Transit 2 Jacket
- Product Review (submitted on August 11, 2009):
In planning for a long trip this summer, I weighed pros & cons of various suits & jackets. I had mesh and cloth gear, but each had disadvantages (as in needing rain suit for mesh gear or looking like a dork in a restaurant / bar in my fluorescent yellow retinal burning commuter jacket). Wanted one do it all out fit to minimize weight, bulk in my luggage and maximal protection. Was really attracted to abrasion protection offered by my discount perforated leather jacket but armor was not greatest and would still have to pack a rain suit. Plus any rain suit would have me sweating inside soon.
Saw catalog description of Transit suit with claim of best of both worlds and took a chance. Very glad that I did.
Did several weeks on the road this July with only the Transit pants & jacket. Went through a series of heavy storms, as well as mild rain.
One storm in particular stood out: torrential rains with hail, lightning, winds and traffic dodging all over the turnpike (Ohio) in a section with jersey barriers on each side and flooded road surface under about 1-2 inches of water. For obvious reasons, like lightning and standing water and no over pass and idiot cagers dodging all over the road as they were blinded by the torrential rains , stopping was not an option. Being in total control was. Without distractions of getting wet or suffering hypothermia. I was amazed. The suit kept me totally dry. I was damp inside from sweating a bit and having 100% humidity on the outside, so hard to evaporate body moisture out. But never once did I get cold or wet. And was able to completely focus on what was at hand. Plus, suit dried out far faster than my leather gloves (deerskin ropers) did.
Then, due to poor planning on my part, I got to test higher temps in the suit. Got stuck in 85+ F degree temps riding thru Friday afternoon traffic in Chicago on Rt 80 as I was heading west. (Don't do it - if riding west from DC or Baltimore - take 70 West and then 65 North to Illinois 24 West - and avoid Chicago like the plague unless you want to develop hand strength from clutching& braking for hours - yeah boy that was fun - not!).
In 5 hrs of stop & go traffic, the suit was fine. Opened up the jacket at sleeves and front zipper and stopped to hydrate periodically. Once out of traffic and above 20 mph, with a CoolMax undershirt, airflow & cooling was fine.
So, can not say enough good things about suit performance. Did everything as claimed. And the armor is superb in feel and comfort. The back protector in particular impressed me with its size in terms of back area covered (width as well as length.)
A few niggles:
- the top outer left chest pocket will hold a BlackBerry Storm but not in a protective hard / waterproof case that you can buy for it. I used the zip closure style snack size (6 1/2" x 3 1/4") plastic bag to ensure water did not short out my BlackBerry. But after the storm described above, I found no evidence of water in the pocket. Still, it would be nice if the pocket was a bit wider / bigger to accommodate a smart phone within a protective hard case.
- due to lack of customizable size, my jacket has a longer sleeve than my other jackets. Not a big deal per se. Just that heavily armored gauntlet gloves will not fit easily under the sleeve, and due to longer sleeve length make putting the guantlet over the sleeve uncomfortable for me. However slim gauntlet style gloves, like Lee Parks, fit under sleeves fine. But shorter gloves like Aerostich Elkskin Ropers, Aerostich Vegan, Lee Parks Touring gloves or a short gauntlet glove like CoreTech's Vice are a better choice for underneath the sleeve.
- for really hot temps like 95 - 105 degrees F, in stop & go traffic, you may want to bring a true mesh jacket along with upgraded armor. You sacrifice protection from abrasion & impact but getter better airflow if not traveling at speed. If at speed, in drier climates, the Transit suit should be all you need. Just stay hydrated and wet down.