From The Archives
Back in 2010, before KUIU hit the market, KUIU’s founder Jason Hairston solicited feedback on his blog from every hunter that had an opinion on what a camo pattern should be. His experience and research, coupled with what hunters were asking for, was the beginning of the most successful camo pattern and technical layering system ever combined.
Jason’s inspiration for the original Vias pattern came from an experience he had on a hunting trip to Africa. While watching African Wild Dogs, Jason noticed their unique high-contrast patterning and how it made them arguably the most successful predator on the Dark continent. Years later, in an interview with Outside, Jason recollected:
“On a trip to Africa, I saw wild dogs, and realized how hard they were to see because of the contrast in their color palette. They go from big chunks of really dark to really light, and it was really hard to pick up on them because you’d glimpse bits and pieces of them, and you couldn’t put that together as a single animal.”
This experience with the African Wild dog led Jason to study the patterning on other apex predators.
“I started looking at snakes and other predators out there, and saw the contrast was pretty consistent across a range of predators, whether it be leopards, or tigers, or snakes, or even fish. They weren’t trying to mimic anything; they were just trying to break themselves up with light and dark colors. That was my influence for our first pattern, Vias."
The combination of a larger macro pattern composed of dark and light tones is what makes a predator’s camouflage so effective at breaking up their outline.
In the interview, Jason added, “The prey we’re hunting can’t see colors, so it really has to do more with shading than it does color. The consumer gets caught up in all that, but the reality is the animals couldn’t care less about the colors. It’s about the contrast. The animals have a tendency to look at light or dark, but not light and dark to make out a single form. We’re using this contrast to break up the human form.”
“Nature’s been my biggest influence,” Jason concluded. “Predators evolved this way because their prey can’t see them well. If patterns that mimic leaves, sticks, limbs, or trees were the most effective way for predators to stalk in on prey, they would be green and they would look like a leaf, but they don’t. Evolution has proven that contrast is the right approach for what we do as predators.”
Why did predators not evolve into looking like leaves or sticks if this is the most effective camouflage for hunting ungulates?
Jason took to the first KUIU blog to ask hunters what they wanted in a camo pattern. In an excerpt from archived blogs Let's Discuss Camo and Camo Discussion Continued, Jason complied the feedback and identified the goals of what a camo should be:
• Does not blob at distance
• Works in all environments
• Excels in mountain hunting
• Good contrast between colors to break up the human form
• Color choices that fool game, not customers at the display rack
In late 2010, the wheels were in motion. Prototypes of the gear with the new Vias pattern were in circulation and hunters were realizing the effectiveness of Vias. In early 2011, KUIU was founded.
February 25, 2011
Last spring on the blog we discussed camouflage for KUIU. We all agreed it would be best for KUIU to create a new pattern. The pattern requirements you suggested were earth tones, non-blobbing, visual confusion, high-contrast, distinctive and attractive. After reviewing the final version of the pattern this week in the field, we made the right decision, thank you.
Vias is a macro-camouflage pattern designed with light, medium & dark earth-tones to create visual confusion that breakups up the human outline at distance. Vias is made up of 5 colors, a dusty tan, grey, dark grey, brown and black. I designed the pattern to break up the human form on the horizontal axis in three places for the lower body and three places on the upper body with the light-tan color. You will see this when you look at the back of a jacket in the distinctive tan sections that run across the entire panel. This is important for consistency of breaking up the body when the pattern is cut into small panels and sewn into a garment. I did not want Vias become less effective when it is made into a pack or pants because of how the panels are aligned and sewn.
We shot Vias this week in as many situations as we could find so you could get a feel for this pattern. The Sierra Nevada’s have been pounded with snow lately which limited us to high desert environments east of Reno. I can confidently tell you, Vias in dark timber past 10 yards will be almost invisible. Most of the photos enclosed are shot between 10 and 15 yards. We did shoot further distances, but you could not find Chris in the photos, so I did not include these in this post.
I am very excited about this pattern and how effective it is at any distance and any environment. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and opinions.
Now, after 10 years of proven success, the effectiveness of Vias in mountain environments is still stunning. Whether it’s scree, talus, boulder, broken terrain, and other high-contrast environments, the results speak for themselves.
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