TekVests have been around for a while. For the longest time, I thought they were only for professional racers or trail racer wannabes. The earlier models were very bulky and cost several hundred dollars.
As the demand goes up, manufacturers find a way to make the product more affordable and appealing to the masses.
Whilst at the 2013 Big East Powersports Show in Syracuse, I spotted several vendors selling TekVests, either straight from the manufacturer or incorporated into accessory lines like Klim or 509.
After trying several on for size, I made the plunge and purchased two Tekvests from a vendor who orders them direct from Tekrider: one for me and the other for my teenage son. I have heard of snowmobile accidents resulting in broken ribs or a punctured lung. Of course, you never think these accidents can happen to you. But my son did have a close call after he fell off his snowmobile a couple of years ago at slow speed.
Thankfully, there was only minor damage to the snowmobile and Darrin Jr had nothing worse than sore ribs for a week or so. But it could have been much worse! The seeds for my eventual purchase of the Tekvests were sown that day.
My two new Tekvests cost $250 apiece. If you can’t find a new vest at a price you’re comfortable with, try looking on Ebay or various snowmobile forums for used ones.
TekVests will usually run a size smaller than the shirt that you wear. I wear man’s large shirt, which translated to a medium TekVest. It fits under my snowmobile jacket easily, although it does give me the football-player shoulder pad look. There are accessory lines that cater to women, using smaller shoulder assemblies. Before you buy a Tekvest, I’d suggest going to a dealer to try a vest on for size with your jacket.
After the initial “getting used to it” adjustment time, I forget that I have the TekVest on while riding most of the time. But when I take a deep breath, I am reminded that I do have it on. It’s certainly not suffocating though and gives me reassurance that my ribcage is protected.
TekVest also reflects heat back to your torso, so you won’t need as many layers under the jacket. This is especially nice when it’s cold outside. But when you go inside for lunch, you’ll need to remove the Tekvest to avoid sweating like a pig.
Honestly, I hope I never have to find that out for myself. TekVests are made from ultra high molecular weight plastic, which provides flexibility to conform to your body type and the strength to deflect blunt force and prevent penetrating trauma, like a tree branch or ski going into your ribcage!
As with any safety device, physics dictates that faster speeds exponentially decrease the Tekvest’s ability to protect you from injury. In other words, don’t push the envelope just because you’re wearing some fancy plastic on your chest!
I think of a Tekvest as a helmet for my chest: essential riding gear. I would say it’s smart insurance to wear a Tekvest each and every time you ride.
Click here to buy your Tekvest from Amazon.
Darrin @ ilsnow.com
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