The CKX brand rates its Conquer jacket and bib pants as “crossover” pieces, and the specs that show a moderate 133gram PrimaLoft insulation seem to back up the concept that this gear is made for pleasant winter days or riders who tend to work up a sweat when riding.
Therefore, my experience with this gear last winter took me by surprise because it was much warmer than anticipated.
The Conquer pieces start with a sturdy shell. Specs say both the jacket and pants are made of a P8-Tex polyester DWR fabric, but I have no idea what that means – I’m a snowmobiler, not a fabrics technician! What I do know is that the material felt sturdy yet flexible and soft, without being crinkly when I moved.
The jacket is coated with windproof and waterproof membranes to keep the elements at bay, and the rest of the design and layout of the jacket also seem to pay special attention to such matters. For example, aside from a normal storm flap that covers the main front zipper (not unlike what you see from many competitive jackets), CKX goes even further at the chest with an extension of that flap. The fact that the extra protection starts right where the wind would normally hit a seated rider on a sled with a low windshield is proof that this jacket was designed with snowmobilers’ real-life experiences in mind.
That 133gram PrimaLoft comes in the form of a removable liner that can be zipped in or out of the jacket. I spent the season with it installed and found it moved well against my TekVest and never restricted my movements. Adding more coziness was fleece inside the collar and upper body of the jacket.
Other notable features on the jacket included twin pockets at the waist, a removable hood, adjustable cuffs and a snappable snow skirt. The body of the jacket is cut rather long and is loose fitting compared to some other slender-cut designs from other brands.
My biggest complaint is that I wish it had more venting. The two zippered vents are located a bit in front of the arm pits where they were often partially covered by my backpack straps. Between that and no exhaust venting in the back, I had trouble moderating my temperature on warmer and more aggressive riding days.
The jacket I tested featured a blocky orange-and-blue design that was perfectly matched by a set of Conquer bib pants. Those pants were clearly made with durability in mind, with reinforcements in the seat plus huge Cordura patches at the knees and inside of the lower legs. There are also pads built into the knees.
Interestingly, the pants feature vents on the insides of the thighs just below the crotch – a place you usually don’t see vents. The upper torso is fixed (meaning non-removable) with pockets at the waist.
Overall, the Conquer jacket and pants exceeded my expectations in terms of warmth and it was easy to move around in. I had mixed emotions about the loose, somewhat baggy looking fit of the gear, but it proved to be durable, comfortable and warm.
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