MO Tested: Dainese Alger Nomad Jacket Review
A sun-seeking, Dakar-inspired warm weather jacket
What better time to take a closer look at the Dainese Alger Nomad jacket than now while the 43rd running of the Dakar Rally is underway. Inspired by rally racing of the ’80s, the Alger jacket is part of the Dunes collection, a subset of Dainese’s Settantadue vintage-inspired line. This jacket was specifically styled after Edi Orioli’s late 1980’s Dainese rally gear (pictured below). With vintage style and off-road adventures in vogue, Dainese looked back to its own history when creating the Alger jacket.
Auguriiiiiiiii Edi ???
Spegne oggi 58 candeline il pilota friulano
Edi Orioli specializzato nei Rally Raid (dopo aver…
Made of what Dainese calls Nemes textile as well as large mesh panels, this jacket flows a lot of air. Ventilated mesh is found on the inside of the arms and the sides of the torso extending up to the collarbone area and onto the back. The back panel itself is made entirely of Dainese’s Trixivent material, allowing for excellent breathability as well as tear and abrasion resistance. For additional protection, the elbows and forearms are backed with suede leather panels.
Pro Shape inserts are used in the elbows and shoulders. This armor is made of vulcanized rubber and is rated to EN 1621.1. Its hexagonal pattern absorbs energy and disperses it across the insert when impacted. Pro Shape is also perforated making it a comfortable, flexible choice for a ventilated riding jacket. With how often I find myself pulling this jacket off of the rack to use around town or for longer rides, I do wish the elbows and shoulders used Dainese’s more robust Pro Armor, which is made of a material similar to D3O in a honeycomb design also allowing for plenty of air to pass though. Pro Shape armor is more flexible though, which usually equates to more comfort. It’s easy to forget that they’re even in there. Pro Shape protectors can be found in many of Dainese’s riding jeans and even in certain areas of its top-of-the-line Misano 2 D-Air race suit. Zippered pockets inside the jacket on the chest and back can hold Dainese’s back protector and/or split chest protectors.
Speaking of pockets, the Alger has a ton of ‘em! Starting at the top, we have a small zippered pocket near the right collarbone, a pocket on the right arm, two pockets on the left arm as well as one near the wrist, a zippered hand warmer pocket on the right side, another top-loading zippered pocket on the left, Velcro fastened pockets across the front, another zippered pocket behind the asymmetrical left side of the jacket, and last but not least, a large pocket on the lower back. Whew. That’s a whole lotta storage.
Now, let’s talk about styling. The Alger Nomad jacket borders on cheesy with its inclusion of patches that say things like “Sun Seekers”, “Nomads”, “Dune Squad” and “Thrill Seeker”. At least they look cool? It was the Dakar `88, `90, `94, and `96 patches that pushed it over the edge for me though. Thankfully, three of those four are attached by Velcro and can be removed which then gives you the option to slap on whatever Velcro-backed patch you have lying around – in my case, a mean-looking albino rhinoceros. I’m not into wearing patches from an event I’ve never attended. Hell, I wasn’t even around in ‘88.
Aside from the patches – which the Alger Nomad has more of compared to the standard green Alger jacket – I like the asymmetrical cut of the front of the jacket and have found the layout and copious amounts of storage quite practical. Originally, the knit cuffs bothered me as the Velcro from my gloves would get snagged on it constantly, but I’ve come to live with that and the cuffs look only a tad ruffed up from constant use. For extra visibility at night there are two 4.5-inch strips of reflective material on the upper shoulders.
The Alger’s fit takes a step back from Dainese’s typically more snug-fitting cuts and is actually roomy enough for me to easily wear a warm mid-layer underneath. I haven’t used the jacket with chest protectors, but even with a back protector inserted (always use back protection, kids!), my size 50 fits comfortably. There is also a strap included just below the back protector compartment that’s meant to attach to your trousers to keep the jacket from riding up. There is no zippered pant-to-jacket connection as found in many other Dainese garments.
I’ve worn this jacket in everything from the sweltering California desert in the summer, to, well, now – winter in California. Having the room to throw a warm mid-layer on underneath has allowed me to stretch use of this jacket year-round here in Southern California. In the summer though, it flows a massive amount of air. The Nemes textile – which no doubt gets its name from the striped head cloths worn by pharaohs – located on the front and outer arms of the jacket – are the only panels that don’t let in a ton of air.
Even if you’re not all that into the patches, the jacket itself is a very functional piece of kit that is great for hot weather. Its retro rally style is all the rage these days. If you like the jacket but can’t bring yourself to wear something that says “Dune Squad” on it, a seam ripper should remedy that rather quickly. The standard Alger jacket – which has less patches and comes in army green – is also an option. Overall, I’ve been wearing this jacket more than anything else lately and plan to continue to do so. Right now the jacket is 30% off from Dainese directly as well as Revzilla, which brings the price down from $580 to $406.
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