Apparel Pro: Beating the Heat with Mesh Jackets

Mesh jackets are designed to be breathable and padded with armor.

Comfort may just be the most important thing for a motorcyclist to keep in mind — because a rider who isn’t fully comfortable isn’t fully focused on the road. That’s why it’s super important for riders to be prepared for the elements and be able to adapt to weather changes. After all, riders don’t have the luxury of an air conditioning or heating unit.

Leather jackets are king during the colder months of fall and late spring, but what is a rider to do during the blistering summer months? For motorcyclists in Southern states, it might be tempting to forego a jacket in order to combat 90- and 100-degree temperatures, but this is taking a huge risk. Unfortunately, a T-shirt and shorts won’t give any protection from a hard fall.

The next best option is to invest in a mesh jacket. While they offer less natural protection than other materials, such as leather, they allow riders to comfortably ride in the heat thanks to improved air flow and circulation. A lighter and more flexible material means that movement is also much easier, adjusting while riding safer.

The general rule of thumb is that with more protection, the jacket is going to be less comfortable in hot weather. But as technologies continue to advance, manufacturers have developed products that provide the best of both worlds.

Men's Seeker Jacket
This mesh Seeker Jacket from Joe Rocket keeps riders cool via a Cooling Free Air shell torso and safe with removable armor.

Most mesh jackets today often offer some sort of cooling material paired with added armor in various spots. Vulnerable areas like the shoulders, elbows and back usually have leather or textile padding for extra protection. And, depending on the area, armor can sometimes be inserted or removed from zippered pockets.

Mesh jackets also have the advantage of being more visible to other drivers and pedestrians on the road, making late-night riding less of a worry. Bright, high-visibility colors and patterns often appear on mesh jackets, with reflective logos and designs also helping riders stand out.

All in all, there are positives and negatives to all materials and types of motorcycle jackets. But if you live in a place with scorching summers, mesh is the way to go.

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