FirstGear TPG Rainier Jacket - 2014
- Cocona® waterproof-breathable shell
- D30® T-5 Evo Pro armor at shoulders, elbows and back
- Waterproof zipper treatments throughout
- Inner cuff wrist gaiter
The Rainier jacket is sold in US “alpha” sizes. If you take a look below at FirstGear’s sizing chart you’ll see a chest size estimate for each alpha size. Those chest size estimates are about one size bigger than you’d expect to see. For example, I wear a size XL and almost every other manufacturer sizes the jacket to fit a person with a 44” to 46” max chest, but this FirstGear chart says their XL will fit a 46” to 48” chest. So that all means that if you buy the size you normally wear in men’s clothing, you’ll likely think the jacket is too big. And I agree. I’d advise choosing one size smaller than you normally wear, and that is what you’ll get from the chart if you choose a size based upon your actual chest measurement.
As for waist, the jackets are cut with very little “drop” from chest to waist. Most jackets will have a max belly/waist of about 6 inches less than the chest, but these jackets have only about a 2” drop. Those with a stout build will like them, but those who are skinny will have trouble finding a fit. Those with average builds will probably do OK because the waist has a lot of adjustability.
I found the arm adjusters were not a lot of help to snug the arms down for me. Trouble is, the length of those adjusters and the position of the Velcro doesn’t allow a lot of take-up. And the arms on the jacket are pretty roomy to begin with. If you have big arms then you will really like this jacket, but if you have less-than-average size arms then I’m afraid you won’t be able to secure the armor very well. I hate to exclude a good size segment of the buying public over an issue like this, but that is what I see. Why somebody at FirstGear couldn’t see this, I have no idea.
Here is FirstGear’s chart:
Tall sizes: FirstGear offers this jacket in talls. The body and sleeves of the jackets are 1 1/2 to 2 inches taller than the “standard” cut jackets. If you normally have to buy “talls” then these should work for you.
Our Two Cents
The Rainier jacket is a bit of a departure from what “everybody else” is doing in what I call the adventure-touring/European-look jacket market. Several brands have adopted jackets that are 3/4 length, use various shades of grey in geometric patterns and throw in a splash of color such as red or yellow. REV’IT! was the first brand I knew of to make several styles along this theme and during this season’s new product introductions I’ve seen something similar from Alpinestars, Fieldsheer, (and REV’IT! of course). The departure with this jacket is two-fold. First, the basic jacket isn’t being offered with a rain liner or insulated liner, but rather FirstGear is focusing on the shell only. They assume you either already have technical under gear you like and would prefer to use or you can buy FirstGear’s two types of under gear… the TPG Tech Jacket and any one of FirstGear’s other underwear items. And the other big departure I see is with the use of Cocona technology to make a jacket shell that is waterproof and breathable. I did a bit of research and found a good trove of info on Cocona here. In a nutshell, it sounds like a treatment made to the shell of the jacket to make it both waterproof and breathable. Sounds like the same goal as a liner such as Gore-Tex, but without HAVING the separate liner. I’m inquiring with FirstGear for more specific information on how this works exactly. The immediate advantage I can see to this setup is the opportunity for better summer venting. If the jacket is not constructed with a waterproof mid-liner, then any zippered venting in the jacket will allow air to blow right through to your body and really enhance warm weather comfort. This jacket does have those zippers in the front and the rear. I’ll admit right away, I’m no adventure touring rider and I also live in a desert, so I have no firsthand experience with this technology or this jacket, but we are hoping for some feedback as this jacket finds miles on the backs of consumers. Switching gears… the jacket is also equipped with D30 armor which is a bit “above and beyond” the normal CE approved armor offered in most products. The armor is soft and pliable but upon impact momentarily stiffens to disperse impact and therefore better protect you from injury in a fall. We sell a lot of the D30 armor separately, but the pieces we sell are thinner and lighter than what is being offered in these jackets. The D30 pieces in this jacket are about twice as beefy by my estimation (although it appears to be the same material). And the pockets in which they are housed are completely adjustable as to position because there are large Velcro strips on which to position it. This will be useful to help fit your particular body shape. I’d rather not get too “windy” about all the other more “expected” features such as pockets, adjustments, etc, so I’ll refer you to our photo gallery and you can click through the pics to see all those. :: Paul, 10-11-13
Update: FirstGear just came out with a video demonstrating the amazing properties of D30 armor.
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