Fieldsheer is back! Remember them?
The Fieldsheer brand is owned by the U.S.-based Helmet House distributor and sales are focused on the U.S. market.
The company disappeared off the radar screens for a few years but as it turns out, they've been secretly cooking some hot stuff in their labs.
Anyway, they're back -- and in a big way, with this flagship product, the Fieldsheer Adventure Tour outfit.
We've been wearing the outfit this fall and we're impressed. Want a surprise? The Adventure Tour jacket is the best 3/4-length all-season, all-weather motorcycle jacket for under $400.00 that you'll find.
Fieldsheer pulled out all the stops on this one and has come up with a winner. It's available in a huge size range and it also works in a very wide range of temperatures but it's especially good for winter.
The Adventure Tour jacket is packed with useful features, from its heavy-duty feeling 500 denier "Maxtena-Pro" shell covered with acres of Phoslite EN 471 reflective strips to the high-tech (and high-end) Exkin Air removable thermal liner.
That's right -- Exkin Air is the stuff usually found on jackets costing twice and thrice as much.
In between the shell and the Exkin Air liner is a removable "Nanomax" breathable windproof membrane, which really works. It is designed to beat the current U.S. MIL-DTL-31011B specification for waterproof, breathable, extended cold-weather use.
Both liners attach separately with full-surround zippers and the liners can be mixed and matched, so the Exkin Air liner can be used in the shell with or without the Nanomax breathable membrane, your choice.
But wait...there's more! Besides the removable elbow and shoulder protectors (claimed to be CE approved), they even throw in a decent back protector, also claimed to be CE rated.
Want more? How about a removable (zip-on) full sized neck gaiter for those ultra-cold winter days. And the Adventure Tour jacket has 6 total front vents (2 shoulder, 2 chest and 2 arm), along with a full-width caped vent along the upper rear.
How's that for a spec list? Sounds good, right? But...how much does all this cost? Here's the surprise: the street price is just $395.99 and the pants are going for less than 300 bucks. That gives you an excellent, good-looking, full-bore, full-featured, all-season, all-weather touring outfit with everything you need for what amounts to half the cost of a competitive brand.
If you just read the Summary, you have just about all of the important details on the Adventure Tour jacket. Three of us have been sharing this outfit over the last few weeks of cooler fall weather and I guess you can tell, we like it a lot.
Fieldsheer went on sabbatical for about 3 years for some reason but the Editor told us that there are lots of Fieldsheer fans out there, based on the emails he continually receives, asking for reviews.
Our guess is that the continuing economic issues affected the brand and Helmet House (the brand owner, developer and the U.S. distributor) probably ended up with a lot of old stock to clear out while they waited out the storm. With the Adventure Tour outfit, they decided to jump back in with a vengeance.
We're pretty jaded when it comes to 3/4-length jackets. Evaluating many dozens of outfits over the years kind of does that to you, resulting in that "been there, done that" attitude. So we were prepared to be unimpressed with the Adventure Tour jacket, based on previous so-so experience with the Fieldsheer brand, which in the past kind of sat somewhere between Tourmaster and the "slap any old brand name on it and we'll buy a container's worth" in the quality hierarchy.
When the Adventure Tour outfit arrived, it sat around for a while, waiting for someone to take a closer look. Cooler weather arrived and once we started peeling back the layers of the Adventure Tour jacket -- literally and figuratively -- we were immediately impressed and riding with it has only reinforced that opinion.
The first thing you'll notice when the Adventure Tour jacket arrives is the heft of the shell fabric; it feels more substantial than you'd expect in this price range. And that feeling isn't due to the featherweight Exkin Air insulating liner or even the Nanomax removable membrane.
Is weight good? Not necessarily, but at least it points to a protective outer shell. The 500 denier Maxtena-Pro used for this one is what gives the jacket its relatively substantial feel.
There's also some added mass from the shoulder and elbow protectors and the included back protector insert, which looks and feels about like a 3/4 scale version of a full-length type. The Fieldsheer marketing propaganda says the protectors are CE approved, but no documentation is included and we haven't been able to confirm this yet.
Those puffy-looking sections over the shoulders and along the outer part of the arm are embedded memory foam inserts, which add to the jacket's styling but also (hopefully) have the potential to mitigate impact energy transmission to the wearer.
Other features we noticed right away include the zip-on neck gaiter, which now that we're nearly at the dreaded time changing time comes in handy on those darker and cooler evenings. It's made from some type of soft-feel micro fabric and it's pretty comfortable and has two large strips of hook-and-loop for adjustment.
The collar folds up and down in the back to accommodate the gaiter and then hide the zipper when the gaiter is stowed.
