A group of hunters testing KUIU women's line on horseback

I recently spent a couple days hiking, kayaking, and horseback riding through Bighorn National Forest in northern Wyoming to put KUIU’s new women’s gear to the test, and KUIU’s long-awaited women’s line lives up to the hype. Although the company has released a few lifestyle pieces designed for women in the past, this year’s launch marks the company’s first full line dedicated to female hunters. From blustery summertime snow to calm and sunny afternoons, our crew wore the new gear in varying conditions to see how it would perform in the field.

The women’s apparel I tried included:

  • Gila LS Hoodie
  • Ultra Merino 145 LS Crew
  • Ultra Merino 145 Racerback Tank
  • Kenai Hooded Jacket
  • Ultra Merino 145 Zip-Off Bottom
  • Attack Pant

Although I wasn’t actually hunting this time of year, the apparel faced some of the rigors of the real thing and stood up incredibly well. These are some of the highlights.

Nuyarn Merino

No matter the weather, merino is always my go-to for base layers. While most merinos are generally soft and breathable, Nuyarn technology kicks it up a notch. The innovative spinning technique makes it softer, warmer, faster-drying, and more durable — plus it gives the merino a great bit of stretch without adding in inferior fabrics.

KUIU’s women’s line features several pieces constructed of this impressive merino for the ultimate insulation, including the Ultra Merino 145 LS Crew. Unlike many comparable merino base layer tops, this crew does not sport a hood, which I loved. Hoods on every layer just create bunching and get uncomfortable, but this thin and lightweight yet warm top makes for easy layering. The Nuyarn pieces live up to merino’s reputation for being moisture-wicking and odor-resistant. I sweated in the same base layers for a couple days, and the pieces stayed stink-free while maintaining their shape.

Athletic Fit

The type of hunting KUIU’s camo is designed for typically calls for a certain level of physical fitness, and the brand’s pieces reflect that with their athletic fit. I struggle to find hunting apparel that truly fits all over because of my more athletic build, but the KUIU women’s line worked great for my figure.

The line is generally true to size and is built to layer as a system without being bulky or heavy–so outer layers might seem a bit roomy if you don’t have the base and mid layers underneath. I did have to size down in the Kenai Hooded Jacket, even with the appropriate layers. While many of my hunting shirts run short in the arms and don’t reach my wrists, the sleeves were long enough to comfortably slide into the thumb holes on both the Ultra Merino 145 LS Crew and the Gila LS Hoodie.

Well-Built Bottoms

My two favorite pieces from the new line are the Attack Pant and the Ultra Merino 145 Zip-Off Bottom. I always have a tough time finding bottoms that fit me well everywhere, but both these pieces felt like they were made for me. The Attack Pant is one of the only pairs I own that doesn’t require a belt to prevent sagging and gapping. The Ultra Merino 145 Zip-Off Bottom is super comfortable and the most convenient base layer bottom I’ve ever tested. Being able to add or shed a layer in the field without having to completely undress is huge!

Room for Improvement

Overall, KUIU’s new women’s gear line receives high marks with just a few areas for improvement. The only place the bottoms fall short is that they’re, well, a little short. I stand about 5’7″ tall, and these pants barely reached my ankles. KUIU doesn’t currently offer tall sizes in the women’s line, so the bottoms may be a bit too short for women on the tall end.

I noticed some minor signs of wear — pilling and pulls — on the Kenai Hooded Jacket after wearing a backpack nonstop, so not every single piece is suited for every terrain or all conditions. And while KUIU does offer all these new pieces in their three camo patterns–Vias, Valo, and Verde–no solid styles are available just yet. The addition of solid blacks, grays, and greens would make the line great for transitioning to everyday wear and other outdoor activities.

KUIU Conservation Direct

Just as KUIU takes out the middleman with its direct-to-consumer business model, the company maximizes its conservation dollars by eliminating third parties and directly facilitating select conservation initiatives. KUIU focuses on single projects at a time, and each is carried out by a group of volunteers. The program has helped reintroduce three new Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep herds in the west, and the company doesn’t plan to slow anytime soon. KUIU takes our responsibility to conservation seriously, so you can confidently spend your money knowing a portion of it will benefit wildlife.

Read More: If You Love Wool, These Are the Best Women’s Hunting Pants

The post Testing KUIU Women's Hunting Gear in the Wyoming Mountains appeared first on Wide Open Spaces.

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