Kuiu Super Down
Travis Smola

Gear Review: KUIU's Super Down Jacket and Pants Kept Me Warm and Dry All Season

KUIU's Super Down Jacket and Pants are amazingly warm.

Here in Michigan, we know all about cold weather while hunting. It comes with the territory when hunting the state's popular regular firearms deer season every year. You need a good hunting jacket and pants if you want to sit for hours on end waiting for that big buck to appear.

This year, I got the chance to test KUIU's Super Down Pro Hooded Jacket and Super Down Pro Pants against the Michigan elements. Most hunters may think of KUIU as a western outdoor brand, but I found it worked extremely well for the Midwest too.

In fact, this is some of the warmest hunting clothing I've ever worn, and I've tested a lot over the years. This was my experience gear review testing this clothing in Valo camo against the Michigan elements.

Super Down Pro Hooded Jacket

Kuiu Super Down

Travis Smola

I've purchased a lot of hunting jackets over the years. Their ability to trap in body heat has varied in quality. This was the first time I had the chance to test out a down insulation jacket before. After using this, it's unlikely I'm ever going to go back to my old gear. KUIU gave this jacket the fill power of five ounces of their 850+FP water-resistant Quixdown. It starts warming up the second you put it on, which is astonishing when you pick this ultralight jacket up because it only weighs 13 ounces. I've got spring jackets that weigh more than the Super Down Pro Hooded. It's purposely built to be light and packable, yet at the same time does not sacrifice on durability. (More on that later.)

Normally when I hunt in Michigan, I've found myself layering up to the extreme with multiple sweaters and base layers just to keep from getting frozen out in the November cold. That was not the case this season. In most instances I simply wore a long sleeve base layer and that was it. In truth, it's amazing how warm both the jacket and pants work with no base layers too. I never would have believed an outer layer could be this warm with no bases under it. KUIU's Super Down simply does an amazing job trapping heat. It was a refreshing change of pace to be able to have such a great layer fit because I was not slapping on three sweaters or hoodie mid layers under my hunting gear like I have in the past with my other hunting jackets and pants.

Super Down Pro Pant

Kuiu Super Down

Travis Smola

I paired up the Super Down Jacket with KUIU's Super Down Pro Pant, which uses the same water resistant Quixdown insulation to lock in body heat. Just like the jacket, it is wind resistant, and water resistant. Kuiu also reinforced the seat and knees here, which worked well when I had to kneel to change cards in my trail cameras before hunts.

Just like the jacket, these pants are incredibly light weight. They only weigh 16 ounces and feel more like a pair of athletic pants than a serious piece of hunting gear.

For camo, KUIU offers both the pants and jacket in their Vias, Verde, and Gunmetal camo patterns. However, I ended up going with their Valo pattern, which they designed to be sort of a "catch-all" or universal style of pattern. It is designed to be at home in both the mountains of the west and the cornfields of the Midwest. Michigan's whitetails are extremely wary, and I was impressed that I was only spotted once this season. To be fair to the camo, I don't blame the pattern. The buck snuck up and surprised me one evening. And it was probably due more to the fact I was moving right as he looked up at me. That was hunter error, not the camo. Most of KUIU's marketing materials pictures this camo in the sage brush and rocks of the west, but I found Valo worked extremely well in the hardwoods and swamps of southwest Michigan. Deer had a hard time picking me out with this subtle, lighter pattern. I actually won a standoff with a mature doe this season, which never happens here in Michigan. It's also nice to know that I have this camo for any future hunting trips I may take to the west.

Hunting with the Kuiu Super Down Pro Jacket and pants.

Kuiu Super Down

Travis Smola

I do want to talk a little about the fabric of this hunting gear. KUIU uses an outer 30 denier stunner stretch nylon ripstop face fabric on the outside of these pants and jacket. They treat this with TORAY K-DWR to help repel water. As a result, the outer fabric of this clothing feels a lot like a sleeping bag. It also makes a slight swishing sound when you walk. Normally I shy away from clothing that makes noise like this, but it's not terribly loud and it did not affect my hunts at all. I never once had a deer alert from the sounds of the fabric while I was moving, and I had some deer fairly close. Odds are, if you are hunting the Midwest, you are going to be hunting from a treestand where movements are nominal anyway. And if you're hunting the west, you are probably going to be glassing, or taking shots at long distance where the animals are less likely to hear you anyway.

I was also impressed with how well this clothing held up to the elements. Michigan threw a little bit of everything at me during the 2021 firearms season. I had to deal with rain, wind, and snow on my hunts. That DWR coating does an excellent job of repelling water and snow. Even more impressive, it dries quickly. My gear was never wet on the next hunt with minimal efforts to dry it. The clothing spent most of the season either in my outdoor Airlocker or in a scent control bag. It was always dry and ready to hunt.

The only real critiques I have about this clothing are both with the jacket. I wish the hand pockets were just slightly larger so they could hold more small items. I also wish they were slightly further forward on the jacket for easier access, but this is a minor gripe. The only other thing worth mentioning is the YKK zipper on the front of the jacket is a bit small, which could make it difficult to grip with heavy gloves in extreme cold conditions. Although this is something that can be remedied yourself by adding a zipper pull. In the end, both issues are ones I can deal with considering the excellent quality of everything else with this clothing.

The bottom line.

Kuiu Super Down

Travis Smola

The KUIU Super Down ultralight line is amazing. This is without question the nicest hunting jacket and pair of pants I have ever used in 22 years of hunting this state. Not once was I cold through Michigan's firearms season despite temperatures dipping down into the 20s for several days near the end of the season. Originally, I had planned to cycle between the KUIU and some of my other hunting jackets and pants during the season. However, I liked the KUIU so much, I used it for the entire season. If it'll work for Michigan, it'll work for everywhere else in the country.

So, if you've been looking for an extremely lightweight hunting jacket and pants you can wear with minimal insulating layers, give the KUIU Super Down ultra hooded jacket, and Pro Pant a look. They are on the pricey side, but like most things in life, you get what you pay for. And in this case, you get the peace of mind in knowing you can hunt literally any cold weather hunting conditions in comfort. Which is ultimately going to lead to longer sits, more hunts, and more venison in your freezer at the end of the year.

Check out KUIU.com for more information on the Super Down and their other lines of outdoor clothing.

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For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels