“More than 800 bucks for snowmobile riding gear! Are you nuts!?” That might be your reaction to the Valdez Parka ($419.99) and Togowotee Bib ($399.99) package, but if you demand comfort and dryness, Klim is the way to go.
I wore the parka and bibs last season in conditions ranging from chilly, dead-of-winter trail rides with air temperatures near zero degrees F, a rigorous boondocking trip in Wyoming to a few adventurous rides last spring when the sun was high and the air was warm. After wearing these Gore-Tex-lined garments through that wide range of conditions, I have more compliments than complaints.
Scientists at Gore say that the Gore-Tex membrane’s pores are too small to let water droplets in, but large enough for water vapor to pass through so sweat can evaporate. About 3,000 miles worth of riding with the apparel proved that this waterproof/windproof/breathable stuff works. I stayed comfortable and dry on warm spring days or when playing in mountain powder snow, and my layers dried reasonably quickly if I broke a sweat.
Gore Comfort Mapping (an insulation system tailored for different parts of the body) was added to these garments last year. The chest has the most exposure to the elements, so it has more insulation; the armpits emit more heat and have the least exposure, so that area has minimal insulation. A medium-weight liner is installed in the lower back. Insulation in the Togwotee bib is based on a body region’s heat production and susceptibility, too.
Durability was excellent as no threads have loosened and the waterproof zippers pull smoothly. Materials of some low-priced riding gear breaks down after a season, but my premium Klim set still has good form — like a starched dress shirt — and this helps maintain a comfortable fit and good looks. One especially cool feature of the Togwotee Bib is its zippers, which curve around from the hips to the back of the ankles. This works in conjunction with the leg’s range of motion to prevent binding at the knee.
Even with four layers and a TekVest on my upper body, I got cold if the temperatures were near zero degrees F. If frigid air was in the forecast, I packed a well-insulated set of riding gear, too. The three vents flow well, but they should have a filter to reduce snow ingestion when they are open.
Styling of the Klim apparel is conservative, clean and sharp — some people might say it’s boring, but I like the look. Branding is subtle and colors options for the coat are limited to blue, black or red and trimmed with reflective piping; bibs are available black.