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Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude #8961897 11/26/23 01:42 PM
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Hello fellow Texans!

There are some deep discounts on hunting clothing this shopping season so I am upgrading my kit. I have been using a bit of a hodgepodge in terms of patterns comprised of Browning Hell's Canyon tops (Speed Backcountry FM Windstopper and their puffy jacket) and a pair of mismatched hunting pants. Pants have some kind of loud material in them, the puffy is loud and tends to catch on stuff in the woods. Under 40 I start to get cold even with base and mid layers under the pants.

I am in Central Texas and hunt all over the state. In the winter months we can expect 30's to 50's, with some mornings in the 20's. I will sit in a stand or spot and stalk in West Texas. I am primarily interested in which of these sets can cover my temp range (20's-65) without the need for so many layers that I am like the kid in a Christmas Story.

It looks like the Stratus set may be in the sweet spot (and the KUIU less insulating and the XD more insulating) but I have them all coming so I can try them on and get general impressions of build quality and fit.

Do you guys have experience with these sets and, if so, any comments on temp range, build quality, warranty service, opinions on layout, etc?

Even on sale these things are not cheap so I would like to do this once and be good for a few years. I ordered the Stratus jacket/pants (bibs sold out) and same for the KUIU, for the XD I ordered the jacket and bibs.

Thanks in advance.

Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: QPM] #8962688 11/27/23 05:39 PM
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I have Kuiu Guide DCS jacket and Guide pants. Sounds like our bodies are different, but I wear them with nothing but a base layer at 30F and sweat my [censored] off hiking in the mountains. I have to open the pit and leg vents.

They are very durable - I've worn them in prickly country along the border of Mexico too and they have no snags.

Kuiu is known (or has been) for erratic fit. My jacket is a 3X (biggest they have). It's like the sleeves come up to high to the armpit. If there was a 4X I probably would have got it. I don't own a single 3X item in all of my wardrobe aside from the jacket. The pants are a little on the big side - 40 waist. 38 waist was too small. Most of my other pants are 38, some are 36. I'm 6' 1" 250.


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Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: Mickey Moose] #8962730 11/27/23 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Mickey Moose
I have Kuiu Guide DCS jacket and Guide pants. Sounds like our bodies are different, but I wear them with nothing but a base layer at 30F and sweat my [censored] off hiking in the mountains. I have to open the pit and leg vents.

They are very durable - I've worn them in prickly country along the border of Mexico too and they have no snags.

Kuiu is known (or has been) for erratic fit. My jacket is a 3X (biggest they have). It's like the sleeves come up to high to the armpit. If there was a 4X I probably would have got it. I don't own a single 3X item in all of my wardrobe aside from the jacket. The pants are a little on the big side - 40 waist. 38 waist was too small. Most of my other pants are 38, some are 36. I'm 6' 1" 250.


I could not agree more. I was just at the Kuiu Dallas store. On the Peleton 240 jacket and vest I have to go to a 3X. They are all athletic cut for someone 5.8 175. I am a fit 6ft 225 and I have to go 3X.

Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: QPM] #8963428 11/28/23 08:17 PM
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Welcome to our forum. I cant help you but when Bobo chimes in give him a listen. TxBuckeye will have good comments as well.


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Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: QPM] #8963445 11/28/23 08:54 PM
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My only experience with the three listed is the stratus, although I do have other kuiu pieces but no First lite outer gear (only have some of their merino undies).

My thoughts are you are talking about multiple different applications and with such differing applications comes great differences in technical gear such as what you are asking about.

The stratus sets are great treestand pieces. I love my stratus gear when hanging in a tree, but I would never stalk with it on. it isn't breathable. It collects burrs and weedy things really badly, it doesn't have pit zips or another ability to dump heat (tho the bibs do, the pants do not). It isn't designed for anything other than hanging in a tree. I can get into the upper 30's with a base and a light mid layer with just the stratus gear. I have taken it much lower in a pinch and it works but it requires layers.

Kuiu guide jacket may be a great stalking jacket. It has been compared to the sitka jetstream jacket and for good reason, it is a good piece of western gear. The closest I have to it is the axis pant, and I love those for later season as they are warm enough but with the hip vents can dump heat when active. Very durable, and lightly water-proof (have never had then in a down pour). Kuiu as mentioned is a little inconsistent on sizes but I have found I fit a large on top really well and pants I size up one size and am fine. For stalking, this would be my go to of the three listed.

I have no experience with the solitude. My understanding is it is a treestand type piece that isn't great for stalking, more insulated than the stratus so less need to layer. I just don't have any experience with first lite gear aside from their merino undies.


all are going to be top notch gear, but I have heard some rumors about first lite being a little less lately since ranella took it over. All are made overseas. warranty will be comparable, you can find good and bad out there about all their CS depts. I have not had to use any of the CS depts so no first hand knowledge.

Last edited by Texas buckeye; 11/28/23 08:55 PM.
Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: QPM] #8963609 11/29/23 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by QPM
Hello fellow Texans!

There are some deep discounts on hunting clothing this shopping season so I am upgrading my kit. I have been using a bit of a hodgepodge in terms of patterns comprised of Browning Hell's Canyon tops (Speed Backcountry FM Windstopper and their puffy jacket) and a pair of mismatched hunting pants. Pants have some kind of loud material in them, the puffy is loud and tends to catch on stuff in the woods. Under 40 I start to get cold even with base and mid layers under the pants.

I am in Central Texas and hunt all over the state. In the winter months we can expect 30's to 50's, with some mornings in the 20's. I will sit in a stand or spot and stalk in West Texas. I am primarily interested in which of these sets can cover my temp range (20's-65) without the need for so many layers that I am like the kid in a Christmas Story.

It looks like the Stratus set may be in the sweet spot (and the KUIU less insulating and the XD more insulating) but I have them all coming so I can try them on and get general impressions of build quality and fit.

Do you guys have experience with these sets and, if so, any comments on temp range, build quality, warranty service, opinions on layout, etc?

Even on sale these things are not cheap so I would like to do this once and be good for a few years. I ordered the Stratus jacket/pants (bibs sold out) and same for the KUIU, for the XD I ordered the jacket and bibs.

Thanks in advance.


Pretty much in the same ballpark as you. 6’3” 225 pounds and I start getting cold under 50 and real cold in the 30’s. I prefer later season hunting and night hunting pigs & coyotes over anything, so December-March is my main hunting times. I wouldn’t call myself much of a stalker, more of a find a tree and sit for a bit and then move some. I need warmth without feeling restricted

Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: QPM] #8963663 11/29/23 02:13 AM
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Here would be my must haves for the hunting you described



Pants
Sitka - 330 zip off merino base pants
Kuiu - Kutana Pants cool to hot weather
Kuiu - Guide pants cool to cold, use merino base if needed. Kuiu pants are my choice because of the vents

Other pants I personally like are the Sitka traverse ( hot weather )and timberline pants ( moving around sitting/ knees etc). IF Sitka had side vents on all pants they would win


Jackets
Sitka- Jetstream
Sitka- Ambient hooded jacket , packable and made for moving around. Wear under jetstream when cold. These 3 are packable and can cover your described hunting
Sitka - Dewpoint rain coat

Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: QPM] #8964150 11/29/23 10:21 PM
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Hood on the mid layer (Kenai/Ambient) and no hood on the outer layer (Guide/Rubicon/Jetstream), or vice versa?

Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: QPM] #8964184 11/29/23 11:05 PM
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I hate buying clothes through mail order so once I made up my mind to go with Sitka, I was pretty much committed. Had I have gone with Kuiu, I would've pretty much stayed with them once I found my size. I live in central Nebraska and pretty much hunt the Platte for Whitetail with an occasional trip out west for antelope. I am 5'9" and 250 I wear XXL in Sitka. At least I have found (with what) I have once I found my size (which was correct using their sizing chart estimates the first attempt) the XXL size seems to fit every time. Gloves are another story. I think it's probably because their gloves are made somewhere in Cambodia, the sizes run small. I wear an ML golf glove and Large in Sitka is pretty snug for me but the correct size. I guess someone with large hands just has to buy another brand. Here's my set up for the hunting I do. Temps here can range down to single digits or the next year it could be Tshirts. Here's my Sitka warddrobe which I had to add to once but now, I'm pretty much covered for whatever mother nature can dish out here.

Sitka: light hoody, heavy hoody, Ambient jacket - no hood, Stratus jacket and bibs, Fanatic Vest (this I added after getting quite cold last year opening day in low 20;s), Fanatic gloves and Traverse gloves (both are light gloves. I can't stand heavy but it's amazing how warm they are.

I saw another poster mentioned weed seeds catching on the Stratus line. I have found that to be the case also.

The only Kuiu product I have is their cellphone case for my bino pack. Personally, the Kuiu bino pack is not for people 5'9" and 250 if you hunt in extremely cold weather and have to add on heavy layers. I thought the Sitka bino pack straps looked pretty thin but I have never tried them on. I use a bino pack I got from Hornady that has elastic in bino pack straps that suits me quite well at about 1/2 the cost of either.

