This year, I had the chance to try the CKX Conquer kit, the Kaelan gloves and the Taiga boots. CKX was also kind enough to provide me with an AMS Mission helmet this year but I made a mistake in sizing. I recently received a replacement and there will be an article on this item later.
Why did I choose this kit?
For the most part, I am a trail snowmobiler. From time to time I like to venture off-trail but it’s often only for short periods. With this in mind, I decided this year to try the CKX Conquer, a hybrid crossover package.
I usually wear a lined suit for the vast majority of the winter and in the spring I put on an off-road suit. When I decide to go off-road in cold weather, I always wear my lined suit so I am incredibly warm. Then I freeze all the way home. Much like a hybrid snowmobile, with the Conquer package, I can enjoy the best of both worlds at all times with one package. That is, the jacket and overalls are lined with an insulating shell that can be removed completely. This makes it a completely uninsulated set or you add the shell for warmth.
CKX Conquer Kit
A first visual of the Conquer set from CKX. I really like this set and its red and black color combination on the garment. CKX always provides me with a quality set, not very thick and quite light, and this set is no exception. I appreciate CKX’s attention to every detail. For example the use of polar fleece in strategic places for the jacket and overalls where you often get cold when snowmobiling. The hand-warmer pockets.
The adjustments of the coat at the neck, sleeves and bottom match well with the helmet and other CKX accessories such as gloves and boots. But also the guards that prevent the snow from entering inside the coat and the bottom of the overalls. As for the overalls, having a zipper that opens from the bottom to the top is practical. Moreover, the material used for the buttocks and knees reinforcements are really interesting and do not hinder the movements. To sum up, it’s well made.
Summary of my test
When I put the coat on, I really like the idea of having a magnetic flap at the top of the coat. This makes it super easy to operate even with gloves on.
During my test, I must mention that the clothes are comfortable but also that they allow me to feel totally at ease. My movements are not at all hindered by my clothing and are done fluidly. I am warm and the set protects me well in cold weather near -20 degrees.
The shell is well insulated but it is also quite thin. It is also relatively easy to undo and put back on. It fits well in the tunnel bag of my snowmobile and I suppose it would also fit very well in a backpack. In very cold weather, I can leave with the insulation in place that keeps me warm for my day and take it off if I decide to go off trail. When it’s not so cold, I can dress in an onion layer and put the insulation on only to get there and put it on at the end of the day to come back warm. Obviously, these clothes provide good wind and water resistance.
I have a few things I would like to see improved. My first comment has to do with the overalls when I wear the insulated shell. While the set has plenty of pockets, I would have liked to have access to my pockets from the outside into my pants. I’m always worried about losing those keys if they aren’t in my pants. So, when I transport the snowmobile by truck, I always have to get the keys from the inside with the overalls. Velcro access in the shell would have been ideal for me personally.
Another little thing is that I would have liked to have additional ventilation hatches under the arms to evacuate the heat. I have to mention that there are still two hatches in the front but I think that would have helped the circulation to the outside. These hatches could also be a little larger because I find that there is not that much air circulation.
I also think the coat pulls are a little too small, I would like if they could be just a little bigger. That way we could easily manipulate the zippers with the gloves instead of taking the glove off. Some zippers are also tiny. I give as an example the pocket on the left sleeve of the coat. The heat escape hatches but also the insulating shell for both the coat and the overalls. I think that putting these zippers bigger would make them easier to handle.
CKX Kaelan Gloves
To enhance my rides, I tried out the CKX Kaelan gloves. As described by CKX, I also believe that these gloves are perfect for trail riding and some off-road adventures. I must first mention that I really appreciated that all fingers are protected with lambskin. You lose a little bit of maneuverability but they are so much warmer. When out on the trails, leather is a great windbreaker and is a must in my opinion especially to protect the top of the fingers in particular. These gloves protected me well even in cold temperatures near -20 degrees. Still, below -20 degrees, I recommend the use of handguards that you install on the handlebars.
The adjustable strap in the middle of the wrist allows you to tighten the glove, this glove is also easily put on with the Conquer coat. Thereafter, we can pull on the tongue of tightening. A big positive point is the wind does not enter by the wrists, nor the snow.
CKX Taiga Evo boots
I really like the CKX boots, especially for trail riding. They are very light, they are warm and very easy to handle, and they are like slippers. The Taiga model has a little less insulation than the Muk Lite model I tried last year. These boots always keep my feet warm and dry. I never had a drastic freeze with these boots. For off-trail, the Conquer pants have little metal ears that latch onto the bootstrap, which is nice.
In deep snow, the snow does not come up in the pants. However, I find that these boots don’t perform as well for backcountry snowmobiling because I find them too soft. I would like it if CKX could come out with a similar boot with the same type of insulation that pulls out of the boot to dry it but with a stiffer structure for off-road riding. For someone like me who doesn’t do much off-roading, I can easily accept the current compromise. But a person who rides off-road year-round will wants to opt for a stiffer boot from a competitor.
In conclusion, this is one of my favorite sets. I liked them and they fit my personal needs very well. While this set is not the warmest on paper that is available from CKX, it is definitely warm and I never felt cold. This is definitely the most versatile set I have worn to date. CKX designs clothing that is well thought out for us snowmobilers and this outfit is no exception. A big thank you to CKX and SledMagazine.ca for allowing me to try it out.
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