[REVIEW] “The Decathlete” – Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket in black
Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket Review Summary
Review Summary
Alpinestars has developed what I consider to be an extraordinary blend of new features that set this jacket apart from others—unconventional venting, zipper/pocket placement, and weather resistance for the dual sport and adventure crowd. This jacket’s innovative design makes for a great new entry into an already crowded jacket field. Recommended.
Aesthetics
Build Quality
Comfort and Fit
Protection
Airflow
Versatility
Features
Reader Rating90 Votes
Pros
Flows air well
Removable sleeves while maintaining Class A protection (AA with sleeves installed)
Fold away front and rear vent windows for excellent ventilation
Asymmetrical zipper placement allows for front kangaroo pocket and front vent window
Included waterproof jacket that can be worn over or under to retain body heat
Strategic pocket placement
Neck collar very comfortable
Waterproof interior pocket
Incorporated kidney/waist belt
Pockets for back and chest protectors incorporated into the lining
Incorporated thumb cut outs in sleeve cuffs
Cons
Back and chest armor are options (not included)
Main zipper pull is EU-style with the pull on the left side (USA-style has it on the right)
No clasps to keep arm sleeve mesh anchored to the sleeve
Difficult to engage the main zipper
Velcro sleeve cuff adjustment is awkward to close around wrist
Snaps to hold waterproof layer are hard to engage on sleeves when used internally
4.6
Excellent!

Introduction to “The Decathlete”: The Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket in black

When I was young and started watching the Olympic Games, the athletes who I most admired were the decathletes. Their pole vaulting, hurdle times, javelin throw distances, etc. were never the best compared to those who specialized in only one of those events. But what was so impressive was how they could attain such a high overall level of performance across all of those events.

The Alpinestars Halo Drystar jacket may not be the best in protection, comfort or any of the other things we all seek in a jacket. But it does all of them well. If I had to take only one jacket on a long trip through many temperatures, seasons, and weather conditions it would be the Halo.

Prior to the Halo, the jacket I’ve owned and used the most is the Aerostich Darian. And prior to that it was the Aerostich Roadcrafter one piece. I still own and wear the Darian. It’s a great piece of kit. Won’t be throwing it into the bin anytime soon, but the Halo will be getting some use in its place.

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Halo Broken Down into Parts

Since this jacket has so many things to cover, I’m covering this in sections:

Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket Ventilation

When it comes to ventilation, the Halo Drystar Jacket has several unique features:

  • An asymmetrical front zipper that allows for a large ventilation window in the center chest area
  • A corresponding ventilation window in the center of the back of the jacket
  • A waist/kidney belt allowing for the jacket to be worn unzipped
  • Removable jacket sleeves

So let’s start with the front of the Halo:

Front of Alpinestars Halo Drystar jacket completely zipped up

Note that the two white patches on my shoulders are reflective accents, which illuminate in light. The Alpinestars logo is not reflective. My camera’s flash activated the reflective material.

In this image, the Halo is completely zipped up. To unzip the jacket, I would take my right hand, the one you see where I’m holding my camera’s remote control. I’d lift my right hand straight up to the right side of my neck and unzip the jacket.

I’m going to state my first bitch here. Because the primary zipper for the Halo is asymmetrical, I have one hell of a time inserting the zipper tab into the zipper pull. I may just have a mental deficiency, but I have yet to figure out a simple way to do this. It may be that I’m just not accustomed to using an asymmetrical zipper. Only time will tell.

Top of Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket being zipped up

In the center of my chest are two zippers that, when lowered, allow me to roll down the center portion of the jacket’s chest vent window.

Image of Alpinestars Halo Drystar jacket's front with panel window zipped open

There is a corresponding vent window opening on the back of the jacket. In this image, the rear vent window is zipped up.

Full body image of back of Alpinestars Halo Drystars jacket

This is how it appears zipped down with the panel stored into the pouch below the vent window.

Note that the two white patches on my shoulders are reflective accents. The Astars logo is not reflective. My camera’s flash activated the reflective material.

Image of rear of Alpinestars Halo Drystar jacket with vent open

Both the front and rear vent windows have corresponding snaps, which are used to secure the rolled down fabric in place. A nice feature, but I have found that just rolling the vent fabric down into the storage panels is enough. Not a big deal, but a nice-to-know real world thing.

This configuration allows an incredible amount of air to flow through the Halo. I ride a Zero DSR with a touring windscreen, and even then, the jacket with both vent windows open flows a great amount of air. At the end of this review, I’ve linked to a video where I talk about the feeling of the airflow through the Halo.

With ‘normal’ motorcycle riding jackets, we would use our left hand to zip up the center of our partially open jackets if we get too chilly. We can do the same with the Halo’s front vent window, but obviously not the rear window… like in Hitchcock’s Rear Window.

Then we have sleeves that are removable!

