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Mesh jackets allow worse dehydration?

Discussion in 'Riding Gear and Bike Accessories/Parts' started by mattb, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. Hey All.

    Thinking of getting a mesh jacket to replace my leather for the summer months. I've been wondering, however, whether it might leave me more prone to dehydration, at least on the really hot days: the hot air blowing essentially onto my skin. I've generally taken the policy of covering myself up from hot air-flow on really hot days, at least when out in motion, and I know of others who take the same approach. What do you reckon? The other option would be to stick with the leather, but with a cooling neck scarf.


  2. When it gets up above, say, 40 or 45 degrees, and it feels like you're riding into a hairdryer, those mesh jobs are still the business. I went up over hotham in 47 degree heat a couple years back wearing a Joe Rocket mesh jacket and it was beaut.

    Poor old Cheng only had a winter jacket with not much airflow. She was wetting my spare jocks and hanging them around her open neck to try to keep cool. She nearly passed out a few times.

    You've still got to make sure you drink loads, but mesh is the business when it's hot, and imperative when it's *f&cking* hot.
  3. Two years ago, mid-Feb in the middle of a heat wave it was in the high 30s by 10 am. We were in Bombala heading down to Orbost via the Bonang "highway".

    I had my Spidi dry mesh jacket on. The heat was awful and got worse as the day progressed. I considered that the mesh jacket, in these conditions wasn't such a good idea.

    When I did a leadership course at AIM one of the exercises was to watch a video. A light aircraft has crash landed in the desert. Only the pax survive. They manage to retrieve a number of items including:

    1. salt tablets
    2. x litres of water
    3. a mirror
    4. a tarp
    5. jackets for all pax
    6. pistol
    7. some food.

    We then split up into teams and had to work out how to rank the items from 1 to 10 in order of importance.

    Suffice it to say, the salt tablets were given the flick.

    No. 1 the mirror, so you can signal passing aircraft. if you can't contact them you're stuffed.

    High on the list (and you're probably wondering when I was gonna get to the point) were the jackets. The idea was to set up the tarp as shade then put the jackets on, which protects you from the heat, believe it or not.

    I'd probably go for a jacket that's lightweight, but offers wind protection in the major areas but allows ventilation, say, at the back where a low pressure area would cause heat to be "sucked out" from the jacket.

    When you sweat it cools you down. However, if that sweat is drying on your skin quicker than it can cool then all that is happening is that you're dehydrating faster thant what you'd normally would if you didn't have the wind's drying effect.

    Anything over high twenties to perhaps low thirties I will be dispensing with the dry-mesh and going for something a bit more protective. Not sure what, maybe a Walden-Miller lightweight jacket (they are always flogging them at the various Bike Expos).

    With regards to the ride home, it was early afternoon when I staggered in the house, absolutely knackered. I had a cold shower, turned on the AC in the bedroom and pretty well passed out.

    This summer though, if I come home from another ride like that I'll dump the bike wereever it lies in the driveway and walk straight into the pool, clothes and all... (we didn't have a pool back then).
  4. There's one thing you can do with a mesh jacket on a hot day that you CAN'T do with leather; you can soak it in water and put it back on, and have the wind blowing through wet material. On a blasting hot day, you can still get 45 minutes relief from the heat by this method. (I've done it, no arguments, please :roll:)

    Needless to say, you should always wear a long-sleeved T-Shirt under a mesh jacket anyway, so the mesh is not rubbing directly against your skin if you do happen to come off....
  5. If you are wearing a t-shirt under a mesh jacket (or any vented jacket) then they work really well if you soak the t-shirt ** - you'll get some real heat relief until it dries out (and then you just soak it again).

    I've got a Draggin Jeans fabric jacket (with kevlar lining and the ability to put body armour in) for hot weather. Good airflow through the fabric so it works well. Problem is that it's black. In a paler colour it would be better but I have been known to soak the whole jacket before riding on a really hot day and it's good for an hour or so.

    Another good one is to use a microfibre camping towel - soak it completely and wrap it around your neck like a scarf. Because it soaks up so much more water than normal fabrics you get a longer lasting effect. This can work well if you've got a camel-back or similar because you can dribble water onto it to keep it wet.

    Of course these tips don't work very well if it's hot and humid because you don't get the evaporation effect.

    **(Calm down Loz! I know it's a bad idea to mention wet t-shirts when you're around :p )
  6. :LOL:

    Did this once on a 40*C day, riding Geelong -> Melbourne. Soaked my well-vented "all-year-round" cordura jacket in water, put it on, ride off...

    Damn near froze to death for the first 40 minutes! :LOL: 100kph forced convection + no humidity = crazy evaporative cooling.
  7. I have worn my vented leather jacket through a few summers and have found a wet tshirt underneath keeps me cool for 45 minutes, this time I agree with Hornet! :grin:
  8. I learned the hard way you actually dehydrate more without a jacket in temperatures over 40 degrees.
    Wet the mesh jacket thoroughly and you are good for 35-40 minutes.
    Riding in a t shirt at those temps is suicide as you get very very hot very quickly and you do lose water quickly, Mesh jackets are designed to let you sweat without being beaten left right and centre by the hot wind and hot sun.
  9. Well, you sweat for a reason, and that's because it cools you as it evaporates. Overheating is extremely dangerous, and keeping your core temperature down is naturally prioritised over hydration IMHO. If that's the way my body is designed, that's good enough for me.

