Tag Archives: Aerostich Kanetsu AirVantage electric liner

Heated jackets for motorcycling

Turn on, Plug in but don’t Chill Out on winter’s long road.

hj-2jax1-gloIf you live outside the tropics and like to ride on anything other than sunny summer days, heated clothing makes sense on a bike. Your bike produces excess electrical power which, with the benefit of modern technology and materials, can make a near-freezing ride tolerable in a way you couldn’t imagine. The two jackets looked at here are Aerostich’s 75-watt Kanetsu AirVantage (above, on the far right) and the lately discontinued 60/105 watt Powerlet RapidFIRe which you can still find used for as little as £100.

hj-seddonbikeI remember back the late 70s there was a batty guy at work called Maurice Seddon who rode a BSA made before I was born and who sold hand-made heated clothing on the side (left). For London-based despatching that wouldn’t have been such a great idea, as with all the stop-start and on-off you never got that cold. But out on the road between cities you sure could. Even then, heated clothing had a reputation for inefficiency and unreliability and so didn’t seem worth the investment compared to piling on the layers and gritting your teeth.

WindChill_ComparisonCompared to the northern US states and eastern or northern Europe, the southern UK rarely gets that cold in winter (anymore), but sat on a bike in the wind it’s always colder than you think. Apparently, in bikers’ lore over in the US there’s something called the ’60 60 30 rule’: 60 mph at 60°F (ambient) feels like 30°F on a bike (100kph / 15°C / -1°C).
That may be easy to remember but is clearly exaggerated. There’s no way doing 60 at 15°C feels like just below freezing. It’s an embellishment of what they now call the ‘old wind chill index’. According to the calculator on this page, the post-2001 new wind chill index (NWCI, red, left) gives a more plausible index of 54°F or 12°C, rather than 30°F at 60-mph. Bright sunshine can also reduce the wind chill by several degrees °C.

hj-fogBut when the ambient temperature drops to a more typical, mid-winter’s ride of 41°F (5°C), the new wind chill index corresponds to 26°F or -3°C. That’s how it felt for me crossing northern Spain last week when, for the last few hundred clicks to Santander, the road rises to more or less 700m (2300′). Though it was foggy and clearly above 0°C, I felt freezing with my Powerlet RapidFIRe heated liner turned up to the max. I rode on through the murk for as long as I could bear it, then dived into a roadside hotel to thaw out. Next day it was the same until I dropped out of the fog to the coast. It gave me time to work out how to get the best from a heated liner. Apart from sealing against all possible draughts, using heated grips, hand guards and a windshield, having the liner actually pressing on your body is much more effective. Like this, the liner’s heated matrix is warming a thin base layer clinging to your skin, not the air gap between. And ironically, I feel it’s better if that base layer is not thermal – just thin polyester or whatever that’s easier to wash than a jacket full of wires. At times I was riding with my left arm pressed against my chest just to force the front of the jacket against me and benefit from the heat. But doing that for a while my hand got cold away from the heated grip. Next day I wore a thin fleece over the heated jacket to press the wires down achieve the same, all-round effect.

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Liner or jacket?
The Kanetsu is designed to zip in as a liner on your Aerostich Darien or Roadcrafter, but over the years I’ve mostly used it with various other jackets. The Powerlet zips up to itself, but does feature a textured outer shell that’s slightly tacky or rubbery so it’s more prone to staying with your main jacket as you slip both off (assuming that’s what you want). Because the Kanetsu is a zip-in liner, I found when using it with other jackets the open-ended zip would open up from the bottom. Aero could get round this by adding a stud to stop it separating when not zipped in as a liner.
hj-2jaxBoth jackets stuff into their own zippered pouches (left), with the Kanetsu benefitting from belt loops. On a long trip both still add up to a sizeable bulk when not worn, unless you choose to use it off the bike. As you can see below, they both look pretty good as regular jackets. The Aerostich has more pockets, the Powerlet has a lined and heated collar. Both weigh about 1100g.

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hj-pletbandsAs said, a close fit makes all the difference and these jackets achieve that differently. The RapidFIRe has Spandex sidepanels in the body and arms (left) to make the liner cling to you. Mine was an end-of-the-line cheapie which by that time was only available in XL – a bit too big on me. But it occurred to me I could easily close up those elastic panels with thread to achieve a snugger and so more effective fit.