Maybe in Texas, you could get by with layering up to the Stratus but in Nebraska, you have to go one step further (at least in my experience) for the occasional cold snap that can and will hit here during WT rifle season. It does have to get pretty cold to add on the Fanatic line.

Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: QPM] #8964217 11/29/23 11:59 PM
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I have Sitka and Kuiu. Kuiu is a better product in my opinion.

Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: QPM] #8964229 11/30/23 12:14 AM
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Thank you for all the feedback; I appreciate it. On thing I did notice about the XD warranty is that there is a bit of fine print in the warranty. Philosophically, I kind of am partial to Kuiu... Hairston founded Sitka and was forced out (from what I hear) after selling to GoreTex so the fact he just did it again (perhaps even better) is kind of a cool one finger salute.

Totally agree on the peculiarities of sizing. All my Kuiu pants are a perfect fit at 32, length on other brands can be a bit hit or miss. Some of my selection will be dependent on this. Also I am pretty lean, so jackets tend to be too big in the tummy or too short on the arms and I am not a fan of overly long sleeves. Boy, we can be a picky lot.

I did order the Axis set too... as long as I can dump heat might serve well for all around.

Very good points on the "meant for the tree" and ability to withstand burrs/seeds/ or whatever. Might land on the lighter insulated Kuiu and just layer up as needed (though I do like a removeable hood)... if I start to do more real cold stuff I might just have to add a separate kit for that.

I will open these shipments up tomorrow and report back.

I might be (am likely) asking too much of a specialized 2 piece to cover such a temp range. First thing I told my wife when all this boxes started showing up, "don't worry, i am only keeping one" cool

Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: QPM] #8964267 11/30/23 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by QPM
Thank you for all the feedback; I appreciate it. On thing I did notice about the XD warranty is that there is a bit of fine print in the warranty. Philosophically, I kind of am partial to Kuiu... Hairston founded Sitka and was forced out (from what I hear) after selling to GoreTex so the fact he just did it again (perhaps even better) is kind of a cool one finger salute.

Totally agree on the peculiarities of sizing. All my Kuiu pants are a perfect fit at 32, length on other brands can be a bit hit or miss. Some of my selection will be dependent on this. Also I am pretty lean, so jackets tend to be too big in the tummy or too short on the arms and I am not a fan of overly long sleeves. Boy, we can be a picky lot.

I did order the Axis set too... as long as I can dump heat might serve well for all around.

Very good points on the "meant for the tree" and ability to withstand burrs/seeds/ or whatever. Might land on the lighter insulated Kuiu and just layer up as needed (though I do like a removeable hood)... if I start to do more real cold stuff I might just have to add a separate kit for that.

I will open these shipments up tomorrow and report back.

I might be (am likely) asking too much of a specialized 2 piece to cover such a temp range. First thing I told my wife when all this boxes started showing up, "don't worry, i am only keeping one" cool



I have had both Sitka and Kuiu and as others said they are two deferent animals. I have had the Stratus jacket and pants for the last 3 years hunting in southwest TX and i have really liked it. Mainly stand hunting and riding around in a truck but it is warm with just a layer under each item. I will say i have the Kuiu Attack pants and i really like them as well and wear them with the stratus jacket when walking and have no issues at all with getting too hot with the side vents.

Since i do more stand hunting i dont want to put on a bunch of layers like you need with Kuiu to get the same warmth you get with Sitka with 2 layers. That being said i have not tried their Encounter line yet that is supposed to rival the Stratus line.

Also, the Kuiu base layer Merino wool shirts are awesome and would recommend you looking at those as well.

Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: QPM] #8964592 11/30/23 03:46 PM
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So far, the KUIU guide jacket is really well thought out and a M fits perfect on me at 5'10 150. Hopefully the Axis is the same fit but a little beefier.
My other KUIU pants (ie the attack) fit perfectly when I get the 32 short (I would like a 30 leg). As far as I can tell, they don't offer the more robust pants in sizes other than regular and the 34" leg is freakishly long on me. I could layer one base under pants max.

The Stratus feels like the softest, most comfortable piece of clothing I have picked up. Oddly enough their M pants are usually long on me, but for me (32 30) the M stratus pants fit perfectly; you could wear a base layer and one more underneath if you wanted to.
Removable hood is nice. No zips for heat dump is a minus. I can see how this would catch brush given the texture, though my gaiters would help. All in all, for utilitarian hunting clothing, these are freakin' comfortable.

