2017 Klim Cow Tag

I never knew that motorcycle trail advocacy could be so much fun.  For me, trail advocacy has always meant being the boots on the ground and swinging a hand tool playing in the dirt to build or maintain trails.  Working dirt is good fun, but we all know that it’s more fun to ride a trail than build it.  Yet, the folks at Klim have figured out how to make riding trails something that directly benefits trail advocacy:  Enter Klim’s Cow Tag event.  Now in its third year, the Cow Tag event brings in riders from all over North America to ride in Klim’s backyard trail system, win great prizes, and most importantly to raise money that goes to trail advocacy groups like The Blue Ribbon Coalition and the Idaho Trail Machine.


If you’re wondering how Klim, whose gear has awesome names like ‘Drifter’, ‘Badlands’, and ‘Oculus’, decided on ‘Cow Tag’ for an event name, let me explain.  The event works like this:  At registration, you’re given a map of the entire trail system that has the locations of a bunch of cow tags (literally the things you see fixed to a cow’s ear) sprinkled all over it.  During the event, your objective is to ride to as many tags as you can and record the number written on the back of the tag.  Each tag is worth a certain number of points, and the end of the day the number of points you collect determines how many raffle tickets you get.  You’re then free to put your raffle tickets in a drawing to win gear from a number of awesome brands who all support trail advocacy.


The Big Hole Mountain trail system is something you can’t truly appreciate until you sampled some of this world class single track in the Caribou Targhee National Forest.  Ribbons of single track are laced over this awesome country by folks who clearly see the world through a dirt biker’s pair of goggles.  Hundreds of miles of trails climb to rocky ridge lines with stunning views and then drop into winding canyons that look like they came straight out of Middle Earth.  Trails thread their way through tunnels in the forest and along the sides of mountains.  There are no fall zones and snowfields, log and creek (read: river) crossings and technical moves innumerable – in short it’s a singletrack paradise.

This trail system has something for everyone.  From fast and flowy to hard-enduro technical, your dream trail is out there.  The folks at Klim have graded all of the trails for the event from green to double black on a difficulty scale (think ski area trail ratings).  Greens are typically two-track trails that are open to ATV’s too.  Don’t let that fact discourage you – ATVs tend to carve out perfectly-bermed turns that are an absolute hoot on a dirtbike.  Blue trails range from fast and flowy to easier technical moves and some exposure thrown in for good flavor.  My riding buddies and I spent most of our time on blues, and we were blown away by just how many miles of awesome trail are in this system.  Single blacks are where things start to get fun, as these trails have mandatory technical moves, and depending on which way you’re going on a trail some rather fun ledges and other obstacles to climb.  Double blacks are where you’re going to find the exposure and technical moves that can mean bad things if you blow a line.  One of the double blacks we sampled was a goat track across a very steep slide slope, and it took everything four guys had to recover a bike that slipped off the trail.


Klim’s Cow Tag event is the best trail advocacy experience I’ve had in my life – and I’m fortunate enough to live in a community where we get to build new dirtbike trails with the forest service every year.  Roughly 300 riders participated in this year’s event, and judging by the dusty, smiling faces I saw everywhere at the end of the day – I know everyone had a great time.  And, all of the riders that participated in the Cow Tag can feel good about the fact that not only did they have a great day of riding, but they’ve helped to make sure that places like the Big Hole Mountain trail system stay open to dirtbikes.

Trail advocacy is something that everyone who recreates outdoors needs to be involved in.  Whether you’re on two wheels or four, if you value the trails that you utilize, then you need to support or, better yet, get involved with an organization that’s working to ensure your access to our nation’s trails.  If we don’t get involved, we will only loose access to the trails and trail systems that we all love riding.  Klim has created something brilliant in the Cow Tag event – they made trail advocacy something that is a ton of fun to participate in.  They’ve found great companies and organizations to partner up with to help make this event possible, and it’s my sincere hope that other companies, clubs, and organizations will follow suit to host events like the Cow Tag all over the place.  The more folks that get involved in trail advocacy, the better the odds are that world-class trail systems like the Big Hole Mountain trail system will be open for years to come.  Do yourself a favor – if you can travel to one place to ride next year, go to the Cow Tag event.

