Vanson Leathers' Ventilated Jacket

Vanson Leathers' Ventilated Jacket $249.00

It gets dang hot up in the California canyons. It was just perfect cruising up the Pacific Coast Highway, but those sweet ocean breezes just a few miles back are nowhere to be found now. It's a hundred degrees, the air is stagnant, and the black asphalt is slow-roasting anything passing over it like a pig at a luau. No, I don't expect any sympathy from those readers trapped in the flatlands, where a freeway on-ramp is the sickest curve for a hundred miles, but that isn't going to stop me from complaining. Nor will it stop me from riding, so I'm in frequent need of a jacket that can keep me cool, while providing some degree of protection if the gravel gremlins make a surprise visit from around a blind curve.             

Vanson Leathers' nylon mesh "Vent" jacket to the rescue!  

Eric almost looks like a non-poseur in this jacket. This summer jacket is constructed of 1000 denier Cordura nylon and cowhide. The mesh provides excellent ventilation, and with armor provided in the shoulder, elbows/forearms, and back, this jacket offers substantial impact protection.      The built-in back pad covers a very large surface area and is further buttressed by three smaller pads sewn into the fabric along the spine. The shoulder and elbow/forearm pads are attached by Velcro to reinforced leather patches sewn into the garment and are therefore adjustable in placement for your particular build. The sleeves are pre-curved like a leather jacket and provide a Velcro-adjustable strap for better fit around the forearm armor. Like most jackets in this category, the waistband adjusts for comfort and for added convenience, two zippered outside and two zippered inside pockets give you someplace to tote your loot.        

The folks at Vanson Leathers apparently couldn't resist putting a few extra cow trimmings to use, as this jacket features a racing style leather roll collar, zip-closed leather wrist guards and leather wrist trim. Though it isn't intended for racing or track-day use, this combination did give me a secure feel, without impeding airflow.           This Vanson hybrid incorporates leather patches sewn under the elbow area, for enhanced abrasion protection and better control of the armor.

On the highway, the jacket stayed-put like leather, without flapping and tugging like some other textile . When I rode inland and entered the 103 degree heat of the San Fernando Valley, I was still hot, but the Vanson kept it from being the heat-stroke situation that would have most likely developed in a standard leather jacket. When you are riding in the Vent jacket, you don't notice any perspiration, because it instantly evaporates in the wind-blast. However, after I made a roadside stop and did a little sweating, the ventilation gave me the added-bonus of turning my perspiration into instant shock-cooling when I got back on the road. It was almost worth it to stop every 5 minutes or so, just to repeat the refreshing sensation.

I have to say that Vanson has done an excellent job of meeting my criterion for a great hot-weather jacket. It's cool, it's lightweight, and yet it's tough where it counts. Until they come up with a Freon-infused liner or some other form of enhanced AC, I'm gonna have to say this is about as good as it gets. The Vent jacket comes in red, blue, grey, yellow and black, all with black trim and featuring reflective shoulder ovals for visibility.

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