I might keep the stratus set and the guide or axis and with my existing pieces of gear should be able to cover a lot of temp ranges (maybe down to 20ish?) and a lot of activiy levels, i.e., Stratus for the stand, kuiu jacket and attack pants with base for the stalk.

Axis will be here tomorrow and the First Lite by Tuesday so will give you my impressions of those when they come in.

Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: QPM] #8964668 11/30/23 05:19 PM
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the guide is just a soft shell jacket that doesnt do any thing great except durability


Donate to TX Youth hunting program.... better to donate then to waste it in taxes

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Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: QPM] #8965064 12/01/23 02:47 AM
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Kuiu axis are great! I really like my pants. When my jetstream jacket wears out, i will lilely pick up an axis jacket to replace.

The stratus line is great too, with the above mentioned cons, but for what they are designed to do and some extra, they are the bomb. Glad you like them on first impression, they wont disappoint in the stand.

Let us know what you think of the first lite.


Also, kuiu bases are great, their promerino is one of my favorite base shirts for mild conditions, just so comfy and combo wicking/breathable/warm/comfortable…just don’t put it in the dryer. I didnt read the label and lost a full size that my son now wears. He loves that shirt too.
Sitka’s new core merino line is actually pretty good too, comfortable and does what it says and can be washed and dried like normal clothes.

You might consider the ambient jacket as a layer you can wear static under the stratus to take you really low in temp but then wear during activity as an amazing piece. The ambient line is just fantastic. And in solids xan be used outside of hunting as well.

Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: Texas buckeye] #8965123 12/01/23 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
Kuiu axis are great! I really like my pants. When my jetstream jacket wears out, i will lilely pick up an axis jacket to replace.

The stratus line is great too, with the above mentioned cons, but for what they are designed to do and some extra, they are the bomb. Glad you like them on first impression, they wont disappoint in the stand.

Let us know what you think of the first lite.


Also, kuiu bases are great, their promerino is one of my favorite base shirts for mild conditions, just so comfy and combo wicking/breathable/warm/comfortable…just don’t put it in the dryer. I didnt read the label and lost a full size that my son now wears. He loves that shirt too.
Sitka’s new core merino line is actually pretty good too, comfortable and does what it says and can be washed and dried like normal clothes.

You might consider the ambient jacket as a layer you can wear static under the stratus to take you really low in temp but then wear during activity as an amazing piece. The ambient line is just fantastic. And in solids xan be used outside of hunting as well.


axis waterproof panels make it way better then guide IMO.

FYI, Sitka has veteran discount through GovX. 40% off

the ambient line are my most loved technical telling. I have hooded pull over, vest, and just ordered 60 and hooded jacket in solids


Donate to TX Youth hunting program.... better to donate then to waste it in taxes

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Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: BOBO the Clown] #8965176 12/01/23 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
Kuiu axis are great! I really like my pants. When my jetstream jacket wears out, i will lilely pick up an axis jacket to replace.

The stratus line is great too, with the above mentioned cons, but for what they are designed to do and some extra, they are the bomb. Glad you like them on first impression, they wont disappoint in the stand.

Let us know what you think of the first lite.


Also, kuiu bases are great, their promerino is one of my favorite base shirts for mild conditions, just so comfy and combo wicking/breathable/warm/comfortable…just don’t put it in the dryer. I didnt read the label and lost a full size that my son now wears. He loves that shirt too.
Sitka’s new core merino line is actually pretty good too, comfortable and does what it says and can be washed and dried like normal clothes.

You might consider the ambient jacket as a layer you can wear static under the stratus to take you really low in temp but then wear during activity as an amazing piece. The ambient line is just fantastic. And in solids xan be used outside of hunting as well.


axis waterproof panels make it way better then guide IMO.

FYI, Sitka has veteran discount through GovX. 40% off

the ambient line are my most loved technical telling. I have hooded pull over, vest, and just ordered 60 and hooded jacket in solids

Thank you BOBO; yes, the veteran program makes this possible...otherwise my wife would skin me. I notice that you advocate donating to TX Youth hunting program. I work for a group who is actively engaged in work with Parks and the TWA; we routinely host youth hunts on our property. We probably know some of the same people!

Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: QPM] #8966862 12/03/23 09:23 PM
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I am not normally an indecisive person; this is ridiculous. Considering that the Guide doesn't do much, I was heading toward the Axis, but at that point I can get the Jetstream for the same price so it's on its way.

