KUIU vs Sitka vs First Lite

roosiebull

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For the last 3 seasons I've strictly worn KUIU on all my hunts. I've even become that guy that wears the base camp solids and KUIU brand t shirts to family functions because of how comfortable they are. I don't have any experience with Sitka or First Lite. My question is.... is one of these three brands better quality than the other?

I do really like the KUIU brand, but it does get really expensive. The sales are few and far between for the items I generally need to pick up. First Lite appears to be in the same boat with affordability, but I'm guessing the quality is similar??? Sitka seems to be the most readily available, but that worries me with quality considering they are in all of the box stores.

I'm curious to hear thoughts on these three.

Thanks!
as far as actual quality, i own a lot of all 3 and none stand out as "better", build quality is similar and good mostly.

of course sitka has the most versatile lineup, by a lot, they have the best treestand hunting gear, and biggest selection.

the past few years i have been buying more first lite than anything, because i like their stuff the best for what i do, and i like their camo patterns best.... i don't think camo patterns matter, and when they do are very specific (like turkey hunting or calling lions or coyotes) i like first lite isn't so trendy on patterns
 

Mojave

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I know it's not in OP's list, but anybody bother with Kryptek stuff? I see some of these pieces can be had deeply discounted at times, which triggers my frugal insider but also tells me sometimes there's a reason for that.
Nothing wrong with Kryptek, and he is a fellow DAV and cool dude to talk to.
 

intohunting

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Payson, AZ
I wish any of the three mentioned manufacturers (especially KUIU) would make this hoody/vest. I don't believe that Nomad makes it anymore. Very versatile garment for maintaining core body temperature and comfort (all in one piece). nomad hoody vest.jpg
 

Fins_N_Tines

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El Dorado HIlls
It's sad that no one has really mentioned Stone Glacier. Their stuff is on par with Sitka, Kuiu, FL. I'd argue their quality and durability is up there with Sitka, just my honest opinion!

Also, I used to strictly run first lite merino. I tried SG's merino and sold all my wick layers for their chinook merino tops and bottoms. They seem to dry faster than FL merino, and fit better!

Just my 2 cents.
Yup this has been my experience with the SG chinook hoody. it dry's faster than my FL Aerowool. Obviously still slower than synthetic but damn good for merino.
 

jd1006

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I have just assembled a pretty decent Kryptek Altitude system. The fabrics are as advertised. I think the Bora material is better than Sitka’s jetstream…it’s lighter and just as bombproof, and seems waterproof to me. The tora pants have vents and a really nice amount of features for a lighter weight pant. I haven’t had it out in the field much, but I will wear this stuff for non-hunting plenty. I have the Takur Jacket coming, which is the piece i’m most excited to try out.
 

Mojave

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Kryptek uses Schoeller brand fabric in their higher level gear. It is both water proof and breathable without being like a laminate gore tex (sweat chamber box).

Fabric is made in Switzerland, and is the equal of what Kuiu uses from Japan.

I personally introduced the Kryptek team to the fabric about 8 or 9 years ago.
 

Brook.Trout

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I ran kuiu for years, love it, fit is a bit of a pain in the ass especially if your a bigger guy, switched to first lite last year for lots of things, it’s not as durable even after one hard season, one thing I noticed is the first lite is considerably heavier, I have no issues with Sitka I have ran their rain gear for years and when I was a teenager I had a full set of Sitka gear that I still have now, this year I switched everything back to kuiu, especially for my mountain hunts. I’ll keep a couple first lite layers for some of the spring black bear quad hunting I do.
 

wind gypsy

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I'd look at each piece independently but if I were to generalize, FL quality has been questionable across numerous garments and I have not had the same issue with Sitka/Kuiu. IMO FL has some well thought out stuff mixed with lousy build quality and occasionally subpar materials. But I still use a number of FL pieces, most notably the sanctuary bib/parka for late season whitetail sits.

