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KUIU: A Functional, Aesthetic Outdoor Apparel Company Founded by a Retired NFL Player


While outdoor attire should primarily be functional—keeping you warm, dry, and protected from the elements—there’s no reason to forsake stylishness while answering the call of the wild. Fortunately, with the right brands, you can dress as smartly in Mother Nature’s wilds as you do in the urban wilds.

In the same elite echelon as Patagonia, North Face, or 66 North, Kuiu, a company out of northern California, crafts high-performance outdoor gear with a rugged, masculine aesthetic. Founded by Jason Hairston, a retired NFL player, Kuiu strives to push the boundaries of design and fabric technology, making ever lighter, quieter, and more durable outdoor attire. Kuiu initially gained a following among hunters and fishermen, but the attire’s handsome look appeals to sportsmen and non-sportsmen alike. You can also feel good about supporting Kuiu, as a large portion of their profits go toward restoring game habitat in the American West.

These products from Kuiu are outdoor attire that’s as attractive as it is hardy and functional.

KUIU gila ls shirt
Gila LS Crew

The Gila LS Crew is a versatile workhouse in any winter wardrobe. During the fall, I wear my Gila LS Crew by itself over a shirt, and during the coldest days of winter, I layer it under my Kuiu Super Down LT jacket. The light sweater is well-suited for running on chilly days, when you need a light windbreaker but nothing too cumbersome. The solid black design and v neck look natty over an oxford shirt, and I often pair my Gila LS Crew with business casual attire.

Buy: $69
KUIU sweater vest
Base Camp Sweater Vest

I never understood the appeal of sweater vests—why not just wear a full fleece?—until I tested out the Base Camp Sweater Vest, that is. Like the Gila LS Crew, the fleece vest works well by itself in mild weather or as an added layer of insulation when the cold cuts deep. Allowing more mobility and comfort than full fleeces, vests also make the torso look more athletic and v-shaped—the same appeal as a three-piece suit. Perfect for a fall tailgate or early spring hike, the vest boasts spacious breast pockets for toting doggie bags, a cell phone, or a hunting knife.

Buy: $79
KUIU fleece bottoms
Encounter 290 Fleece Bottoms

Leon Leonwood Bean, Maine’s most famous clothier, famously quipped, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.” You don’t have to sacrifice comfort when temperatures plummet, but you do need to adjust your wardrobe accordingly. The Encounter 200 Fleece Bottoms are a godsend on snowy days, keeping your lower body toasty on even the most frigid winter nights in Boston, Chicago, or Denver. Designed to keep dove hunters warm during long hours in hunting blinds, the Encounter Bottoms are made with ultra-warm and breathable polyester jacquard fleece. For those unlikely to find themselves in a duck blind at the crack of dawn, these long johns, thin and stretchy, feel comfortable under a pair of designer jeans or khakis.

Buy: $99
KUIU terrace shirt
Terrace Shirt

Like a good flannel, the Terrace Shirt blends ruggedness with elegance. While a functional work shirt first and foremost, the Terrace Shirt, available in neutral colors like stone and chambray, looks sharp paired with denim or corduroys. The breast pocket’s sturdy buttons safeguard small items, with enough space to tote a passport, pack of Zyn, or wallet. The discreet interior pocket is ample enough to carry a paperback book or Kindle. For a dash of western bravado, I rock my favorite bolo tie with my Terrace Shirt.

Buy: $89
KUIU superdown jacket
Superdown LT Jacket

Engineered to keep hunters warm, nimble, and silent in the woods, the Superdown LT Jacket is as high-performing as a Canada Goose jacket—but at a fraction of the price. The outer layer of the jacket is made from Toray, a high-quality nylon that keeps out the wet even during a downpour. An interior layer of Quixdown, bird down cleaned and processed in Japan, keeps the wearer cozy, and you can cinch the drawstring on the waist for extra heat conservation. Available in solid black, gray, or camo, the Superdow LT Jacket is one of the most handsome men’s winter jackets on the market.

Buy: $299
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