The US military’s various research and development arms may be world-renowned when it comes to designing advanced weapons and gear, but when it comes to camo, the US Navy SEALs want what they go hunting in. Kuiu, which produces premium, ultralight hunting and fishing clothing and gear, is about to step into a completely new arena after it announced that it was now producing combat-ready kits for the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU). According the Popular Mechanics, it all began when some Navy SEALs purchased Kuiu gear for some off-base hunting expeditions. It turned out that the SEALs were so impressed, they asked DEVGRU if it was possible to use Kuiu gear while on deployment. The company is now working on producing 34 full kits for the SEALs to take on deployment in the Middle East as a test run.
“I wanted to make the lightest and highest performing Mountain Hunting clothing possible,” Kuiu’s founder, 44-year-old Jason Hairston, wrote on his blog. “I wanted to create a brand that stood for uncompromised quality, uncompromised performance, and where the whole process, the design and technology and sourcing, are shared with the consumer.”
A former football player who helped found Sitka, Hairston already has significant name recognition in the hunting industry. With Kuiu, Hairston said he wanted to go back to basics with extremely reliable, durable—and as some have pointed out, expensive—gear that would keep up with the most demanding of customers.
“I grew up reading about hunting lore and legend (Fred Bear, Saxton Pope, Art Young) and listening to hunting stories told around the campfire. Hunting has always been as much about adventure and experience and survival as anything else,” Hairston wrote. “I mean the kill is the reason for taking a bush plane into Unalakleet, landing on a gravel bar and floating a river for nine days. Without a tag and the hunt you wouldn’t have a reason to be there. But the whole process—the gear selection and packing, the travel, all of the pieces that need to come together, and all of the hard work and effort hiking and setting up camp and dealing with the weather—that’s all a part of the experience.”
For DEVGRU, Hairston says he is applying the same philosophy. The 34 complete kits are set to include breathable pants for hot desert climates, arid weather shirts, and a seven-piece collection for cold-weather operations. Like Kuiu’s usual products, the gear will be strenuously tested in both the lab and in the field.
Testing gear in the field may sound like fun, but not always. You can see Kuiu test their gear to the limit in this promo below: