaska. But that was 20 years ago and the animal I was looking to check off by bucket list was not a grizzly, a big giant moose or a black bear but rather the biggest of the small game: the European Black Grouse and the Giant European Capercaillie.

An interesting wrinkle to the plan came when Emile explained that we would be using skis on the hunt. I had never skied before in my life), and to do it in such blistering cold and with a rifle—a 6.5 Swedish, of course—the plan seemed challenging to say the least. But at least with my KUIU outfit I felt confident that, if nothing else, I would not be cold.

The skis did prove an awful challenge for me when the actual hunting began. After three hours traveling over soft snow, I felt like I was doing more falling than skiing. I began to question what I was doing and why I had signed on to hunt one of these black, evil grouse.

But after another hour of drudgery cutting a snowy path through the forest, a group of black grouse suddenly lifted up in front of us. They streaked away toward a mountain looming up many kilometers ahead, and for a moment I was deflated, thinking we had spoiled out only chance. Emil, however, looked thrilled.

“Ok,” he said, “Now the hunt begins! Are you ready, Lionel?”

Barely able to stand on the skis, I was confused. The birds were headed up the mountain. Did he expect me to climb a mountain skis?

“Don’t worry,” Emil said, “If you have the black grouse in your mind you will succeed.”

And succeed we did. After climbing, falling, skiing, climbing and falling again and again we found the birds sitting in the top of a tree at some 150 meters. Only the male can be legally taken, and we quickly spotted one there in the top of its perch.

Laying the rifle across my KUIU pack in the snow, I chambered a round in the rifle, took an aim and slowly squeezed the trigger. At the shot, the bird crumbled and fell. I was so happy. The bird proved magnificent, both in the hand and later on the table.

One More to Go

But there was little time to celebrate as Emile reminded me that we had one more trophy to find. The capercaille were likely close, he said—just a few more miles. I nearly balked at the thought. The snow seemed to be getting deeper the higher up the mountain we traveled.

But Emile was confident and urged me on, one kilometer at a time. His prediction paid off when, four hours and three kilometers later, we came upon a large capercaillie also roosted it a tree. The second shot was a repeat of the first. Two of the most rare and elusive birds in Sweden! The feeling of joy I had was palpable.

CROATIA: BROWN BEAR

March found me traveling, at last, to Croatia where I planned to hunt one of the most difficult and dangerous animals in Eastern Europe. Only 125 brown bear tags are offered to noncitizens each year in the country, and I managed to secure one through a longtime friend and guide, Grgur (www.lovag.hr), I met at the airport in Zagreb after a two-hour flight from Paris.

Typically, baiting is the only option for hunting brown bears in Croatia. Like hunting black bear in much of Canada or when hunting leopard in Zimbabwé or Tanzania, baiting is often the only viable method for hunting brown bears in the forests of Croatia.

But I enjoy a hunt when it is tough. So after talking with Grgur, we decided to do it by spot and stalk. The fact that I was hoping to get the entire hunt on video made the prospect of success even more difficult, but Grgur felt confident we could pull it off if I was up for the challenge.

The Hunt Begins

Day 1 we saw little in the way of actual bears but plenty of sign that proved the bear population was very high in the 11,000 hectares of open forests we had access to. Traveling some 12 kilometers on foot that day, we spotted red deer, roe bucks, chamois and a set of huge wild boar tracks that likely came from a male weighing 150 kilos.

Day 2 was more of the same—more walking and seeing plenty of bear sign but no bears—while the other hunters in camp were reporting seeing bears almost every hour while comfortably waiting in their blinds. One hunter from Germany saw six bears in six hours while on stand. But I stubbornly refused to give in.

My hunt was scheduled for only five days, and we guessed that during the first four days we logged over 45 miles hiking and glassing with nothing to show for it. By the last day, every other hunter in camp had taken a bear. The biggest one was aged at 18 years—a real monster—that weighed well over 300 kilos.

Despite the success of everyone around me, I decided not to waiver from my plan. I had one day left and was prepared to go home empty-handed. It would not be the first time.

Last Chance

Every day brings new opportunity. So I began the last day hopeful for a change in luck, and I was almost immediately rewarded when we found a nice set of fresh tracks in the snow. We set off after the bear, moving as silently and as quickly as the conditions would allow.  For nearly two hours we followed the tracks until, like magic, the bear appeared.

