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Merino Long Underwear Comparison: Kuiu Falls Short

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Merino Long Underwear Comparison: Kuiu Falls Short

Old 06-23-2016, 11:31 AM
  #1  
Spike
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Default Merino Long Underwear Comparison: Kuiu Falls Short

In the last month, I've purchased three kinds of long underwear: Kuiu 145, Icebreaker 250, and Smartwool 250. All were comparably sized and priced (all were on sale), while (as noted) the weights were slightly different. The Icebreaker and Smartwool were slightly thicker and thus slightly warmer. Kuiu and Icebreaker offered varying camo patterns, and the Smartwool shirt was plain.

Hands down, the most comfortable of the items were the Icebreaker and Smartwool. While Kuiu boasts in a number of places of offering the best merino long underwear on the market with a revolutionizing weave that minimizes discomfort, it was definitely the itchiest. I have owned itchier long underwear, however, so my critique is by no means meant to be devastating. Based upon comfort (and all other things being more or less equal), I'd say that Icebreaker and Smartwool make the best long underwear.

Frankly, I am not surprised by the result. Kuiu is a company much discussed for its bravado and slick marketing. My experience with the four different items of theirs that I've owned (also the Guide jacket, the Kenai jacket, and their bino harness) is that their products are decent but overpriced compared to comparable products in the backpacking/REI-type market segment. Kuiu's lack of customer confidence is reflected in their exclusion of reviews from their webpage. I will not likely purchase any more of their products.

Last edited by Captain Yonder; 06-23-2016 at 11:38 AM. Reason: Searchability
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Old 06-23-2016, 11:36 AM
  #2  
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By the way, I should have called this thread: "The best long underwear" so that it is more searchable.
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Old 06-23-2016, 11:49 AM
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I cannot stand wool on my skin, any kind of wool, even socks. When I was in the Navy when we went into the Dress Blue uniform for fall and winter I was not a comfortable camper. The best thing to happen with long underwear for me was poly pro because prior to that I froze in the waffle weave cotton.
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Old 06-23-2016, 11:51 AM
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You might be surprised., Oldtimr! Today's merino is a lot more comfortable than it used to be. I'm a changed man!
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Old 06-23-2016, 01:28 PM
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Perhaps, but expedition weight poly pro has never let me down. And I prefer not to spend money on equipment that will make me uncomfortable. If it works for you great. Experience tells me it will not work for me and that is ok, different strokes and all of that.
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Old 06-28-2016, 12:54 PM
  #6  
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When I read this, I can't help but wonder - where in the sam he11 are you wearing wool long underwear in June?

I've dabbled in a few Kuiu products, not their merino wool stuff yet, however. I got a deal on a Chinook jacket, for what it is, it's about $75 too expensive - I would not have bought it if I didn't get it nearly free. Great jacket, but I've paid $75-100 for comparable micro-check fleece jackets without the camo outer coating, so the $200 MSRP is really the only downside.

I have the Guide Jacket and pants, as well as the Kenai jacket and pants. Both lines are on par or better quality than the Under Armour line, and the Guide has proven to be warmer than the UA Ridge Reaper line. Comparably, I have less expense into my Kuiu insulation + outer layer system than I have into the Sitka parka and bibs.

The Guide Series material is very similar to those black North Face jackets everyone has been wearing for several years. Incredible wind breaking, good water proofing, and very warm, yet light and breathable for active hunting. Comparably, I paid $150 for my Guide Jacket, whereas I paid the same for my wife's North Face jacket, and paid MORE for a similar Columbia jacket.

So while I can't speak for their wool base layer, I can say I'm very pleased with the Kenai, Guide, and Chinook products from Kuiu.

I'll second, also, that Merino wool isn't just plain ol' wool. I'm probably the most fabric-finicky hillbilly around, can't stand itchy fabrics, so wool and I just don't mix. I'm often in poly pro, or even cotton base layers, but when things get really cold, or if I need to be mobile THEN sit still, it's Merino wool. I have a few Icebreaker sets, but most often wear Specialized merino base layers (cycling) - can't say I have a good reason though, just like the Specialized stuff.

Last edited by Nomercy448; 06-28-2016 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 08-08-2016, 10:37 AM
  #7  
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I have upgrades to merino wool long underwear for elk hunting. For 25 years I used polypropylene long underwear (initially for backpacking -- I didn't start big game hunting until 2002 and elk hunting in 2006). The poly worked but started to get a little holy and scratchy. I got medium weight Minus 33 merino wool and love it. It is comfortable next to my skin. It breathes and releases sweat well. It is warm. Love it. I hunt elk at 10,500 feet in SW Colorado in mid-October. It is cold in the mornings but warms up through the day if the sun is out (15 degrees in the morning, 55 degrees in the afternoon). I think I have medium weight merino wool, which is suitable to our elk hunting temperature ranges.
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Old 08-22-2016, 03:23 PM
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I have 4 different brands of merino base layers (two of which you mention) and SmartWool is my favorite. I have hunted in below 0 temps and in heavy snow hunting elk in CO and deer in SD. I have only tried a heavier weight than the medium weight 190's once and I did not care for it. Just my opinion, but the 190's and lighter weight base layers, breathe better and work to wick away sweat quicker than the heavier weights. I use my second layer and or outer layer for warmth, not my base layers.
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Old 09-29-2018, 09:09 AM
  #9  
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I've had a pair of the 250 Icebreaker leggings for coming on 6 years now, and I"m super happy with them. I've heard from some, however, that the quality has declined as Icebreaker have moved towards synthetic/merino blends.
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Old 09-30-2018, 09:45 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Oldtimr View Post
I cannot stand wool on my skin, any kind of wool, even socks.n.
Merino wool is nothing like what you think of for wool.

I only wear merino wool socks.

Not even worth discussing it.
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