Neck gaiter and liner storage comes courtesy of the large pocket across the back of the jacket, which opens with hidden vertical zippers on either side as a pass-through pocket. Why vertical? Actually, the vertical zipper trick is pretty neat, because you can easily grab the zippers from either side without having to remove the jacket. Can't do that with a horizontal zipper or flap, so the vertical zippers make that rear pocket more useful.
And speaking of details, the rear storage pocket is also lined on both sides with mesh, another nice surprise. Not only does it help drain and dry the damp liner stored in there, you can do weird stuff like store an ice pack during hot weather to cool off the lower spine.
In fact, those vertical zippers may seem like a minor detail but, in fact, it points to something else -- someone who actually knows about motorcycle riding designed the Adventure Tour jacket. Sounds logical, but "design for usability" is usually missing from lower-priced commodity branded gear.
The Adventure Tour jacket has the Fieldsheer-developed "Nanomax" breathable membrane liner. It attaches with a full-surround zipper and has a wide section in front under the jacket's main entry zipper, along with a separate flap behind the Nanomax entry zipper. The separate flap also has a rain gutter to prevent water entry through the zipper.
Nanomax is claimed to have better breathing qualities than other types of membranes and Fieldsheer says that Nanomax "meets and exceeds specifications of US military extended cold weather clothing systems for waterproof and breathable" to the MIL-DTL-31011B standard. Here's an interesting video that illustrates the breathability of Nanomax under water pressure.
We did actually get caught out in one of the infrequent rainstorms wearing the jacket and it performed perfectly. We also ran a quick hose test just for kicks and it confirmed that performance. The outer shell sheds some light water at first but eventually becomes soaked and the Nanomax liner keeps the moisture out and it does allow the rider's perspiration to escape with no soggy feeling inside.
A surprise for a jacket in this price range is the use of the Exkin Air insulating liner. Exkin Air is usually found only on higher-end jackets from brands like REV'IT! and others and usually the lower-end jackets get some no-name stuffed quilt instead.
Exkin Air is claimed to have 4 times the insulating properties of competitors and it's thin and lightweight. It's also said to keep its insulating properties when wet.
The removable Exkin Air liner attaches to the Nanomax liner with a full-surround zipper also, so the liners can be mixed-and-matched; that is, the Exkin Air liner can be attached to the jacket with or without the Nanomax liner.
The Adventure Tour jacket shell isn't waterproof but it's more or less water resistant and the vent zippers are the water-resistant type. While this means that in a real downpour, the shell may become soaked, the benefit is that the vents in the shell work when the liners are removed, making the jacket more useful in warmer weather.
With the liners installed, the Adventure Tour jacket is very warm and protective and it should be useful in the coldest temperatures that you'd want to ride a motorcycle. In fact, with the liners installed in the heavy-duty feeling shell, the jacket is too warm for mild fall days, so the Exkin Air and/or the Nanomax liner aren't needed.
The jacket has a stand-up short collar with a comfortable micro-fleece lining on the inside. The attachment and adjustment flap secures with hook-and-loop, which has a nice long strip.
There's a zipper around the back of the collar that fits the neck gaiter that comes with the jacket and the gaiter has a dual hook-and-loop attachment system. With both liners in place and using the neck gaiter, this makes the Adventure Tour jacket even more comfortable for the coldest riding weather.
Fieldsheer gave the Adventure Tour jacket 6 front vents and a large horizontal vent in the rear. The front vents are located along the upper shoulder, the upper arm and vertically towards the center of the chest.
Each of these vents opens with a flap that secures with hook-and-loop. The vent cover is then folded back and a second row of matching hook-and-loop holds the vent open. The system looks and operates much like the system on the older versions of the Joe Rocket Ballistic 7.0 jacket (review), which is a continuing favorite with webBikeWorld staff for its ease of use.
The vents on the Adventure Tour jacket have water-resistant zippers and with the liners removed, the vents flow air directly to the rider, unlike jackets that have a bonded membrane or liner on the inside.
The rear vent opens full width across the upper back and it's covered on top by a flap to prevent water entry. This allows the air to flow through the jacket and out the back. The ventilation system works very well, although the jacket does gain about one size with both liners removed.
There are dual sleeve adjusters on each sleeve, one at the bicep and one for the forearm. Each has 3 snaps, although since one snap is used to hold the adjuster in the "home" position, there are 2 levels of adjustment. The snaps are metal and the adjuster has a heavy-duty plastic cover.
The snaps secure very firmly and haven't come loose, unlike the snap adjusters on other jackets we've reviewed that don't always hold position.
