While it’s possible to hunt in cheap camo clothing, it’s not always the most comfortable or effective for your situation. Cotton tends to absorb water, poorly constructed garments don’t fit well, and your camo pattern may not blend into anything but the shopping rack at the store. If you’re one of those hunters who likes to push yourself in different hunting scenarios (especially with lots of hiking or spot-and-stalk hunts), you’re undoubtedly familiar with KUIU. This premium brand is well-known for its untraditional patterns, innovative designs, and garments made for active hunting. I got the chance to try out their Axis jacket with the brand new Valo camo pattern, and here’s what I thought.
KUIU AXIS HYBRID HOODED JACKET REVIEW
The Axis Hybrid Jacket is designed for the active late-season hunter and is KUIU’s most advanced jacket to date. It’s a true hybrid, combining fabrics and technologies to provide a garment that is more versatile and performs better in a wide range of temperature and moisture conditions.
• 22.3 oz
• Toray Primeflex 100% Polyester, & wind-resistant bonded fleece
• Toray Dermizax waterproof breathable membrane (hood, shoulders & top of arms)
• Spandex-free all direction stretch
KUIU Axis Jacket Materials and Design
I was beyond excited to try out the KUIU Axis jacket because it’s loaded with impressive features and looks great too. They call this a hybrid jacket for a good reason. To accomplish warmth, breathability, and waterproofing, the jacket is strategically designed. Waterproof membranes are included in the hood, shoulders, and the top of the arms because these are the areas where rain typically hits you hardest. But to be both breathable and wind-resistant, the rest of the jacket includes a Toray high-stretch fabric bonded to a midweight fleece backing. The Primeflex™ fabric uses an exclusive spiral yarn technology that lets the fabric flex and stretch without absorbing water, making it about 40% less weight than traditional stretchable fabrics. Meanwhile, the exterior features what they call K DWR® (KUIU Durable Water Resistant), which effectively keeps water from penetrating the fabric.
VALO Camo by KUIU
The Axis jacket I reviewed was one of the first items to carry the new camo pattern by KUIU, called VALO – I was very excited to see this one in-person. This pattern is the first by KUIU that incorporates more brown tones, which is perfect for dormant vegetation in the late fall season. The low-contrast design uses tones that actually take on a different hue depending on what environment you’re in. According to KUIU, the low-contrast pattern is excellent for blending into areas with uniform vegetation. I could immediately imagine putting it to use while bow hunting this fall in Minnesota’s deciduous trees and underbrush.
When I received the jacket in the mail, I noticed two things. First, I was amazed a late-season hunting jacket could fit into such a small package! It folds up small and is very lightweight, which means it’s also very packable. The other thing I noticed was how well the jacket fits me. It doesn’t feel loose when worn over a t-shirt, but it doesn’t feel tight with an insulating sweatshirt underneath either.
KUIU Axis Jacket Testing
I received this jacket a little late to truly test it for cold weather conditions. But I did get a few days of 40 to 50-degree weather and rain to see how it might work. As far as the overall function, it performed really well. The hood, cuffs, and bottom hem are adjustable. Perfect for when you want to really seal out the wind or rain. The hood can quickly be tightened by pulling down on the drawstrings. There is an internal cord lock tom hold the strings tight. To release them, just push the button inside the base of the hood.
One thing I hate with wearing rain gear while hunting is how loud it can be, and how sweaty I end up getting inside. So I was optimistic about the KUIU Axis jacket design. To test the water repellency and breathability, I stood outside during a moderate rain event this spring for 20 to 30 minutes while cleaning up the yard. The fabric wasn’t loud when raindrops hit me. I also noticed water droplets beading up on my shoulder and rolling right down the sleeve. The hood and visor are large enough to cover the brim of my hat well and performed similarly to the sleeves, keeping all the water off my head.
While wearing it, I never felt like I was being smothered. But I do like the zippered underarm vents. I can see opening those up while walking to my hunting locations to let some heat out and avoid sweating so much. After the rain, I felt the jacket interior to see how much (if any) water had penetrated the exterior. Happily, I couldn’t find any obvious leakage areas. But also importantly, I didn’t notice any condensation/sweat from my body heat either. That’s an essential feature for activewear.
As far as the new KUIU Valo camo pattern, it looks great. Although I didn’t have the best time of year to try it out for actual in-season conditions, I like how it disappears even in the vivid greens of spring. With some minor branches in front of the jacket, it completely fades away. And if the leaves were more muted (yellow, brown, etc.), I think you could sit right in front of them and hide in plain sight. I’m excited to see how it will do in late season dormant vegetation this fall.
One potential downside I noted is that there are only three zippered pockets. If you’re the kind of person who likes to carry a lot of stuff (e.g., calls, keys, fire starters, etc.) on you, this could be a disadvantage. I generally have a backpack with me, so this really isn’t a big deal for me.
VALO Camo KUIU Axis Jacket Review Summary
I tried to pick the jacket apart, but couldn’t find much for downsides. This is a stellar jacket, and I can’t wait to wear it in a tree stand come October!
Thanks to Ryan Lisson for writing this unpaid review. and to KUIU for providing the Axis Hybrid Jacket for evaluation. Hunting Gear Deals is funded by affiliate commissions. We may receive a small commission when you buy from our partners using the links provided. There is no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting us by using our links when making your purchases.
Ryan Lisson is a wildlife biologist, outdoors author, and hunter/angler from Minnesota. He’s a regular content contributor to several outdoor brands and magazines and focuses heavily on recruiting and mentoring new hunters through his website Zero to Hunt. If he’s not hunting or writing, you’ll often find him hiking with his wife and two children.