Even if you have been riding for years, there's always something new to know when looking for gear. Every year the industry improves its fabrics, technology, and fit to create a better experience for you, the rider! Now, what to look for in your gear will differ depending on the type of rider you are.
First, trail riding. If you are an avid trail rider, your top priority is warmth. You are looking for something to keep you warm and dry for an extended period. There are a lot more factors that go into a successful day out on the trail other than insulation levels. For example, the type of insulation is just as important. You also need to be aware of the outside membrane, zippers, and vents.
"I have to be aware of the zippers?" Yes. YKK are the most popular zippers we see in the industry. When comparing some of the general outdoor brands and snowmobile specific brands, this is where you notice a difference. Most jackets we sell have completely sealed zippers to create a barrier between the extreme conditions and you. That will make a dryer and therefore warmer experience!
The number and position of vents is also important to keep in the back of your mind. A warm insulated jacket will not work to its full capability unless there's breathability and airflow. Nothing is worse than stale air trapped against your body. And nothing is worse than you getting too hot (Yes, that will happen with some of our jackets!) and not being able to have a quick, convenient way to let cool air in. LOOK FOR VENTS UNDER THE ARMS.
Lastly, the composition of the jacket is something to know. The outside membrane and type of insulation is usually what sets apart a $250 jacket and a $500 one, and man does it have an effect. You can simply feel the difference in material. Usually the "premium" shells are made with a 100% waterproof, windproof material. For Ski-Doo that's Sympatex, for Klim that's Gortex, and for FXR that's A.C.M.T Pro + HydroXpro. This adds a whole other level of protection which will provide you with a more comfortable ride. On top of that, the better the insulation the warmer. For Skidoo they use Primaloft Black, Silver, and Gold. For Klim, 3M Thinsulate and 3M Thinsulate with extra warmth. For FXR, F.A.S.T 3.0 and Thermal Flex.
This is the Absolute 0 Line for Skidoo. This is their warmest and most technologically advanced trail jacket.
- Sympatex Membrane ✔️
- YKK 100% seam-sealed construction ✔️
- Underarm vents ✔️
- 200g of PrimaLoft® Gold ✔️
Now if you're a crossover rider or someone whose temperature never seems to regulate and you're always taking off layers, putting them back on, taking them off, put--- you get the point. You need something that can work for both! This is where a 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 comes in handy. Klim, FXR, and Skidoo all have great options for this. You will be looking for similar characteristics as mentioned above, but you will want a zip out liner.
Take the FXR Boost FX 2-in-1 line! These have a warmth max rating of eight and a minimum of two! You can either keep it warm with 250 grams of insulation ✔️ or remove the inner liner and have a lighter option ✔️. The 3-in-1 styles also offer the liner to be worn separately as well, giving another warmth level to choose from ✔️!
See more Crossover gear here
If you are a performance / mountain rider, you are looking for mobility, lightweight and paying extra attention to the shell. Having those "premium" shells should be your top priority. All the "warmth" you get will come from the wind and water barriers. You don't want insulation because you need to be able to move freely. Vents are also on the top of your radar.
Take the Tomahawk Jacket from Klim for an example.
Made with a Gortex shell ✔️, 3M ScotchLite ✔️, No overlays for reduced bulk ✔️, YKK zippers ✔️, and four vents ✔️!