By Mike Schoby
I absolutely hate being cold. In fact I hate it even more than being deep-south-batwing-sticky-hot. So it’s ironic that with this hatred I live in Montana, and many of my hunts take me to Alaska, Canada, and other Rocky Mountain states, all ass-freezing frigid. I should probably rethink my life choices … maybe move to Florida and take up jungle hunting perhaps, but until that time there is the Burner—no, not the cheap phone you don’t dare do an Instagram search in front of anyone on—but the jacket.
The Kuiu Super Down Burner Parka is its full name. I just call it the Burner, and simply put, it’s the finest cold weather parka ever made—and I have tried them all. Wool, goose down, synthetics, but nothing in my experience is as warm or blocks the wind like the Burner.
Designed to be oversized and worn over other insulated garments, it was built from the ground up with the harshest hunting conditions in mind. The outer material is 30D Ripstop Nylon Stunner Stretch for toughness with a waterproof membrane and fully taped seams for 100-percent waterproof and windproof protection; that’s before packing in 850+FP Quixdown Insulation in a box baffle design that eliminates cold spots and gaps in coverage.
If you are unfamiliar with down fill weights, take this for example: Kuiu’s Super Down Ultra jacket has 2.5 ounces of Quixdown; the Super Down Pro has 5; the Burner has between 8 and 11.5 depending upon size. Quixdown is premium goose down that goes through a cleaning process and then is treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) coating to each plume making it nearly impervious to moisture—the biggest bane of goose down. (If you are into down like Kuiu is, this page is worth a read.)
So you aren’t planning an expedition to the South Pole or an Arctic polar bear hunt? You’ll like it anyway. Unless you live in south Florida, you will find you wear it way more than you anticipated. Sitting on a treestand for whitetail in the Midwest; elk hunting the rifle season high up in the Rockies; crouched in a goose pit in Nebraska—you will have it on more than not.
Heck, one Texas buddy sent me a photo of him wearing it deer hunting when the temperature dipped below freezing one morning. It was sweatshirt weather for any northern boy, but cold is relative. No, the Burner is not cheap, but what price do you put on being comfortable? Or staying out all day? When conditions get harsh enough, it may be one piece of kit you can credit with literally saving your life. $800
Pros: The warmest parka you will ever own; also waterproof
Cons: You might have to sell a kid to afford it, but by avoiding frostbite you can make another kid when you get home to the ol’ lady.