Kuiu vs Sitka: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing The Best Clothes

Do you want to be on the cutting edge of hunting gear and technology? A good hunting jacket or pair of hunting pants is more than just slapping a camo design on any old piece of hunting clothes. It means addressing other specific hunting concerns like insulation, waterproofing, noise and flexibility.

Two companies are taking this to the next level: Sitka and Kuiu. Using extensive research and testing, they develop technologically advanced hunting gear that can give you an edge in the field. 

Our team of experts have spent countless hours hunting while wearing Kuiu and Sitka Gear clothing.

In this article, we will break down the differences between Kuiu vs Sitka Gear apparel and share with you some of their top selling hunting clothes.

What Is Sitka?

Sitka is a company based in Bozeman, Montana, dedicated to producing some of the most technologically advanced and high-quality gear for whitetail deer, waterfowl and big game. Born of the needs of harsh, wilderness hunting in the Rocky Mountains, they make more than just simple camo clothing. They make gear scientifically designed to tackle environmental and practical problems that hunters face in the field.

To do this, Sitka is more than a manufacturer, but an active part of the hunting and conservation community. They run a number of research facilities and programs and offer grants to conservationists and wildlife managers. This helps them develop the most detailed and relevant gear possible for the modern hunter.

But is Sitka Gear worth it?

What Makes Sitka Gear So Good?

Sitka is owned by W.L. Gore & Associates, the company responsible for a number of advanced fabrics, including:

  • Gore-Tex
  • Windstopper
  • PrimaLoft
  • Polygiene

Sitka then uses their access to these materials to design specialized hunting gear. For example, outerwear like parkas, pants, hunting bibs, even hunting boots use Gore-Tex because it's lightweight and breathable but waterproof, keeping you warm and dry without overheating. Similarly, PrimaLoft provides synthetic insulation that's warm like down but lightweight like wool. Plus, it's waterproof too.

Thanks to their many research facilities, Sitka can repeatedly test their products in a range of situations. As a result, they develop gear that has been proven in the field. This makes Sitka clothing stand out among other, less specialized brands. 

Best Selling Sitka Gear

Below you will find Sitka's best selling gear.

We encourage you to buy direct from Sitka in order to avoid the counterfeit gear found at some of the top online outlets.

Core Lightweight Hoody

Sitka Core Lightweight Hoody

The Core Lightweight Hoody is one of Sitka's best-selling garments mostly because it's so versatile. Although designed and advertised as a hoodie, it's thin enough to be an underlayer beneath your jacket or coat.

Specifically, it's made of stretch-knit polyester fabric. This wicks away moisture when you're hiking to your tree stand. This way you don't overheat, and when you're stationary, the sweat doesn't make you cold. And if you're worried, it has proprietary Polygiene technology that prevents it from developing an odor that could give away your position.

Its extra features include a mesh facemask for extra camouflage and thumb loops. This helps blend it into the rest of your gear so there are no areas exposed to the cold.

We also love the patterns. There are five camo options and four solid color options. Get the right look for your situation, from hunting waterfowl in the marsh to mule deer in the mountains.

Pros:

  • Under layer or hoodie
  • Moisture-wicking polyester
  • Polygiene technology
  • Mesh facemask
  • Stretch thumb loops
  • Extensive pattern options

Cons:

  • Not warm on its own

While not a thick enough layer to provide winter warmth all on its own, this hoodie is a great option as an underlayer. However, because of its numerous camo options, you can also use it as a main layer if you live in a warmer climate. This versatility along with its extra features and odor-eliminating design make it a great addition to any hunter's gear.


Sitka Fanatic Jacket 

Sitka Fanatic Jacket

The Fanatic Jacket is the best-selling top layer option from Sitka jackets. Although you wouldn't think it just by looking at its lightweight design, this jacket provides heavy-duty warmth thanks to double-layered Gore-Tex and PrimaLoft insulation that works even when wet.

Despite the multiple layers and impressive warmth, the Fanatic is still lightweight and quiet. For example, Sitka designed it to absorb vibration to dampen sound, and the YKK front zipper is nearly silent. Meanwhile, the stretch fleece fabric bends with and adapts to your body so you can move easily.

Our main complaint is that there's only one camo pattern: Whitetail Elevated II. However, this is a tactically developed digital camo pattern that will work for most terrains and climates where whitetail deer are common, especially the Midwest and South.

