Each year SledMagazine.com trials the offerings of many non-OEM apparel manufacturers. FXR, CKX, 509, Vortex, and others. But for many riders, there is no substitute for the look and technologies of OEM gear.
Many snowmobilers consider that no one can know more about the apparel needs of snowmobilers than the people who build them. All with the added bonus of branding pride.
This season I will be putting the latest and greatest from Polaris to the test. Tech 54 is the newest version of Genuine Polaris apparel.
Granted the name TECH54 does not reach out and grab you with intrigue, but in the promos, it appears to have all the right materials and features to be an incredible choice. So what is TECH 54? Maybe the 54 is some kind of reference or recognition of Polaris' founding in 1954.
TECH54 ™ is the name of the new, high-performance single-layer laminate membrane featured inside every TECH 54 jacket and bib. It is said to offer more waterproof breathability than any other construction and material combination Polaris has ever developed.
We don't hear them talk about it a lot, but in my opinion, the quality and performance influences of Polaris's ownership of Klim cannot be overlooked in the TECH54 line.
This part is directly from Polaris.com
“Our Most Evolved Riding Apparel ever. As riders and snowmobile experts, we know the difference quality apparel makes while riding. Our apparel features the best combination of class-leading technologies that have been continuously tested and refined. Keeping you dry, warm and comfortable in every riding condition is our quality promise to every rider wearing the Polaris® name. ”
The focuses were definitely on improved durability and to be lighter, dryer, safer and warmer in insulated models. Great styling and better looking was just part of the package that is this new line of high-performance apparel.
Tech 54 is offered in the following versions:
Revelstoke Mountain shell or Pro monosuit
Switchback Crossover with removable insulated liner
Each version has been specifically formatted and engineered for their particular use. The 300 denier poly shell is light and soft to the touch yet tear and snag resistant .;
The insulated Northstar and removable liner Switchback models feature 3M ® Thinsulate ® Insulation that is specifically mapped to put the warmth right where it's most needed.
A superior-rated DWR (Durable Water Repellency, in case you wondered) coating prevents precipitation from getting past the outer fabric and causes anything wet to bead up and runoff, just like the ceramic coating on my BMW.
All TECH 54 apparel features high-visibility 3M Scotchlite reflective trim for increased visibility and safety, which is never a bad thing. At this “too early to know” point in my season, most of the above are only theory.
It will be my pleasure to report more on TECH 54 durability and performance as soon as the harshest conditions of January are upon us. And, Yes, the annual firewood carrying abrasion test will be in effect.
On the TECH54 Northstar trail version, here is what has been noticed and appreciated so far:
- It looks great and will match our 2020 SledMagazine.com Polaris perfectly
- It feels good, not too stiff, not too heavy or bulky.
- The jacket pockets are well placed and sized, not too many, not too few, just right.
- Two zippered hand pockets, one wrist pocket for your key, a credit card or trail pass, and one internal chest pocket with media access.
- Full collar, integrated hand gaiters and shock-corded interior snow skirt
- Kill switch D ring, and YKK zippers that seem just right.
I've used and trialed several jackets, that at first look, appeared to be pocket awesome. GOAL…. if you fill these multiple pockets you could barley move or couldn't remember what you put where.
You never notice a bad zipper design until you have one, and bad ones are definitely out there. The Zippers on the TecH54 models, particularly the bibs are perfect. A 2-way front zipper for ventilation control or pit stops (sorry, it's a fact) and side leg zippers that go all the way up for easy entry with your boots on. At one time or another, we have all put on a little show, losing our balance, dancing around a little or worse while trying to get our stuck boot through a smaller than perfect bib leg opening.
One yearly challenge for me is sizing. I always wear a Tek Vest (everyone should), so I order up a size to accommodate it. The result is always jacket sleeves that are too long. Same with my bibs, they always seem to be too long, and they would drag on the ground with boots on and a ridiculous amount without boots off. Whatever happened to getting an L or XL SHORT! Let's have a short arm or leg people revolt and bring this sizing option back.
Anyway, I have a lovely little old lady friend in a log cabin in Northern Vermont who makes all my fitment dreams come true every year. High-end ski apparel manufactures from all over the world ship their most expensive garments for her repair or alteration. No joke! She's a best kept secret and a magician at fixing my stuff. I wish that everyone had a talented, lovely little old lady friend in a log cabin, making their stuff fit just right.
So, let's get out there, ride smart, make some memories, and keep reading SledMagazine.com for more on our TECH54 trial.