Fieldsheer High-Temp Jacket and Pants Review
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
More: wBW review of the Fieldsheer Solar mesh gloves
I was hoping to get this review out of the way several weeks ago, back when the weather was at its most sultry.
Now that September has arrived with its promise of cooler temperatures, I figured we'd better get this done before it's too late.
If this Fieldsheer jacket and pants outfit looks like it's at least one size too large, that's because it is.
We ordered the High-Temp mesh jacket and matching Four Seasons mesh pants to fit a 6 foot tall, 230 pound neighbor who was going to help us evaluate the gear. Unfortunately, he's been on extended travel for his job, so it was up to me and Bill to do the photo shoot!
Believe it or not, the jacket is a men's size large and the pants are size 36 (waist). These are -- or were -- my normal clothing sizes and this gear should fit me perfectly, but Fieldsheer apparently has another concept in men's clothes sizing.
This brings up an interesting issue: we have noticed a definite trend recently by motorcycle clothing manufacturers to increase the size of, well, the standard sizes. That is, medium now seems to be the same as size large was not too long ago; the new size large is as big as the old extra-large, etc.
My only assumption for doing this is that the manufacturers are responding to the ever-increasing bulk of the general population.
This is a good news/bad news for me -- I've maintained pretty much the same weight over the past several years, and I can now fit in a size medium, just like I did...oh, about 20 years ago! But it also means I have to get used to this entirely new sizing scheme and take my chances when I order clothing online, because not all of the manufacturers are on board yet.
I wonder if they have actually agreed to this or if it's a spontaneous evolution? The increase in standard sizes has definitely been most noticeable just recently.
In any case, our evaluation of the sizes and fit of motorcycle clothing is surely one of the most important aspects of a webBikeWorld review.
Our knowledge is hopefully your gain; in the case of this Fieldsheer mesh jacket and pants combo, our recommendation is that you try this mesh combo on for size first, because you may find that you can order either the High-Temp mesh jacket or the Four Seasons mesh pants at least one size smaller than you normally would to get a correct fit.
The Fieldsheer High-Temp mesh jacket and Four Seasons mesh pants are designed for "all season" use. They both come with insulated removable liners that are much more sophisticated than the rudimentary types fitted to most motorcycle clothing.
That's good news, right? Well, not necessarily. The good news is that the inclusion of the liners provides the outfit with a fairly decent year 'round riding capability, especially so for motorcyclists who don't necessarily have the cash or the motivation to purchase two completely different outfits.
The bad news is that most of these "all season" outfits are compromised by the size issue to begin with, because as soon as the liners are removed, the jacket and pants become about one size too big by default. In the case of these Fieldsheer offerings, starting with extra bulk adds to the problems and, in fact, both the pants and the jacket may end up as much as two sizes too large with the liners removed.
Motorcycle clothing must fit very close to the body for the armor and the abrasion-resistant material to stay in their correct locations to protect the rider during a crash. Today's street clothing has a very loose fit, so I'll bet that many riders will have difficulty making the switch from wearing loose and baggy jeans and shirts to finding comfort in tight-fitting motorcycle gear.
We haven't seen an "all season" outfit yet that remains as snug as it needs to be once the insulating lining is removed. If the outfit is correctly sized, it would fit perfectly when the lining is attached, but the problem is that as soon as the lining is removed, the fit will probably become too loose by a half or one full size.
Fieldsheer must understand this issue, because they have partly addressed it by adding two separate arm adjusters on the High-Temp mesh jacket and an elastic adjustable waistband on the pants. This helps, but be aware that both the jacket and the pants will increase in size without the lining.
What can be done to resolve this? In the end, it may be better to either spend the money on two separate outfits that fit correctly, one for summer and one for winter. For those short on cash, one outfit for the summer could be purchased and then windproof underwear, a heated vest or some fleece undies could be added for cold weather riding.
