First Lite Kiln Hoody Review

Weston Schrank

First Lite Kiln Hoody Review

Last Year (2023) I took the time to rebuild my layering system and hunting system in an overall wider effort to drop weight and dial things into a very simple system requiring minimal layering. This should also require minimal purchases. A big undertaking no doubt, but something I could easily get done with research and asking around to a few guys dialing in their gear in the same fashion. 

Most of my time was to be spent in the limestone hills of southern Indiana, northern Kentucky, and a few out-of-state hunts potentially, including North Dakota. My main target bucks started suggesting my time was to be spent walking in miles targeting public land bucks, starting early targeting velvet bucks in Nodak and Kentucky. Later on, late October would get to chilly cold front nights, progressing to chilly November mornings, and ending with bitter cold sweat drenched late season grinds…The problem was, that I owned a lot of fleece and heavier-weight jackets, I needed to lighten my load with something that could work early season, mid-season, and be crucial layering in the late season. Enter the kiln hoody from First Lite 

A Great Fit to Your Layering System

One big want was a lightweight hoodie that could span as my “cold morning or afternoon”  in Nodak or Kentucky, my constantly worn midweight jacket for October, and then my underlying warmth for a late-season hunt. Merino was a must, the nature of this hoodie being worn over thermals, or my First Lite Aerowool T-shirt meant sweat would come in contact. I turned to the Kiln hoodie. My thoughts were that at first glance It’s an obvious step above the wick hoody or trace series, but light enough to be worn comfortably in an early-mid season hunt. This would come to be a crucial part in rebuilding my layering system.

Kiln Hoody – MIDWEIGHT 250 MERINO-X

From September elk to January mallards, the Kiln Midweight 250 Merino-X Hoody is our do-it-all hooded base layer. The successor to our best-selling Chama Hoody, this piece is constructed of Merino-X for improved structure and resistance to tears and bagging.

Price: $135

  • Layering Position – Midlayer
  • True to size: Purchase your normal size to wear over or under other layers
  • 18.5 micron, superfine merino wool
  • 95% merino / 5% spandex

First Lite Kiln Hoody Specs

Per usual First Lite nails how this fits in the system for a hunter. From September early season to late season hunts…the kiln offers a 250-gram Merino X – meaning it is both lightweight and offers to take the chill off as your top early/mid layer. Moreover, the Merino X and other features keep this crucial piece odor-free as it gets sweated in frequently. 

Features

  • True to size: Purchase your normal size to wear over or under other layers
  • 18.5 micron, superfine merino wool
  • 95% merino / 5% spandex
  • Interlock knit for high loft insulation and moisture management
  • Ergonomic, quarter zip hood for excellent temperature regulation and concealment
  • Modified raglan sleeve moves seams out from under backpack shoulder straps
  • Flatlock seams for next-to-skin comfort
  • Machine wash, line dry

PROS:

  • Very Lightweight

  • Warm for the weight/where it needs to be

  • Retains its shape and “tightness”

CONS:

  • Watch the washes, in my experience and from the reviews the long-term durability might be the only potential con.
  • Pay special attention to garment care.

Where this fits in my Hunting Clothing system. 

The First Lite Kiln hoody is a great first-layer or second-layer option. I own two Aerowool shirts, and use a few more lifestyle t-shirts as well. I use these as my base, not my merino thermals…. I also wear a mix of Corrugate pants, obsidian foundry, and heavyweight bibs. When I walk in deep into public I don’t wear any pant layers, just my top pants, and an Aerwool tech shirt with the kiln hoodie on. Once I warm up I strip the hoodie off and get to the tree. Before putting my saddle on I strip everything off, usually including my socks then rebuild the layering system. By the end of it I have my sweat-soaked Aerowool tech shirt and sock tucked away in a ziplock bag to be washed once I get home. My layering system starts with Merino thermals bottom and top, and usually, a pair of shorts or sweats if it’s really cold before my top layer first lite corrugate or obsidian foundry pants, the kiln hoodie, perhaps a fleece top or heavier weight hoodie (might get the furnace to fill in here), a 600 down packable jacket, then a sanctuary 2.0 jacket top if it’s very cold. 

This Kiln Hoody fits perfectly in this system and is a crucial part of the early and mid-season, I would recommend picking this one up for your layering system. 

Ready to buy? First Lite Kiln hoody are only sold on FirstLite.com and Amazon.

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AUTHOR BIO

Weston Schrank is a hunting industry professional with years of whitetail management and hunting experience in the Midwest. He is currently expanding that experience in the mobile hunting world, and the world of western hunting.

Instagram- @wes.schrank

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