The solitude is likely overkill for most of what I do in Texas.

Keeping the stratus top/bottom and getting the Jetstream for more active occasions. Will use pants/hats/vests/gloves that I already have with it.

Might add a Traverse hoody.

I think I am zeroing in on a flexible kit that should that should do me pretty well for year round.

Thanks again for your help. My 9 year old daughter makes decisions faster than this.

Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: QPM] #8967339 12/04/23 03:58 PM
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Paralysis via analysis...I too live in this world roflmao

I have a jetstream and an axis should be here today. I have come to the conclusion I like the Kuiu pants better and I like their camo better (wouldn't buy based upon this). You'll love your jetstream jacket, it's far and away the best jacket I've ever owned...to the point I really wish I would've bought a solid because I'd wear it more. I found a deal on the axis and I was curious how it stacked up to the jetstream...that's the only reason I bought it. My plans are to send one of them to my Dad for Christmas.


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Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: QPM] #8967695 12/04/23 11:29 PM
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I am like BOBO in my love for the ambient line. Have both the hoodie and the jacket. Its been so popular sitka cane up with new designs that are even better than the originals. Have enough bases but if i needed one i would go to the 60UL ambient in a heartbeat.

The ambient line is very versatile and just works. I have worn them in hunting applications, skiing, and casual wear, and they just work every time.

For anyone not owning one, i highly recommend. Of course the govt discount makes things much easier to swallow, but they are able to be found on sale places such as camofire for 25% off somewhat regularly and periodic sales, as well as in big box stores so discounts and points can be used for them.

Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: Judd] #8967994 12/05/23 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Judd
...I really wish I would've bought a solid...

Judd, please tell me you didn't make the mistake I did and go Holstein cow!


My botnet is bigger than yours.
Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: Mickey Moose] #8968032 12/05/23 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Mickey Moose
Originally Posted by Judd
...I really wish I would've bought a solid...

Judd, please tell me you didn't make the mistake I did and go Holstein cow!


Verde...but as far as Kuiu camo, big fan of the Valo.

FYI...the jetstream jacket is heavier than the axis. I like it better but not knocking the axis. I like the jetstream enough I think I'm going to sell the axis and buy my Dad a jetstream as he lives in KY and could use the additional warmth.


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Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: QPM] #8968217 12/05/23 08:59 PM
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You're gonna like the Jetstream Jacket. No matter the temps, it's my outer layer. You can open it up at the waist if need be and get it over a down puffer, that's what I do. I have the Sitka Mountain Pants in the same pattern (Subalpine I believe), cap also that I can loosen up and slip over a balaclava or beanie. I sit right out in the open a lot, maybe just up against a tree and blend in very well. See the video pasted here. https://texashuntingforum.com/forum...uck-right-into-their-bedroom#Post8961981


An unethical shot is one you take, that you know you shouldn't.
Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: Judd] #8968271 12/05/23 10:08 PM
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Mickey Moose Online Content
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Originally Posted by Judd
Originally Posted by Mickey Moose
Judd, please tell me you didn't make the mistake I did and go Holstein cow!

Verde...but as far as Kuiu camo, big fan of the Valo.

Acceptable.


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Re: Sitka Stratus/Kuiu Guide/XD Solitude [Re: QPM] #8973113 12/15/23 01:30 PM
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Well, here's where I landed... went a little overboard, but the sales were so good it's like they were paying me to shop (combined with the mil/le discount got me to 42% off) .... that's how my wife always leads "well, they ORIGINALLY wanted..."

Base/warm weather:
Sitka Core Lightweight LS
Merino 220
Ascent

mid/outer:
Sitka Traverse

Legs:
Stratus Bibs (for me they are better than the pant with the ability to dump heat)
Kuiu Talus (heftier pants, not as beefy as stratus, but they sell these in 32 short)

Misc:
incinerator hat/Jetstream beanie/super fuzzy neck muff (The incinerator is a freaking great hat and that neck muff might be my favorite piece out of the whole kit), a variety of gloves I have around (traverse, badlands, banded, nomad)

The only question I have left.... I have both the Jetstream (which is great, wore for a 2.5 hour sit at 40 with Traverse and was just right)
and the Stratus.

I can send the Stratus back but am willing to keep it if it offers something better/different than the Jetstream, but it feels like the Jetstream can probably pull double duty (spot and stalk/sit with layers).

Of course, Sitka says, "well they are designed to do entirely different things and the stratus is way warmer," any thoughts on keep them both or using the Jetstream as a "do it all" jacket?

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