By: Josh Shaffer
In my last post, which was a gear review of the KUIU Chinook set, I eluded to writing a review of the KUIU Merino Base Layers (145g/m² fabric weight). Back in September, I spent my entire elk hunting trip in these base layers and more recently I've logged about 3 weeks of tree stand hunting for whitetails in the base layers as well. As of mid-October here are my thoughts on the set so far.
1. The 145 top with 1/4 zip is a great piece. Most of the time, I've wore it next to skin and I'm surprised that it's not itchy like you'd expect. This is not the same as your grandfathers' old wool hunting duds.
2. For a light set base layer combo, this system is surprisingly warm. I've never had a set of base layers that is so light, yet keeps me toasty. I have the set in 145 weight as noted above and I feel like I'll get through October and part of November easily. I'll probably wish I had the 210 weight for December hunting, but that is still to be determined.
3. Odor Control: I wore this set for 6 days straight on my elk trip and at the end of the week the garments didn't even remotely smell like body odor. I still have a hard time grasping this fact, but all the information I've read on the odor combating capabilities of the Merino wool is true. This is a cool bonus if you are comparing the set against synthetic layers which are notoriously stinky.
4. The 145 bottoms come in a full leg zip bottom, which at first I thought was awkward, but I later came to the realization that it is a handy feature to have. Essentially this allows you to quickly remove your base layer bottom without taking boots off while in the timber. I was able to stop and strip my bottom base layers in about 2 minutes from start to finish.
1. Storage: Merino garments need to be properly stored in an air-tight plastic bag or cedar box to keep from moth damage. This information came with the KUIU packaging when I received the Merino gear. I simply use 2 - 1 gallon zip lock bags.
2. Care: You should use special wool detergent to clean the garments. I ordered Nikwax wool wash and wash them on gentle cycle then promptly air dry on a rack. Not a big deal, just be aware of this specific care that's needed. I'm not sure what would happen if you tossed the set in your dryer, but it probably wouldn't be good.
3. The 145 weight set is a good choice for September elk season and October whitetails. Only time will tell about it's ability to provide warmth in the cold days of late November here in PA. I am guessing I'll want the 210 weight for that part of the year.
BONUS: I ordered the KUIU Merino 145 neck gator, 145 beanie and 210 glove along with my purchase and I am pleased. The neck gator and beanie are much warmer than I expected they would be and also allow for good breathability to avoid excess sweating.
Overall, I recommend the KUIU Merino base layers. I know that there are other companies out there, like First Lite, that are making similar products, but I haven't tested them out myself. What are your thoughts on some of the other Merino layers? Leave a comment in the box below.
Bottom line statement, regardless of the brand of Merino, try some: You'll be happy you did.
Disclosure Statement: This is an independent gear review and contains my own assessment. This is not a sponsored post. Additionally, I did include an affiliate link to amazon.com for Nikwax wool wash. Thanks for stopping by and reading.