Just got back from my first real ADV ride (report is here
) and I figured I’d throw up my review for my gear. I bought a lot, and I’ll try to review it all, but I’ll probably forget some. I’ll do one piece per post (except for the bonus reviews) to keep it broken up. Disclaimer: I took none of these pics, so if they're yours, sorry, just wanted to put up representations of what I'm talking about. First the bike stuff:
2010 Firstgear Rainier Jacket (the one with the D3O armor)
Let me start with what I don’t like, the stupid 3D logos on the arms. They’re already peeling off, not gonna last.
Now what I didn’t get a chance to use, the liner. It’s a softshell material, pretty comfy and looks damn near normal (minus the zipper for the flap to attach pants). I’d happily wear it out during colder months, but it was never cold enough to wear it on this trip, so it stayed in the pannier the whole time.
Finally, the jacket itself. Bloody fantastic. I paid about $300 for it (MSRP is like $500) and I was a little apprehensive, never spent this much on gear before. I came from sportbikes and a trifecta of Icon jackets (I quite like the Timax, but it’s not overly functional) that I got second hand. This thing has at least 13 pockets without the liner, one could argue too many, but not enough to get in the way. I think I used 5 total and did just fine. My favorites were the two security ones (wallet and paperwork) and the key pocket on the left arm.
It appears to fit true to size (I wear a large shirt and the large jacket fit great) and is so comfy. The D3O is CE approved and very low key, much more flexible than the hard stuff. I didn’t get to see how well it worked thankfully, but assuming it’s as good as they say, I’m not at all worried about my safety. They claim 100% waterproof and aside from the exhaust vents I forgot to close, I have to agree. The hood in the collar worked great, it cooled me down a bit (forces air down your back) but 100+ miles of rain and I came out dry. As far as adjustability, there’s a lot, enough to make it fit well with or without the liner in. Two on the arms, one in the torso, and an elastic cinch at the bottom.
The venting was adequate, two exhaust, two chest, and two arm (on the wrist). The only time I felt truly hot was through Nevada, when the temp was above 100, and even then I wasn’t too bad. Not horrible for a non-mesh jacket. I’m confident this will do well down to at least 40F, much lower with heated gear. The styling was good, not a true ¾ length (looks too goofy imo) but long in the back and still overall a little longer than a standard length, which was helpful in the rain. One other small thing I’d change is the collar, it’d be nice to have something like the Rev’It collar restraint, it does flap a bit. A camelback helped to tuck it away nicely.
That’s about it, looks great (I have the brown one) and I have very miniscule complaints. Worth every penny in my opinion.
Bonus Review: 4 year old Alpinestars S-MX 2 Air Carbon Gloves
I can’t believe these are still going. The silicone on the fingers is gone and the Velcro is dying, but at the end of the day, I wore these the whole trip and left my brand new Frank Thomas XTi gloves in the panniers. God I love these gloves, comfy, airy, and pretty protective with a great feel and control. That’s all, just plain awesome, saving to buy another pair right now.