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HEAD KORE Jacket and Bib Pants | Review

Made to meet the toughest freeride terrain and conditions head on, the HEAD KORE Jacket and Bib Pants combo is ideal for backcountry explorers

Why we chose the HEAD KORE Jacket and Bib Pants: The Intelligent Apparel Membrane, the freeride functionality, the protection and general sense of durability. 

Price (Jacket): £500 / €550

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Price (Pants): £360 / €400 / $450

BUY HERE

HEAD, it’s fair to say, has been knocking about for a while. Founded in Baltimore, way back in 1950 by the excellently-named aeronautical engineer Howard Head, the brand has now accumulated over 70 years experience in the art of making stuff. Howard was a pioneer in bringing aviation materials to the world of ski and tennis racket manufacturing. Ever wondered why you’re not still sliding about the mountains on big wooden planks? You owe Mr HH a debt of gratitude. 

“The brand is now working to properly elevate what a ski jacket and pants combo can be”

In the same way HEAD pushed the envelope in ski design, and helped to instigate a revolution from the norm, the brand is now working to properly elevate what a ski jacket and pants combo can be. The KORE Jacket and Pants have been made to tackle the toughest freeride conditions around and are a genuinely excellent option for ski tourers.

HEAD KORE Jacket

The HEAD Kore Jacket wants you to get up off your backside, look off towards a mountainous horizon, and get fully stuck in. It talks the talk, and it very much walks the walk as well. Allow us to explain why we’re loving this offering from HEAD.

Materials

The headline act here, in terms of materials, is the IAM Membrane. IAM stands for Intelligent Apparel Membrane, and came about after the development team at HEAD Sportswear tested a bunch of existing membranes before coming to the conclusion that they could do it better. There’s a lot of good membranes out there, of course, but HEAD’s IAM Membrane has been tailormade to work in conjunction with their gear. 

Why’s IAM good exactly? Well, as well as bringing some elasticity to the mix, it’s impressive because it actually manages to reflect warm air inwards while simultaneously wicking moisture out. In short, it creates and maintains the perfect inner-climate for the wearer; ensuring comfort on the hill from sunrise to sunset. The membrane serves up a waterproofing and breathability rating of 20,000k / 20,000k.

“The headline act here, in terms of materials, is the IAM Membrane”

The main fabric of the HEAD KORE Jacket is 86% polyamide and 14% elastane. This serves up a decent balance of protective and freedom-enhancing properties within the jacket. The 3L plain Cordura weave with DWR elevates the combative, tough, and ready-for-anything nature of the product even further.

Features

Whether you’re a diehard jacket nerd, or someone who just chooses jackets based on what colour they are, the sense that this thing is made to get properly outside is plain to see. Take the 3L construction with fully adjustable, helmet-compatible fixed hood for example. It speaks of a jacket that wants you to march out the front door and batten down the hatches against whatever the gods of Mount Olympus chuck down upon you. Finding it difficult to explain but it’s a feature that’s got a reassuring feel to it. We like it.

“A jacket that wants you to march out the front door and batten down the hatches”

The practical pockets have been strategically positioned for adventurous souls. They’ll keep your various valuables and essentials safely stowed away on the ascents and descents. Speaking of the ascents, in particular, the YKK zipper ventilation set up will help to cool you down when you’re upping the effort levels on a slushy spring day.

The adjustable sleeve cuffs and body hem will help the wearer to close themselves off from the world outside. The fully taped seams, while nothing out of the ordinary on their own, round things off nicely (you’d be surprised if they weren’t on a jacket like this).

Not the most important aspect by any stretch but the styling on this is also dead nice.

HEAD KORE Bib Pants

The HEAD KORE Bib Pants are everything we love about the HEAD KORE Jacket except, well, you wear it on the bottom half of your body. A fusion of freeride functionality and fashionista styling, there’s so many reasons to stick our thumbs up here that we might just need to borrow some thumbs.

Materials

The HEAD KORE Bib Pants have the same IAM Membrane that we’ve already raved about further up the page. It helps to make the bib pants seriously waterproof and seriously breathable. Charge about the hill’s deep powder to your heart’s content in these, even when it’s chucking it down, and your comfort levels will still be in and around the sweet spot. For those keeping score, it’s the exact same breakdown on the fabric front – 86% polyamide, 14% elastane, and 3L plain Cordura weave with DWR.

Features

This product has a 3L bib construction with one layer and mesh zones on the upper body to keep things cool when you’re getting active, and the sun’s out. It works well. The ventilation zips, with YKK AquaGuard zippers, help in this regard.

“They’re made to be worn in gnarly terrain and active scenarios, over and over again”

The HEAD KORE Bib Pants are properly practical and functional. The adjustable waist, the articulated knees, and the Schoeller cut protection on the inner side of the legs all underline that sense that these bib pants are about so much more than just… the vibes. They’re not here to muck you about, they’re here to do a job for you. They’re made to be worn in gnarly terrain and active scenarios, over and over again, and keep you comfy while they’re at it. On this latter point, big up the snow gaiters and fully taped seams as well. They’re nothing that unique, in and of themselves, but we’d feel bad if we didn’t doff our cap in the direction of these well-implemented features. 

Also, we like the pockets here. There’s a chest one and two hand pockets. They’ve got water repellent YKK AquaGuard zippers on them so you can shred in the knowledge that your ‘Little Book of Calm’ will stay dry throughout the course of your day on the hill. It’ll also, jokes aside, keep valuables like your phone free of water damage. That’s good.

Conclusion

For off-piste explorers, backcountry shredders, and ski touring types who salivate at the mere thought of fresh tracks, the HEAD KORE Jacket and Bib Pants double act is well worth considering. It’s not the cheapest option on the market, by any stretch, but then again you really do get what you pay for in terms of quality here. The durability means you’ll be sorted for trip after trip and, what’s more, will be comfortable and well protected in almost every kind of ski condition.

Use your head, buy some HEAD gear. 

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