KUIU Chugach or similar as outer layer instead of soft shell

Joined
Dec 12, 2018
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84
Location
Napa Valley, CA
Hi All,

Finalizing choice of layers for an upcoming Wyoming backcountry cow elk hunt and wondering who else might be using their Chugach (or similar stretch rain jacket) as an outer layer instead of a soft shell when doing some hiking or movement in non-rain conditions?

Looks like real possibility of rain and snow in WY next week with temps in 20's-30's at night/am and 30's-50's during the days.

In a couple days of late winter backpacking it worked well for me during days in 30's/40's with wind, but my movement was very limited when I actually wore it. Just curious if anyone has actual experience of the Guide Jacket (my other option) or softshell allowing to wear it more easily without undue capture of sweat and moisture during hiking in colder temps?

Cheers,

Steve
 

LightFoot

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Feb 21, 2016
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Texas
I took a kuiu Chinook and Chugach to AK this year. I ended up doing exactly what you describe. I left the softshell in the tent and went with merino base, synthetic mid or insulation, and the Chugach.

I would have done the same with any other softshell. I actually used the old style kuiu Kenai hooded jacket as my outer layer when it wasn't raining or windy. Chugach cut the wind, too.

Spend your money on experience before you spend it on fancy gear.
 

Poser

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Dec 27, 2013
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Durango CO
I’ve gone with and without my guide jacket and found that I am overall more comfortable carrying both a soft shell (guide) and hardshell (chucagh) when it’s cold out. I fully realize this goes against the Rockslide rules of Backcountry hunting, but I’m happier and more comfortable having both. I’ll often sleep in my Guide jacket when it’s really cold as it’s comfortable and warm enough to stretch my 20 degree quilt into below zero temps, also makes a great pillow and I find it to be pretty versatile for moving when it’s cold. However, If you’re going one or the other, I’d take the hard shell.
 

Theringworm

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Jul 30, 2019
Messages
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I love my DSC Guide jacket. It is my go to jacket when elk hunting during 2nd rifle season in Colorado. However, this is not a true "backpack hunt" as I am hiking back and forth to base camp each day where my truck is. I do pack my rain gear each day but only use it when needed.

Headed to AK in a week for moose and I debated what I was going to do. When i really analyzed everything and their intended purposes and weight, the DCS Guide jacket will stay home, and I will only be taking the Chugatch jacket with me and using layers underneath.
 

rfurman24

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Feb 29, 2012
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I love softshells but would NEVER(never again-rookie mistake) take one into on a back pack hunt. They are too heavy for the warmth. My layering includes base, mid, puffy, hard/rain shell.
 

mt100gr.

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Jan 29, 2014
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NW MT
I usually do just as described above. Merino base layer, usually a merino mid layer, insulation of some sort (jacket/vest or both) and hard shell. Chugach in my case.
 

slick

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Feb 13, 2014
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Siskiyou Siskime
Agreed.

Merino base layer- Kuiu 125 T-shirt
Fleece mid- Sitka heavyweight hoody
Syn inuslated jacked- kenai hooded
Chugach outer layer

Just got back from WY. Temps in the 60s during the day, low must have been 15-20* one night. Rained/snowed on twice.

Edit: specific pieces
 
Last edited:
OP
L
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Dec 12, 2018
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Napa Valley, CA
Thanks for all the real life experience guys. Was out again last two nights/days and realized that unless it's very cold or windy, I'll sweat in either chugach or softshell with even light exertion. So for cold windy conditions I do like the chugach and otherwise will rely on my merino base/mid for warmth and ultra breathability when cold and not windy.

If there weren't the pit zips I might reconsider as I'd be a walking sauna without some ventilation.

WY looks like a handful of snow days in the forecast so should be beautiful and a good test of my system.

Cheers,

Steve
 

Theringworm

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Jul 30, 2019
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Pickup the Peloton 240 Full Zip Hoodie. It is a great layering piece and is wind resistant. I just used this last week hunting bears in Colorado. I left my DSC Guide at home. Only took this and my Chugach. The 240 is a great piece and works perfectly deflecting wind. Layer below it if it gets cold and slip on the Chugach over if it starts raining.
 

JBH

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Dec 14, 2018
Messages
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Pickup the Peloton 240 Full Zip Hoodie. It is a great layering piece and is wind resistant. I just used this last week hunting bears in Colorado. I left my DSC Guide at home. Only took this and my Chugach. The 240 is a great piece and works perfectly deflecting wind. Layer below it if it gets cold and slip on the Chugach over if it starts raining.
Did the same with the peloton 200 quarter zip last week in the cold and rain. Worked great at keeping the wind off me, and I just threw the rain jacket on when the skies opened.
 

tonedover

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Nov 19, 2017
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Midwest
sitka mountain jacket.
quiet windstopper, durable in rough terrain, no insulation yet traps an active hunters body heat well. sitkas dwr for light rain

very spartan - no hood no pit zips, extremely light weight

i plan on running it like a shell all the time with an ultralight rainjacket in the pack in case i get a really bad storm
 
OP
L
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Napa Valley, CA
Well, the chugach worked great, either over my FL wick when moving lightly on an exposed mountainside with stiff winds or with the FL Kiln also layered underneath. Mainly wore it when the wind was going strong or started to rain/snow. Otherwise I was just in the merino base(s). When walking a bit in the wind I just opened the pit zips to add better breathability and was fine. In extended up hill hiking even with wind the merino base only was fine for me.

Now if I only had a bull tag rather than cow...could have filled it multiple times.

Cheers,

S
 

Wyo78

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May 14, 2019
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Great thread, I was just working through this same problem for an Alaska caribou hunt. I like the comfort and noise reduction of a soft shell, but I can't stand trying to layer under jackets with a fleece liner, and it seems they almost all do, things just bunch and grab more than I like them too. Now I'm trying to decide between Chugach or Kutana rain gear from Kuiu?
 

rfurman24

Senior Member
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Feb 29, 2012
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The kutana is awesome but know it’s made more for sitting and not needing body heat to keep dry vs most breathable rain gear. It does not breathe as well.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 
OP
L
Joined
Dec 12, 2018
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Napa Valley, CA
Update...I ended up picking up a FL Klamath Hoody which worked great last weekend together with the Chugach on top for more wind protection. Otherwise, in light winds or not so cold temps the Klamath provided nice warmth, breathability and some wind protection. I also really like the integrated hood which I ended up needing in the middle of the night when it got a bit chilly.

Cheers

S
 
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