A spectacular view of the Rocky Mountains outside of Ouray, Colorado, a brand spanking new set of a Monarch Pass jacket and Monarch Pass pants and BMW’s HP2 Uber Enduro were a recipe for a weekend of off-road riding I won’t soon forget.
I’ve been riding off road a long time and I have destroyed more than my fair share of riding gear along the way. Recently I was fortunate enough to stumble across a Moose Monarch Pass pant and jacket combination for a three-day ride in the Colorado Rockies. I have never worn Moose gear before and I came away from the event covered in mud, riding in rain and a hailstorm, feeling good about their latest off-road kit.
Both the Monarch Pass pant and Monarch Pass jacket are durable outerwear designed to protect the rider from the harsh elements, particularly rain and cold. Both items feature eVent fabric, a laminated waterproof nylon material that keeps rain and cold out while allowing your body to breathe. The seams are all sealed to keep the precipitation from penetrating the outer shell. A storm flap seals off the front zipper from the elements and I can confirm it does keep rain out, even during the torrential downpour we rode through during the final 20 miles of one particularly unfortunate final day of riding. When you hold the gear in your hands it seems extremely light and that is a huge bonus when you’re riding hard for extended periods of time.
The Monarch Pass jacket fits very close to traditional jacket sizing conventions, if not slightly on the small side of regular gear. I’m 5’8 and have the unfortunate girth around the waistline facilitated by my desk job and too much fast food from all the road trips necessary to travel around testing bikes. I know, life is rough. Anyways, the large jacket fit me great but a bigger rider shouldn’t be shy about going for an XL right off the bat. Venting on the jacket includes zippered underarms and one horizontal zippered vent across the back of the jacket. These worked great when I hit the top of 13,000-ft Engineer Pass in Colorado and I was hot from the ride. Unzip the vents and once I got going the draft of fresh air was both chilly and a huge relief. The ventilation system works great.
Calling any jacket waterproof is going to be a stretch but this gear held up to the claim better than most. Right off the shelf the jacket did a great job of keeping water and mud from making its way to my skin over the majority of our big Colorado journey. However, when the rain was pouring down, lightning was flashing in the sky around us as we were trucking along the highway at 55mph, eventually some wetness made its way through: But I’m not complaining. The majority trickled down the neck opening so I cannot say with 100% certainty that it permeated the fabric but I do plan to give it a dose of waterproofing just to be on the safe side.
The Monarch Pass jacket and pants held their own despite being thoroughly abused by the elements in the Rockies. Unfortunately for this review, there were no crashes to test the durability of the stitching but the season is long and we’ll provide an update if anything starts to fall apart in the near future.
Three other zippers can be found on the jacket. Two hand warmer pockets provide a decent amount of storage, while the back compartment can hold quite a load of necessities including goggles, gloves and so on. Plus, that rear pocket doubles as a self-storage system which allows the jacket to be rolled up and stored within itself as a fanny pack, in case the temperatures you’re riding in vary drastically from morning to afternoon to evening – and we all know it can.
Something that has always annoyed me about the collar on many of today’s riding jackets is that the material is usually abrasive and is irritating to my neck when it’s closed tight. Moose has taken this into account and incorporated a strip of fleece which makes it very comfortable and soft for my baby-butt sensitive skin. Also, when you ride with the collar open and not fully zipped up, the fleece liner has a flap that folds over and keeps the Velcro strip from itching your neck too. Here’s kudos to Moose Racing for this small bit of brilliant planning.
The cuffs of the sleeves have Velcro adjustability and include provision in the form of a strap that allow a wrist watch to be worn on the outside of the left sleeve. Elastic draw string helps custom fit the bottom of the jacket and reflective graphics increase visibility slightly at night. Another slick incorporation is strategically located openings in the jacket that allow your hydration system to be worn underneath the jacket and your liquid tube dispenser can be routed neatly out the front. Unfortunately my Camelback M.U.L.E. was too massive to wear that way comfortably, so I kept it on the outside. Your results may vary because I am a temperamental sort.
The Monarch Pass pants are similarly constructed with sealed seams and storm flaps on exposed exterior zippers. Split-grain leather on the inside of the right knee panel, articulated knees, ballistic nylon reinforcement and Cordura fabric reinforcement in the seat area increases durability at high impact locations. Through numerous water crossings and the aforementioned rainstorm my legs never were soaking wet so the waterproof nature of the pants deserve praise. The fit was spot-on too. I range between a size 34-36 pant and the 34 were just a bit snug and the 36 were too loose. A plastic buckle secures the belt band which allows for a small range of adjustability at the waist line.
It’s easy to complete the gearing up process when it comes time to slip into your shin guards and boots. The pant legs include a zippered and snap gaiter that makes putting on and taking off your boots a relatively simple task and it helps keep moisture off the boot and out of your pant as well.
The Monarch Pass line-up comes in Black only. That shouldn’t be too much of a concern considering the gear will be covered in whatever dirt and mud it is that you find yourself riding in anyways. As you can tell I give a positive two thumbs up on these items. If you’re looking to upgrade your off-road gear then you would be wise to give the Moose Monarch Pass outerwear some consideration.