Recommendations for Alaska in late August / early September

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by scott0_1, Apr 27, 2013.

  1. scott0_1

    scott0_1 Adventurer

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    Hi everybody,

    I'm heading to Alaska for August and september and I need to get some new gear and I'm hoping someone can help me out. I'm expecting cool weather and rain. I'm looking for a new jacket, pants, gloves and tires. I've been looking at:

    Olympia X Moto Jacket or AST 2
    Olympia X Moto pants
    Heidenau K60 Scout tires

    I haven't done too much research on gloves, but I definitely want a warm, waterproof pair.

    Thanks for any help you can suggest!
    #1
  2. Lost Roadie

    Lost Roadie Rider

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    I have no experience with Olympia jackets, but from brielfy looking at the one you listed I would stay away.

    You want a jacket that has Gortex laminated into the outer shell, not a waterproof removable liner. If you see "water resistant" in the jackets description it's not the right jacket for Alaska, especially that time of year.
    Waterproof neoprene around the neck and hands is also a good feature to look for to stay dry and warm.
    Expecting cold and rain in Alaska in september is an understatement. :evil


    Buy the highest quality jacket you can possibly afford, it can make the difference between having a good ride or not in that environment. Since it's already a lot of cash for such a ride, what's a little more to ensure your comfort and safety. :deal


    Rukka, BMW, Klim, Motoport, etc
    Don't forget an electric jacket liner and gloves and maybe socks too while you're at it, you'll be glad you did.
    A couple pairs of gloves is a good idea too, inevitably most any "waterproof" glove will get wet on the inside.

    And a helmet that offers a pin lock fog insert face shield, it's the only thing that really works for riding long days in cold wet weather.

    Good luck!
    #2
  3. Nnordsman

    Nnordsman Nnordsman

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    My best advice is to be prepared for rain, period. If you are set to be comfortable in 40 degree rain you should be good anywhere along the way. If you don't trust your gear a $50 dollar rain jacket provides a big comfort margin.

    My other advice is that if you are not 100% confident your tires will make the trip back home replace them in Alaska. There is no joy like spending $300-400 for a new rear tire in Canada.
    #3
  4. Lost Roadie

    Lost Roadie Rider

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    Um, he lives in Canada... Lol
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  5. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i like my Olympia, but it's not the warmest. heated vest and grips would have been nice, but i didn't have either.

    i had snow up there in Sept/2011, and below freezing temps. plan accordingly.

    fall colors were spectacular. if you need lodging, better have a reservation, lots of people on the move at that time, heading south.
    #5
  6. Nnordsman

    Nnordsman Nnordsman

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    You are right, so much for my reading skills. I laughed too. It may still be cheaper to buy tires in Alaska even if he lives in Canada.
    #6
  7. Rackemcrackem

    Rackemcrackem Unsafe at any speed

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    I've worn an AST (1) jacket and X-Moto pants with their liners in all day rain at 40-50 degrees temperatures. The Olympia gear has kept me reasonably dry but I've heard reports of leaks. The outer shell will absorb some water. In prolonged rain at those temps, waterproof gear and electrically heated liners is definitely mo betta!
    #7
  8. Rackemcrackem

    Rackemcrackem Unsafe at any speed

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    Also, "waterproof" gloves are much more likely to keep out water if you wear them under a pair of truly waterproof overmitts or oversized rubber gloves. And try to tuck your leather gloves under your jacket cuffs, so water doesn't run inside everytime you slow down or lower your arms.

    A thin silk or poly glove liner will also allow you to slide your damp hands back inside damp gloves. Otherwise, you will be cursing your "waterproof" glove manufacturer after a long rainy day! :rofl
    #8
  9. scott0_1

    scott0_1 Adventurer

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    Thanks for the replies everybody. I've started looking at some other stuff, but if anyone has some specific suggestions about what kind of jacket, that would be great. I've looked at some of the BMW and Klim stuff, but they don't really seem geared for the cold weather on their own; they seem more like shells?

