Laminate technology is appearing more often in modern textile suits which negates having multiple layers that need to be stored somewhere. This is the one huge advantage when you’re travelling great distances through variable climates. Richa have been steadily expanding their range and have been working with laminate technology for over 10 years. They now have a comprehensive array of overlanding clothing, both laminate and not.
The Atlantic GTX jacket and matching trousers are some of the Belgian company’s more expensive Gore-Tex® equipped laminate products and there is no getting away from the quality that this kit exudes. Stitching is perfect throughout and I can’t fault any element of construction.
The outer material is tough, and certain areas – shoulders, elbows etc – are even tougher, as the material is reinforced with abrasion resistant Armacor®. Other protection is provided through ‘level 1’ tested shoulder, elbow and back armour, though this can be upgraded still further. The good news is that in use none of it is intrusive and walking around you don’t feel robotic.
The outer layer of the jacket is already warm and completely windproof, but the inner thermal layer is a garment in its own right, and smart enough to be the ‘other’ jacket you might need to have when you travel. That practicality scores highly for me, as do the pockets, an incredible 11 of them and yet not one of them makes the jacket look like a fisherman’s gillet. Most are inside and completely waterproof, and one very handy one is accessed from behind the storm flap, but without opening the front zip of the garment. This is a great place for wallet and phone and because it’s behind the Gore-tex® layer is perfectly water-tight. Even the two large low front pockets are, to-date, remaining dry in every scenario.
One issue with laminated waterproofing is that venting often suffers. It’s difficult to make a garment completely waterproof if you put lots of holes in it, and that’s where this suit falters. There are only two vents, one each side of the chest. They open through lifting a flap which is secured by watertight zip and Velcro and folding back to where magnets hold it in situ. The problem is that the resultant aperture isn’t very big and the rear exhaust vent is also small. The issue is compounded if you wear any kind of backpack as the straps obscure the area. There is no other venting and when the going gets really toasty outside Europe you might find this a problem.
Another way of increasing airflow of course is to lower the chunky main zip and Richa have included a collar loop tie-back system to help facilitate this. I could not get this to function in the field and instead let the Velcro on the collar strap adhere itself to the main jacket storm flap which worked perfectly well.
Most of the collar has a lovely soft neoprene material which cossets the neck, but there’s one uncoated bit at the front that rubs my skins such that I use a neck tube to stop the chaffing.
The Atlantic GTX jacket is a beautiful shape with long back which ensures no drafts and keeps the kidneys warm. The 3M reflective areas on front, back and arms are all grey in the daylight so accentuate rather than detract from the design of the whole garment.
The trousers can be zipped to the jacket and are made to the same high standard, with the Armacor® material in impact zones and the same flexible armour that doesn’t intrude. The bottom of the leg has a generous zip almost to the knee, and Velcro securing flap at the ankle, so fitting them over boots is a cinch. The two zipped pockets are massive and easy to use, the braces can be zipped off and the inner thermal layer is zipped out, but there are no zips at all for venting.
Available in three colours, I chose the pale grey to reflect the sun’s rays, for passive safety and because it looks smart. The downside is it’s going to need a clean soon, so I’ll follow the washing instructions closely to ensure I don’t damage that waterproof laminate structure.
Aside from the venting, this is a very competitively priced, well made and perfectly cut suit that will last a long time. Click here for details of UK stockists.
Review by Paddy Tyson
Richa Atlantic GTX Jacket (£649.99) and trousers (£419.99)
Sizes M – 6XL
Colours: Pale Grey, Black, Black/Flouro