Last updated: 14 December 2022
There’s always so much hoopla around what is the best waterproof motorcycle jacket on the market.
People who can’t afford them aspire to own one. And those who can afford them do so with that knowing grin on their faces.
But for me, most winter jackets aren’t versatile enough to warrant the cost.
Yes, they keep you warm and dry. But despite what most motorcycle magazines say, warm and dry in winter usually means hot and heavy in summer.
Of course, there are a few jackets that are waterproof and well-vented. But as versatile as they are, there is a better way to do it.
Why A Laminate Waterproof Motorcycle Jacket Might Not Be Best
I live in the UK, which means it’s cold and wet between November and April. This is when top-spec motorcycle jackets come into their own.
But we also have mild springs, mild autumns, and hot summers. And that’s bad news if you only own a laminate jacket – because you’ll roast to death.
And if you want to ride on the trails, then I’m afraid you’ll be in for a really bad time.
The reason for this is simple: There is little-to-no ventilation. And even if there is, you’ll be buried in a jacket that is weighty and cumbersome.
Many motorcycle magazines have published articles on what they deem to be the best waterproof motorcycle jacket.
And that’s fine, I haven’t got a problem with that. But some gloss over adequate ventilation – like it’s an afterthought. And I’m afraid I have to disagree.
If you ride on the trails, you’ll disagree with them, too. Because venturing off the beaten path is hard work. It’s a workout. And that means you get hot.
The last thing you need when you’re hot and sweaty is a jacket that lacks ventilation. Because that heat can’t escape – and that means you’ll end up cooking in your own juices like a Sunday-roast chicken.
Ventilation matters. A lot.
The Best Waterproof Motorcycle Jacket: The Right Way To Do It
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m a hiker and a landscape photographer outside of bikes.
And this means I spend a lot of time hauling my northern arse up mountains with big, heavy backpacks loaded with cameras, lenses, tripods, drones, spare clothes, tents, and whatever else I need.
Because of this, I obsess over weight savings.
Every hiker on the planet obsesses with saving weight. And one of the ways they do this is by dressing in technical layers – because they’re light, flexible, and they work.
I, like every other hiker, believe in the power of lightness. And I adopt this belief in my riding, too.
- Light bike
- Light clothes
- Light kit
Related: Motorcycle Camping Gear Checklist
So, Who Makes The Best Waterproof Motorcycle Jacket, Then?
A while ago, I came across a company called Adventure Spec. They believe in the “light is right” mantra, which I share, so they resonated with me instantly.
The founders believe in the power of small and mid-range capacity bikes. And they believe in the power of light, high-quality kit to go with them.
Do you know why they believe this? Because they, too, come from hiking and climbing backgrounds.
Adventure Spec know that the less you take, the more freedom you have to enjoy yourself. They know that packing the right gear is more important than packing all your gear.
They know it isn’t about big, heavy adventure bikes. And they know it isn’t about the matching coloured adventure suits to go with them.
That’s why their kit is completely opposite to that of mainstream brands.
Related: Why Hiking Gear Is Better Than Motorcycle Gear
How Adventure Spec Produced The Best Waterproof Motorcycle Jacket Of The Decade
Buying a motorcycle jacket from Adventure Spec isn’t the same as buying a jacket from one of the mainstream brands. Because instead of buying a jacket, you buy layers.
The layers we’re choosing for this article are:
- The Linesman Jacket (the main jacket)
- The Singletrack Jacket (the waterproof outer jacket)
- The Baltic Hybrid Jacket (thermal mid-layer)
I know what you’re thinking. Why would you buy three layers when you could buy one jacket?
Well, for the reasons we discussed above!
If you buy a laminate jacket, you’re stuck with it. Whilst you can add or remove liners (or clothing), you’re pretty much limited. And whichever way you look at it, you’re stuck with the weight because you can’t take it off.
The beauty of buying layers is that you can mix and match all three items. You can add/remove layers. And this makes for motorcycle gear that can genuinely be used all year round.
Layers also look great off the bike. And because they are fitted for maximum effect, you can wear them for dinner with jeans and some trainers.
