As the adventure-riding segment grows, so does the variety of clothing to wear while you explore the back-of-beyond, each new product promising to protect adventurers from a wide range of weather and mishaps. Helmet House has joined the fray with its Cortech branded and economically priced Sequoia XC jacket and pants ($349.99 and $164.99, respectively).
A 600-denier Carbolex polyester fabric is the base for both garments, with impact zones covered by 1680 denier ballistic polyester. CE-approved armor rides below the ballistics at shoulders, elbows, forearms and knees. Cortech’s non-CE triple-density back pad is a cut above some of the stock foam pads I’ve seen in more expensive jackets, though I’d appreciate some scapula coverage. The armor in the pants is height adjustable, and the legs sewn large enough for my personal knee braces; the jacket sleeves zip off for those using separate armor.
Sequoia pants are built for flexibility, with elastic panels at the knees and back, plus a stretch panel in the crotch. They don’t bind when I swing a leg over my BMW F 800 GS. The inner legs feature heat-resistant material and up top are two waterproof cargo pockets that hold plenty of must-haves. I can put on my tallest adventure boots without a struggle thanks to legs that zip open wide and high enough.
Bicep vents are the XC jacket’s first line of defense against overheating, and usher in a decent breeze. Twin chest vents double as small pockets until you remove the zip/hook-and-loop covers to bring in more air, assisted by a large removable back panel. Vent covers can be stored in the large tail pocket. When the skies open, it’s time to install the removable waterproof/breathable liners in both garments. The jacket liner is part of a zip-in thermal layer, so you’ll be warm as well as dry.
Cortech provides several storage options: a vest pocket in the mesh lining (inaccessible with the thermal/rain liner installed); two zippered cargo pockets at the waist on top of cozy handwarmer pockets; a small key pocket on the left sleeve; and a cell phone pocket. Space is adequate, but the openings on the cargo and key pockets are too small to access easily.
The XC jacket closes with a two-way zipper protected by a hook-and-loop storm flap. A tab near the collar holds the microfiber-lined collar open for more airflow (all jackets should have these). The cuff openings cinch down with hook-and-loop, and the waist is adjustable, as are two armor-stabilizing straps on each sleeve. The jacket can also incorporate a hydration pack (included). The pack straps can be run through the shell (and liner if installed) to keep the pack from pulling on the jacket, so you put on the pack and jacket together. The pack rides comfortably this way, but you’re then forced to remove the jacket to get into the pack.
Construction on the Sequoia looks structurally sound, but there were a few threads and untidy seams on my test samples. Still, the Sequoia XC separates, available in black or gray/black, in sizes XS-4XL (plus tall and short sizes), are a good place to start your adventure suit shopping, especially for the budget minded.
For more information, See your dealer or visit cortech.net.