The Switchback pant is exactly what you might expect from a company like Klim. It is a classic, adventure-riding pant. It’s not the kind of pant you would commute in, nor is it the kind of pant you would go touring in. In fact, if you could possibly help it, it’s not even the kind of pant you’d go out in the rain in, because it doesn’t come with a waterproof membrane. In styling terms, the Switchbacks sit somewhere between a cargo pant and a classic, American workwear pant. They will work well on the bike, but this is a pant that you could equally well wear back at camp, or indeed down the pub.
The main chassis of the pant is a material called Karbonite micromesh that is produced by Schoeller Industries. It is both highly abrasion resistant and incredibly breathable. It is going to flow huge amounts of air; important when you’re riding off road or in hot conditions. But if you’re riding on the road you’re going to want even more strength than the Micromesh can provide, which is why the pants feature additional layers of abrasion-resistant Cordura-style Nylon in all the most vulnerable areas.
The trousers do not have a waterproof membrane because, in all honesty, for riding in hot conditions the last thing you want is a waterproof/windproof membrane. But they do come with a DWR treatment. A DWR is, in essence, a waterproof coating. It won’t stand up to hours in the rain, but it will keep the rain out for a while; enough to get you home, perhaps.
The Switchbacks wear like a regular street pant. Even with the armour in, you could wear them all day. But, for even greater comfort, the knee armour can be removed externally. You get standard jean pockets, but also cargo pockets on the thighs, one of which fastens by popper, the other by means of an Autolock zip.
The armour is by D3O. It comes as standard in both the knees and hips and, as you might expect, it is the company’s most vented LP1 armour. The pant itself is classified as an AA garment under the latest EN 17092 regulations, which is the highest level currently achievable by a textile trouser.
Ventilation and breathability sit very much at the heart of the Switchback pants and so, in addition to the highly breathable Micromesh chassis you get vent zips on both thighs. At the bottom of the legs there are long two-way zips. These make it easy to get even the largest off-road boots inside the leg of the pant. But when you draw the zip down from the top you also create additional venting. There’s another nice little touch at the hem of the pant. There’s an elasticated adjuster strap to close the bottom of the leg. It works really well. The strap also has a Scotchlite reflective insert.
The Switchback is what our American friends would call a crossover pant, which is to say that it will work both on and off the bike. And in this, it is the equal of any adventure pant we’ve come across. Carry with you a pair of Scott waterproof outers, and you have a motorcycle trouser you can wear in any situation, in any conditions.
They cost just £270. The come in three different colourways. All colourways are available in a long leg configuration. In grey, they are also available in a short leg.
For more information and to order online, click Klim Switchback pant.
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