The beast was magnificent. The fur on his shoulder danced in the slight cross breeze. At less than 100 meters, I could have easily took a shot from where we stood but decided to move closer for the sake of getting the encounter on video.

The bear never moved while I quickly situated the camera and readied the rifle. My guide had had just about enough and was begging me to shoot, but just as I readied to squeeze the trigger the bear began walking away. I adjusted the camera to get the animal in the frame. But again, as I readied to shoot he moved.

This process repeated itself at least one more time. Silently, I vowed to bring a cameraman with me the next time and, at the risk of missing my opportunity, I decided to simply place the camera’s view finder well ahead of the animal, hit record, and hoped for the best.

Amazingly, it worked. The 30-06 boomed and the bear rolled, biting at his side. I reloaded and shot again. The second bullet struck, too, but it was probably unnecessary. The bear was down, and the feeling at that moment was pure elation. After a week of hard hunting, I had my bear—not the biggest one ever shot in Croatia but likely the only one killed by spot-and-stalk in the last 25 years, according to my guide.

That concluded an unforgettable series of successes. The severity of the weather, combined with some of the most strenuous hunting I have ever experienced, all made for the kind of hunting most people never dream exists in Europe. Truly an experience I will never forget

Light Weight Versatile Soft Shell

The Chinook Jacket and Pants have become one of our favorite pieces at the KUIU office. We have worn it from mid season Elk hunts in Wyoming, to late season Mule Deer hunts in Idaho, to Caribou hunts 180 miles into the Arctic Circle. The versatility of the Chinook sysem comes from the technical features of the fabric. With a 30 Denier Stunner Stretch face fabric that provides the ability to cut the wind, bonded to a micro check fleece backer that provides the temperature regulation, the Chinook is an incredibly light weight versatile Soft Shell set. These pieces can cover you from the latter part of the early season all the way into late season.

The Chinook Jacket is one of the most versatile pieces that we offer. It is light weight and breathable enough to be worn as an early season Jacket, but can be layered underneath when the weather starts to cool down. With well thought out designs such as strategically placed hand pockets for easier access when wearing a pack, and a dropback hem to provide full coverage while sitting and glassing, the Chinook Jacket is full of product features to help keep you comfortable while hunting.

The Chinook Pant utilizes our Yukon fabric on the face of the knee pads, it not only adds durability to a vulnerable part of the pants, but also allows your knees to have a waterproof cover while kneeling in wet conditions. For when you drop your pack to make a stalk, or for items you need readily available, we provided dual zippered cargo pockets that can be easily accessed while on the move. And to further the versatility of the Chinook Pants we added hip vents to help release heat and cool you down when you are on the move.

9 Year Old’s First Grizzly

Long time KUIU supporter and great personal friend, Lance Kronberger had the incredible opportunity to take his 9 year old son Stryder on his first Grizzly Bear hunt, one that most of us will only get to dream of. Accompanied by his whole family (wife Nikki and 7 year old daughter Keelie), this was a hunt that they will never forget. Below is Lances story of the Hunt.

“We hunted in the cold, wind and rain.  On the third day we spotted this bear on a big flat below our glassing knob.  The whole family was together as we bailed off the mountain to cut the distance on the bear.  Excitement, intensity and the unknown were all emotions that I could see the kids were having.  However, I could also tell that they wanted success!  Once we relocated the bear, we moved into 155 yards and got Stryder set up prone over my backpack, with Nikki ready to back him up.  The bear was digging, eating roots, and had no idea what was about to happen.  The bear turned straight away and I told Stryder to shoot it right up the butt; which is a great shot on a bear.  Stryder made a great shot and after a couple of follow up shots he had his first Grizzly.  This was an experience the whole family will remember forever!” ~ Lance Kronberger

Stryder and Keelie with the 7’1″ Grizzly Bear

Lance and Nikki are the owners of Freelance Outdoor Adventures, one of the top Sheep, Goat, Moose, and Bear outfitters in Alaska. I have had the opportunity to hunt with Lance on many occasions and consider him a close friend. Congratulations on the beautiful bear Stryder.

FreelanceOutdoorAdventures.com.

