Keeping cool, in the kind of heat you’re bound to incur when travelling outside the UK, is vital for concentration. But it’s also important when you need to deal with officials or navigate a busy city.
I’ve been using a REV’IT Tornado 2 jacket for almost a year now and although there have been some warm days in the UK and during a few brief European forays, this jacket really came into its own when I was riding the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan where temperatures of 40°C aren’t uncommon.
This jacket isn’t about opening vents, it is almost one massive vent! Large panels of mesh run almost the length and more than half the width of the front, all the width of the back. The underarm, and all the way down to the cuff is also mesh, as is a panel across the top of the shoulders and round the back of the neck.
There is even a collar hook and loop which allows you to draw back the front side of the collar, allowing air flow to cool your neck, but without the annoying flapping of a loose collar.
If all this venting concerns you from a safety point of view, the open-weave construction features material which REV’IT says has a high melting point, and possesses tremendous tear and abrasion-resistance. It’s also incredibly durable, as is the rest of the outer shell material, which is 1000 denier and incredibly tough. I can’t pretend that I’ve treated this jacket with respect – using it as something to sit on and yes, in the interests of testing I’ve even crashed in it – but nothing about it is beginning to fail.
The stitching is perfectly uniform and none of it is beginning to fray either. Nor is the soft material used around the inside of the collar showing any signs of wear and tear. If this jacket wasn’t quite as filthy, I’m sure it could almost still pass as new.
You may now be thinking that’s all well and good, but much of Europe also sees quite a lot rain so a jacket full of holes isn’t ideal. Well there’s also a totally waterproof hydratex® G-liner with taped seams. The magic is that this is applied to the outside of the jacket’s inner lining. If the insulated inner is fitted you are therefore snug and dry and there’s only one removable layer to store somewhere, which is a godsend when you’re living on the road; I’ve never been a fan of multiple layers and it’s the main criticism I had of the Rev’It Cayenne Pro jacket I used when riding the Americas.
Practicality and Fit
The best bit of the inner liner is that it’s a totally waterproof and stylish jacket in its own right, which you can wear off the bike. Fitting and removing it is simplicity itself with two short zips and a single press stud on each sleeve. This means you just put on each layer in turn and attach them in situ. No twisted sleeves or mild cursing as you lay the jacket on the floor and try to align everything.
The inner liner has two inner pockets; one zipped and one Velcro closing, both large enough to carry paperwork, wallet, passport and smartphone. Only the zip-closed pocket is repeated inside the outer garment, and there are just two more pockets with vertical zip closure. You might find this limiting, but perhaps it’s a good excuse to reduce the amount of junk you carry on your person!
Both inner and outer layers are closed with a zip, but they are different gauges so can’t be confused, the outer (important) one being much coarser and less likely to fail. The same coarse teeth are used on the cuffs/forearm and in association with a Velcro flap can be left open when riding to further improve airflow.
To get this Tornado to suit your body shape there are elasticated adjustment straps around the waist and the bicep area.
In association with the tough outer shell there are shape-formed SEEFLEX™ Level 2 CE protection inserts for the shoulders and elbows, but interestingly (and annoyingly) the back protector is a £35 optional extra, which I went for. When I gracefully dismounted my CRF250 on the rocky Tajik track I was glad I had.
The Tornado is also designed to work with the Challenger cooling vest insert, something which can be zipped directly into the outer shell with the connection zippers otherwise used for the thermal liner. It’s another £100 and frankly, if the weather is that hot, just soak your t-shirt before putting the Tornado jacket on and enjoy the cooling effect of evaporation.
Optional extras aside, this is a tough, good-looking and terrifically efficient jacket for use in more climatic regions that you might think. On the commute to the Oxfordshire office I still look fondly on the ingrained Pamir dust and smile.
Colours: Black, Silver/Black, Sand/Black
Sizes available S-XZL
RRP £279.00 but I’ve seen it discounted online by as much as £50