Testing new products is a part of the job here at SnoWest Magazine. And over the years we have tried hundreds of things that can enhance the snowmobiling experience, including dozens of different snow suits.
From one-piece jumpsuits to suits that keep you afloat in water, we've pretty much tried them all. Some do great in the extreme cold. Some are very breathable for aggressive riding. Some are colorful. Some are just functional. We try them, we test them and sometimes we hang them up in the closet and never wear them again.
But this past winter there are two suits-Klim and HMK-that have shared equal time being worn.
Now it's hard to test a suit. other than using personal preference to how it fits and whether it keeps you comfortable. It's sort of like the Goldilocks method of product testing-some are too warm, some are too cold and some are just right. (Perhaps that's why for the past four years I've been mostly wearing a prototype Klim pullover jacket that tends to work in all types of conditions.)
But this year I've found that my new Klim suit (the Tomahawk Parka and Togwotee Bibs) have some added features not found on my older Klim suit. I also found that the HMK Predator suit has some unique features that tend to be functional with my riding style.
You don't get a good reputation without a good product and outstanding customer service. And over the past few years, Klim has set the standard for western snowmobile clothing.
Perhaps it's because of the fabric-Klim is a firm believer in Gore-Tex and uses it throughout its product line. Seam sealing keeps these suits windproof and waterproof. And since Gore-Tex consists of microscopic pores (about 9 billion per square inch) the suit is breathable and comfortable to wear.
Perhaps it's the design-Klim suits are attractive and functional. Pockets are placed where you want them. Vents are placed where you need them. And the fit makes them hang comfortably on the body.
Perhaps it's the management-Klim is a company of snowmobilers. These guys like to ride in extreme conditions and realize the importance of having suits that stay dry, breathe and can work in extreme temperatures.
It's no wonder Klim products are not only used by most snowmobile magazine staffs, but also by many of the aftermarket companies who spend a great amount of time in the mountains R&Ding their products.
Another company whose management tends to spend a lot of time riding in extreme conditions is HMK. Not only are HMK products designed for extreme mountain riding, but also for extreme riders-you know, the jumpers and freestylers.
The Predator Pullover is made from Poly Cordura that is breathable, waterproof and windproof. It also features zip venting for those who generate a lot of body heat while riding.
The design is not only functional, but features a little bit of an edge to it for those who believe what they wear says who they are. And even though the styles are for the younger generation, the Predator jacket and Action pants can make even some of us older riders feel younger.
When it comes to pricing, HMK is considerably less expensive than the Klim. But both are well worth their price. We've found the Klim have a better fit and finish. but you're paying for the added quality.
Both companies offer a full line of snowmobile clothing accessories. For more information you can go to their websites: www.klimusa.com or www.hmksnowmobiling.com.