HMK Action Jacket and Pants – Jacket, $279.95; pants, $209.95
At a powersports trade show in early 2007, I saw prototype gear from HMK. I pulled the Action jacket from the display rack and told HMK owner Kirk Zack that when he had the production version of the black and snow camo jackets in stock, I’d love to try one.
He obliged me – and then some. Rather than send just the jacket I requested, he shipped the pants, too. The fit on both garments fit my frame like it was sewn especially for me. The jacket got its share of compliments, and I know people are curious about the HMK’s strong-and-still-growing brand. I was asked how I liked it on numerous occasions.
Thankfully from here forward I can refer people to this test report because after wearing the gear last season on rides on trails and in powder, I’ve been able to form my opinions.
The jacket, with its wear-separately removable liner, is snowmobiler-functional. Four large pockets on the front, pit zipper vents and wrist closures to make a tight seal are nice features. A soft fleece collar kept my neck comfortable during rides that required lots of movement and the venting was adequate for physical mountain rides. The jacket held up perfectly, other than a torn wrist loop on the liner that secures the sleeve into the outer shell.
The pants were made much the same way. This was the first pair of riding lowers I owned that had a removable inner liner – a nice feature that made these pants more versatile for different conditions. I only used the liner on the coldest days of the season. The pants had good lower leg zippers to get in and out of them easily, but I wished for zippered vents in the pants, too.
My favorite feature was the removable rear bib and suspenders that converted from bibs to pants in seconds. I used the bib when riding in deep powder as an extra shield to keep me dry. — Tim Erickson
Sawtooth Jacket – $299.99
Scott USA offers a handful of snowmobile jackets for men and women, but I chose the Sawtooth last season because I wanted a lightweight jacket that would keep me dry and comfortable during warm, sometimes wet-and-slushy springtime weather. Rather than wait for a warm spring ride, I pulled the wraps off this coat in January and started wearing it when the air was still cold.
The Sawtooth is a premium Gore-Tex waterproof/windproof/breathable shell without insulation. Warmth during cold weather comes from layers of moisture-wicking clothes like T-shirts and half-zips. For cold weather (10 degrees F), I wore up to three layers under my TekVest, which is a warm layer in itself. I pulled a lightweight jacket over the protective vest and then I covered it all with my Scott outer layer to prevent the wind from piercing through. I cut back on layers as the air heated up (warmer than 20 degrees).
The Sawtooth coat has six pockets, but I especially liked the two chest pockets and a convenient pocket on the left upper-arm because I could put supplies where they didn’t get in the way when I leaned off the sled through a corner. Pocket and vent zipper pulls are the size of a peanut, which is too small to use while wearing gloves. This contributes to the coat’s clean look because they tuck under the flap, but it causes function to follow form. Fortunately, the center zipper and hand warmer pockets had long rubber pulls that could be yanked with a gloved hand.
I like the Sawtooth’s conservative styling and simple colors. I give the jacket an A-plus for holding up exceptionally well. None of the screenprinted logos have faded and the hook and loop cuffs and wind flap still stick tightly closed. — Andy Swanson
Wander Pant – $159.99
Along with the Sawtooth jacket, I wore Scott USA’s Wander pant. They’re a simple, no-nonsense pant that performed as well as my Sawtooth coat.
This lightweight pant is made with TriPhase waterproof/breathable material. I stayed dry every time I took them for a rip. Melted snow stayed on the outside and sweat vapor seemed to flow through the high-tech lining.
The pants have removable suspenders, but I left them in place, otherwise the size medium pants might have fallen down and caused an embarrassing HR nightmare when riding with other Snow Goer staffers. Easy-to-reach, 11-inch vents on each thigh helped me to regulate body temperature.
The cuffs were wide and easily fit over my big, snowboard-style boots. For conventional snowmobile footwear, the cuffs might be too big and look like bell bottoms á la Greg Brady. The cuffs have long zippers that opened up all the way to my knees to allow easy access to my boot laces. A flap with strong hook-and-loop material covers the zipper to protect it from snow. Zippered hip pockets with a hook-and-loop flap were perfect for secure storage of change and other small supplies. — Andy Swanson