Photo Courtesy T Squared Action Sports
If done safely and correctly, snowmobiling allows you to see winter environments and views most often not accessible by foot. The rush, adrenaline and excitement that come with snowmobiling also come with risk. Snowmobiling is you versus Mother Nature and if you are unprepared Mother Nature will win.
Part of being prepared for a great day of snowmobiling is the gear you are wearing. Klim, known for their snowmobile and motorcycle gear have teamed up with 3M and Gore-Tex and have produced the Vector Jacket and Pant.
While many color options are available for the jacket, the Vector series held up to Utah winter standards by getting high marks in three areas, functionality, durability and warmth.
When riding on the snowmobile you do not want to feel restricted in your movement. The Vector Jacket and Vector Pant are designed with the contour of the body allowing for natural motion of the body to occur. With some technical jackets the material is heavy in the underarm area resulting in discomfort in that area on the body and a decrease in rotation of the torso. This is called their Comfort Mapping, which also involves where they place the 3M Thinsulate Insulation to keep you warm. By Definition: Comfort mapping is a design and by developing proprietary techniques to incorporate specific levels of insulation and comfort-enhancing materials into designs, KLIM essentially custom builds premium-riding gear for the human body’s needs.
The Vector Pant also features a high piece of material on the top of the pant in the back that goes up to the mid back. This piece of material prevents the snow from heading south down your pants. In Utah, on any day of riding you can encounter powder and wet snow and each have a way of getting down your pants making you wet and cold.
We sat on the back of the snowmobile to test this feature of the pants and purposely created a snow spray to see how well the pant kept the snow from getting inside. We stayed dry and warm.
The Vector Jacket and Pant are also built with Cordura fabrics. Cordura fabrics are known to be abrasion and tear-resistant materials so you will have gear that will last you if you take care of it.
Both the Jacket and Pant have the 3M Scotchlite Reflective Technology woven into the material in key places. By definition from 3M: Scotchlite reflective material products use a technology known as retroreflection. It helps the eye perceive light in low-light conditions. In more scientific terms, retroreflection occurs when light rays are returned in the direction from which they came. A large amount of reflected light is returned directly to the original light source, such as a car’s headlights. Since very little light is scattered when the light is returned, retroreflective materials appear brightest to an observer located near the original light source—like the seat of your snowmobile.
Often, areas of the jacket or pant wear out faster than the rest. In the jacket it is usually the zipper area due to high use and under the arm as a result from constant contact with other materials rubbing against it. In a pant the worn areas are usually in the crotch and the knee area. In the areas that wear out faster there is an added layer of material making the jacket and pant more durable.
We took the pant and two of us each held a leg and rubbed the inseam area on the seat of the snowmobile over and over to simulate the movement of you moving around on the seat to test for seam and pant durability. After 20 minutes of consistent rubbing, the pant inseam looks brand new with no evidence of wear.
Gore-Tex materials are also used through out the product. The Gore-Tex materials are essential in keeping the gear waterproof and as a result you dry and warm.
Gore-Tex contains over 9 billion microscopic pores per square inch. These pores are 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet and 700 times larger than a water vapor molecule. The result: Gore-Tex is waterproof from the outside, while being highly breathable from the inside.
We tested the product in spring here in Utah where wet deep snow can be found. The snow beads off of the gear without seeping into your under layers and we were dry.
Klim uses 3M Thinsulate Insulation to provide the maximum warmth you can find. Thinsulate Insulation is proprietary of 3M and is about ten times smaller than the fibers of other synthetic insulation and is ultra fine. This means that they are more efficient at trapping air and more effective in keeping you warm.
Keeping you warm is one thing but keeping you warm while sweating because you are working hard while riding snowmobiles is another thing. The Thinsualte Insulation breathes allowing the moisture to wick away and keep you warm.
Our warmest temperature we incurred while riding was 15 degrees and we stayed warm through the core of our bodies the entire time.
To learn more about the technology behind the 3M Thinsulate and Scotchlite Reflective technologies listen to the interview with the 3M Team on the T Squared TimeOut here.
Overall the price point of the product may catch you off guard but it is worth it when the gear will outlast other products on the market.
After our time in the product, I would recommend the gear to anyone who snowmobiles from the beginner to the everyday SledHead.