    I'm going to order some new tires from the interweb and have them shipped to Anchorage. That's our first major stop in Alaska. I'll get my tires changed there so I have a fresh set for the most important part of the trip. No matter where you live, buying tires in Canada is expensive!
    #9
  10. Lost Roadie

    Lost Roadie Rider

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    A BMW Streetgaurd 3 suit with it's insulating liner combined with a Gerbings electric jacket and some long underwear you can stay dry and warm day in and day out down in rain and even below freezings temps. (With heated grips or gloves)
    My girl has that kit and it's proven to keep her comfy no matter what the weather and also provide excellent crash protection. She falls a lot. :wink:

    There has to be a BMW shop in Vancouver for you to go check out their stuff, there's many different suits. Just stay with one that has Gortex in the outer shell, with where you live and where you're going, venting doesn't seem to be as much of a concern as being waterproof and having cuffs on the neck and sleeves. The underarm vents in the Streetgaurd work pretty well from what she says though, they sure don't leak and that's the important part.

    Klim should be easy enough to find in a shop too, though I have zero experience with Klim gear. Some folks like, it, it's not for me though.
    I wear a Rukka Armas, you'd be hard pressed to find a better cold/wet riding suit available anywhere, it's just quite an investment. Worth every penny to me IMHO after years of use in every condition imaginable.
    I can only recommend gear I have experience with. :evil
    #10
  11. skierd

    skierd Wannabe Far-Rider

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    Don't bother shipping tires to AK, by the time you factor in the online discount and the big bump in price with shipping, its basically the same cost as buying them here. Call ahead and most if not all will put a set aside for you, and if you're bike runs the common GS or other big dual sport sizes they'll probably already be here in stock. Don't know about Anchorage shops personally, but there are two if not three places in Fairbanks stocking Heidenaus and ADV-esque tires now (Trail's End BMW, ADV Cycles, and Frozen Motor Works) and the prices are reasonable for the 49th state.

    The Klim stuff is mainly a shell, leaving it up to you to layer underneath. In cold cold weather I wear an eddie bauer down jacket over my heated jacket under the Traverse, did the same with my Roadcrafter when I still had it. I'm good with just the shell and the heated liner to about 40-45 degrees.

    If money was no object, I'd probably get an Aerostich Transit or BMW Atlantis suit. I prefer leather for a big street trip now though, especially since I always bring a rain suit even with my gore-tex gear as its a great extra wind blocking layer when it gets really cold, makes riding that much safer and more comfortable. I also don't like the idea of camping with soaking wet riding gear, because while you'll be dry under the gore-tex your gear's outer layer will be soaked.

    The only textile gear I've found to work as advertised (i.e. waterproof when it claims to be) is Klim and Aerostich AD1/Dariens. The Roadcrafter probably would have been better if it had been newer. They're cut for riding and they're the choice of serious distance riders for a reason.

    The higher quality mass produced stuff will be good too, but bring a rain suit. Firstgear, Tourmaster, Rev'It, Olympia, Icon, Joe Rocket, etc, just find something that fits your body and fits your aesthetic.

    Right now I'm riding in an older Olympia Leather jacket and some cortech leather touring pants I found on ebay. I love the combo, and have stayed reasonably warm with just a heated jacket and thermals underneath into the high 20's on a Nighthawk 750 while riding around Alaska the last few days.
    #11
  12. RonaldW716

    RonaldW716 Adventurer

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    Been there twice from Buffalo, NY. 1st time I had Darien pants and a left over instructor's ski jacket that I bought for $20.00., old hiking boots, Tingley overboots. and a lot of layers. Next time up, Darien Jacket and pants, heated jacket, Red Wing Gortex work boots. No comparison between being warm and dry or cold and wet. Any gear that fits with Gortex or a similar membrane would be OK. although my sliders Gortex pants are junk. I like the Darien pants because of the full length zipper, I ride enduros with them and they are bullet proof. I could only get about 6k on my rear Torrance each trip, so tires were an issue for me . Many thanks to Anderwerks in Calgary.
    #12
  13. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    An AST would be fine as long as you have a quality rain shell over it,the AST runs kinda bulky so you kinda get the michelin man effect,Ive always thought a 100% wind/rain proof shell adds lots to warmth,those 1 piece rain suits are awkward to get off and on but a good durable one is a secure feeling in dumping rain.

    Layering really is the way to go,you can change out layers as you go,quality stuff is available at REI and there's 1 in Anchorage if you need more.

    I picked up a lectric vest at the BMW shop in Anchorage and got an oil change done,they are really nice folks and are used to fixing travelers up and getting them on their way.

    Early Sept in Alaska is much like Winter depending on the year,snow is usually creeping down the mountains,bridges were frozen in the morning when I rode home. I was lucky enough to catch the first storm of the year in early sept and it rained hard from Anchorage to Weed CA,only about 3200 miles so not too bad.

    Any Canadian is more familiar with this kind of weather then a flatlander like me.
    #13