I haven't bought much FL stuff the past 2 or 3 years but some notable issues:
-I have 3 chama (discontinued) shirts of the same marked size that all fit different. This was still my go to base layer for a number of years though.
-Uncompahgre jacket (original) main zipper fail. This jacket had quite a bit of use and I liked it otherwise
-Original corrugate guide pants stitching fell apart in the crotch almost immediately
-Boundary Stormtight jacket (their original rain jacket) was a giant POS that leaked like a sieve almost immediately. I would still never buy a rain jacket for them after wasting good money on that abomination.
 

hunterjmj

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I've never ran FL just from all the quality reviews I've read. I have a few pieces of KUIU peloton mid layer stuff. It'll probably last forever as they are a mid layer and don't see much exposure. I run a bunch of Sitka cause it's easy to try on and it's sold everywhere. I have a couple Timberline pants and they are built so well. I'm on 4 seasons with one pair and 1 on another.

Two years ago I bought some SKRE base layers and the Ptarmigan jacket. So far I love it. The Ptarmigan is so warm while sitting and glassing that I bought my wife the jacket at the Expo. I'm no puffy expert but it packs down small, is light and it keeps me warm at 0° while glassing. I just ordered the Kodiak pant, hardscrabble vest, glassing mitts and gaiters so we'll see how it holds up but so far far it's been great. It's way cheaper than Sitka and so far it's holding up just as well.
 
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Drenalin

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I like the SG Chinook a lot as a base layer, followed by First Lite Aerowool. I like the Sitka Heavyweight Hoodie and the Kuiu Peloton 240 for mid layers. Eddie Bauer makes a couple of really nice grid fleeces that are great budget options (relatively inexpensive anyway). Love the Kuiu Kenai for insulation, but it’s not the warmest thing out there. I also use the Outdoor Vitals Loftek jacket sometimes and appreciate that it’s better with wind and light precipitation. I usually pack a Warbonnet Stash jacket for rain, but I’m also a big fan of the Outdoor Research Foray. The Sitka Stratus jacket is nice to have; does several things well, but certainly not the best at any one thing. I appreciate its versatility and the blaze orange color. I also love the First Lite Sawtooth jacket…very versatile in my opinion.

Point of the above, as others have mentioned, is that different companies do different things well and it would be foolish to lock in on a single manufacturer across the board. For what it’s worth, I had durability issues with early First Lite stuff, but the newer blended merino has been fine, with limitations. Really want to try their Origin Hoodie.
 

xBobby

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Oct 3, 2022
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between Sitka and Kuiu. who do you think invests more R&D into there gear? I know Sitka is owned by GORE and they own several other very high end mountaineering clothing brands but that can also be a downside because Sikta is strictly set to use only what they are provided. As KUIU is independent and can shop around for new textiles and such. but Gore-tex is regarded as some the best. soooo I dont know. anyone smarter then me that can weigh in on this?
 

Mojave

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There are 4 high end fabric manufacturers globally; Gore, Schoeller, Polartec, and Toray.

They make 98% of the high end outdoor textiles on the planet.

Sitka is owned by Gore.

Schoeller is used by Kryptek in their high end line.

Kuiu uses Toray.

Everyone uses Polartec.
 

Where's Bruce?

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I actually performed the Sitka dynamic rewarming drill by jumping into my unheated pool in winter. Was almost dry and warm within 5.5 miles of walking. Stuck with it for that reason.
 

carsonkeys

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The rain gear is really the only pieces I'm missing. But dang... they all cost the same as a first born child for something that gets extremely specific use. I have the guide jacket that has worked so far and the attack pants dry extremely fast, but I've not been in a monsoon with them either.
Of the three, I've used Firstlite rain gear and kuiu rain gear.

Got dangerously wet (and therefore cold) with FL stuff. Would not recommend.

I can say with the upmost confidence that the Kuiu rain gear is absolutely worth the money. I've used the Northridge, Chugach, and Yukon sets.

Northridge is extremely light and fragile, I tore three holes in the pants my first rip out, but stayed dry. The yukon set is burly as all get out, but heavy. The chugach is the perfect compromise between the two, IME, and the sheep subthread is littered with guys singing it's praises too.
 
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