Thanks to Adam, Kenny, Stephen, and Christian for letting me continually stop the ride to take photos.  Thanks to all of the awesome folks at Klim and all of the other organizations that put on an outstanding event for a great cause.

Klim 626 Collection

The folks at Klim have created something in the world of technical riding gear that blurs the lines on exactly who this gear is made for – and that is precisely what makes it so good.  Think worn-in work wear all-day comfort fused with the technical function and performance you would expect from Klim, yet priced to fit in any rider’s budget.  It‘s gear that goes great with any motorcycle, on just about any ride, and looks so good and is so comfortable that you may find yourself wearing it when motorcycles aren’t even involved with whatever you’re doing.

According to Klim, the 626 collection is “less about what you’re on, and more about what you’re doing. 626 is about riding. And riding gear that can do anything.”  You won’t find the uber high tech materials and every last feature that some of Klim’s most iconic pieces of riding gear have, but what you will find in the 626 collection is timeless design, function, and style.  If you’ve ever felt like a power ranger decked out in your adventure riding gear, the 626 collection will have you looking great in addition to keeping you comfortable and well protected.

The 626 collection is currently a line of two jackets, a pair of pants and a pair gloves.  We’ve been hard at work putting this gear through the ringer over the last few months doing just about everything we can while wearing the gear.  We’ve built and cleared single track.  We’ve ridden on cold spring mornings and hot afternoons under the Arizona sun.  We’ve spent time wrenching and working hard, and we’ve spent time enjoying adult beverages and holding the bar down.  After all of this, the gear is no worse for the wear, and just as double knee work pants get better with each use, so does the 626 collection.


A jacket with classic four-pocket military style gets a healthy serving of technical function to create the Revener.  A fully featured Gore-Tex Performance Shell keeps you dry when things get wet outside, and Klim’s awesome plaid lining keeps things super comfy on the inside.  Think of the comfort of a flannel shirt and you’ll get an idea of what being in this jacket is like.  D3O CE Level 1 Armor on the elbows, shoulders, and back provide impact protection and four large vents in the torso move a great deal of air when you need to vent.  A double zipper allows you to open things up even further for more airflow, and magnetic snaps are used all over the jacket to close pockets and the zipper flaps on the front of the jacket.

In use, the Revener jacket seals up tight when the weather gets ugly, and it’s here I need to mention the collars on the 626 jackets are awesome.  If you’ve heard bad things about Klim collars in the past, the Revener and the Drifter jacket both have great collars that won’t chafe your neck, or affix themselves to your base layer no matter how you run the collar.  Long, hot days battling stupid amounts of wind didn’t faze the Revener, and with the cuffs on the sleeves opened up, I felt like I was getting more than enough airflow to stay cool.  We haven’t been able to give the Revener a proper monsoon rain test, but a spirited ride in a spring storm didn’t end up with any water making it’s way past the jacket.

The Revener packs a great feature set into a jacket that looks terrific and works just about anywhere, in any weather.  All day rides that start with a cool morning, get warm at lunchtime, and then wet in the afternoon are no worries in the Revener.  The jacket moves great and fits quite well, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself kicking back by the campfire still wearing the Revener jacket.


When I first handed the Drifter jacket to one of my riding buddies, his response was; “Wow.  This thing is awesome!  What a cool jacket.”  Made from a waxed cordura cotton canvas, and sporting the same magnets and D3O CE Level 1 elbow, shoulder, and back armor as the Revener, the Drifter jacket is an excellent choice for spring and fall riding.  I say spring and fall because a double zipper and pit holes are going to be the only ways to move air through the jacket, which can cause things to get a bit warm when it’s hot out.  Like any tool, the Drifter has a best use case, and as long as it’s not too hot out, this jacket is quite comfortable.  Klim’s super-comfy plaid is also used for lining the inside of the jacket, and after an entire day riding in the Drifter, you’re still happy to hang out with it on.


