By definition, “Vector” is the direction or course followed by an airplane, missile or the like. I can also tell you that the Klim Vector parka has 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation, a Gore-Tex two-layer shell and Cordura overlays, but is that relevant information that helps you determine if it should be your next snowmobile jacket? Probably not, so I’ll break it down: The Klim Vector is a comfortable, durable snowmobile jacket that was my gear of choice for cold weather riding last winter.
Klim also makes a Vector pant, and I typically wore the complete setup when the air was about 10 degrees F or colder. With its sturdy construction, removable padding and a sleek fit and shape, this stuff is built for speed.
Dense And Sturdy
Slip an arm inside the Vector jacket and it feels like a quality, well-built garment. The materials feel dense and sturdy, and after stuffing it in my gear bag many times and riding with it for about 2,000 miles, it could pass as a new garment, if not for a few dirty marks on the front. No stitches have come loose, hook-and-loop fasteners are still secure and hook-y, and all of the snaps and zippers work perfectly.
The Vector jacket has removable pads over the chest, collarbone and shoulder. This is a cool feature that not only offers a level of protection against a small branch, ice chunk or rock that could whack a rider, but it also gives the coat more structure so it shouldn’t look like a wet newspaper later in its life.
Other features include two 14-inch zippered vents that run at a slight angle down the front, giving the coat some of its speedy style. Many snowmobile coats have vents, but the problem is that it’s often difficult to see the zipper pull while wearing a helmet, much less pull it because as the body twists to reach the pull, material folds over so the zipper won’t slide. But with the huge vents on the Vector, locating it was simple because I could trace my hand along the sealed zipper until it found the zipper pull. Even though these two vents swallow a lot of air, I wish the coat had an exhaust vent on the back to increase airflow through it and keep my backside cooler.
I’m 5-9, 155 pounds, and for snowmobile outerwear I usually wear a size medium pant and size large coat, which was the case with this Klim Vector setup. Overall fit of my pant was good, but even though I had the adjustable waist belt set nearly as loose as possible, the waist was still slightly snug for me. This wasn’t uncomfortable, but it was worth noting. Length was appropriate while seated so the hems didn’t ride up, but the area around my thighs and knees was too baggy for my preference. Articulated knees helped prevent the material from bunching up, and the wrap-around leg zippers also promote a better fit.
There are six pockets on the Vector jacket: two inside over the chest, two outside on the chest and two external hand warmer pockets. All of them keep wallets, maps, smokes and cell phones secure behind heavy-duty metal zippers. Articulated sleeves follow the contour of the elbows for comfort and a non-bulky appearance. Sleeves fit well by not having the cuffs slide past my wrists when I reached for the handlebars, and the coat’s length from shoulder to the bottom hem was appropriate to keep my lower back covered. I had enough space through my torso to wear multiple layers and my TekVest without feeling restricted or like I was stuffed inside the jacket. A cinchable cord along the bottom hem allowed me to customize the fit around the waist to keep out wind and snow.
I’d have no hesitation recommending the Vector apparel to a buddy. It’s warm, high-end gear that seems like it will last for many years. He would pay a little more for it than garments from other brands, but I think Klim’s attention to detail, sharp styling and durability are worth the extra $100 or so. The garments are available in size small to 5XL.