Gear for the Year: Two Unique Rain Jackets and a Mid Layer

Harley FXRG Rain Jacket and Klim Stow Away Jacket and Sundance Shirt

 

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In our Gear For The Year introductions you may have noted that Fatima and I were interested in finding some over-the-suit rain jackets that would work well in conjunction with our mesh riding jackets. We were also keen to find some items that could be used in a variety of applications.

I’m happy to report that we totally lucked out with the choices we made. Both jackets, and Fatima’s mid layer Klim Sundance shirt worked beautifully and we can highly recommend them all. Read on to get all the details and the only real caveat to purchasing any of this equipment.

Harley FXRG Rain Jacket

Mr. Seck is quite a happy camper in his FXRG jacket.
Mr. Seck is quite a happy camper in his FXRG jacket.

One of the great things about this jacket is that it actually has a removable liner. In the summer, riding with my mesh jacket sans liner, the added warmth offered by the lined FXRG jacket was welcome in a cold downpour.

The liner can be removed of course, but I found that without it the FXRG jacket arms would tend to flop around a bit too much in the wind, so it stayed in the jacket most of the time. The liner also helped when the temps started to drop, as we’d use the rain jackets as an extra layer of warmth in conjunction with our mesh jackets and their liners. The extra warmth offered by the FXRG jacket liner was truly a bonus for me, as my Scott mesh jacket was a bit snug with its liner installed, so that made it almost impossible to put anything more than a base layer on when it was installed.

Liner = good thing, but the jacket doesn't work as well without it.
Liner = good thing, but the jacket doesn’t work as well without it.

I guess I should get to the most important part here, as in yes, the 100% Cocona polyester FXRG jacket has proved to be completely waterproof! I like the fact that I can put my waterproof gauntlets over the sleeves of the mesh jacket and then cover them with the elasticated sleeves of the FXRG rain jacket. These multiple layers make me feel that there is no way rain can get in, and indeed, it didn’t.

The FXRG jacket has a nice high collar, which wraps comfortably around the neck. The collar has a zip-in hood as well, which came in handy when using the jacket off the motorcycle, while walking or cycling in the rain.

Speaking of using the jacket off the bike, this where I discovered one small niggle, and that is that you generally don’t need a liner while walking around in the rain in the summer. With the liner removed, my t-shirted arms tended to be a tad uncomfortable against the slightly plasticky unlined rainproof material.

Fit-wise, it’s definitely made for North American males who ride Harleys – it’s generous. As mentioned though, as long as the liner was in, material flapping in the wind was not an issue.

The FXRG Jacket in its natural habitat.
The FXRG Jacket in its natural habitat.

The FXRG jacket also comes with it’s own stow away bag, a nice touch.

Being a Harley product, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the styling of the FXRG jacket. Happily, there isn’t a giant orange eagle plastered across the back and if I had to use a word to describe the jacket, I’d say understated. That’s not word tossed around very much when speaking of Harley products, but truly you have to look hard to spot the two Harley FXRG logos that discreetly adorn the jacket.

Other than that, it’s black with tastefully and functionally placed Scotchlite reflective piping on the sleeves and shoulders, and reflective panels front and back.

Now that's pretty subtle for a Harley product.
Now that’s pretty subtle for a Harley product.

To give this jacket a true 10/10 score, Harley should have a look at the comfortable light mesh material that lines the Klim Stow Away jacket. If they implemented something like this into their FXRG jacket, along with some adjustable straps that could stop the sleeves from flapping in the wind when the liner is not installed, that would pretty much be a slam-dunk!

It’s a keeper though, and highly recommended!

So what’s the problem then?

Being a Harley product you’ve probably guessed, it’s not cheap. With prices starting at just south of $400, that’s a bit of an ouch. That said, the FXRG jacket is showing all the signs that it will last a long time. And with its classic, understated styling, it won’t get dated.

