Attending the Yamaha Super Ténéré press launch gave us the opportunity to try out Firstgear's new Kathmandu jacket and pants, the apparel company's latest top-of-the-line adventure-tour gear. Featuring a Hypertex(tm) waterproof/breathable outer shell constructed from 420 denier rip-stop and 300 denier high-density nylon fabrics, the Kathmandu jacket and pants sport the usual CE armor in the elbows, shoulders, and knees, with additional high-density foam in the hips and EVA foam back pad. The jacket boasts five waterproof pockets in front, with a large 14-inch pouch in back; inner pockets include a secure phone pocket, large patch cargo and vertical breast wallet pocket. Both garments have numerous vents for hot weather (two nine-inch chest vents, two armpit vents and one 14-inch rear exhaust vent on the jacket, while the pants have an eight-inch diagonal vent on top of each leg) in addition to removable, fully insulated thermal liners for colder climes.
Waterproof and breathable stretch fabric is used in the underarms and inner elbows on the jacket, plus the crotch, inner thigh and back of the knees on the pants, for flexibility and comfort. The jacket collar is lined with peached fabric, and both it and the liner's wrist areas are made from a soft-touch stretch fabric for additional comfort. Numerous snap adjusters and Velcro(r) closures ensure a custom and close fit, and both garments have a 10-inch zipper to connect them together. Reflective piping on both jacket and pants aids nighttime visibility.
The jacket also features an under-helmet rain hood (so that rain dripping off your helmet doesn't leak down) concealed in the collar, as well as a 1.5-liter removable hydration bladder that attaches to the back, with a drinking tube equipped with a 90-degree bite valve that allows drinking with a full-face helmet on.
The Kathmandu jacket and pants performed well, with the jacket offering good fit and comfort during long rides. At the Yamaha press launch, temperatures ranged from 50 degrees to 80 degrees F, and we remained comfortable without feeling the need to remove the liner during the hotter temperatures. Opening up the numerous vents helped in this regard, and we can easily say that they would make a difference without the liner if temperatures were higher. We didn't have the chance to ride in rainy conditions, but we did notice that any water that did splash on the Hypertex material would be repelled and quickly run off. And the hydration drinking pouch was a godsend during the longer off-road rides.
Our only gripe was with the Kathmandu pants. Tailoring was a bit on the large side, and because of this, knee armor tended to shift quite a bit. This led to some discomfort at times before we moved the armor into the correct spot.
Retail: (jacket) $319.95; (pants) $199.95
Colors: (jacket) orange/grey/black, black/grey, sand/silver; (pants) black/grey, sand/silver
Sizes: (jacket) Sm-3XL, Tall Lg-2XL; (pants) 30-48, Tall 34-42, Short 34-42; sand/silver 34-42