Tucano Urbano is not a name usually associated with overlanding. The Italian company best known as creators of the Termoscud – the strange skirt beloved of scooter riders and incidentally available for the BMW 1200 GS – also produces a range of bikewear. Hidden amongst the Italian tailored, kevlar reinforced business suits and designer parkas, lurks a real gem; the Giacca Trip AB8855 touring jacket. I’ve been putting it through its paces for the past year.
But before we get any further let’s check out the swing tags.
- Touring jacket for year round use
- Breathable and waterproof outer shell made from Oxford Polyamide fabric
- DuPont Teflon fabric protector
- Taped seams
- Ability to insert CE elbow and shoulder armour
- Equipped for Airbag use
- Ventilation system for the chest, sides and back
- Ergonomic hood, folds into the collar
- Internal and external pockets in various sizes
- Synthetic down removable inner jacket
- Sizes Small to 3XL
- Colours, black or dark sand
- Price £189
All the above may be standard fare for most modern touring jackets and the styling here is modest, with two colour choices, black or a muted sandy khaki, not the multi-hued patchwork found on many adventure jackets. It does feature the standard four pockets on the front and stand up collar, that can be traced all the way back to Barbour jackets of the 1930s. It’s only once you start checking out the details that the Tucano ‘Trip’ reveals just why it could be one of the best overlanding jackets available today.
Starting from the top; hidden in that stand-up collar is a lightweight, waterproof hood. Not something you’d use while on the bike, but it comes in very handy if you get caught out while wandering round the local attractions, hunting round the markets for your evening meal, or struggling with a soggy tent in a storm.
Moving down we find the first pair of nine vents! Two Velcro-fastened shoulder vents underneath which is a further flap, always open across the back of the jacket and covering two large holes straight through both the waterproof and abrasion resistant outer and the inner fabric liner.
Round to the front and there’s the familiar double storm flap closed by press studs to stop rain being driven through the zip closure. However, roll those flaps back and secure them with more press studs and either side of the full length zip is a mesh panel giving neck to waist ventilation. Move to either side and there’re two more huge zips, with yet more mesh ventilation, this time from underarm to waist, and then two further vertical velcro fastenings covering two more vents.
This is one well ventilated jacket, and whilst it’s never going to be as cooling in high summer as full mesh it’s enough that whether crawling through city traffic, or negotiating tricky terrain, there’s a definite breeze flowing round your upper body. The velcro fastenings take a bit of fiddling with, (best done off the bike as there’re flaps to fold out to keep them open), but if there’s a sudden shower it’s simply a matter of a couple of zips and a couple of studs, and even with them open you’re waterproofed without getting off your bike.
Speaking of waterproofing, there’s a never ending debate over which is better: a removable, breathable drop liner, or a lamination to the outer abrasion resistant material. Each has its merits although personally I go for the laminated. Why? Because it’s always with you and transforming yourself from well vented to fully waterproofed rider is possible without stopping to rummage in the rain for the drop liner crumpled at the bottom of your bags. I’m also more confident that the external patch pockets will keep things dry being made from the same material as the outer.
Onto those four front bellows pockets. The two chest pockets are big enough for a passport or a big screen smartphone, whilst the two lower will hold a map, guidebook or small tool kit easily. Closer inspection of the two lower pockets reveals hidden fleece-lined hand-warmers, like the hood, designed for off-bike use. Inside the jacket there’s a breast pocket on the left hand side and a low pocket on the left. Neither are huge but both will comfortably hold a decent sized wallet
Come the cooler weather it’s time to attach the inner black synthetic down liner. Unlike a lot of motorbike jacket inners, this one clips in with press studs on the shoulders, waist and sleeves, so it’s quick and easy to attach or detach, and has its own zip front closure. Two low pockets fastened with a single press stud cut through the synthetic fabric behind the insulation, perfect for keeping your hands warm and there are two inner pockets that match the position and function of the outer jacket. With yet another nod to off-bike use, the inner is designed to be wearable as a standalone insulated jacket, perfect as the evening cools when camping, and just as useful for wandering round the sights. The synthetic down has me slightly mystified as to what it actually is, but it does mean the inner jacket packs incredibly small, about the size of a fist, yet with a shake or two lofts well to provide more than enough warmth for a European winter.
So is the Giacca Trip AB8855 the perfect overlanding jacket? For me, it comes very close. Over the past year it’s become my ‘go to’ jacket, both for trips overseas and day to day riding around London. Every zip fastener and press stud still functions, the Teflon fabric protector still beads up water, although I’m sure eventually I’ll have to wash and retreat the other jacket. It’s decidedly discrete, with its black or sand colourways, which might not suit the adventure bike rider looking to emulate their favourite TV heroes, but personally I like the way it blends in. With hindsight, I’d have opted for the sand colour, to reflect more of the sun’s warmth as no amount of ventilation will work if the rider is stuck solid in traffic, but that aside I think the ‘Trip’ comes very close to brilliant, especially with a very reasonable price tag of £189.
Be aware, for reasons best known to themselves, Tucano Urbano supply their clothing without shoulder, elbow, hip or knee protection. Usually most retailers bundle CE standard protection for free, or you can upgrade to Tucano Urbano or similar D30 pads.
To sum up. A versatile touring jacket, distinguished by the small additions, like the wearable liner and hood, which make all the difference when not riding. That added versatility turns one bike jacket into three garments, which means fewer additional clothes to pack, which is always a good thing.
www.tucanourbano.com for list of stockists.