The most overlooked pieces of riding gear, in my opinion, are the base layers. We focus so heavily on purchasing the highest quality jacket and pants that we can afford, but forget all about one of the key ingredients to keeping our ride comfortable.
You can have a jacket with 3 vents or 20, but without proper layers underneath, you’re either going to sweat your ass off, cook inside it, or get pretty darn cold. I have personally tried a multitude of base layers from big names like Under Armor, Nike, etc. over countless miles. You would think that since these companies focus on athletes, their products would work for us, right? Wrong. Those tight fitting shirts and underwear might wick away some sweat, but they are not what is truly best for us adventure riders. I did not realize this until I had a chance to test out the KLIM Teton Summer Weight Merino Wool Base Layers. I bet that some of you are thinking, “Wool for heat gear? This guy must be crazy or getting paid to write the article.” Well, crazy depends on who you ask, and I am surely not getting paid to write. All I can say is what I experienced on my recent trip, including how these items performed.
I recently had the pleasure of riding for three straight days in beautiful, sunny California. I was there as the honoree for the Rever Track Your Story Challenge, and explored a variety of terrains with Shawn Thomas from BMW Mottorad and his brother, Lance. I wore the Teton Merino Wool long sleeve shirt and underwear as my base layers. My jacket and pants were the KLIM Badlands Pro, Gen 3.
On the first day, we rode in temperatures ranging from 70-78 degrees. It was great weather, so no complaints. We camped out and the next morning (Day 2), rode into the Mojave Desert. We rode for hundreds of miles in temperatures ranging from 98-115 degrees! At one point, we stopped at Trona Pinnacles to walk around and I left my Badlands jacket on. Obviously, it felt hot but manageable, and I did not seem to be dripping sweat like I normally would be with my normal heat gear on. After returning to the motorcycle and heading back into town, a cool sensation came over my body as the wind entered the jacket and passed through the base layers. This is something that I have previously experienced using my other heat gear, but I am typically drenched in sweat, which is what normally causes the cool sensation. After checking into a hotel and removing my jacket, I was expecting to see my shirt and underwear completely soaked in sweat. To my surprise, the shirt had a very small section of sweat build up near the shoulders, but the chest and back were completely dry! I hung up the set and went to bed.
While preparing myself for Day 3, I was expecting the base layer garments to smell something wicked. I mean, I had literally gone through the desert in the peak of Summer. The base layer garments were dry, and had that “just washed” wool smell, which completely surprised me. I geared up and we pressed on for the day’s adventure. After doing some sweet twisties and amazing off-roading, we ended up just outside of Shaver Lake at Mushroom Rock to camp out for our final night.
The temperature dropped into the mid 40’s, so I ended up sleeping in the base layer garments. The next morning, I joked around with with the Thomas brothers and told them they should sniff my garments, as they still smelled good.
Upon returning home and conducting more research about the materials and their properties, I gained an understanding about how I was able to keep wearing the Merino Wool Base Layers without clearing out a room of people. Traditional heat gear is made out of polyester, which rapidly controls the moisture but stays damp and smelly. In comparison, the wool blend is mixed with a highly effective magical unicorn material. No really, the wool blend is anti-microbial and thus, does not retain odors. The Summer Weight line seems to be the most effective material for a motorcyclist riding in a hotter climate. Another huge bonus to using the Teton collection is that it significantly reduces your need for packed clothes, which saves room for other goodies in your panniers and less weight overall. I am looking forward to the increased cargo space during my future adventures and definitely recommend you check these products out!
Until next time, ride safe and see you out on the road!
Posted in Gear Review & Thoughts and tagged #klim, #klimlife, #motorcycle, #xladv, 2WheelAdv, Motorcycle accessories, motorcycle clothing, wool by admin with .