KJUS is a premium golf rain suit that works flawlessly

I have never owned an actual luxury car. (A Toyota Camry doesn’t count, right?)But I am currently driving the Mercedes of rain suits.It is the KJUS Gemini. You probably haven’t heard of KJUS. It is a high-tech apparel company started by Norwegian alpine skiing star Lasse Kjus, who won 16 Olympic and World Championship medals including all five events at the 1999 World Championships in Vail, Colo.Norwegian skiing star Lasse Kjus’s apparel company is moving into the North American market with premium rainwear.Courtesy KJUSDuring the 1990s, Kjus became interested in finding better technology and better ski-wear fabrics to improve performance. He launched his own apparel company to do that in 2000 and was eventually so successful that his firm was acquired by Acushnet, the parent company of Titleist and FootJoy. KJUS, based in Switzerland, now has a regional office in Boulder, Colo., as it moves into the North American market and applies its technology to, among other things, rain gear for golfers.You may not have heard of KJUS and if you have, you likely heard it wrong. “Using my name for the brand was probably not the best idea because it’s difficult to pronounce correctly,” said Kjus, born in Oslo, Norway. “I’ve heard it pronounced many different ways.”The correct way for all of you baffled by a “K” immediately followed by a “j” is “shoos” (rhymes with “juice”). Let’s get back to the golf part. What makes this the leading candidate for Best in Class in raingear is … everything.The sounds of silence. I’d rather get wet playing golf than wear a rain suit that sounds like wax paper crinkling inside a box of Rice Krispies. That disconcerting noise with every crunchy step sends a message—“I’m a cheap rain suit!” The best, quietest rainsuit I ever owned before this was a decade ago by ProQuip, which used to outfit the European Ryder Cup team. The KJUS Gemini has more modern technology and the feel of quality. You know how you can tell a good car by the sound of slamming one of its doors shut? The feel of KJUS tells you all you need to know. The suit is sleek and slick, allowing for easy movement; has just the right amount of light heft; and the pant-legs make only a hushed swish when you walk. It’s as quiet as riding in the backseat of, well, a Mercedes.The dry look. The No. 1 rainwear mission is to keep you dry. I field-tested my KJUS Gemini by talking a walk around my neighborhood while it was raining. Only my hat got wet. Before that, I got impatient waiting for wet weather after receiving my KJUS Gemini so I put it on and stood in the shower. It felt as stupid as it sounds. But I stayed dry until I got overconfident and accidentally positioned my exposed neckline in the line of fire. Still, only my inner shirt collar got damp. Amazing. Grade: A-plus. The Rawhide Factor. I normally dread reaching into my rain-pants’ pocket for a tee or ball marker because if the pocket is zippered—and it is, if it’s a good rain suit—the sharp edge of the zipper teeth roughs up the skin on my hand with every pass. After 18 holes, the plump part between my thumb and forefinger is raw and sore and like a bad hangover, slow to fade.The KJUS Gemini doesn’t cause this problem. Its pocket has a vertical alignment with teeny-tiny zipper teeth you can barely feel. No scrape, no rawhide, no skin lotion necessary. This is a small step for a golfer but a giant leap for … golfkind.Door No. 2. One inch behind the regular pocket is another zipper that offers a secret entrance. Slide that zipper down and you can easily reach into your slacks or shorts (kilt?) or whatever you’re wearing beneath rain pants to retrieve those car keys, lip balm or money clip to pay for the bets you lost. Honestly, I wore the rain pants twice before I discovered this second zipper, which is nearly as covert as the back road into the Batcave.The bank vault back pocket. The KJUS Gemini has a secure back pocket on the right side. It, too, is zippered and just to make sure the pocket contents stay dry, that zipper is covered by a flap with a magnetic closure. It’s the ideal scorecard storage locker because no moisture is getting in there even if you forget to zip the pocket shut. KJUS has you covered.The Exit Strategy. Every golfer in a rain suit has done the Parking Lot Hop. That’s when you try to slip your rain pants off before removing your golf shoes and, oops, the pantlegs don’t quite fit over the shoes or snag on the spikes and you’re on one leg, you lose your balance and … remember to roll when you hit the pavement. The KJUS Gemini has something I’ve never seen—a lower-leg zipper as long as a dachshund. My rain pants have a 30-inch inseam length and the lower leg zipper, which starts at the bottom of the pant leg, measures nearly 22 inches! Yes, that length deserves an exclamation point. I can unzip the pants above the knee, which means I can easily remove them with golf shoes on. An added feature is a Velcro closure at the bottom of the leg that allows for a tight ankle-wrap if desired. All these little things add up.The generous rain suit pockets.Courtesy Gary Van SickleA waist is a terrible thing to mind. I’m passing out more kudos to KJUS for the rain pants waist. In front, it has three metal snap-in buttons, not just one, and the traditional zipper. Each hip has a Velcro tab that allows you to tighten or loosen the waist like a belt. That prevents the dreaded waist creep when the pants are an inch loose and you’ve got weighty things in a pocket (like a couple of extra golf balls in case of reloads/mulligans) and the pants slowly slide down your backside (and frontside). Those Velcro tighteners are genius, just another luxury-car-type perk that other models usually don’t have.A non-Mongolian reversal. I hereby admit my stupidity for only just discovering that the KJUS Gemini jacket is reversible after owning it for three months. The outside is a classic navy blue. The inside is gray with space-age silver-taped seams. It doesn’t look like something you’d want to pull inside-out until you do the whole jacket and then, bingo, it becomes obvious. And yes, there is a zippered pocket on each side even in reversible mode. The gray side with the silver seams actually looks cool. And it may literally be cool.The high zipper on the leg makes for easy exits.Courtesy Gary Van SickleHere are some numbers straight from a KJUS press release: The waterproof jacket absorbs 99 percent of ambient heat and pushes it into the jacket to keep you warmer when worn with the dark side facing out. Reverse it to wear the gray-silver part as the outer layer, it reflects 49 percent of ambient heat to cool your body. KJUS says reversing the jacket provides up to a 10.2-degree difference. Does the jacket really do that? At this point, it shouldn’t matter, you’re simply debating whether to get the coupe or the convertible. Since I haven’t personally tested every rain suit on the market, I can’t flat-out proclaim the KJUS Gemini as best in class. But I also can’t imagine anything better.Of course, all this luxury comes with a price. As Samuel L. Jackson’s “Jurassic Park” computer-nerd character warned when he shut off the power, “Hold on to your butts!” The Gemini jacket’s suggested retail price is $599; the pants are $499 at the KJUS website.I am as thrifty as they come. Some might use a word that rhymes with “sheep” to describe my financial leaning.Two things about the KJUS Gemini: One, totally worth it. Two, I now hope it rains the next time I tee it up.

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