Howdy good Fat Bike friends, hope you’re all staying dry and getting rad. It’s been pretty wet and muggy here in Minneapolis so what better time than to get testing some new outerwear?
I had the extreme pleasure of reaching out to the folks at Search and State recently and they sent me one of their Riding Jackets to check out, and I can honestly say it’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited to test out a shell.
My experience with this brand previously had been limited to some of the best arm warmers I’ve ever purchased (super lightweight, they didn’t fall off my scrawny arms, and they were the perfect weight for chilly spring evenings and fall rides) so I was interested to see what else they had to offer.
A handful of friends had said how much they enjoyed this jacket (ladies here, men here) so I wanted to see for myself how it performs to share the info and love with you good people. This jacket has been rumored to be one of the most breathable shells on the market. Although our buddy Devin at Search and State made it a point to stay that it’s not marketed as a “rain jacket” a lot of product users would beg to differ. Devin says “it’s a waterproof breathable shell but not waterproof all day in a monsoon” which I know is pretty typical of more breathable materials. (To be extra-fair here, if your trail rules are similar to ours here in Minnesota, you shouldn’t be riding the trails in heavy downpour anyway. If you’re riding long enough in heavy rain on dirt for this to exceed its rumored waterproofness, you’re being a total jerk and ruining it for the rest of us. Knock it off!)
Although seemingly marketed to a more roadie-specific crowd, I am a firm believer in high quality apparel (and excellent product) being able to crossover between cycling disciplines. Based on what I’ve heard from some of my friends who love to play in the dirt, this jacket is right at home. I do feel the need to mention that the fit, is decidedly a bit more “race cut” and I had to reach out to my girl Megan at Angry Catfish to help decide on fit.
She’s not much bigger than me and says she can ride both the Small and the Medium, and opts for the larger size up when she’s riding dirt for extra movement and in case she’s gotta throw some layers under there. Because I’m a glutton for punishment and already happen to have a more relaxed cut shell, I went full-snug and got the XS.
It fit super true-to-size right out of the box, and I do have room for a thin insulating layer. The material is stretchy so moving around in this I think will be pretty nonrestrictive.
A few things I noticed right away:
-This jacket is the lightest I’ve ever seen
-Dang look at the size of that pocket! I’m just thinking of all of the beef jerky and Skratch packets I can cram in there.
-This jacket is the softest next-to-skin I’ve tried — no plastic bag feel which is seemingly omnipresent when you’re riding in a shell. I’ll be interested to see if I end up clammy when I’m riding and if that softness changes with sweat/humidity.
-Dang look at the size of those zippers! If I got my finger caught in there it would take it off! For me beefy zippers are muy importante. I think we’ve all had that bad experience with a crummy, flimsy zipper that fails so I’m hoping this monster truck tread (or dare I say FAT BIKE TREAD) sized zipper will keep everything sealed up from the elements nicely.
Last, but most certainly not least, one of my favorite things about the first look at this jacket was this lovely tag…
Just like The Boss, all Search and State apparel was born in the U-S-A, just like me. For a girl with an eagle tattooed on her chest this makes my Lenny-Kravitz-American-Woman heart go all pitter-patter.
I have such great expectations for this jacket, and impending rain storms with which to test it! Check back in a few weeks for the full shebang. In the meantime, why don’t you ride with the SAS folks when they pass through your town on their NYC to CA tour, the Search Brigade!