As it is a premium product however, I’d like to see Harley being more confident with their warranty, as they only offer one year. The Klim gear is also priced at a premium, but their prices are a bit easier to swallow as they warranty all their products for life.

Klim Sundance Shirt

The Sundance works well, on and off the bike.
The Sundance works well, on and off the bike.

Why a mid layer mixed in with rain jacket reviews? Well, we were looking for a complete rain/ cold weather riding solution and, as the Klim Stow Away jacket was not lined like the Harley FXRG jacket, we wanted to ensure Fatima would stay as warm as I was, thus the Sundance shirt.

The term shirt is actually a bit of a misnomer here, as the Sundance looks more like a zip-up sweater or a light jacket. Whatever it is, it women’s cut fits Fatima well, and it, in combination with her Olympia Airglide jacket and liner, and her Klim Stow Away rain jacket, kept her comfortable on the bike right into single-digit temperatures.

If you like the yellow "K". you're out of luck on the 2014 Klim offerings.
If you like the yellow “K”. you’re out of luck on the 2014 Klim offerings.

The “shirt” is lined with an anti-pilling stretch fleece and something called Thermal Guard on the outside (a tough feeling, stretchy polyester material). All material is said to be moisture-wicking and highly breathable. We’d have to agree with this as Fatima has yet to wash the Sundance and it seems totally fine after a season of use, off and on the bike.

Fatima loves the Sundance, and happily wears it whenever the weather is a bit cooler – for everything!

She says it’s super comfortable and a stylish addition to her casual wardrobe. She even likes the yellow Klim “K” on the collar, which seems to have been dropped on the 2014 offerings from Klim.

There’s really not much to complain about, other than a bit of pilling on the Thermal Guard cuffs. Who knows, perhaps Klim would replace the Sundance for this (if we were bothered enough about it), since it comes with a lifetime warranty.

In the end, like all the products in this test, it’s a bit pricey, but if you search around you can currently find this 2013 model, complete with the yellow “K” for less than $100, at the time of this writing.

Klim Stow Away Jacket

A nicely designed piece of kit, complete with a hood and under-arm vents.
A nicely designed piece of kit, complete with a hood and under-arm vents.

In a nutshell, this jacket does everything as advertised, including bundling itself up into a neat little package that can be strapped to the bars of your bike. As there is no liner in the jacket, the package it rolls up into is impressively small – about a third of the size of the bundled Harley FXRG jacket.

The Stow Away fits nicely over Fatima's Olympia Airglide jacket. Note the glove-friendly zips.
The Stow Away fits nicely over Fatima’s Olympia Airglide jacket. Note the glove-friendly zips.

It’s an extremely well designed jacket that Fatima has found to be comfortable to use, off and on the bike. Its mesh lining proved to be a comfortable barrier from the Gore-Tex shell that has proven to be 100% waterproof.

If Fatima got too warm in the jacket, she could let air in via the under-arm zip vents. All zippers are glove-friendly, high-quality YKK water-resistant items.

The jacket has a lovely soft fabric around the neck to prevent chafing and the outer collar contains a zip-in hood that is designed to be worn under the helmet.

The Stow Away is a unisex design and it’s a bit baggy on Fatima when she’s not wearing her motorcycle jacket, so if she needs a rain jacket when she not riding, I see her grabbing her Olympia waterproof liner more often than the Klim, as it’s form-fitting. If it’s raining hard though and she wants a hood, the Stow Away is her go-to rain jacket.

If we had to nitpick, perhaps the jacket could use a bit more reflectivity on the front and the back, as currently, only two fairly small logos provide light reflectance.

Bottom line: this is an extremely well-designed, well-made rain jacket that should last a lifetime, and it’s warrantied accordingly. You’ll pay a good chunk of change for it (up to $250, or less than $200, if you can find this 2013 model), but if it stops doing what it is supposed to do, Klim will fix it or replace it.

Anyone out there ever use the Klim lifetime warranty? How did that go? Let us know in the comments below.

Enjoy the ride!

Cheers, Mr. Seck

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