Pros:

  • Heavy-duty warmth and insulation
  • Lightweight
  • Sound-suppressing fabric
  • Stretch fleece
  • Windproof

Cons:

  • Only 1 camo pattern
  • No waterproofing

The Fanatic Jacket is one of the quietest jackets you'll find on the market that still keeps you warm in winter weather. You can keep out the wind and stay comfortable in the tree stand without worrying about scaring off game just by moving around or adjusting your position.


Sitka Stratus Pants 

Sitka Stratus Pants

What we at Deer Hunting Guide love about Sitka is how specialized their garments are. The Sitka Stratus Pants are a great example of that, designed specifically for stand hunting whitetail deer.

Its specialized features for this purpose include the articulated fit, which gives you a full range of motion. In other words, you can sit in the tree stand comfortably, but the pants aren't baggy when you walk either. The thigh cargo pockets also let you keep important accessories in an easily accessible position so you don't have to move around too much.

These pants are pretty warm too. They have Gore-Tex fabric with Windstopper technology and are lightweight but breathable. That said, we recommend using an underlayer as well since the pants are especially insulated. 

Pros:

  • Articulated fit
  • Thigh cargo pockets
  • Gore-Tex fabric
  • Quiet design

Cons:

  • Moderate warmth
  • Minimal water protection

These Sitka pants are the ideal match to the Fanatic Jacket. They keep your legs warm without inhibiting your movement or causing excess noise. Specifically designed for stand hunting, they keep out the wind to combine with an under layer to keep you warm even when you're not moving. This way you're alert and prepared when your quarry comes into range. 


Sitka Hudson Bibs

Sitka Hudson Bibs

The Hudson Bibs are one of Sitka's best-selling waterfowl hunting products. The Gore-Tex fabric is waterproof while the seat and knees are reinforced to prevent abrasion and give you multiple seasons of heavy use. In fact, there are even internal knee pads that are removable in case you're more comfortable without them.

Our favorite feature, though, is the adjustable suspension. It's easy to get just the right fit, but there aren't any buckles to get in your way. This is more comfortable, and it improves your aim. 

Naturally, Sitka made these bibs after careful study into waterfowl environments, so the two available camo patterns are tested for stealth in the targeted landscapes. One is for wooded areas and the other is for marshes.

Pros:

  • Waterproof Gore-Tex
  • Reinforced seat and knees
  • Removable knee pads
  • Adjustable buckle-free suspension
  • 2 effective camo designs

Cons:

  • Weak zippers

Bibs aren't exactly a natural piece of clothing, but these ones from Sitka actually feel like it. They don't inhibit your movements, which, in addition to their warm, waterproof design, improves your chances of success hunting waterfowl. Moreover, their durability and tough construction mean consistent success season after season.


What Is Kuiu

Based in California, Kuiu is another company dedicated to producing high-tech hunting gear while being involved in the hunting and conservation community. Additionally, they focus on a direct-to-customer business model that helps them cut out middlemen to lower costs and get cutting-edge gear to everyday hunters.

What Makes Kuiu Gear So Good?

Unfortunately, Kuiu's founder, Jason Hairston, passed away in 2018. Nevertheless, Kuiu gear is still designed by real extreme hunters just like him. Plus, Kuiu works with professional conservationists around the country to not only understand the current hunting environment but help shape it through volunteer work as well.

However, one thing that really makes Kuiu stand apart is the many advanced fabrics they source from all over the world. These include:

  • 3DeFX+ active insulation
  • Quixdown treated goose down
  • Primeflex stretch fabric
  • Dot Air 
  • Nuyarn
  • Dermizax NX waterproof windproof membrane
  • Karuishi fleece

Best Selling Kuiu Gear

Below you will find Kuiu's best selling clothes.

Again, we advise buying direct from the manufacturer to avoid counterfeits.

Kuiu Yukon Rain Jacket 

Kuiu Yukon Rain Jacket

The Yukon jacket uses Kuiu's a Dermizax NX membrane to keep water out, its main purpose. However, it also has two other layers that make it windproof, warm and durable. In fact, it even has reinforced bonded elbows to take on the repeated abuse of seasons hunting in rough conditions.

