Adventure Spec Trail Waterproof Shell* jacket
UK price: £375
Weight: 715g (verified)
Size tested: Large (me: 6ft 1in/186cm • 210lbs/95kg)
* Yes, the label pictured top right was confusing
Adventure Spec Linesman,
Klim Overland and Aerostich Darien
Klim Traverse (shortly),
• Smart-looking design
• Good fit according to AS size chart
• Generous length keeps you snug
• Very light and rolls up to about a litre (right)
• Integrated hood
• Two-way zips on the vents
• Kevlar abrasive patches
• Actually has 3 outside pockets (contrary to AS description)
• Main zip is one-way and lacks storm flap
• Single underarm vents limit air flow
• A bit heavier than the claimed 650g
• Is an integrated hood that useful?
What they say:
A lightweight waterproof breathable over jacket with DuPont™ Kevlar® reinforced impact areas. This expedition/trail jacket includes a helmet a[sic] compatible fold away hood, body vents and one throttle friendly chest pocket.
The Trail shell is the latest addition to Adventure Spec’s own-brand rider wear, including the vented Atacama Race jacket, similar open-weave Mongolia and the popular Linesman softshell I used last year.
The long-awaited Trail is their first waterproof shell to wear all day, rain or shine, or over some of the above listed jackets. It breathes, it vents, it’s waterproof and has an integrated hood. But note that unless you’re riding in the tropics, as an all-weather, trans-continental travel jacket you may find the TWS a bit too skimpy; the body is not much thicker than my hill-walking cag. The priority has been to save weight and bulk while retaining some function and the agility needed in off-roading rather than sitting on the slab at 120kph.
Contrary to AS’s online description (which may get corrected), the Trail has three external pockets (left), not one. Good to see. In one of the lower pockets is a small combination whistle/tyre valve-core tool. The latter will work but blowing through the tiny whistle, the air soon backs up and doesn’t make a usefully audible noise. For that a proper ‘pea whistle’ works best.
High-wear areas like elbows/forearms, shoulders plus the lower sides get rugged kevlar patches which also help give the otherwise plain nylon shell some eye-catching texture. The elongated back with its drawstring hem helps keep draughts at bay when crouched over the bars on a mission.
Adv Spec suggest the bonded membrane shell errs towards waterproofness rather than breathability, and without layering, the thin body fabric won’t keep you as warm as heavier jackets. When things do warm up or slow down in gnarly terrain, single underarm vents (right) with two-way, water-resistant zips help the air flow through, especially if you open up the front. But with front zipped up and on the move, I’ve found single underarm vents less effective in purging air.
I’m not convinced the roomy hood which tucks into the collar is such a useful feature for bike riding, even if it does make for a cushy collar. It’s huge, and the rationale of it stopping water running down the back of your neck is not an issue I’ve experienced with a snug jacket collar or wearing a neck buff. Around a camp or at the roadside, it may have its uses (I mislay at least one cap or hat a year).
I think many potential buyers would sooner see that weight re-allocated towards some sewn- or velcro’d in sleeves for armour pads. Such an option would broaden the Trail’s use out towards less technical moto-travelling as opposed to pure dirt biking, where some sort of padded or armoured top (right) would probably be wise.
For the purpose for which it was designed, Adventure Spec’s super light Trail Waterproof Shell will suit many riders. Be it the bike or the gear you wear, lightness is always desirable, but to me all-weather functionality is more important. For my sort of riding I’d be happy to skip the hood and, if necessary, carry another few hundred grams for proper through-venting, a big, securely dry inner pocket and a storm-flap over the front zip.