If I had to own a single riding outfit, it would probably be a very high-quality perforated leather jacket and pants and a set of wind-blocking underwear. If I had a bit more cash, I'd add an inexpensive Joe Rocket Phoenix jacket for extreme temperatures in the summer and I'd pretty much be all set.
Not that the Fieldsheer High-Temp mesh jacket isn't nice, because it is. The mesh seems more robust than most and the solid fabric is 1000 denier Hitena abrasion-resistant fabric, which Fieldsheer also claims is coated with Teflon to help shed water and dirt.
The jacket has CE-approved armor in the shoulders and back and some hefty armor in the elbows that can be secured with the aforementioned cinch straps on the arm, each with four snaps for adjustment, rather than the customary two.
The High-Temp mesh jacket has more surface area using the solid (non-mesh) fabric than the Joe Rocket Phoenix, which is all mesh. This means that the Fieldsheer jacket flows less air in the area around the shoulders and down the arms.
For example, I find that my arms seem to sweat more in the Fieldsheer because they are covered by the solid fabric rather than the mesh. But overall, the Fieldsheer jacket gets the air through to the rider where it matters, in the chest and out the back.
The jacket has two slash pockets in the front which are secured with zippers. There are also two pockets on the upper chest, accessible on the outside. I like these because I can keep my wallet ready to go without having to fumble around inside the jacket. By the way, there's no pretense of making the pockets waterproof (although the liners are claimed to be water resistant); they're simply regular old zippered pockets.
Inside the jacket is a patch pocket on the left and a mobile phone pocket with hook-and-loop secured flap on the right.
Also, the High-Temp mesh jacket has a comfortable stand-up collar with about 2" of hook-and-loop fastener for a modicum of adjustment.
The liner on the jacket is very nicely made, especially when compared to the liners included in competing brands. It can be worn solo as a windbreaker. It has its own pockets, including a cool-looking external arm pocket with a zipper and a its own mobile phone pocket on the inside. It also has a nice-looking and comfortable knit cloth collar and matching stretch cuffs and it even has some very nice embroidered stitching in the "Fieldsheer" logo across the front.
The liner attaches to the jacket with metal snaps on tabs at the end of the sleeves, and these snaps are nicely finished, with their own mates on the sleeve to keep things nice and tidy when the liner is worn alone.
The external black Nylon fabric on the liner has that rip-proof look; that is, you can see the tiny little squares which are designed to maintain the integrity of the fabric in case it tears. Finally, the inside of the liner is also very nicely made, with quilted sleeves and body and a metallic-looking fabric back, bordered by the Fieldsheer logo stitched into a fabric strip border.
All told, this liner could literally be sold as a separate lightweight street jacket and its owner wouldn't look bad at all wearing it!
The Fieldsheer High-Temp mesh jacket is available in size 4 through 18 in Black, Silver or Gunmetal color.
Fieldsheer's matching mesh pants are designed to be worn alone or as overpants. This, along with the room needed for the liner, is the cause of the fitment problems, which are more obvious on the pants than the jacket.
Starting at the waist, the pants are very comfortable. The wide waistband includes sections of elastic on either side, which, for some reason, doesn't seem to be commonly used on motorcycle pants. It should be, because it widens the range of fit and adjustability.
Notice in the photo below that the pants are at the outermost snap. I have a 36" waist and the pants are labeled as a size 36. The waist fits perfectly (I'm wearing only a T-shirt), but the legs and the body of the pants seem like they are at least two sizes too big.
The waistband has big, easy-to-use adjusters on each side, secured by hook-and-loop. The adjusters can be easily relocated, even when wearing gloves.
The waistband also has a short zipper in the back, allowing attachment to several Fieldsheer jackets, including the High-Temp shown here.
The Four Seasons pants and the matching liner have a full-length zipper along the outside of both legs, making for easy entry and exit.
Located on either side of the front of the pants are zippered slash pockets and the pants also include a fly zipper, which is an unusual but welcome feature. The waistband has two snap buttons in the front and the liner secures via a snap in front and a button inside.
