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Old 11 Mar 2010
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Summerland BC, Canada
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Firstgear Kilimanjaro vs. Olympia AST

Hi All
Just looking for some hands-on advice.
I currently have two sets of gear. Firstgear mesh for hot weather and a 2008 Firstgear Denali and Joe Rocket overpants for colder weather - but neither set is very much good in the middle. It doesn't take much for the Denali to be too warm (The venting sucks) and likewise the pants soon become a sauna. The mesh gear is fine as long as it's >25 but anything below that and you have to wear light long-johns and carry raingear to cut the wind.

I bought everything two years ago when I first got started and I'm afraid I let my excitment get in the way of prudent research. So now I'm looking for something that's truly three season.

I like Firstgear for no other reason that I know exactly what size to order and I like the look. After some research the best alternative I can find is the Olympia AST. Both seem to be a reasonable compromise between price, features, safety and function. Does anyone have any current experience with either of these? I can read the reviews off of the net and the respective websites but I'd really like some hands-on experience

Thx in advance
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Old 11 Mar 2010
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: California
Posts: 514
Where are you headed? Three seasons sounds like S. America, since you will ride through pretty much everything: Heat, humidity, rain, cold, snow, wind,
more heat and back again!

I've owned many different types of riding gear, I had a Kilimanjaro about 5 years ago. Good jacket, but things have moved on. The new First Gear jackets are very good IMO. I have a Rainier and it's a very good 3 season jacket. Great in heat, truly breathable fabric, good vents, excellent TPG liner (separate jacket) and very waterproof. In super cold weather you will need a good base layer and perhaps electrics. In hot weather it is really good. I rode in 118F in Death Valley and did great. Also in Baja in 90's. Very versatile for me.

I've heard some good things about the Olympia jackets, tried one on, did not like it. First Gear felt much better and that is what I got. I also have a couple Joe Rocket jackets. Very good. Ballistic 5, the new Ballistic 7 or 8 (?) also gets rave reviews. I also had the JR Alter Ego, not bad.

Check out the First Gear jackets on close out at New Enough:
Closeouts > All Types > FirstGear :: New Enough

Also consider the Kathmandu. I've tried it on and its very very nice!!!
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Old 11 Mar 2010
Contributing Member
HUBB regular
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Summerland BC, Canada
Posts: 32

Hi There
Thanks for the response - I really appreciate it.
Maybe it's just because it was my first "real" gear when I got started three years ago but I really like the Firstgear stuff. Plus I know their sizes so I can order on line. If it wasn't for the colours I'd probably go with the Ranier too. The TPG line looks good but........I want something brighter for the visibility. That's why I was looking at the newer Kili or the Olympia - both come in hi-vis yellow.
I have a potential short-term overseas job contract coming up and if I get it I'm going to reward myself with new gear. I'm coming down to the travelers meeting in August. If you're there hopefully I can show you what I decided.
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Old 11 Mar 2010
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Summerland BC, Canada
Posts: 32
Follow up

And yes, I'm planning on South America in the fall of 2012.
I rode to the Panama Canal in Jan 08, and this year and last year my wife and I rode down and back into Mexico. Down the Pacific Coast as far as Zihuatenejo in 09 and this year down the middle to Guadalajara/Lake Chapala, over to Mazatlan and back up the Pacific Coast.
This year and next I'm going to I buy a sport-touring bike and concentrate on Canada and the US but in 2012 I'll be heading south again! If the Mayan's are right I want to be doing what I love when it all ends
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Old 12 Mar 2010
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I used to have an AST. It was a good jacket and comfortable until around 90F or so. The vents were awesome but the jacket did leak a little bit in an all day rain. I did really like that the liner could be worn as a jacket alone. It was great as a camp jacket. It always seems to bunch up on me though when I was on the bike since it was so long in the front and the fabric was kind of stiff. The neck also didn't fit me well. Here is a review of it on Webbikeworld.com

Olympia AST Jacket - webBikeWorld

Hope this helps.
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