Klim apparel: Like crossing a rhino with a Swiss Army knife

Publish Date: 
Sep 22, 2011
By Dennis Johnson


KLIM builds riding apparel that is the clothing equivalent of a multi-tool.

The stuff is beyond rugged and appears to be ready to go on the offensive should the need arise. More cargo capacity than a C-17 transport plane. Unique features such as a built-in kidney belt or an interior harness to help brace a fully-loaded jacket. Breathable materials designed to keep a rider warm and dry and to protect against abrasive surfaces. You'd almost expect a built-in laser or the ability to roast a fresh rabbit in one of the pockets.

Yes, this high-end gear is the stuff a snowmobiler, off-road or adventure rider would want to find themselves wearing while exploring far and beyond the developed world. And, the products made by Klim (pronounced clime) don't come cheap. All of this is by design.

You see, to understand where the Rigby, Idaho, company is today, you have to go back to its origins. Klim's roots are firmly planted in the world where people make their livings working outdoors.

And by outdoors, we're not talking out on a heated patio or strolling tree-lined streets. Klim started by building apparel for ski resort employees, ski patrol squads and search and rescue personnel in Utah's Wasatch mountains, folks who work in cold, sometimes dangerous conditions.

From the beginning, the company sought to meet the needs of all riders, with a main focus on building gear that wouldn't fail, says John Summers, Klim's marketing director. So, early on it incorporated Gore-Tex into its products, given the material's highly breathable and waterproof qualities. (Take note, this early relationship with W.L. Gore and Associates plays a major part in the particulars of Klim's product development standards.)

This early gear made its way from the ski patrol to the snowmobile market where riders boondocking across the snowy regions of the West learned to love the protective and tactile characteristics of Klim's gear. The company points out that at the time, most snowmobile riding gear was bulky, easily torn and prone to getting soaked.

Summers points out that they'd hear from people who took the gear out into the snowy nether regions and report back, "Wow, we didn't know you could really stay dry." (continued)