Jacket and TPG Pants

Interior liners are included with both items – the Kilimanjaro uses poly-fleece, the Escape insulated polyester – which would have been ideal for some cold-weather testing. Problem was, spring had long-since given way to the triple-digit heat of summer, so I headed out into the midst of Northern California’s destructive wildfires to see if Firstgear’s flagship apparel could really live up to their all-weather claims. After two months and 2000 miles, the results were in.

Kilimanjaro 4.0 Jacket
The Kilimanjaro 4.0 is loaded with features and is comfortable right out of the box – no break-in required. The double-stitched, 330 denier shell uses Hypertex - a “waterproof, breathable liner membrane” - to aid in weatherproofing, and feels pliable, lacking the stiffness found in some textile apparel. Inside, the mesh liner is soft and nonabrasive. The Kilimanjaro comes with the black fleece liner, held in place using zippers and snaps. Installation of the fleece is easiest if it’s being worn; slip it on, don the jacket and then remove both at the same time to fasten the fleece in place. Firstgear claims the liner can be worn as its own jacket when off the bike, and that’s definitely the case; it’s thick, well-made and looks good.

Firstgear’s Kilimanjaro jacket has earned a reputation as a sturdy, versatile, all-seasons jacket worn by everyone from Long Way Down-types to the casual commuter. After years of hearing about the Kilimanjaro and never trying one, I ordered up a black size medium to see what all the hype was about. With it came Firstgear’s latest TPG Escape “all-weather” pants – a logical companion to the stalwart jacket.

From the dry scorching heat of the African summer, to the continent’s short, but incredibly wet monsoon season, the Kilimanjaro is built to persevere.The size medium Kilimanjaro fit my 5’7”, 160-pound frame well; snug but comfortable, and not too long, with the bottom of the jacket coming down just past my tailbone. When wearing the liner the jacket’s forearms were fairly tight, so depending on the size of your arms, don’t plan on wearing much more than a thin long-sleeve t-shirt or thermal when using the fleece.

Further inspection of the Kilimanjaro uncovered its many pockets, vents, zippers and fasteners. Starting at the top, the tall, hook-and-loop collar is lined with a comfortable microfiber material that’s easy on the skin. All of the zippers are heavy duty, work well and are easy to operate, even with gloved hands. The main front closure features an extra layer of snaps to seal out foul weather.

To keep the jacket in place, Firstgear uses hook-and-loop adjustable straps on both the cuffs and waist. The waist straps do a good job of cinching the jacket to the rider’s body, but tend to ride up slightly, bracketing the lower part of the rib cage instead of the waist. I would occasionally pull the bottom of the jacket downward to alleviate this, but it’s a minor detail that doesn’t seriously detract from the jacket’s overall comfort and performance.

Firstgear's Kilimanjaro 4.0 jacket and TPG Escape pants.Pockets are plentiful, with Firstgear’s Cargo Storage System (CSS) on both sides of the chest area. Unzip what looks like a single pocket, and inside is actually a series of additional pockets and sleeves of several sizes. There’s plenty of space for cell phones, maps, wallets and even an elastic tether for keys. On the right chest area inside the jacket is a tall pocket that can house a small hydration bladder, with two grommets that allow a drinking tube to exit through the shell and route up to the rider’s helmet. Beneath the waist straps are four more pockets, so there’s no lack of storage space in this jacket.

Keeping a black jacket cool and comfortable in hot weather isn’t an easy task, so the Kilimanjaro uses Firstgear’s Torso Venting System (TVS) to keep air moving around the rider’s body. Large vents are located in the chest, back and inside the arms, and do a surprisingly good job of moving air through the jacket. Even during some of my slower dual-sport rides and city commuting in 100-degree weather, heat build up wasn’t a problem. Like any jacket, if you’re stationary long enough it gets uncomfortable, but once on the move the Kilimanjaro’s TVS performs well.

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