The Adventure Spec Linesman
The Adventure Spec Linesman is a trail and dual-sport jacket. The softshell fabric (whilst water-shedding) is mostly at home in dry environments (hot or cold.) But it’ll fare well in light showers, too.
It’s fitted with class-leading level 2 Forcefield Isolator armour in the shoulders, elbows, and back. Cleverly, this is removable if you opt to wear an armoured base layer instead.
In high-impact areas, Adventure Spec use their own AS softshell fabric blended with kevlar threads to resist abrasions during falls and slides.
Adventure Spec understand the importance of overheating and ventilation. So with this in mind, there are vents/pockets on the chest panel, as well as rear bladder-compatible vents and even removable arms.
At the back of the jacket is a cargo pocket that is large enough to hold gloves, a buff, or the sleeves of the jacket should you choose to remove them.
- The splash-proof outer can withstand showers. But it should be paired with a waterproof shell (see below) in continuous rain
- This jacket is comfortable in conditions of 15C to 30C when paired with the AdvSpec Core base layer (see below)
- Rear pocket large enough to stow waterproof shell, gloves, or other small items
- Dedicated space at the rear to fit a 2-litre hydration bladder
- Forcefield Isolator Level 2 armoured protection
- Sleeve thumb loops
- CE EN17092 certified
- Light & comfortable, wind & water-resistant fabric
Adventure Spec Singletrack Jacket
The AdvSpec Singletrack jacket is a lightweight, fully waterproof, and vented shell for use on and off the bike.
The fabric is a lightweight 3-layer ripstop technical fabric designed specifically for this jacket.
3-layer DuPont Kevlar reinforced material protects the elbows, shoulders, and hips. It also ensures the jacket is durable and resistant to abrasion whilst maintaining lightness.
The pack-away hood can be worn under the helmet whilst riding or off the bike when camping/socialising. And a set of closeable underarm vents promote airflow and ventilation whilst the shell keeps the rest of you dry.
Another clever feature is a breast pocket on the right-hand side of the jacket. This means it is accessible with the left hand whilst riding. And your right hand can maintain the throttle or brake.
- Waterproof shell constructed from ripstop 3-layer fabric. It has no armour pockets, insulator or liner.
- DuPont Kevlar reinforced fabric provide abrasion resistance.
- Underarm venting for cooling and airflow.
- Packs down to approximately 150mm x 150mm x 100mm
- Weight: 650g
Adventure Spec Baltic Hybrid Jacket
The beauty of the Baltic Hybrid mid-layer is that it works in every eventuality – on and off the bike.
It’s lightweight and versatile, so it’s convenient to wear when off the bike – for example, when camping or out to dinner. But it’s super warm and flexible whilst on the bike.
Insulating like a synthetic down mid-layer, it allows movement on the bike comparable to that of a stretch fleece layer. It packs down to the size of a can of pop (that’s Soda, for our American readers!) and weighs in at a humble 325g.
Thermore(R) is used in hot loss areas of the jacket, such as around the kidneys, neck, and chest. This intelligent material increases insulation by 20% as the outside temperature cools. And this ensures temperature regulation both on and off the bike.
The stretch fleece material acts as an insulator, allowing the jacket to flex and contract with the rider – without any restriction. And the flexibility also means it will fit over or under protective pads or armour.
- Insulating mid-layer garment only (no impact absorption or abrasion resistance.)
- Maintains warmth to around 10C when used with a base layer.
- Designed to stretch over body armour on the bike or over a t-shirt when off the bike.
- Intelligent insulation promotes warmth as temperatures drop.
- Body Mapped insulation panels with Thermore Thermal Booster insulation
- Chest pocket
- Handwarmer pockets
- Hem drawcord with one-hand release
- Stretch fleece fabric provides comfort and movement
Best Waterproof Motorcycle Jacket: Conclusion
So whilst many publications will tout the features and benefits of jackets produced by mainstream manufacturers, we believe in the ‘why’ of Adventure Spec. We understand their products, and we understand their ethos.
Buying three layers rather than one may seem confusing to some. But those three layers make up your layers both on and off the bike.
Technical layers are lightweight, flexible, durable, and usable in various weather conditions.
And in our opinion, this is why Adventure Spec make the best waterproof motorcycle jacket on the market.
All product images c/o AdventureSpec