For a textile suit to be suitable for an Overland trip it needs to be able to cope with big temperature changes, high mileage, the odd spill (the crash or food /drink type), be comfortable, robust and reliable. This is a lot to ask.
I mainly tested Triumph’s Navigator suit on a trip to South Africa in February, so high temperatures featured heavily. With the thermal lining out and vents open, in temperatures of over 40 degrees, I was remarkably comfortable and able to concentrate. The large removable rear vent panel was effective, despite me wearing a Kriega rucksack. The front vents did not compromise on safety and helped maintain airflow. Vents to the underarms and on the sleeves would have been a welcome addition at these temperatures, but might leave the jacket more vulnerable to rain getting in or with less crash protection. It’s always a balancing act. Trousers simply vent once on each leg, which is sufficient.
I found the suit comfortable on a semi adventure bike (GS 650 twin), but the trouser hip armour tends to dig in a little on my road bike with slightly higher footpegs. It’s great to have ladies kit with hip armour though – this is often not supplied as it might make the trousers a little less flattering to the figure – but that’s not what I am wearing them for! The Knox back protector was comfortable and the Knox shoulder, elbow and knee armour sit well and extend to offer further protection without being restrictive. Apparently there are Superfabric™ ceramic laminated panels in impact zones – whatever that means. I am pleased to report I did not test the effectiveness of the armour either on or off-road.
The Outlast® temperature stability lining layer is easy to remove and replace. It appears good quality, is washable and cotton covered. I did not use it at all in South Africa, but have employed it in the UK. There is the compromise of having a suit that fits better either with or without the linings and I found it less comfortable with the linings in as it was a snugger fit. In the trousers there are stretch/flex panels at the knee and to the rear of the waist that certainly help, and there’s extra adjustment at knee level with a strap. The jacket has side-adjustment zippers, but they are not that easy to use and I feel the quality is perhaps questionable. It also has the usual pull-in waist adjustment found on most ladies jackets. I also have some concerns about how warm the suit would be in deep winter, as I wore it for a 200 mile ride in March in the UK with the thermal linings in and was only just warm enough. Luckily more undergarments can help cure that.
The jacket has two lower front pockets – labelled as waterproof – with quality waterproof zips, plus press-studded flap. These are practical and easily hold a phone on one side and a wallet in the other, plus a few more bits and bobs, without feeling bulky or uncomfortable. There are also small sleeve pockets that are useful for keys, earplugs and lip balm etcetera. There are 2 inner pockets, though I did not really use these, except to carry copies of my documents. The trousers have a pocket on each side at hip level, not labelled waterproof, but with waterproof zips and a cargo style pocket on the front, that is only secured by press-studs and Velcro and is probably not waterproof. You can’t put much in these pockets before really noticing and riding with a rucksack anyway I didn’t really need to use them.
The jacket collar has a small flap with a choice of 2 press-studs allowing some adjustment. A detachable collar to give more weather/cold protection would be a welcome addition. Cuffs have a zip and Velcro adjustment. I can’t get my winter gloves over them and it’s a struggle to fit them inside, with the fine zip being an issue again.
I am rather wary of how long the zips will hold out if undertaking a lot a use, as the jacket zip is quite fine, though there are two zips and a good storm flap results. The outer zip has to be done up with care so it does not come undone from below, which it is not designed to do for additional ventilation etc – though this would be a good idea. The trousers have a very useful feature of zip and Velcro adjustment on one side and zip only on the inner of the leg. I found that if the zip tabs were not carefully turned up to ‘lock into place’ at the bottom the zip would come undone.
I have only briefly tested the waterproof qualities of the suit so far, but it appeared to cope well. When riding in wet/misty conditions with the lining out and vents open, the water did not go through the vents as it did with many of the others riding in similar kit. Thankfully the textile outer shell is water resistant, and the main defence against water is the sympatex z-lining system bonded beneath it. I have never understood how anyone would think it a good idea to have to stop and take off your kit to put the waterproof linings in when the weather changes. I’ll write a follow up after I’ve ridden in the British summer – to advise on the absolute waterproof qualities!
What also wins with the ‘Navigator’ kit, is that as well as making the more common male version, Triumph have realised that women exist and travel too, so there’s this female specific fit. I feel however, that the sizes come up a little small – though I know this to be the case with the men’s sizes too (go one larger than the measurements they give). Another plus is that there is no trace of pink, pale blue or flowery motifs to be seen! The Triumph logos are there, but discrete and not overpowering, so don’t feel you need to own a Tiger to buy the clothing. The grey and blue is a welcome change from black or beige and coped well with dust on the outside and the sweat on the inside.
As for extra safety, there is reflective piping and some small panels and the complimenting jeans zip to the jacket if that’s your wish.
So would I wear this suit on a long Overland trip? The answer is yes. While it is always a compromise, I think it would cope with all but the coldest weather – perhaps heated kit or a bigger size to wear more layers would be in order. The quality and stitching is good – the worry about the zips let it down, but could be fixed/replaced if they did give up, but for the price, within the ‘adventure’ sector, it’s excellent value for a trip even on a budget that’s not too tight.
The Ladies Navigator jacket RRP is £299 and the jeans RRP is £199. Men’s prices may differ.
Female sizes available: XXS, XS, S, M, L, 2L, 3L