The Ideal Hot Weather Hunting Apparel

This weekend is the California Archery Blacktail Deer opener, the season that inspired the Tiburon Line. The daily highs reach well into the 100s and are the perfect conditions for Tiburon. Toray’s Dot-air fabric was originally created for Japan’s Summer Olympic team to help manage heat stress, but transitions perfectly for high exertion mountain hunts. We introduced the Tiburon line back in 2013 and it has grown to be the industries leading light weight hot weather apparel.

The Tiburon Pant and Short provide an incredibly light weight, breathable, durable, 2-way stretch option that can be worn by themselves in the heat, or over your baselayers for those brisk summer mornings.

The ULTRA Tiburon Zip-T is lighter than the Pants and Shorts at 88g/m2, offers 4-way stretch, and is coated with Toray’s Makspec to help eliminate odors.

The Tiburon Glove has all the benefits of Dot-air, but also features perforated Pittards Oiltac Leather on the palm. This is an incredibly durable yet highly breathable glove that is perfect to help protect your hands during those hot tough stalks.

Our newly released Tiburon Cap and Boonie are amazingly breathable and light weight headwear options. When you’re not wearing these they can be packed small and stored in your pack with minimal weight penalty.

 Now Available – KUIU’s 2015 Summer Catalog!

New KUIU Pro and Tiburon Hats Now Available

We have heard your countless requests and are happy to introduce the highly anticipated Tiburon and structured Pro hats. The new Pro and Pro Mesh Back hats have an improved and redesigned depth and structure, giving them a better fit and feel. The new Tiburon hats are the ideal hot weather headwear for your early season hunts. Below are examples of how they fit on two different head sizes; McCade, whose head measures 23″ around, and Todd, whose head measures 21 3/4″.

    

KUIU Pro Hat

Made of 160 denier 100% Nylon CORDURA® ripstop, KUIU’s traditionally styled, mid-profile, structured Pro Hat provides lightweight and quick drying protection from the elements and is designed for all types of hunting conditions.   When not in use, the lightweight hat packs up and stores away easily.

       

         

KUIU Pro Mesh Back Hat

Made of 160 denier 100% Nylon CORDURA® ripstop and ventilating mesh, KUIU’s Pro Mesh Back Hat provides lightweight, quick drying protection for warm or high-activity hunting conditions.

         

         

Tiburon Hat

This incredibly breathable hat rounds out the Tiburon line of warm-weather apparel.  Made with the Toray’s Dot Air fabric, the mid to low profile Tiburon hat has natural structure, more volume than the ICON Cap and a Velcro closure for size adjustment.

         

         

Tiburon Boonie

Made of Toray Dot Air fabric, KUIU’s traditionally styled Boonie Hat is designed for warm, early season hunting conditions.  The full circular brim provides ample protection from the sun while allowing string clearance for shooting traditional style bows. When not in use, the Tiburon Boonie folds up and stores easily.

         

         

Miss the KUIULive Teton EVENT: Watch it Now

This morning on KUIU Live, we introduced the new Teton Collection. Once again, we want to thank everyone for an incredible turnout and the overwhelming support that you continue to show KUIU.
Congratulations to the winners:

Matt Minton from Owosso, Michigan won a complete set of Teton in the Verde Camo.

Austin Easley from Oaklahoma City, OK won a complete set of Teton in the Vias Camo.

 


KUIULive EVENT TODAY: Last Chance to Register

Don’t miss your last chance to register for the KUIU LIVE Teton Event!  Join KUIU founder Jason Hairston  as he releases KUIU’s new Teton collection.

KUIULive EVENT: Introducing the new Teton Collection!

“Over the last few years I have met many hunters in our showroom, at the trade shows, or in the field, who would love to experience KUIU but were looking for a lower cost option to our premium products. Every hunter should be able to wear great gear that performs well. It was these interactions that inspired me to create the new Teton collection.”

Join us for our latest KUIU Live presentation as we release our new Teton collection.  The product launch will begin at 10:30 AM PST on Wednesday, July 1st.

Registration is required, for those who wish to participate and ask questions during the live product launch please sign up below. Signups begin today, Wednesday, June 24, and will continue through the live stream. During the live demonstration we will take questions from the audience about the Teton Collection.