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Adventure Rally Old vs. New

Ned Suesse

I've been lucky to wear several iterations of the Klim rally jacket since its Inception , on trips all over the world. These jackets can be an interesting conversation starter- people who know what they are want to see all the details, and of course there is the universal question- can it really be worth the price?

Before we get to that, for me, there are a few fundamental goals for a jacket like the Rally, that I plan to use in extreme circumstances like rally racing and 3rd world travel (these two activities have a lot in common!).

1) The gear must offer great safety protection- with attention to both abrasion and impact.

2) The gear must be weatherproof AND it must offer ventilation options, so that it is useful whether warm or cold, wet or dry. Some jackets use an interior zip in liner as the water proof component - this is a non-starter for me, as a passing shower means I'm now wearing a sopping wet sponge. An interior liner can work, but best is if the outer layer of the jacket is waterproof and offers the ability to ventilate.

3) I need to be able to carry all of my important/ valuable items: a few tools, water and food, passport and cash, maps- so that the things I can't live without are always safely on my person. This isn't merely sewing a few pockets on, it is integrating a plan for how to carry some weight while keeping both the garment and the load stable.

The Rally is one of the only jackets from any manufacturer anywhere that meets all these requirements. The construction is second to none, the most skeptical person can see how much attention to detail there is in the material choices and sewing work. The internal harness system means that even with a big load, the jacket disappears when worn. And the technical design, from pocket location to ventilation choices to armor, is second to none. This is not a styling exercise thrown together by an artist, it is an engineered piece made by true enthusiasts, who have shivered and sweat in places with unpronounceable names to make something that really works.

Like fine wine, the design has gotten better with age. The earliest prototypes were promising but were heavy and bulky. They were refined into the first production version, which to me stands out as an amazing achievement- it struck all three points above without compromise.

Now, the latest version has even more technical improvements, but the biggest improvement for me is improved fit- a combination of a bit of stretch material and a tighter cut has taken bulk out of the jacket. In addition, there are more vents in more places, so when it's hot, the new version is a little better, and that's saying something.

So, the ultimate question: is it worth the price? The answer, of course, is "it depends". When you see the level of detail involved in construction, you'll understand why it costs what it does. Whether that price is worth it for you, depends on how important it is to answer yes to all three of those questions.

Improved features:
Upgrade from SPL 600 to Armacor Kevlar® throughout the jacket. 
Improved Superfabric ceramic dot pattern to enhance range of movement and mobility.
Improved Neck-brace-compatible Storm Collar construction.
Addition of water tight hand pockets beneath the billowed lower storage pockets. 
Lower front storage pockets have a more intuitive access point.
Improved storage in the lower back.
Exterior waist adjustment belt in addition to the interior kindey belt.
Daisy chain attachment points between chest and hand pockets.
Increased coverage of 3M® reflective.
Improved ventilation throughout the jacket, added ventilation in the sleeves.
Removable/adjustable spacer mesh Deflexion® chest armor.
Stretch Gore-Tex® panels behind shoulders.
Improved jacket-to-pant zipper connection.


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