And The Best Waterproof Motorcycle Jacket Is…

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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, they aren’t versatile enough to warrant the cost.

Yes, they keep you warm and dry. But despite what any of the motorcycle magazines say, warm and dry in winter means hot and heavy in summer.

The end.

And the suggestion that you should buy one of these super-duper jackets for winter riding, and then buy a lightweight jacket for summer seems ludicrous to me.

I usually wear cheap to mid-range stuff which means I can afford a few jackets to suit whatever weather is outside.

If I’m paying £1,500 for the best waterproof motorcycle jacket, then I want it to work year-round. But it won’t.

best waterproof motorcycle jacket
Bulky laminated clothing doesn’t necessarily make for the best waterproof motorcycle jacket (image via Gaetan Thurin/Pexels)

Why A Laminate Waterproof Motorcycle Jacket Might Not Be Best

I live in the UK, which means it’s cold and wet between the months of 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 bad time.

The reason for this is simple: There is no ventilation.

honda off-road - best waterproof motorcycle jacket
It can’t be the best waterproof motorcycle jacket if it doesn’t vent! (Image via Honda)

“Ventilation Doesn’t Matter”

Lots of 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 of them will tell you that ventilation doesn’t matter. 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 doesn’t have any ventilation. Because that heat can’t escape.

So you end up cooking in your own juices like a Sunday-roast chicken in the oven.

Ventilation does matter.

And to make it worse, the jackets recommended are usually heavy. So now you’re wearing a hot and heavy jacket, you’re fighting with a 200kg+ off-road bike, and you have no ventilation.

ktm on gravel canyon
A textile which keep you dry AND vents makes for the best waterproof motorcycle jacket (image via TopSpeed)

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 up 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, they’re 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
bmw off-road
Light textiles with technical fabrics make for the best waterproof motorcycle jacket (image via BMW)

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 this 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 that it isn’t about big, heavy adventure bikes. And they know that it isn’t about the matching coloured adventure suits to go with them.

That’s why the kit they produce is completely opposite to that of mainstream brands.

atacama race jacket - adventure spec - best waterproof motorcycle jacket
Atacama Race jacket by Adventure Spec. (Image via AdvSpec)

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.

Instead of buying a jacket, you buy layers.

The layers we’re choosing for this article are:

  1. The Linesman Jacket (the main jacket)
  2. The Singletrack Jacket (the waterproof outer jacket)
  3. The Baltic Hybrid Jacket (thermal mid-layer)

I know what you’re thinking. Why the hell would you buy three layers when you could buy one coat?

Well, for the reasons we discussed above!

If you buy a laminate jacket, you’re stuck with it. Whilst you can remove or add liners (or add/remove 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 be in genuine use all year round.

Layers also look great off the bike. And because they are fitted for maximum effect, you can quite easily wear them for dinner with a pair of jeans and some trainers.

The Adventure Spec Linesman – £299.99

  • adventure spec linesman jacket trails - best waterproof motorcycle jacket
  • adventure spec linesman jacket tree
  • adventure spec linesman jacket snow - best waterproof motorcycle jacket
  • adventure spec linesman jacket campfire
  • adventure spec linesman jacket - best waterproof motorcycle jacket

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 over-heating 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 off 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 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 Singetrack Jacket – £385.00

  • Adventure Spec Singletrack5 - best waterproof motorcycle jacket
  • Adventure Spec Singletrack3 - best waterproof motorcycle jacket
  • Adventure Spec Singletrack
  • Adventure Spec Singletrack
  • Adventure Spec Singletrack1 - best waterproof motorcycle jacket

The AdvSpec Singletrack jacket is a lightweight, fully waterproof, and vented shell for use both on and off the bike.

Designed specifically for this jacket, the fabric is a lightweight 3-layer ripstop technical fabric.

The 3-layer DuPont Kevlar reinforced material gives protection to 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 situated 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 throttle or brake.

  • Waterproof shell constructed from ripstop 3-layer fabric. It has no armour pockets, insulator or liner.
  • DuPont Kevlar reinforced fabrics 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 – £149

  • Adventure Spec Baltic Hybrid jacket - best waterproof motorcycle jacket
  • Adventure Spec Baltic Hybrid jacket
  • Adventure Spec Baltic Hybrid jacket
  • Adventure Spec Baltic Hybrid jacket - best waterproof motorcycle jacket
  • Adventure Spec Baltic Hybrid jacket - best waterproof motorcycle jacket

The beauty of the Baltic Hybrid mid-layer is that it works in every eventuality – both on and off the bike.

It’s lightweight and versatile, which makes it convenient when off the bike – camping, or out to dinner. But it’s incredibly 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 as well as 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 a range of weather conditions.

And in our opinion, it’s why Adventure Spec makes the best waterproof motorcycle jacket on the market.

All product images c/o AdventureSpec

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