Most of the front and rear of the legs are made from mesh fabric, with the solid textile along the sides and up around the waist. The pants also have CE-approved armor in the knees and thin padding in the hips.
Fieldsheer uses the standard hook-and-loop fastener at the ankle to secure the bottom of the pants around a pair of boots. The pants are designed to be worn over a pair of high-top motorcycle boots.
The pants liner could also be worn solo, although I'm not sure where. Maybe on a cold night campout? The pants use the same quilted insulation as the jacket, and although it's been way too warm to try evaluate the effectiveness of the insulation in either the pants or jacket, I'll bet they will keep their owner nice and toasty, as they seem much thicker than the liners usually found in motorcycle clothing.
Let's see, did I miss anything? Oh yes -- the knees also have stretchy fabric over the knees and in the crotch and thighs.
And here's a double bonus: the armor can be located in one of two positions for better adjustability and the cuffs are designed to allow hemming if necessary. There's enough fabric down there to either cut some off and sew it back together at the shorter length (preferred) or to fold it over and sew it together.
The Fieldsheer Four Seasons pants are available in size 30 to 44 waist and in black or silver.
The Fieldsheer High-Temp mesh jacket and matching Four Seasons pants are very reasonably prices and they have many interesting features not found on the competition.
But our advice is to select these carefully and try them both on with and without the thick insulating lining. Removing the lining may make both the fit of either the jacket or the pants too loose for comfortable use in warm weather.
Both the jacket and the pants also seem to be cut with very little taper, which gives them a sort of blocky feel. Even with careful sizing, they may not fit "normal" or slender sized riders.
So the bottom line is that there are some tradeoffs with sizing and fit but if your body shape matches, you could end up with a nice-looking, quality riding suit that can be used in four seasons...as long as it doesn't rain!
|wBW Review: Fieldsheer High-Temp Mesh Jacket & Four Seasons Mesh Pants|
|Manufacturer: Fieldsheer||List Price (2006): Jacket: $179.95. Pants: $149.95.|
|Colors: Silver or Black (pants); Silver, Gunmetal or Black (jacket).||Made In: China|
|Review Date: September 2006|
From "D.R." (July 2012): "I purchased the Fieldsheer High-Temp mesh jacket on closeout and largely due to the webBikeWorld.com review. I would say Rickís assessment is spot on.
I enjoyed this jacket on three different sportbikes. It provided the protection and some of the airflow I needed in the sweltering heat and humidity of the Southeast.
The things I liked most about the jacket were: the adjustability, protective features and the liner. The adjustable straps are very welcomed and allow for an almost tailored fit with or without the liner. This is just my pet peeve, but Iíve decided I do not care for Velcro only adjustable wrist straps. On this jacket they tend to get folded in weird ways with my gauntlet gloves covering them.
The solid material over the arms, shoulders and back seems very robust and abrasion resistant -- fortunately I never had to test them. Same goes for the mesh material that seems a little thicker than the Joe Rocket and Alpinestars mesh jackets Iíve owned before.
The CE armor is stout and with the adjustable straps, stays in place. The foam back pad is okay at best, and would benefit from a higher quality CE rated unit. I really, really like the liner. Itís fairly thick, well insulated and blocks the wind. In the worst parts of winter I would combine this liner with whatever jacket I was wearing. It really works great in cold weather!
However, the Fieldsheer High-Temp mesh jacket is supposed to work best in the summer and thatís where I was disappointed. Put simply, it did not move enough air when it got really hot out. As shown in the pictures, the solid material covers the backs of the arms and a lot of the shoulders and upper back. This prevents any really good airflow through those parts of your body.
The large chest pockets, while providing much appreciated storage, also tend to block some airflow. In the end, this jacket is an excellent model that has helped me further determine what I do and do not like in mesh jackets. I feel is a great buy for the money, especially on closeout!"