Thj-plet-nukehe RapidFIRe has two heat settings – 60/105 watt which, afaict, the newer $430 Atomic Skin model has dropped. Probably because no one ever needed 105 watts. To activate this arctic setting you join up two loose plugs zipped into a dinky hem compartment (left). Knowing my Honda had the capacity to run it (see below), I tried the 105-watt setting on a 200-mile round trip down to around 8°C (which in NWCI adds up 0.5°C @ 65 mph). I found that setting 2/5 was more than enough to keep me warm in my Darien Light and a thin base layer. If I regularly rode in sub-freezing conditions I might leave it on 105 watts. More probably though, I’d get a car.

hj-kanMy 5-year-old 75-watt Kanetsu AirVantage is a version of Aerostich’s regular (and $70 cheaper) WindStopper. It differs by having an air bladder within the body linings which you inflate with a hj-inflatestem valve (left), like an airplane life jacket until you have a comfortable fit under your riding jacket. As long as you’re not wearing it inside out (an easy mistake to make) the bulging bladders press the heating elements against your torso, a clever idea that maximises efficiency and means you don’t have to whack up the dial for it to have the desired effect. Until you get used to it, it’s another thing to remember to do when togging up, and it can result in that ‘stuffed’ feeling you’re trying to avoid with heated gear. But it adds insulation and does work. The AirVantage is definitely worth the extra $70 ($387) over the regular, non-inflating WindStopper.


hj-exotogFast forward to 2019 and at a show I spotted these Exotog inflatable pull-over bodywarmer. A bit like the lifejacket mentioned above, the idea is the still air creates a thick insulated layer without excessive bulk when not in use. The truth is, down works better to keep trapped air still, but that’s impractical with humid, breath-inflated items and these must be better than nothing.
It also occurred to me they’d be a very effective way of pressing a heated jacket down on to your torso to derive maximum efficiency. It weighs from 270g and costs 100 quid.


godofhellfireWhat both jackets highlight is that once warmed up and doing their thing, you won’t necessarily feel like The God of Hellfire (left) reposing in front of a roaring log fire with a warm cup of cocoa. But you’ll sure notice the difference should you switch them off. [This is actually a slightly misleading test as switching off is a bit like stepping out of a shower all wet: in the short term you’ll feel chilly until things evaporate]. And, depending on the wind protection on dsc00040 (1)your bike, you’ll also notice your heated but exposed arms will feel notably less warm than your hopefully balmy torso, as well noticing the slightest cold spot. In fact this whole temperature differential can be a bit of a distraction.
The Powerlet uses something called Carbon Nanocore technology (thin wires) producing far infrared heat (hence Rapid FIR e); the AirVantage simply uses ‘hotter’ wires in the arms. Whichever one you’re wearing, this is where those velcro arm cinches on your riding jacket come in useful to press the heating elements against you. The Darien I recently reviewed has them both above and hj-cinchbelow the elbow (right), but they still couldn’t spread the heat evenly. If I was heading for a really long, cold ride, I’d find a way of binding the heated jacket’s sleeves close to my arms. All these measures will enable you to run as low a setting as possible, so giving you an extra margin when things really chill down.

Electrical consumption
One good thing about modern bikes is they should have plenty of alternator capacity to power electrical accessories – and heated jacket liners probably make the biggest demands. My CB500X produces 500 watts at 5000 rpm – my late-80s era GS500R dished out just 200 watts at the same rpm. Even a modern 250 single might produce over 300 watts. Modern lights draw less power too, but add fuel pumps, some LED or HiD spots, heated grips as well as the possibly lower engine speeds when riding at night in freezing temperatures, and on the old GS the alternator may have struggled to keep up with the demand.

Heat Controller
These thermostats usually come as accessories to the heated liners but are a good idea unless you’re happy with all-or-nothing heating. After all, what other heating application – domestic, industrial or otherwise – has no adjustment settings? Often, as you slow down to ride through a built-up area you’ll feel too warm – you don’t want that but you may not want to switch right off either.

heatrollersThe Aerostich Heat Troller ($70; left and below right) is a little box with a dial knob and molded SAE leads. You can feel the knob’s soft click as you turn it on and in less than one clockwise turn it’s at max. Tucked down by a tank net as below right, it’s easy to operate on the move using feel alone when wearing thick gloves. No need to take your eyes off the road. I just dial it up to max then back off as needed. There’s a red LED that flashes proportionally – handy for a quick hj-aerocontglance to see if it’s actually working or if it’s just you and you need to dial in more heat. Direct from Aerostich it seems the Heat Troller only comes with SAE connectors but I just bought one with QuiConnects coax here). Their Kanetsu jackets now comes with BMW, SAE or QuiConnect fittings.

