Castle-X Charge G2
I don’t like being cold on sled. I’m sure many would agree. I’ve done pretty well over the years not being cold except for the rare occasion out on the west coast of Newfoundland where it was below -10. Those days you do get cold but it’s mainly from stopping for long periods. Once you get moving, you warm up again. It’s probably because you get warm working the machine but it sounds like a contradiction especially when I try and explain it to non-sledders.
Sledworthy Magazine offered me the opportunity last winter (2015) to try the Castle-X brand of sled clothing. At first, I asked ‘what is Castle-X?’ I’m more familiar with Helly Hanson, Mustang, FOX, and Klim. But I figured why not? I’ll give it a try. I ride a green Arctic Cat M8 and although there was no green jackets available at the time, I was provided with a black Charge G2 jacket with a lime-yellow trim. I was also given black bib pants and gloves. My first impressions of the jacket was that it looked great, sharp in fact, and appeared to be great quality. There were things about the jacket I noticed right away that my older Mustang Ice Rider jacket did not have such as the magnetic flap over the front zipper, lots of pockets including one on the sleeve, removable liner and hand gaiters. The pants had a great design on the bottom of the legs to make sure they stayed over my sno-cross boots. Even my father, a snowmobiler since they were first invented (well, not quite that old), happened to drop by one day and I showed him the gear and he was amazed by the quality. And believe me; it takes a lot to impress my old man! Okay, so far good first impressions. But the test came when I got to try the suit on the west coast on an early February day last winter with the Sledworthy crowd. It was cold, perhaps -10 at least and lots of powder. All I usually wear underneath a suit is pajama pants, a long sleeve shirt, and a Tekvest. I may not like being cold on sled but the one thing I don’t like the most is overheating. So I usually forgo hoodies, sweaters, or long johns.
So it was time to suit up. Immediately I felt the jacket was a solid fit; not bulky at all. There was a little weight in it, which I liked as I felt quite snug in it but still had plenty of room to move. Although it was cold, I was quite comfortable even when stopped. If I was working hard, such as when digging someone out, I did overheat somewhat, I don’t think that is avoidable. But the jacket did a good job of getting the moisture off me. The pants actually stayed over my boots the entire day thanks to the elastic and snap-button design. I often like to ride standing up especially on a trail and feel the air pressing around my body. With the jacket and pants, I felt the pressure of the air zipping around me but not the temperature of it. Although the lime-yellow trim was not a perfect match with my Cat-green M8, I have to say I don’t think I ever looked so good on a sled. My final thoughts are if you’re looking for new gear this year, give Castle-X clothing serious consideration. I think it definitely ranks up there alongside many of the big names we are all familiar with.
Castle-X dealers in the province are Budgell’s, Notre Dame Agencies, Western Motor Sports and Rugged Edge.