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Hey everyone.
I’m getting back into the sport after a year ~12 year break (thanks college/life). Looking for brand suggestions on jacket, bibs, boots. I live down in Kentucky so going to a big store and trying a bunch of stuff on isn’t really an option before everything sells out everywhere. I will mainly be traveling to the UP or northern Wisconsin mainly to do trail riding etc. TIA
 

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I will go first, I guess, and I know some will prefer I left some of this unsaid. I live WI so I am able to use my normal cold weather gear plus a few snowmobile specific items.
Normal long John’s if cold enough to warrant them
Jacket-normally a Carhart (extreme)
Bibs/snow pants-something waterproof off of Amazon and they were cheap—-very happy with them
-gloves-a few Castle x gloves for different conditions-good stuff for a fair price
-balaclava-any good one-mine a kiln I think-number one piece of gear in my opinion
-helmet-cheap Hjc due to the size of my head-there are better options if you have a normal sized noggin
-good boots are required-I have a few choices due to my age and time in WI-I think you get what you pay for from LaCrosse but other brands are good too
Socks-two sock systems just work and work well. I have a few pairs from the brand Colombia from the late 90s early 2000s still going strong that I’m happy with.

If I were new to this, I would at least consider some of the modern electric offering for base layer clothing and will once my current ever fails.

Most of this stuff is buy once and last until you decide to change it, they do not normally wear out so the costs really do not matter all that much, in my opinion.

Have fun
 

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2020 Renegade X- Black, the fastest color.
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Klim or Skidoo branded gear would be my go-to. Lots of options within each line for your specific application. Higher-end snowmobile gear can get pretty spendy. However, if you look for last season's gear, you can usually find some good deals if you don't have to have the latest color schemes and whatnot. Black was always fine for me. LOL.

It was high 90s yesterday here in upstate NY. Perfect time for out-of-season sled gear. A month or so from now after Hay Days it will be considered in-season. Sled shows used to be a good place to find deals on sled gear too, but the Big East show has been a disappointment the past couple of times they have had it.
 

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There are some pretty good offerings here from time to time. You'll need to know your size however.

You can't go wrong with Klim gear but it is expensive so if money is no object, I'd go that route. Same with Skidoo gear.

Focus on feet, hands and head. Get yourself quality gear in those 3 areas and you'll be good.

Good medium base layers will make just about any outer shell work well. I use REI base layers. They outlast all my other crap. Get 3 sets or so.

And drop $20 on a box of hand warmers. Someone in the group always has frozen hands and no way to fix it. A dollar pair of warmers gets it done.

Welcome back to the sport.
 

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Whatever you do, don't wear anything that is cotton. If you go to Walmart or something like Dunham's or Academy Sports you can find good base layers in various degrees of warmth in the hunting section. I combine a base layer with a zip up fleece purchased from the same places. My gloves are ski gloves if it's really cold I'll turn on the hand warmers but that's rare. You want to try to avoid sweating as much as you can and that includes your hands. I wear Muck boots with good wool socks. I do tend to sweat in the Muck boots but the wool socks wick the moisture away so I don't get cold feet. I think they are the wetlands model so somewhere in the middle as far as cold weather rating. My main riding gear is mid level Castle X. Works great for me. A lot of gear can be ordered on Amazon and returned if it doesn't fit. I also would recommend a heated shield for your helmet if that is a possibility. I ride in the UP and am never cold. Before getting my Castle X stuff a few years ago I was riding with some 20 year old Polaris gear that someone gave me. I suppose some people wouldn't ride a Skidoo with Polaris gear but then there are people like me that just don't care what other people do.

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I've had great luck with motorfist. I stick with non or lightly insulated gear and wear layers. They have some great deals this time a year and got most of my gear for 40-60% off. I've never been wet or cold with motorfist. I buy new every few years and relegate the old to everyday around the house gear.

Another place to look is country cat. They sell gear other than factory arctic cat gear, and the last year's models are usually pretty cheap.

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I will say one thing and one thing only, (NO COTTON) for under garments>>>>>>Enough Said
 

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Klim, Ski-Doo, FXR, Castle X, CKX are all options I consider.

You will rarely hear a consensus on dootalk.

They all have full line price points to fit any budget. They all have different perks to try and attract you and set them apart.

My purchase process is to find the best "minimum acceptable capability." Not just buy the most/least expensive.

1) Decide on your price RANGE, or your 'not-to-exceed' threshold.
2) Decide on your key features you want (warmth, breathability, 'waterproofness,' Shell vs insulated, tradition style vs mountain/snowboard style, removable liners vs 3-in-1 vs one-piece, venting, color way, etc)
3) Research each brand. Save jackets that meet your price point and features to get starting point.
4) Read or look at video reviews on your list and narrow it down further.
5) TRY SEVERAL ON from your narrowed list with your desired layers including armor and bibs/pants). Every style has a different cut that will fit different. I recommend trying different manufactures too because of this.
6) Buy it! and dont look back.
7) Use it! And evaluate what you like and dont like to help learn and guide your next

Snow Shows are perfect to try on several. But, go in with a narrowed down plan or you'll be overwhelmed. Can also use websites with great return policies to order your list and try on. Or just look to find the company's dealer in your area.

Some perks I've noticed.
Klim=Gortex, durability
FXR= Variety (extensive line up), color ways, float (but klim has this option too)
Ski-Doo= Very good performance, Match to your sled if you like that.
CastleX = good value with good features
CKX= I haven't seen much of their jackets but the Ungava with built in LED is intriguing. And the Mission and Titan helmets are awesome.

Good Luck! I've had experience with all the brands above and I can make an argument For or Against any one of them.
 

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Skidoo Absolute Zero is very warm. My wife was cold in every other piece of gear she tried. 25 years of riding and she says that Absolute Zero is superior to everything else she has worn.

I use Klim and it warm and not too bulky. Very happy overall.
 

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I will say one thing and one thing only, (NO COTTON) for under garments>>>>>>Enough Said
I make my living guiding in the great state of Maine and wear cotton undergarments every single day of the year.....Of course if you can't go home or inside at night to dry off then you need to avoid it.....Otherwise it is the super fabric that is warm and comfy.....
 

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I make my living guiding in the great state of Maine and wear cotton undergarments every single day of the year.....Of course if you can't go home or inside at night to dry off then you need to avoid it.....Otherwise it is the super fabric that is warm and comfy.....
That very could be for you>>>>>>>> but for me no cotton undergarments>>>>And I will leave it at that>>>>
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Castle x IMHO is the best bang for the buck In quality vs cost. Other stuff out there is better but like sleds the cost of gear is a joke
Agreed. Been looking at FXR stuff and could spend a grand easily on jacket, bibs, and boots. Not the end of the world if its the best stuff on planet earth and will last forever... but i'm always looking for a better value anywhere I can. Might be able to snag some clearance stuff on ebay...
 
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