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Old 02-12-2014, 09:57 PM   #1
canoeguy OP
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what gear (jacket) for central America

So I am moving to Panama and am going to ride my bike there in two months.

I am struggling with a jacket. I need some insight as to what you guys are wearing. I have a transition 2 which has been a good jacket here. But I am concerned about venting.

I also hate zip out waterproof liners. I just don't want to constantly zip in and out for rainstorms.

Obviously riding in April and May I expect to ride a bit in the rain. If I was there I would probably wear mesh and get wet. But for a month on the road?...

I am not made of money by any means. So far I have considered the Olympia AST, 1st gear Khatmandu, Darien$$$, or just sticking with my jacket.

I know this isn't in the gear section, but I need some local input.

Thanks.
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Old 02-13-2014, 03:11 AM   #2
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If cash is an issue, just stick with your transition 2. I rode with mine from USA to Argentina. Sure, it was a bit much in the hot and humid sections, but it's not bad. It's really only an issue when you're stopped. I too enjoyed the fact that it has a built in rain liner. Of course, there are are better jackets, but you'll be just fine in the one you got. Just my 2 centavos...
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Old 02-13-2014, 08:37 AM   #3
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Whatever works well for you during summer in Virginia should work fine in Central America. There will be compromises with any jacket.

Riding jacket preference is a very personal thing and unfortunately you really can't tell what you will prefer until you try it out.

I wear a kevlar air mesh II from Motoport. Hands down my favorite riding jacket ever. Its the same price as a Darien, so its expensive. Really nice in hot and humid environments. Best armor and protection of any jacket I have used, and for me that was worth shelling out the money. I was also wearing it every day, all day for 2 years of travel, so having a good jacket that I liked was a pretty high priority.

I've been down on the pavement at 70 mph, did several lower speed pavement slides, went down several times off-road at a good clip and it performed perfectly. Its an expensive jacket, but most likely the last riding jacket you would ever need.

It hot and humid conditions the jacket breaths so well that once you get going about 30 mph it feels like air-conditioning.

It comes with a zip in liner for rain but I don't normally use it unless I'm riding in chilly conditions. I carry a frogs toggs rain jacket and put it over the top of the kevlar jacket and that works great, but you still have to stop and put it on.

If I'm in a warm climate, I usually don't bother with putting on the rain jacket. I just get soaked, which feels pretty refreshing in lower elevations of CA, and once out of the rain the kevlar mesh flows air so well that I'm dry within an hour.

There is really no perfect riding jacket, each one will have some sort of compromise.
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Old 02-13-2014, 09:05 AM   #4
canoeguy OP
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Yep that motorsport air mesh is pretty pricey. However I was thinking on the mesh, rain jacket approach. I kind of worry about spatter though, of course I could wear an old shirt under.
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Old 02-13-2014, 09:25 AM   #5
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I wear a light synthetic T-shirt underneath. Dries quickly. Never noticed anything going through the mesh onto the shirt though. One thing, not all mesh is the same. Inexpensive mesh jackets are generally a nylon/poly mesh. Poly mesh will melt in a pavement slide and then melt into your road rashed skin. Not good. Stay away from that stuff. The tough kevlar mesh is the stuff you want if you decide on a mesh jacket.
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Old 02-13-2014, 06:33 PM   #6
Chiriqui Charlie
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I live in Panama, at about the 4500 foot level. I would love to have a Motoport, but I could afford the Revit Airwave. I haven't had the opportunity to test its crash-worthiness, but I love it! Its very good at lower elevations, but cool days in the mountains require a liner, or a rain jacket over it. I would look at a Revit Tornado.

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Old 02-13-2014, 07:01 PM   #7
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Don't underestimate how cold it can be at elevation. The PanAm goes over 10,000 feet in Guatemala and Costa Rica.
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyT View Post
Don't underestimate how cold it can be at elevation. The PanAm goes over 10,000 feet in Guatemala and Costa Rica.
Very true! The highlands of Mexico and Guatemala can be pretty chilly.
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:50 PM   #9
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I went from 80 to 40 to 80 all in a few hours one day in Mexico... that was interesting.
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Old 02-14-2014, 06:09 AM   #10
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layers

I live in Guatemala, ride with Fieldsheer mesh and layer up underneath when we head out early and carry rain gear (jacket and pants) in case, they are easy to get on and off, sometime I will wear the rain jacket to help protect from the wind and cold at the high spots on the terrain down here. Also, if you plan to ride in the rain, hand warmers are not a bad idea at altitudes! safe travels.

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Old 02-14-2014, 11:26 AM   #11
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You need to go with a layering system of some sort, whether or not you use a mesh/non-mesh jacket is personal preference. I would definitely NOT wear a waterproof/sealed outer jacket as you will roast in it on the particularly hot days. I use the Revit Off Track jacket and I'm generally happy with it. Having the waterproof layer under the outer jacket can be a PITA but it makes the jacket more flexible for 4 season riding.
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Old 02-21-2014, 04:25 PM   #12
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Three thumbs up for Motoport.

Pricey, but it's likely the last suit you'll ever buy. Custom fitted too.
Not as flash as Klim, but I'll take the safety over the flash. And nice and cool in hot weather. Bone dry in the downpours with the liners.
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Old 02-21-2014, 05:35 PM   #13
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Klim

I see your comment about budget but Klim with the Goretex outer is a fantastic option, venting as you need it, I still fail to see the merits of soaking your jacket and wearing an underlayer to stop it coming through.

Food for thought.
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Old 02-22-2014, 02:43 PM   #14
canoeguy OP
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Ugh. I just wish one jacket could do it all. It seems that most mesh jackets have a liner on the inside. I hate this. I would rather get wet and just dry, and I will when I get to my new home. But while on the ride I just want to be comfortable for whatever may come.

I don't mind stopping and putting a jacket on. I am even considering an x-moto to carry in addition...but space is valuable and I hate to have two jackets.
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Old 02-22-2014, 02:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canoeguy View Post
Ugh. I just wish one jacket could do it all. It seems that most mesh jackets have a liner on the inside. I hate this. I would rather get wet and just dry, and I will when I get to my new home. But while on the ride I just want to be comfortable for whatever may come.

I don't mind stopping and putting a jacket on. I am even considering an x-moto to carry in addition...but space is valuable and I hate to have two jackets.
Unfortunately everything is a compromise in some way eh, taking a wet jacket is a good idea still, pretty lite and small, although my Klim Adv Rally is waterproof I still use a wet jacket if we are looking like being in it all day, also adds warmth at altitude, not an issue in Panama tho.
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