In 2017, Klim offered me a sponsorship: they invited me up to the Klim HQ in Rigby, Idaho, and I was told: “pick anything you want.” I knew this was going to happen so I had thought it through and done some research, but my choice might surprise you.
First, a little background –
I bought my first Klim jacket in 2011. Prior to that I had no clue what Klim was, they were a relatively new company producing motorcycle gear, although they were ‘the name’ in snowmobiling gear at the time…and still are.
I bought a Latitude –
I rode North, Central, and South America with this jacket and then RTW on and off-road, to me it was almost perfect. The downfall was I found it a little long: when riding offroad, there is a lot of standing on the pegs, but each time I sat down I sat on the back/ bottom of the jacket…this is my only gripe. I stayed safe, warm and dry 100% of the time.
Over the next few years I became a fan of Klim, so much so I purchased over 40 different Klim products.
Fast forward to 2016: still out there riding and doing another RTW. I had switched bikes from a thumper to a Yamaha Super Tenere, I knew I would be riding primarily on paved roads so I picked a new jacket to suit the bigger, faster, heavier bike… My choice this time? The Badlands.
The Badlands is the ultimate jacket/ pants combination for long-term overland travel, but I would put it as a maximum of 30% off-road, just for one reason and one reason alone – weight. It is hardcore technical gear, and that just adds weight.
Over the years I have done the TAT three times, numerous BDR’s and other off-road riding and the Latitude and Badlands are just way to heavy and technical for that type of riding. The majority of the time I wear ITB (in the boot) pants and a compression shirt with an MX jersey over the top. I then carry Goretex over pants and a Powerxross jacket with zero armor in them to quickly put over my gear if a rainstorm rolls in, of it gets a little cold.
In 2017, I had received a call from Klim with an offer of sponsorship.
Let me explain that [sponsorship word] a little: I shoot a lot of photos, have a photography degree and post in numerous places all over the internet, and my stuff has been in magazines worldwide.
Just from basic hits on photos (that I can track), I get something in the region of seven million hits/ views on photos a year; this DOES NOT include Instagram, Facebook, other websites, and magazines (and of course plagiarism of photos). So a conservative estimate of photo views per year is around ten million, this is why I was offered sponsorship!
I am standing in Klim HQ and I hear those magical words –
Pick anything you want!
I chose the new Carlsbad… let me tell you why after you watch this.
I love my Latitude, I love my Badlands and I love my Powerxross, but I wanted to be able to throw all three in a blender and make my own jacket.
I wanted a jacket that was durable, not too many pockets, great venting, Goretex, waist length, lightweight, kidney belt (like the Badlands) and removable armor for when I wanted to wear a compression suit and hyperextension knee braces with full-on MX boots. What I wanted wasn’t available…until 2017, when Klim did the ‘virtual blender’ deal I was looking for: they produced the Carlsbad.
It is everything I asked for and the best part, 45% cheaper than the Badlands. The pants are great too, well vented and enough room for MX boots and knee braces.
Right now we are riding the Americas (again, fourth time) and it is primarily on the pavement right now, even though we search out dirt where and when we can, we struggle to make it 50/50 riding and the Carlsbad straight out the box is perfect for this type of riding.
After the Americas, we are heading back to Russia, Mongolia, the ‘stans, and the Trans Euro Trail. That looks like it will be around 80%+ off-road. At that point, I can simply take out the armor, send it ahead and wear my full off-road gear, pack the jacket down small and only use it when Mother Nature makes me.
If my seventh year on the road and over 300,000 km around the planet aren’t enough of a strong recommendation for you, maybe my buddy Lydon Poskitt might add some weight to the argument.