Additionally, the Yukon provides more weather protection than other jackets because it has a storm hood that's highly adjustable to make sure you're always covered. Similarly, the wrists are rubberized with hook and loop closures so water doesn't come in through the openings.

Finally, the Yukon also has a lot of utility. For example, it has four pockets in total, so you can carry plenty of extra gear and have it close at hand. This might include maps, your cell phone, a flashlight, etc.

Pros:

  • Dermizax NX waterproof membrane 
  • Windproof and warm
  • Adjustable storm hood
  • Rubberized wrists
  • Four zippered pockets

Cons:

  • Slim cut

Here is a great video showing the features of Kuiu Yukon Rain Gear.

If you hunt in extreme conditions, you should consider this jacket as a way to take on most hazards all at once. It will protect you from rain, snow, cold and wind. Plus, it's available in multiple camo patterns to keep you hidden in just about any environment and landscape. Hunt in the snowy mountains or thick woods.


Kuiu PRO MERINO 200 ZIP-T HOODIE 

Kuiu Pro Merino Zip Hoodie

This hoodie from Kuiu is made from innovative Nuyarn fabric and Kuiu Merino wool, which means it's extra warm but lightweight, similar to the best hunting socks. Really, though, it's good for a range of temperatures because it's highly breathable with moisture-wicking fabric that's odor resistant. This way it works for walking to your tree stand and sitting in it for long periods. 

Some of our hunters on staff love merino wool base layers, but others find it a little itchy against the skin and prefer a moisture wicking base layer and then a layer of merino wool.

However, even with this setup, it's still comfortable thanks to flat lock seams and its spandex-free stretch. This is important if you're stand hunting, especially a climbing tree stand where you won't have a lot of room. You can move around easily and precisely.

Pros:

  • Nuyarn and Merino wool
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Odor-resistant
  • Flat lock seams
  • Stretch fabric

Cons:

  • Itchy
  • Few pockets

What's nice about the Zip-T hoodie is its versatility. It makes a great middle layer if you're hunting in extreme cold temperatures because it stretches well and is lightweight. However, with multiple camo patterns, it's also a good outer layer if that's all you need. Altogether, it's an excellent addition if you hunt a lot and need to be prepared.


Axis Hybrid Pants 

Kuiu Axis Hybrid Pants

In our opinion, the Axis Hybrid Pants are some of the warmer hunting pants on the market. They're well insulated and have water and wind resistance. Nevertheless, they're called "hybrid" because they're breathable so you don't sweat and end up cold.

These Kuiu pants are also very durable. This is due to Toray seam tape and Fujix Resilon stretch thread which can handle considerable wear and tear in addition to the gusseted knees. Unfortunately, the pants rustle a little when moving, but once you're in the tree stand, they can stand up to the friction of shifting around and getting into the right positions.

Lastly, these pants have a ton of pockets, all zippered. There are two cargo pockets, back pockets and hand pockets as well as an internal cell phone pocket. You can almost carry your entire kit in your pants.

Pros:

  • Water and wind resistance
  • Breathable and ventilated
  • Durable construction
  • Stretch fabric
  • Lots of pockets

Cons:

  • Noisy when moving

For those who hunt into the late season and are regularly disappointed with the warmth of hunting pants, consider these. They have the camo patterns to match other Kuiu products, so don't worry about the landscape. Blend in with the snow and stay comfortable while doing it.   


Kuiu Super Down Pro Hooded Jacket 

Kuiu Super Down Pro Hooded Jacket

Down is usually considered the best insulator, but Kuiu takes it to the next level with this Quixdown jacket treated to not only be incredibly warm but water resistant too. The down is sourced from Eastern Europe and then processed in Japan, an amazing story for the great price point this coat comes at. 

Check out the image below, which shows the results of waterproof testing of Quixdown vs competitors.

Quixdown Waterproof Test Report

Image courtesy of Kuiu.com

Another innovative feature is the packable self-stowing left pocket. You can compress it and store it away easily without having to take up too much of your closet. Because this jacket is admittedly pretty bulky, owing to its warm design. This feature also lets you take it off while you're moving to avoid unnecessary noise and overheating.

There's plenty of storage, too, for the things you need to be easily accessible. There are two zippered hand pockets and a zippered chest pocket. 

