Here’s a genuine dilemma: What should you choose while riding, heat exhaustion or ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time)? This is not a hypothetical; one memorable ride over awesome and challenging mountain roads in France triggered heat exhaustion onset because I refused to shed my protective gear despite the blazing hot, humid weather. Fortunately, we arrived at our destination just before nausea overwhelmed me. Just barely….
Next time I headed for hot and humid climes, I planned better and brought along a Tour Master Draft Air Series 3 jacket. This lightweight jacket is built with free-breathing Armor-Link mesh combined with tough 600-denier Carbolex material to allow a cooling flow of air. Additional protection comes via CE-approved armor in the shoulders and elbows, plus an articulated triple-density back protector. A zip-in removable waterproof liner can be used in the rain but I soon removed this layer on my first ride in the tropics because it significantly reduces airflow and the thin material sticks to sweaty arms. Linerless, the jacket proved very comfortable and it served very well. When rains came I either braved the short, refreshing showers or layered up quickly and easily with a Tour Master Sentinel rain jacket.
By design, the number of pockets in a mesh jacket should be minimized to facilitate airflow. So the Draft 3 features a nominal but sufficient assortment: a pair of zippered handwarmer-style pockets, a large internal pouch pocket, plus an inner mobile media pocket that’s a touch small considering modern-era phones. Other thoughtful, riding-oriented features include handy hook-and-loop tabs at the wrists, sleeves and waist to adjust fit, 360-degree reflective piping plus Tour Master’s signature reflective rear triangle for nighttime conspicuity, sturdy YKK zippers and soft yet durable microfiber-lined collar and cuffs.
You may think it a bit extravagant to add a hot-weather mesh jacket to your riding wardrobe. After all, you won’t be able to use it for much, or probably even most of your riding season. But Tour Master removes much of the sting by pricing the Draft Air Series 3 very reasonably at only $144.99. Honestly, on that certain day on that certain road in France, I would have willingly paid twice that amount to get my body cooled down. The Draft 3 comes in four color options, with sizes ranging S-3XL.
Obviously, any mesh or perforated jacket will not deliver the same level of riding protection as a full-on, heavy-duty type of jacket or riding suit. But when hot weather reaches the point where you’re tempted to violate ATGATT standards and ride with no jacket at all, having a jacket such as the Draft 3 can make a world of difference.