    The qualifier is that riding into hot air on a motorcycle is going to evaporate that moisture much faster than normal - maybe too fast to do it's cooling job. For that reason I've opted for an enduro jacket (cordura with armour) for hot conditions. No waterproofing layer, and a lot of vents. It lets the sweat sit there for a while, without being a steam bath.
  10. The other thing is boots.

    A good quality, breathable and waterproof motorcycle boot (ie Gore Tex or other quality breathable liner) will allow perspiration to transfer off your foot and through the Gore Tex liner and then through the leather.

    Make sure you wear a thinner good quality wool sock or other sock that has good wicking properties (light weight hiking socks are particularly good) to draw the moisture away from your skin to the ouside of the sock so it can evaporate off. Cotton socks tend to retain the moisture and don't even think about most synthetic socks unless they are specifically designed for the job - your feet will cook..
  11. Whether your sweat ends up soaking the lining of your jacket or evaporating through mesh, it's no longer in you. Realistically, either way, you need to pay careful attention to your fluid levels.

    I had a lesson in this during my first WA summer on a bike. An hour's trip in leathers on a 40+ day saw me dehydrated to the point that my kidneys and bladder were painful and I pissed blood for several days. Won't be doing that again. Not fun.
  12. + 1

    Do this on my commute and it works very well. I also wet my socks as I find my feet get really hot, everything is dry by the time I get to work.

    I also keep a water bottle in my bag that I can reach if I start to dry out prematurely. A squirt on the face and on my neck provides instant evaporation cooling. :cool:
  13. I tried that with mine but it only seemed to work for a few minutes before I felt dry and started to heat up again.

    I think that the best thing is to consider something like a Camelback fluid reservoir in a backpack for the longer trips and basically drink like you've never drunk before (not like in the pub the night before, though...).
  14. Sorry for straying from topic - I did the same cpurse. I went for the pistol. Initially I opted to stay next to the plane (better chance of being spotted) & offered my share of water to others who wanted to leave.

    Later changed my mind, didn't want those poor misguided souls to die in the desert, and threatened to shoot anyone who tried to leave! The discussion ended promptly after that! :grin:

    Back on topic - I've been mulling over whether to get 1 of them motocross mesh "jackets" with built-in armour for summer riding. Y'know, just put them over a thin shirt.
  15. Big +1 to that.

    I never tour without a camelbak (well, mine's a Deuter, but same thing) these days. One massively-dehydrated 800km trip during summer was enough. :)
  16. Well you've touched on my background motivation in posting this thread. I really like my (un-armoured) Brando jacket and would otherwise just stick with it, but after that crash in front of me a week back which I posted about, with the guy back-whacking the armco, and with my mate squashing his bike like a tinnie on Saturday due to a red light runner, I've become motivated to invest in one of those armoured 'jackets', but it, like my back protector which I haven't worn in a long time, wouldn't fit under my current jacket. So I figured I'd buy both the armour and a larger jacket to go over it, either another Brando jacket or a mesh jacket. I love the look and feel of the leather, but anything which makes me more awash in the summer air (ie mesh) sounds great! Isn't it silly how I didn't think twice last week about coughing up for third party insurance, but hummed and harred over spending the same amount on my body's protection! :roll:
  17. i've never worn mesh. i guess i should try it for summer.

    i live in my leathers. cold, nice, or stinknig hot, im in them.
    i almost always ride with a camel pack, and this is a godsend, touring or hot day trips. fill it with ice cubes, then enough water to fill the gaps to the brim. then u have niiiice cold water till u suck her dry. if u used enough ice to start, and drink correctly, u should have run out of water but have plenty of ice left, just fill up again n she's still cold :grin:

    i found with this, and having leathers so i sweat, then once im sweaty i open zips/stand up on the bike and pull the jacket open to parachute - gets that sweat to evaporate and cool me down - and i can cope with the heat.

    note: this requires speed. hot days below 80km/h are terrible. i think i'd want a mesh/textile jacket, so i could soak it thoroughly, and use that to cool me down in traffic etc.

    try it all, see what works :)
  18. Back in the old days......

    Before they had electric refridgerators, they used a framed box where the walls where canvas or heshan and the top had a water tank which the canvas/heshan went into so the material was wet constantly. Then they'd keep this box in the front verandah of the house where the wind could blow thru it and keep the inside of the box cool. hence why it was called a "Coolgardie fridge".


    Same principle with a mesh jacket. The mesh gets wet, the hot air blows thru it and cools the air down, keeping you cool.
    I remember last year, I overheated the little 50cc scoot on 40 plus days, but I was as cool as in my Ixon hacker mesh jacket.

    Tip. Keep a little spray bottle in your pocket/pack etc where you can reach it. When you stop at the lights, give the mesh panels a quick spray with water and your good to go!
  19. Coincidentally I had an off just under a month back - wet tram tracks. Came down knee first on asphalt. Was wearing my "ol fashioned" Frank Thomas leather pants, which had ample padding at the knee, but if I'd had my other pants with proper armour, I wouldn't still be sporting a bruise till today!

    Saying that, even at 50kmh off landing on the knee, there is hardly a scuff on the leather.

    Definitely, armour offers better protection, but also a li'll more cumbersome to wear.
  20. Trying to work out what you're saying here. Is it "if I had pans with proper armour I'd have no bruising."?

    Sounds like it was a minor impact if the leather has little or no scuffing, which indicates that you could've worn jeans and still be OK, more or less.