ARMR are a new clothing brand in the UK, based in Swansea. All of their kit is priced at the lower, more accessible end of the market, but a cheap price does not necessarily equate to a substandard product.
I’ve now ridden 4,000 miles in a Tottori jacket, much of it in the UK, but also recently in the heat of the Nepalese lowlands and the cold of the Tibetan Himalayas so I think it’s had a fair trial. I am yet to crash in it and don’t plan to, so apologise that I cannot vouch for the abraision resistance of the Polytech hi-impact 600DN fabric, or the CE approved protectors in the elbow, back and shoulder areas. But on fit, finish and practicality, I’m happy to report.
This jacket is awash with adjustment. There is the usual waist and arm width adjustment, facilitated through velcro, for almost infinite variation, which is so useful when you’re on the road. Riding through massive temperature variations sometimes requires you to wear almost everything you’re travelling with, so it’s good if you can.
Interestingly, the collar, which has a soft and comfortable fleece-type inner, is also adjustable for size, which is a great feature for a budget jacket. It means it’s a collar that can actually close when you want it to.
The Tottori has the now standard equipment you’d expect; removable thermal liner and the well positioned air vents and exhausts, but if you are riding somewhere really hot, it’s a jacket with a really inovative feature. As the temperature increases, the two way, big tooth zips on the sleeves let you easily vary some fantastic venting on the lower arms. If however, the temperature or humidity continues to rise, you can simply zip off the arms of the jacket entirely and use it like a t-shirt!
There are arguments for and against such a thing of course, and everything that you remove from any jacket – liners, thermals etc – have to be carried somehow, but what a cracking idea. Safety conscious riders from northern Europe may howl at the thought of riding without protective sleeves, but I would have loved the ability to do so when I was melting in Guatemala. After all, surely it’s better to ride in comfort and avoid the accident in the first place.
There is another innovative feature that may be an advantage should you accidentally dismount, but which is definitely an advantage as you ride: the 3D bubble back insert. It is exactly what it sounds like. The part of the quilted liner that is in contact with your back is like an integral back protector, but one with the appearance of giant bubblewrap. Crucially it ensures great comfort and stops your back getting sweaty, meaning you can leave in the liner accross a much wider temperature range. That is handier than it sounds when you are travelling and need convenient flexibility from all your clothing.
Consolidating that convenience is the fact that both the thermal and waterproof liners are removable and replacable incredibly quickly, due to more of that velcro at the bottom of the sleeves. It’s so simple and effective I don’t know why other manufacturers mess around with press studs inside the sleeves.
As for the waterproof liner, I can say that it is absolutely waterproof and no water has so far made it’s way through to me. That is not the case with the pockets unfortunately. Both the front lower pockets which have press stud closing flaps, and the handy zipped wallet pocket which is accessible on the left side breast just underneath the outer main storm flap, let in water when the rain is heavy.
This is a shame, because although most jackets are the same, the ARMR Tottori doesn’t actually have any other pockets, other than a phone specific one on the inside of the thermal liner (replicated on the very inside of the jacket for the days you ride without the liner).
There are no other pockets save the big one on the lower back where you could store light over trousers, or the inner waterproof liner when not in use. I feel this is an oversight and am convinced the guys at ARMR will rectify it soon, as we all need somewhere warm and dry for paperwork when ‘on the road’.
As the miles have piled on and the jacket is bashed about at campsites and on dusty roadsides, it has stood up remarkably well. The only failing is that the edges of the main velcro waist adjustment straps are starting to fray. This affects neither the velcro or its function, but occasional unravelling thread is a bit unsightly. It’s as though the velcro edges haven’t been quite finished.
I’m pleased to say that no actual stitching anywhere on the jacket is unravelling and all the zips work incredibly well. There is even one to attach a pair of ARMR trousers, if that is your preference.
My jacket is black and dark grey, with tiny red flashes and some VISION TECH and SCOTCHLITE reflective panels, but there is also a pale grey version which is, well, a little odd if I’m honest, but maybe it’ll be to your taste. From Small through to 3XL, they have all sizes covered. Mine is a Large and I’m 5’11” and 12 stone, which might help you assess their sizing.
In essence, the Tottori is a good, robust, well fitting jacket at a competitive retail price of only £149.
For a new brand, the guys in Swansea have done very well indeed and I’m sure ARMR is a name you’ll see a lot more of soon. Click here for more info.