 

hj-pletcontThe Powerlet uses a similar black box and the co-axial QuiConnects all round (left), but with a flat pad to turn it on and keep pressing up to five levels. The problem is that pad is very hard to locate and feel through a thick glove, so you’re not always sure if you’ve done anything or gone too far and turned it off. You need to glance down to check the position of the red LEDs – not handy on an icy hairpin at six in the morning. It’s nowhere near as user-friendly as a dial knob. The current Atomic Skin Powerlet liner uses a remote wrist-mounted wireless controller. Me, I’d sooner fit an Aerostich-style Heat-Troller unless you mount the controller on the handlebars.

Overall, the discontinued Powerlet RapidFIRe gets the nod as it’s a tad less bulky, has two core heat settings, has accessory wires to run glove liners, has a regular zip for use in any riding jacket, not as a zip-in liner, has wire in the collar and slicker QuiConnect fittings. But chances are you can’t buy it anymore unless you’re huge, and neither the Kanetsu not the Atomic Skin are currently sold in the UK.

My tips for heated liners:

  • Get a full heated jacket with heated arms, neck and full torso, not a waistcoat or a jacket with partial panels
  • Get an easy-to-use heat controller
  • If the body’s elasticated, aim for a close fit
  • Wire direct to the battery via a fuse (leads often supplied)
  • Don’t bother with remote, battery-powered options. Your bike has a  battery and charging system: make use of them.

Click this for a recent review of Aerostich and Klim shells which were used with these heated liners

Good 2012 article by ABR magazine (pdf)

Aerostich Falstaff jacket review

IN A LINE
Chunky, well featured waxed cotton touring jacket, but fabric coating may not suit everyone and mine leaked through the arms.

WHERE TESTED
From new on a 4000-mile ride to Morocco and back across Spain in Spring 2012 riding a BMW F650GS SE. Worn around Britain since.

  • tikPlain, elegant design.
  • Fits me just right
  • Well thought out features: velcro belt, vents, storm flap, chunky two-way zip, water-resistant zips on outer pockets and vents – and no less than 12 pockets
  • Potentially infinitely reproofable, unlike Goretex
  • Good value considering it’s not made in China
  • A rugged organic compromise between leather and Cordura
  • Feels more windproof than Cordura
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  • Wax coating feels mucky and soon acquires a grubby, blackened patina where it wears on itself
  • Leaks through the velcro arm-cinching straps
  • Soon loses it good looks from new and can’t be washed
  • Less good in temperature extremes than alternative: stiff when cold and sweaty when hot and humid, but bulky cut enables layering
  • Heavier than a Cordura equivalent
  • Abrades less well than Cordura or leather when sliding down a road, although the protector pads are more useful in most crashes

COST

Aerostich Falstaff page. Only sold in the US, as far as I know.
This jacket was supplied free in return for Aerostich advertising in my books.

DESCRIPTION

The fittingly-named Falstaff evokes a solid British tradition and is Aerostich’s only waxed cotton jacket, cut to their classic Darien pattern in a dark tan waxed cotton. Inside is a tartan or plaid cotton lining that’s de rigeur with waxed leisure clothing. The Falstaff has under-arm and a back-width vents with water-resistant exterior pocket zips and pockets galore, large and small. I was still finding new pockets weeks after receiving it.
I read that the Darien is a baggier and longer cut to Aero’s other popular suit, the shorter and closer fitting Roadcrafter which you commonly zip to Roadcfrafter pants. Like all Dariens there are elbow and shoulder pads and I was also sent a spine protector, but preferring a less bulky jacket, I didn’t take any of these pads on my ride to Morocco. There are four 3M reflective patches too, though you can specify ‘no reflection’ for a subtler appearance. (I read that France now requires riders to have a certain area of reflectiveness on their clothing – hopefully no more than a typical ‘Stich jacket). In fact with Aerostich you can specify any mod you like – with a few clearly labelled exceptions it’s all made in Duluth, MN and they’re happy to oblige. Great customer service plus the cool cataloguis one of Aero’s hallmarks.
The size I have is large which weighs about 2.3 kilos or just over 5lbs without the padding. Though I read complaints in reviews about short arms, they were just fine on me.

