Whenever I try “light” versions of products, such as light beer, lo-cal salad dressing and fat-free cookies, I usually find them tasteless and unsatisfying. I’d rather have less of the good stuff, or none at all, than a vastly inferior substitute. Even though Aerostich’s Roadcrafter Light Suit weighs 2.2 pounds less than the regular Roadcrafter and is $200 cheaper, such savings don’t come at the expense of quality.
The Light’s thinner shell material has two-thirds the abrasion resistance of the original Roadcrafter, but the tradeoff is a less bulky suit that’s more comfortable in hot weather. The entire suit is lined with a waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex Performance Shell membrane, and to further reduce bulk there’s no inner lining. But Aerostich didn’t just make it lighter. It also added new features such as waterproof zippers, a snap-down collar, rare-earth magnetic collar clasps, a waterproof inner pocket, adjustable armor positions and a mini carabiner attachment in the left chest pocket for securing keys, camera, etc. The suit I tested included optional TF3 hip, shoulder and elbow pads ($100), which are standard on the original Roadcrafter, plus a back pad ($120) and integrated boot rain covers ($57), which affix via hook-and-loop inside each leg and are stored inside their own pockets. Optional chest insulation pads, chest impact pads and sleeve pockets are also available.
The Light includes all of the features that have made the Roadcrafter popular for more than 25 years. The overall design, with an ankle-to-collar main zipper and an ankle-to-crotch leg zipper that make it easy to put on and remove the suit, is the same, though the waterproof zippers require a bit more effort to zip. There are six pockets—two at the chest, two at the waist with handwarmers, one on the thigh and one on the forearm—and large vents under the armpits and across the back. The cuffs and waist are adjustable, and the tall collar is lined with suede.
Having worn the regular Roadcrafter for several years in all sorts of conditions, I appreciated the Light’s enhancements. I prefer a lighter weight suit most of the time, adding a fleece pullover if it gets cold. The Light broke in quickly, fit me perfectly and was comfortable to wear in temperatures ranging from the low 50s to the mid 90s. During my August test there was no rain in California (heck, there wasn’t any rain in a state that bordered California), so I gave the Light a thorough dousing in a full-blast shower. The waterproof zippers performed as claimed and my body stayed dry, but the outer pockets allowed their contents to get wet.
In addition to using a lighter shell material, foregoing the lining and making the TF3 pads optional, Aerostich was able to set the base price at $667 by limiting color choices (gray with hi-viz ballistic panels on the shoulders, arms and legs, or hi-viz with gray panels) and having the suit manufactured overseas. The suit is machine washable, and comes in 36 regular and 38-52 short, regular or long.
For more information: Contact Aerostich at (800) 222-1994
Note from Andy Goldfine, owner/founder of Aerostich:
Thanks to Greg Drevenstedt for the terrific evaluation of the Roadcrafter Light in November’s Rider. One note about the little carabiner ring hidden inside the chest logo pocket: Its purpose is for more than only hanging keys. After one checks into a motel, a helmet can be attached there by the chinstrap and this allows both hands free to carry gear. That’s the intended function of this update. Separately, Greg mentioned the friction of the zipper sliders on the new waterproof zippers. A couple of weeks ago we sent Greg a bottle of a very effective teflon-based lubricant for these zippers. After one application the difference was so great (so much less zipper sliding friction) that we are now pre-lubricating all the zippers we are shipping, and are contacting all purchasers of suits containing these zippers to offer them a little of this lubricant at no charge.
Thanks, Andy; the lube works great! -GD