The jacket has waist adjusters on each side, with lots of adjustment range. The system is easy to use, with a pull tab and a belt that fits through a plastic square ring. The front part of the adjuster belt has elastic.
There's also a short vertical 130 mm zipper below the adjusters on each side of the jacket. These have a locking zipper and the jacket can be opened up to make it wider along the bottom for more comfort when sitting or moving up and down on the foot pegs when riding.
The Adventure Tour jacket shown here is a size L and it fits a 43"-44" chest. It's nice and roomy and it will lose nearly a size when the liners are removed.
We're all puzzled by the Fieldsheer size chart for the Adventure Tour jacket, which shows a size L fitting a 42" chest and an XL fitting a 44" chest. Based on this admittedly single example in size L, the jacket fits a 43"-44" chest in our opinion. The model shown in these photos has a 44" chest and as a full-time firefighter, he's in excellent shape.
A size 42" chest would be much too small in the size L in our opinion and based on this size L, we think the XL would fit a 45" to 46" chest. In fact, we think this size L may actually be about 1/2 size larger than expected.
We tried the jacket on 3 different riders with 43" and 44" chest measurements and 34" to 36" waist measurements and the size L had plenty of room; we'd like to try a size M for comparison, because it may actually fit closer to the size L we expected.
Note that this opinion assumes normal (e.g., non-beer-gut) body proportions. Also, the sleeve length is proportional; i.e. about 34" for the size L and once more, don't forget that the jacket will gain nearly a size with the liners removed, so it should be purchased to fit as snugly as possible with the liners inserted.
The Adventure Tour jacket has plenty of pockets, with a couple combo pocket/vents for good measure. The waist pockets open with a flap on top, secured with hook-and-loop. These pockets have a side entry also with a zipper. The inside of the side entry is lined towards the front with soft micro-fleece. Both of these pockets are easy to use and the flap-covered outer pocket has a nice long rubberized pull tab.
The vertical vents along the front of the chest also act as a useful pocket. They're lined with mesh and they're pretty deep at about 21 cm (8.5").
The rear storage pocket with the vertical zippers mentioned earlier is also useful for holding the neck gaiter or liner.
Inside the left placket is a vertical zipper pocket for holding a wallet or cell phone, and this is very handy as always.
The Exkin Air liner has a small cell phone and pen pocket covered with hook-and-loop flaps on the lower left and a larger cargo pocket at the lower right. And finally, inside the shell itself are cargo pockets on either side; one on the right and two on the left.
The Adventure Tour jacket comes with claimed CE Level 1 removable shoulder and elbow protectors. These do not have the official CE documentation and at the time of publication, we were trying to determine if the CE claim is genuine or not.
The jacket also comes with a removable back protector, also claimed to be CE Level 1 but it's unmarked also and has no documentation, so we're a bit skeptical.
In any case, the protectors seem sturdy enough and the back protector seems to be better quality than most of the foam junk that's provided with motorcycle jackets.
One thing the Adventure Tour jacket does have in spades is reflectivity. The Phoslite brand retro-reflective sections are bonded along the front, sides and rear of the jacket and pants, and it really lights up at night.
All together, there is much more reflectivity on this jacket than just about any other motorcycle jacket we've reviewed.
|The wBW Opinionator: Fieldsheer Adventure Tour Jacket|
The Fieldsheer Adventure Tour jacket has to be one of the best clothing values of the year...at least for all of the motorcycle jackets we've reviewed so far. This is a lot of jacket for the money and we do think it's the equivalent of jackets costing much more.
It may be difficult for some motorcyclists to accept the fact that Fieldsheer -- a company known more for cheaper, basic products in the past -- is now offering a jacket that seems about 3 steps up from anything it has in the past. But the more you look at and work with the Adventure Tour jacket, the more you realize they're on to something.
Simply put, we don't think you're going to find more jacket for under $400.00 and the jacket will keep you warm in very cold weather and relatively cool in anything but the hottest of temperatures. Granted, there are still plenty of jackets in this price range we haven't reviewed, but we think it would be hard to beat the deal on this one.
NEW! The Fieldsheer Adventure Tour Outfit is a 2014 webBikeWorld Motorcycle Product of the Year!
wBW Product Review: Fieldsheer Adventure Tour Jacket
|Manufacturer: Fieldsheer||List Price (2014): $439.99. Street Price: $395.99.|
|Colors: Black, Blue, Yellow, Gray.||Made In: Bangladesh|
|Sizes: S-4XL. M-4XL Tall.||Star Rating (1-5):|
|Review Date: October 2014|
Note: Item provided by a retailer, distributor or manufacturer with these Terms and Conditions.