REVIEW

The Falstaff replaced my 9-year old Aerostich Darien Light. There was nothing wrong with my little-used DL, but I fancied a change and wanted to see what was new and so gave it away a an auction for the Ted Simon Foundation. On the big night my DL scored the second highest bid just behind Ted’s famous Jupiter’s Travels open face helmet.
Before the Darien Light I also owned a Darien which is identical but made from a heavier Cordura fabric. I used that in BC on a very rainy ride, but found it a bit too stiff (they say they do give over time).
Scanning the web for a replacement in the understated and functional Darien style was much less successful than expected. Obviously there’s plenty of cheap stuff out there, but also too much over-designed or over-priced gear for my taste or wallet. And then there’s this new trend for separate breathable liners that you wear if it’s raining/cold, or not if it’s warm. That means the outer jacket gets soaked or ‘wetted-out’ in rain which makes the inner liner’s job of breathing through it all the more difficult. As it is, I suggest in the new AMH that I doubt membrane type clothing works that well when applied to relatively passive motorcycling; sitting still in the rain at 70mph is less effective in getting the membrane working than hiking up a hill which produces sufficient energy to purge the built-up moisture as the active body generates heat. I suspect this separate breathable liners trend is nothing more than a cost saving measure that’s being sold as a ‘have your cake and eat it’ option, but I’m happy to be corrected on that.

Anyway, after an afternoon’s browsing, on looks alone I think I was heading towards a Dainese Evo or whatever cropped up used in my size on ebay when Aero offered another Darien. I like to keep trying new stuff as it’s good for the book so after some discussion we settled on a Falstaff – an ‘organic’ Darien. So you know, the Falstaff and other gear I get from Aero is a contra deal in return for an advert in my AM Handbook and associated titles.
Having worn waxed cotton Belstaff clothing back in the 1970s and avoided it since, I was a bit ambivalent about going down that road again with the Falstaff but hoped things may have changed. My recollection was a robust-feeling material (compared to a regular nylon Belstaff of the era), but with a messy coating that left indoor smears on my mum’s prize-winning wallpaper, felt unpleasant to touch and was not so snug in the cold. This was all just before the Cordura + Goretex revolution in moto clothing.
Out of the box the Falstaff looked great – I like that tan deserty colour, what a shame it’s now mostly gone under an oily brown patina. The fit too was just right for me once the TF3 pads warmed up.

A functional touring jacket has to be at the core of your overlanding gear; a place to stash stuff and feel protected from the elements and possible crashes.

On my ride the temperatures ranged from 1°C with snow flurries while crossing the High Atlas, to about 30°C (86°F) on the hotter days down on the Sahara’s edge; days which also coincided with slow riding and pushing the bike through the sands. I also wore heavy leather trousers, and under the Falstaff either the electric Kanetsu liner over a thick shirt, or just the shirt.

Above all I love the array of pockets – no less than a dozen, but you don’t have to use them all. I don’t like to wear daypacks or use a tank bag and so my jacket becomes a kind of ‘ditch bag’ containing everything I think I need or can’t afford to lose. It’s all there in the pockets at hand’s reach, not in a backpack that needs talking off, or a tank bag that needs removing when you’re stray from the bike.
I especially like the big ‘Napolean’ pockets inside and out, and just as I was thinking of getting a pocket sewn into the back lining to carry my iPad while away from hotel rooms, I realised there was a huge net pocket inside the back vent which could take a 17-inch MacBook Pro if need be. It’s an Aerostich, I should have known they’d not waste that opportunity! (In fact it mentions that pocket on the website, so RTFM).
As expected, the strong initial whiff of wax or paraffin lessened after a few weeks in Morocco, though it took a good few months to go away. It’s just about gone now but if it smelled of warm leather there’d be no complaints here! In Morocco I was deliberately wearing only a shirt plus my Aero Kanetsu electric liner to put it all to the test, and never got chilled except when I got in a muddle with the Kanestu’s switches. Even then I do wonder if a Kanetsu is essential with a chunky Falstaff. Depends where you live and when you ride of course, but if your bike can’t handle the output I suspect a thick fleece and a Merino under layer would still keep you warm – the waxed cotton feels very wind-proof, even if in itself it can’t be described as a cozy garment.

