There’s nothing like a chilly downpour to dampen your spirits, especially when you’ve planned and dressed for a sun-soaked ride. The folks at Klīm, the dual-sport clothing specialists, have a solution to the sudden shower – their compact Stow Away jacket. It lets you dress for the sun but defend against the afternoon gully washer.
Sewn from lightweight, breathable GoreTex material, the Stow Away’s claim to fame is its compact size when stuffed into one of its two zippered pockets. The resulting jacket packet is about 6 by 9 inches and just 3 inches thick. But the magic doesn’t end there – two hook-and-loop straps let you lash it to your handlebar crossbar or other handy spot for easy toting. Total weight is 19 ounces for a size medium.
So there you are, out on the trail. Rain’s a-coming but it’s kind of humid. You unstrap and unpack the Stow Away and slip it on, counting on the breathable/waterproof Gore-Tex Performance Shell fabric to kill the clammy factor. If the humidity is just too much (like those lovely 90/90 days I’ve experienced in Virginia) Klīm supplies a backup plan – just open the long under-sleeve vents. And don’t worry about water running down the back of your neck; they included a hood that you can wear under your helmet. It zips away in the micro fleece-lined collar when you don’t need it.
The Stow Away’s loaded with other cool features, like the low-profile cuffs that combine elastic with hook-and-loop to provide any degree of closure you desire, over or under your gloves. And the hood and waist both have shock-cord drawstrings, each with a little loop of fabric that holds the end of the string so you can always find it. Inside, there’s a moisture-wicking lining hanging free to soak up sweat. Water-resistant zippers are standard equipment throughout the jacket.
Klīm builds the Stow Away in sizes S through 3XL and cuts it so that my size medium fits over body armor, but also looks fine over a T-shirt. If you wear a padded jacket instead of armor, the Stow Away makes a good rain liner. It passed my hose-down test in good form, with just a little splash coming in at the front of the collar. When wearing the hood under a helmet, I had to make a little slack in the back of the hood so I could move my head freely and arrange the front edge so it wouldn’t disrupt my vision.
Sewing quality is top-notch on the Stow Away, some of the best I’ve seen in
motorcycle products. And for $199 you get a lot more than an emergency rain shell for dual-sporting – the pit vents and mesh lining make it a good bicycling jacket as well. It’s such a versatile lightweight coat that it’s a shame to keep it strapped to your bike when you’re not riding. Rain or shine, the Stow Away does the trick.
For more information, visit www.klimusa.com.