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By: Michael Allen
Winter is my favorite time of riding here in Southern California because the ground is moist and the traction is high, but contrary to what most of you east coasters think, the temperatures can drop down below freezing out here on the west coast. Unless you’re running a windproof jersey, most other jersey materials have some sort of ventilation incorporated into them so this makes it hard to keep your body at the optimal temperature all day long. The Fly Racing Patrol jacket comes in either grey or black and is offered in sizes small through triple extra-large. The jacket is made of a lightweight shell that is windproof, water resistant, and uses a breathable membrane material. All of the zippers (main, pocket, and sleeve) are high quality and use a seal to keep moisture out. There are two lower pockets in the front and two breast pockets that I found fit a cell phone perfectly while being easily accessible. Inside the lower back of the jacket there is also a large mesh pouch, which can be used for storing the sleeves when they aren’t being used.
The ability to easily turn this jacket into a vest is easily one of my favorite highlights about this product. The inside of the jacket is fleece, which is super comfortable and unlike a lot of other jackets the Patrol comes out of the box very flexible (sometimes new jackets are super stiff and need to be broken in). The Patrol is easily adjustable as the wrist cuffs use Velcro so they can be adjusted to the rider’s preference. The fit of the jacket isn’t too slim nor too loose, but can be adjusted at the bottom with a shock chord to better seal around your waist. The fact that the jacket isn’t super slim fitting is nice because I wear my chest protector under my jersey and I need some extra room in the torso area. Who doesn’t like to have a beer or two out on the trail with your buddies? I like to pack some beers with me occasionally when I go trail riding, so there is plenty of room under the jacket, without having to stretch the jacket out too much (in order to get it zipped). In fact there were times I put the jacket over my fanny pack and adjusted the draw string tight underneath the pack. On the other hand the fact that it’s not too baggy is nice because I often wear my hydration pack over the jacket and it fits very comfortably.
When it comes to Jackets the main thing I look for is practicality and ease of use. Ever since I first started wearing vests I have been in love with them and how they keep your core warm while not letting you overheat. The fact that the Patrol jacket doesn’t have 37 pockets is part of the beauty. The Patrol doesn’t need a pocket for every gadget in the world, I mean come on, I am just trying to go trail riding over here! There are just enough pockets to store all your basic needs, which for me were my cell phone (in the front left breast pocket), and a few gel packets (in the lower pockets). For longer rides and when I was planning to go alone, there was enough room for a Spot Tracker that is a must have for adventurists. The ability to easily zip off the sleeves with two zippers (per sleeve) and store them inside the jacket was super nice when everyone is waiting on you to do it quickly. The sleeves are a little trickier to zip back on, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty straight forward. Having the ability to adjust the wrist cuffs with Velcro is nice because I don’t like jackets that have tight elastic, which can seem too tight when the jacket is new, but can get clapped out when they get some time on them.
Although the jacket does ventilate well with the large vent in the back, I wish that there were a few zipper vents that could be opened or closed depending on the weather. Another thing I feel that the Patrol is missing is a slightly larger collar, or a collar that could be put up if it was super cold to protect your neck from the wind chill. The Patrol has become the jacket that stays in my gear bag and gets used almost every ride (even at the moto track on cold mornings). With an MSRP of $149.95 the Patrol jacket isn’t necessarily a steal, but I think it’s fairly priced for the quality of the jacket. So if you’re looking for a comfortable jacket that is simple and does everything well, give the Fly Racing Patrol jacket a look, or even better go to your local dealer and try one on.
If you have any questions about the Fly Racing Patrol Jacket feel free to reach out to me at Michael@keeferinctesting.com.