One piste I did in Morocco was a hot day which ended up with a lot paddling and pushing the GS through soft sand. At this time the Falstaff was just too hot and all the vents in all the world, including the front zipped down made little difference with a hot backwind and speeds of less than 10mph. I ended that afternoon with the liner soaked and evaporated sweat encrusted as salt on my shirt. I have to say it would probably have been the same with any jacket, but I have a feeling my nylon Darien Light might have been less sweaty or maybe just less heavy. The Falstaff can feel as hot as a leather jacket. As I neared my destination that evening and got onto easier terrain, I undid the front zip completely and let the jacket flap around and air itself out. By the time I got to my lodgings it and I were almost dry.
I do wonder though if something different – more modern dare I say – could line the jacket interior instead of cotton plaid and if, as the blog guy suggests below, it might even be removable for washing, so you don’t get bogged down in washing the whole garment. As it is waxed cotton doesn’t seem to be washable with any detergent, all you can do is wipe it down with a sponge which won’t shift road grime. Something wickable maybe? Cotton is notorious for sapping away body heat when wet and had I had a long ride in colder temps following that sweaty afternoon I might have got really quite chilled. Of course powering up the Kanetsu electric vest would have seen to that.

All of which makes me wonder, does waxed cotton breathe? Intuitively I’d say no and if it does then it’s at the cost of waterproofedness, but Aero and this googled blog post (worth reading, plus his half-dozen follow-up posts) suggests it does a bit, while the chat here says not really. If it does breathe then I’d say not as much as Goretex in optimum conditions and circumstances, but a lot better than a PVC bin bag sealed up with duct tape. I must admit I never felt sweaty on the ride as I’d have done in an impermeable PVC mac, so perhaps it breathes better than I think. Knowing what wax is, I find it hard to see how while retaining waterproof qualities, unless the wax-impregnated cotton fibres swell when wet (like cotton tents supposedly do) to seal against rain, then as it dries a little porosity returns. Interestingly, I’ve also learned that ‘oilskins’ is another name for waxed cotton.

My thoughts on Goretex
Like the blogger, part of my rationale in thinking the Falstaff was a good choice was that unlike GoreTex, wax cotton can be reproofed indefinitely, just like an old pair of leather boots. (Have you tried getting a pair of non-membrane hiking footwear lately, btw? – near impossible). Goretex might work well when it’s new, clean and undamaged, but as far as I know we’re talking about a cling-film-like miracle pore layer bonded onto the inside of the jacket onto which is bonded a permeable inner liner, more or less (left). Although in the middle of a sandwich, once that film gets damaged or the nylon either side gets clogged with body oils or grime, it will let in water for good and/or it won’t breathe like it did.

Goretex seems a short-term solution but you still have to marvel in how WL Gore have managed to so dominate the market in ‘waterproof’ leisure wear, although work wear, I’m no so sure. There must be something to it but I do remember thinking when it came out in the late 70s that the whole ‘condensation vapour out / no water in’ malarkey sounded a little far-fetched and I think the same now.
I really wasn’t keen on buying another expensive GTX jacket, even an Aerostich, that would require washing in special soaps and curing with DWR (surface water repellent) only to know the ‘magic film’ would eventually fail. This is a jacket that I like to think I’ll be wearing on a long trans-continental trip, not a touring holiday. The infinite reproofability of the Falstaff was an attraction and as the chat site above notes, it’s tough (maybe no more so than a 500-weight Darien; Aero say it’s a bit less abrasion proof) but also immune to melt holes from campfire sparks.

Waterproof?

In Morocco there were a few showers. Unlike Cordura once it’s lost it’s DWR treatment, water rolls off the waxy Falstaff as off a duck’s back. There seems little possibility of the fabric letting any rain through (but see below), but of course on any garment the stitching is the weak point. I know Aero’s synthetic clothing is finely sealed with taped seams, but I’m not sure how the Falstaff’s panels are joined together and sealed. Maybe the wax impregnation takes care of it.
It was on a long day across Spain that I had a chance to put the Falstaff to the rainproof test. Several short spells of heavy rain had no effect but a huge deluge let rip by early evening at which time both lightning and a rainbow where arcing across the stormy sky simultaneously. I turned off into some town to pull on the €3 waterproof leggings I’d bought in Fez (my ageing Darien pants got stolen on the Morocco ferry – I’ll miss those). By the time I turned the bike around the roads were ankle-deep in run-off and commuters were inching through the flood. Back on the motorway the rains pelted against the screen which admittedly largely protected the front of the jacket, but after maybe half an hour I felt the tell-tale twinge of wetness at the more exposed right elbow.
Getting to a hotel that night after the 800-km day, I pulled the jacket inside out and the cotton lining of both arms was damp. It had then come through the Kanetsu vest (not turned on) and a thick cotton shirt. Nowhere else had let the rain through, neither pockets or front zip nor even the cuffs exposed by the BM’s undersized hand guards, nor the neck with its suede trim. The front inside lining had soaked up some run-off from the overtrousers. (Amazingly the cheap overtrousers held up and so did my leather boots which I’d waxed before departure and got quite a beating on the dirt in Morocco. I attribute it to wearing thin socks that day which were loose and so are slow to wick in any leaks – or perhaps the well waxed boots just simply worked – like a waxed jacket should…) My theory is that the rain leaked through the sewn-on velcro straps (left) which cinch in the sleeves to stop them flapping, hold the elbow pad in place or to reduce the air gap to keep you warmer. Many bike jackets seem to have this feature now. Without cutting the lining open it’s hard to tell if the velcro seams are glued and taped from behind. It doesn’t feel like it and on the inside of waxed cotton that would be tricky anyway. But if that’s a weak spot it’s surprising Aero didn’t think of it or owner reviews mention it.

