KUIU TR rain jacket

By David Schlake

Sheets of rain split the horizon. I was a late addition to sandhill crane hunt in the Texas Panhandle, and had only heard of the region’s unpredictable weather. My counterparts, all strangers aside from one videographer, were bundled up in a makeshift blind in the middle of a cotton field with nothing but drab foliage to shield them.

The forecast had shown clear skies and mid-40s temps the night prior, and I’d brought my KUIU Yukon TR Rain Jacket just as a safety precaution knowing how cold December wind can feel on flat, wide-open land before the sun offers some relief. And, thank God I did.

Shooting straight up at migratory birds in the rain is hard enough. But the addition of bitter-cold, howling wind that made a downpour feel like an ice storm left most of our fellow hunters incapacitated. I, with a hoodie as base layer and the TR as a shell, however, was equipped with a suit of insulated armor.

As the sun began to make its long-awaited appearance, the storm raged on—and then came the birds. In waves of 15-30 at a time, cranes came soaring in to investigate our calls without regard, perhaps just as eager to bear down until the skies cleared.

I sprung from my stool and out from cover, firing two well-placed shots that culminated in folded wings and a trimmed bag limit. To my right should have been a firing squad trying to claim the other birds for themselves, but I was alone, staring down a row of heads still ducking for cover.

I could hear another wave coming, so I sat back down, back at eye level with the rest of the shooters.

“You’re tougher than me,” said one of the older gentlemen sitting beside me. “I wouldn’t be able to shoot a damn thing right now.”

It would be easy to call it grit or defiant shooting skills, but the truth was I had an edge on all of them. As expensive and saturated as the hunting apparel market has become, it’s easy for the average shooter to pass up on top-tier gear. But when it’s you against the elements, having the best does make a difference.

The Yukon TR features a Torain three-layer waterproof system and four-layer durability paneling, both of which I can confidently say held up against the very worst of it. And at 26.2 ounces with four-way Primeflex polyester, it could comfortably handle both sedentary and mobile hunts. It’s rated for 32-45 degrees, but KUIU built it to fit layers underneath for colder temperatures.

Fortunately, the rain finally slowed down after an hour or so and the other hunters emerged, hurrying to shoot birds before the morning rush fizzled out. Having the right rain gear afforded me more time on the gun than my companions and I easily hit my limit while the others struggled to catch up. You can certainly buy a cheaper rain jacket, but I’m glad I didn’t.  

Cost: $399

Pros: Warm and dry: Truly waterproof yet still comfortable to wear, lightweight, works great as an everyday rain jacket and as an outer shell in colder weather

Cons: It’s not cheap (but you definitely get what you pay for)

From the FE Films Archive

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