The Drifter jacket is at home on any bike going on just about any ride.  The jacket looks great, so you can take the dirt on your way to work, hop off your bike and walk right into the board room for a meeting without having to stash your riding gear.  The waxed cotton canvas offers an impressive degree of water resistance, and the jacket moves and fits great thanks to an action back and a cut that works with your body’s movements.


Double-knee work pants have officially become riding pants – and they may just happen to be the most comfortable riding pants that I’ve ever worn.  The Outrider pant is the type of pant that you can do just about anything in – I’m pretty sure Klim’s gear designers cherry-picked their favorite features from existing work pants and then applied the Klim technical wizardy treatment to make the Outrider pant.  From a few feet away, the Outrider pant looks just like any five-pocket double knee work pant, and you would be hard pressed to tell that these pants are also packing removable D3O CE Level-1 armor at the hips and the knees.  That awesome Klim plaid lining is also used to line the pockets in the Outrider pant, and the leg cuffs are cut to fit over moto or adventure style boots.

The armor can be installed and removed while wearing the pants, so going from fully armored to no armor takes just a few seconds.  The knee pads can be positioned in the pockets so you can enjoy the benefits of perfectly placed knee pads which is a welcome thing for some tasks you’ll find yourself doing in the Outrider pants.  If you’ve ever felt like your lower half was comparatively naked in regular work pants while riding, the Outrider pants have what it takes to help keep your protected on the bike, and in a few seconds go to work pants that will hold up to countless hours on the job.  Unlike some riding pants, these allow you to go just about anywhere and arrive dressed for the destination. The Outrider pant will hold up to any task at work, keep you protected on any ride where you’re not in the wet all day, and look great in town or out in the dirt.


Rounding out the 626 Collection is the Rambler Glove, Klim’s take on the classic deer skin glove.  Deer skin is an awesome material to make gloves out of, and if you’ve ever had a pair of work gloves or riding gloves made from deer skin, you know what I’m on about.  When you add in Klim’s technical gear wizardry in the form of strategic padding, you get a pair of gloves that you’ll find yourself reaching for just about any time you need gloves.

The Rambler is cut in a classic roper style and they fit like a second skin.  In addition to hours riding, I’ve thrown everything from TIG welding to chainsaw trail clearing and building at the Rambler gloves, and they’ve handled everything with ease.  On 100 degree desert crossing days, the Rambler gloves kept my hands cooler than expected, and I didn’t feel like I was wearing a pair of nitrile gloves and soaking in sweat.  On the cold end of the spectrum, the gloves have no insulation so your hands can certainly get cold if the temps get low enough, but it’s important to remember that these gloves aren’t sold as a cold weather glove.  Klim makes some of the most technically advanced gloves that money can buy, and their take on a classic is no less impressive.


I appreciate the fact that Klim’s 626 collection is just like a good multi tool – It works for so many rides, on any motorcycle, and is very well priced.  For what you pay, you’re getting gear with technical features and timeless style that’s going to hold up to thousands of miles and countless days playing in the dirt.  It’s important to remember that the words ‘water resistant’ appear several times in this article, so as long as you’re not heading out to ride in the monsoons you’ll be quite happy (use the right tool…).  On weekend getaway rides, I’ve really come to appreciate that the Outrider pants are the only pants I need for a weekend – Armor in to ride, and armor out to relax and do everything else off-bike.  Likewise with either of the 626 jackets, I don’t feel like a power ranger, so I can have one jacket for every need on the trip.  The Rambler gloves are awesome because they fit so well, and being able to do actual work in them is a huge plus when you’re clearing or working on single track.

The gear in this collection is about the adventure and experience of riding.  It’s about playing outside in gear that just works.  From dirt roads to downtown, from building single track to beers with your buddies, the 626 collection is a great choice for riding gear that comes in at a great price point and offers solid value and multi-purpose performance.