In summary, my reticence with the Falstaff is the same as with any waxed garment, the ‘ickyness’ of the weatherproof coating. It’s something you only notice when putting it on, using the pockets or walking around, but you wouldn’t want to slump onto your mother-in-law’s albino calfskin sofa in it. Like leather it certainly steadily acquires characterful creases, unlike a nylon Darien or any other synthetic moto jacket.

Update

Six months from originally writing this, I have to say the Falstaff hasn’t grown on me. I don’t particularly relish putting it on as I do with favourite clothing, because of the feel and appearance of the waxed cotton; that stuff won’t wash off with soap.
The jacket now looks like I’ve used it to make several messy oil changes under a car. Waxheads know it’s just the polished wax coating, but some civilians will just perceive you as another grubby biker. Then there was the annoyance of popping a car satnav into one of the outer chest pockets during a downpour – it never recovered. The pocket was wet inside; now I know I should have used an inside pocket, but as you’ll see below, even that is not immune.
I’ve since performed a EU-accredited suction test: clamping your mouth around a bit of fabric and sucking. On a plastic bag – full seal of course, no breathing possible; on unpolished parts of the Falstaff like the back, slow suction possible, but slightly more than on my near-new breathable Rab Bergen Event™ jacket. On the grubbier, patina’d front pocket of the Falstaff, notably more suction possible – the fabric here is more breathable and so less waterproof than other sections. Perhaps it all just needs a light reproof on the shiny sections followed by a hair dry, as this article recommends.

I’ve since carefully reproofed the pockets on one side of the front with Granger’s Waxed Cotton Dressing which as expected failed to resort the Aero’s original sandy colour  – in fact it’s gone quite dark and shiny, but at least dried to a less waxy mess than I anticipated. It certainly doesn’t look as good and smart as when it was new, but I got the g-friend to give me a damn good hosing (above) and the re-waxed outside pocket was dry inside, the patina’d one on the other side damp. And on the shoulder where I reproofed a bit, the droplets clearly pool on the wax while they get absorbed into the original, unpolished matt, tan section. So reproofing looks like it works but will re-patina and in my opinion ruin the jacket’s original appearance.

doesmybumlook

In a couple of weeks I’ll be riding back south to London during which time I’m bound to get rained on. More news then but as I’ve written elsewhere, to keep dry from all-day rain, whatever you wear, get an impermeable one-piece riding suit in coated nylon or better still, PVC, like the old style Rukka (left).

A couple of weeks later
I got rained on. At the end of a cold, 450-mile day, for two hours on the motorway and another two across town the skies let go. I pulled on my Rukka one-piece over my legs which stayed as dry as, same as my boots which I waxed months ago. But within an hour I could feel wet arms, as in Spain months earlier. And when I got back home I found the entire lining of the jacket was wet apart from a small patch in the middle of the back (below).

The inside pocket was wet with my phone and wallet – one place you hope to be dry. My thick merino cardigan was damp but kept the wet off my trunk, but the arms were soaked right through. Exterior pockets that I had judiciously wax-proofed a fortnight earlier also had wet contents, maybe through the zip. The jacket took a day or more to dry.
Imagine being mid-trip and having to put on a sodden Falstaff for another long day at 6–9°C. It’s possible that seepage through the jacket’s leaking arms may have spread right across the lining, but whatever the reason, it was soaked inside. Not good.

PS.
I’m informed the similar £500 Belstaff Trailmaster comes with a ‘waterproof seam-sealed jacket in light coated nylon‘ … and in the US this Melville wax jacket from Rev’It comes with a removable Hydratex waterproof membrane liner. I believe ‘oilskins’ must work on a certain level but there’s a message in there somewhere.