Pros:

  • Quixdown insulation
  • Water resistance
  • Self-stowing left pocket
  • Multiple pockets
  • Hook and loop cuffs

Cons:

  • Noisy when moving
  • Bulky

This Super Down coat is especially designed for extremely cold temperatures and extreme environments. If you're just hunting in chilly weather, it's going to be too bulky and noisy. However, if you're taking on snow and ice in the late season, this is an option to keep you warm and alert even as temperatures drop and you're sitting still.  


Kuiu vs Sitka Rain Gear

The truth is that you can't go wrong with either Kuiu or Sitka gear. They both utilize state of the art membranes to insure their garments are 100% waterproof.

Kuiu uses their proprietary Dermizax NX waterproof membrane and Sitka uses the Classic Gore-Tex, which has been around a long time and is a proven waterproof and breathable membrane.

When we posed this question to every member of our staff here at DeerHuntingGuide.net, the choices seem to fall along generational lines.

The older guys on our staff prefer Sitka rain gear, because they have used Gore-Tex for most of their hunting careers and it has not them down.

The younger guys and girls prefer Kuiu, due to its newer technology and innovation.

The choice is up to you, but you will not be disappointed with either company's rain gear.

Sitka vs Kuiu For Whitetail

It's a close call, but we prefer Sitka over Kuiu when it comes to whitetail hunting. The primary reason for this is Sitka's focus on minimizing noise. While some of Kuiu's thicker winter gear can rustle with your movements, Sitka gear is ultra-quiet. This is ideal for deer hunting. Whitetail deer have great hearing and will spook easily if they hear you walking around or even just shifting in your tree stand.

Sitka vs Kuiu Camo

Both brands have a wide range of camo designs for different environments, but we think that Sitka's are more detailed, more versatile and more effective. This is especially true if you're bowhunting whitetail deer, which requires you to get very close to the deer for an accurate shot. Sitka has researched camo patterns extensively and tested them to get the best combination of colors to break up lines and blend in with the landscape.

Final Thoughts

Kuiu and Sitka are two brands making waves in the hunting world and creating warm, comfortable hunting gear that improves your chances of success. Kuiu is especially good for those who hunt in inclement weather and need extensive waterproofing while Sitka has specialized gear that doesn't make excess noise and is great for hunting whitetail deer thanks to detailed camo patterns. With either one, you can hunt confidently knowing you're wearing quality gear made with expert craftsmanship.

Make no mistake, this is top of the line hunting clothing and care should be taken to use best practices for care and hunting clothes storage to make sure that the gear lasts for a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Kuiu as good as Sitka?

No Kuiu is not as good as Sitka for some things, however Kuiu is better than Sitka for others. Sitka is better for quieter materials that allow you to get close to game without them hearing you. We prefer Sitka gear for stand hunting, while we prefer Kuiu for more active hunting.

Is Sitka and Kuiu the same company?

No, Sitka and Kuiu are not the same company. They are different companies with completely different owners. Sitka is owned by W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., while Kuiu is owned by the descendents of Jason Hairston. This is where it gets interesting. Jason Hairston founded Sitka Gear in 2005 and sold it to W.L Gore & Associates in 2009. He then founded Kuiu in 2010. Jason passed away in 2018.

Is Sitka made in the USA?

No, Sitka Gear is not made in the USA. It is made overseas and shipped to the USA.

Is Kuiu gear made in China?

Yes, Kuiu gear is made in China from Japanese materials. It was originally made in Canada, but production was moved to China in 2012.

How do you pronounce KUIU hunting gear?

Kuiu is pronounced "koo yoo".

Is KUIU gear quiet?

Yes, Kuiu gear is quiet, but not as quiet as Sitka Gear. When testing the two side by side, Kuiu gear can be heard when walking or brushing a sleeve against the torso, while Sitka Gear is completely silent.

Photo of author

John VanDerLaan

Hi folks! I'm John VanDerLaan and I have a deep passion for the outdoors, and deer hunting in particular. I am what you call a year round deer hunter. I am in the whitetail woods year round preparing for the next years season and I love to share the knowledge that I've gained over 40 years of chasing the wily whitetail! In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that I am an affiliate for products that I recommend. I will make a commission if you buy through my link. You will not pay more when buying through my link. In fact, oftentimes I have negotiated a lower price (or bonuses) for my readers than you will find anywhere else online. Also, when you buy through my link, it allows me to continue to provide you with tons of FREE valuable information through this website!

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