Front of Alpinestars Halo Drystar jacket with sleeves removed

With the sleeves removed, the armor stays in place. I will discuss the protection level difference when we get to the Protection section.

Back of Alpinestars Halo Drystar jacket with sleeve removed

It’s quite difficult to describe how the Halo feels in warm/hot weather when both window vents and the sleeves are removed. The amount of airflow increased by removing the sleeves is incredible.

Prior to the Halo, I wore some jackets with zippered vents in the sleeves and enjoyed the cooling effect they offered. So to take it to this level is wild. Who knew that my arms retained so much heat? Anyway, on HOT AF days, I plan to ride with the sleeve off. And then we have this:

Alpinestars Halo Drystar jacket open using kidney belt

I’ll explain more in the Fastener and Features sections, but you can wear the Halo completely open! It’s crazy and feels like I’m just wearing just a t-shirt when opened and the sleeves removed. Now that we’re on that topic, my t-shirt says “It’s all fun and games until someone loses a weiner.” And yes, I wear it in public in mixed company.

In all seriousness, I would not actually ride like this—on or off-road. My feeling is that the jacket won’t offer enough protection with the strain placed on the kidney belt loops. More on this in the Protection section. But I do wear the Halo this way when I’m wearing my Helite Turtle 2 Airbag Vest (which is always) on hot days.

Why? Well, having the Helite worn over the Halo when configured so the front is completely open while wearing the elastic kidney belt mitigates the chance of the jacket opening in a fall. In this manner, I feel I get the best of both worlds: incredible airflow and excellent protection.

Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket open while wearing Helite Turtle 2 Airbag vest

Pockets/Storage in the Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

Whew man, where do I start? OK—let me start with the easy one first: the inside of the Halo. There is one ‘official inside pocket’ on the left side of the inner lining. And it’s WATERPROOF. I had heard from another reviewer that the Halo doesn’t have any waterproof spots to store stuff. But unless Alpinestars mislabeled this pocket, it has one. I don’t show it, but the zipper is one of those lined waterproof types.

Inner waterproof pocket on Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

I didn’t put a ruler in front of the pocket. Sorry. It would easily hold a large sandwich on regular sliced bread. Not sure about a Hoagie. And since the pocket is waterproof, it would prevent a soggy sandwich… I HATE THOSE.

Waterproof pocket on Alpinestars Halo Drystar jacket with sandwich in it

On the same side just above the waterproof sandwich pocket is this storage pouch:

Inner left side chest armor pouch on Halo Drystar Jacket

I had to look through the tags that come on the Halo to find out what purpose this little pouch serves.

Chest armor pouch description for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

You have the ability to purchase armor for your chest. Since it appears the armor is vented like what is included in the Halo, I imagine it would not restrict airflow through the front vent window much. There is a warning label in that pouch about NOT placing sharp objects into the pouch.

Pouch warning label on Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

These labels are on all pouches to remind children not to run with scissors or with a lollipop in their mouths or around the pool. And for those adults who don’t listen or read, it’s called “Natural Selection.”

Whew—OK, let’s move to the outside pockets and storage. Better have some time for this one…

 

Front of jacket storage pocket in Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

On the front of the Halo is a kangaroo pocket located just below the front vent window. The pocket’s flap is held in place with Velcro and two snaps on either side of the flap. I believe the intent of this pouch is to hold the removable sleeves when they are detached from the jacket.

But since Alpinestars is so poor about ACTUALLY EXPLAINING HOW TO USE these features, I’m not certain. More ranting about this later.

Picture showing front pouch close up on Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

On either side of the front pouch are two zippers on both sides. Opening the zippers reveals another storage area behind the kangaroo pouch. Think of this area as you would with a front hoodie pocket. It is a tube that runs horizontally. This zippered pocket and the kangaroo pouch have separate compartments which are not shared.

Front zippered storage compartment on Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

On the right and left side of the Halo are side pouches, which are sealed with Velcro flaps and a single snap. Their design mimics a dry bag just a little. Rather than just having a flap, the pocket of the pocket extends up like a dry bag does. Nowhere does it state that these are waterproof. Interesting.

Closed side pocket on Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket Open side pocket on Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

Now let’s move on to the back of the Halo. In the rear of the jacket just below the rear vent window resides a large kangaroo pouch that uses an elastic band to secure any contents placed inside the pouch. I plan to keep the waterproof liner in this pouch.

Rear kangaroo pouch on Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

As with the front kangaroo pouch, on either side are zippers, each of which reveal another pocket.

Rear pocket zippers on Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

The width of the rear pouch is wider than the front. The front’s pouch is limited due to the main zipper. You can easily put more junk in your trunk.

Image showing width of the zipper rear pouch on Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

That’s it for the pockets and pouches. Alpinestars has warning labels on many of these pouches advising against placing sharp objects inside. It’s up to each person to decide what to store in them. I personally keep hard, sharp or breakable items in my tank bag or top box.

Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket Protection

The Halo uses material they named Nucleon Flex Pro in their shoulder and forearm armor. It carries a CE Level 2 rating.

Nucleon armor tag for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket Nucleon protection card explanation of features on Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

I have found that many other models of jackets use CE Level 1 armor. It is reassuring that the Halo Drystar jacket uses CE Level 2. They also include a tag that explains the rating of the Halo with and without the sleeves attached:

  • Sleeves Attached Class AA
  • Sleeves Removed Class A

Sewn interior label on Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket showing protection sleeve levels

Label for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket explaining Class rating with sleeves on or off

Here is how the shoulder and forearm armor appear:

Picture of armor on shoulder and forearm of Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

The armor is attached to the mesh sleeves of the Halo. When the outer sleeve is removed, the armor stays in place, which provides Class A protection. In addition, the Halo offers attachments that assist in keeping the armor in place based on each individual’s size.

I find this very important. The acceleration that happens when your arm impacts the ground can and does move the armor’s location—and if loose enough, it can cause burning of your skin between your dermis and the lining of any jacket. It’s why leather riding gear is so effing tight; it is designed to eliminate or reduce the space between your skin and the protective covering. Alpinestars has these two adjustments on the Halo.

Snap adjustments on biceps area of Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

There are snaps on the biceps to adjust the sleeve width for each individual. In addition, there are adjustable Velcro straps to adjust the forearm material to your arm width.

Forearm adjustment straps on Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

As mentioned previously, Alpinestars has sewn-in areas where you are able to purchase a back and chest protector for the Halo.

Picture of back and chest protector locations on Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket Key Features

The Halo includes a waterproof rain jacket that can be worn over the Halo for full water protection. It can also be worn under the Halo if so desired. I have found that the waterproof liner worn under the Halo has wonderful heat retention properties on cool-to-cold days. For me, it can replace my usual mid-layer sweat shirt and offers a much more comfortable range of motion.

The rain jacket has Hi Viz yellow accents under the arms and can be worn separately too. It also packs down into its own little pouch sewn into the rain jacket’s mesh. Slick.

Rain jacket front of Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket on person Rain jacket rear of Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket on person

 

Rain jacket front of Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket Rain jacket front of Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket rear

Rain cover for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket in stuff sack

A small appreciated detail about the rain jacket is the zipper garage at the top. BTW, I had never heard of the term “zipper garage” until Helite mentioned the term. Anyway, small details like this add to my comfort, which is great.

Rain cover zipper garage for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

I place my rain cover into one of the side pouches or the rear kangaroo pouch. It all depends on what else I’m carrying.

Rain cover placed in side pouch of Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

As I have mentioned before, the Halo has its own kidney/waist belt made out of elastic and sewn into the jacket itself. The Halo also includes an almost full circumference zipper designed to mate to the Halo Drystar pants, which I will be reviewing soon.

Image of waist belt and joining pant zipper for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

The waistband has a clever cover to keep the Velcro from adhering to the other side when not needed. By lifting the cover, you’re able to attach the belt to the other side.

Waistband velcro attachment cover for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket Velcro cover for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket lifted

Waistband for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket attached

I also keep my waist belt fastened together with the Velcro. If not, then the belt hangs down below the bottom of the Halo.

On the end of each sleeve are these cool cuffs that incorporate thumb holes to keep the cuffs extended. They’re much like the ones I see on sweatshirts, and very slick. On cool days, it keeps the inner liner of the sleeves secure into my gloves. If not needed, I just roll them back into the outer sleeve. I really like this thoughtful feature.

Thumb holder in cuffs of Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

The Halo Drystar also incorporates a small rectangular pull tab into each cuff sleeve. Again, this is a small but useful touch, which makes it more convenient for securing the inner liner while removing or putting on the jacket.

Inner sleeve cuff pull for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

Fasteners

There are a few that are not found on other jackets. Let’s start with the elastic clips and hooks that hold the left side of the jacket open.

Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket with front held open by clips Loop and clasp on top flap of Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

Loop and clasp on bottom flap of Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

The removable sleeve zippers on my black Halo are yellow. I especially appreciate that contrast, which makes them very easy to see. Alpinestars also includes an identifying tag on each sleeve to know if you are placing the right one on the right side. Little details like this are much appreciated.

Sleeve removal zipper on Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket Sleeve removal zipper on Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket being used

Sleeve side identification label for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

The sleeves can be stored wherever you wish in the many pockets and pouches on the Halo. I choose to store mine in the front kangaroo pouch, or I put the right one in the right side jacket pouch and the left one on the left side.

The Halo uses a high quality set of snaps in many different locations. I appreciate this, because I’ve had other garments, both riding and non-riding, that use cheap snaps that don’t work or don’t line up. A total PITA. Not so with the Halo. The image below shows the main zipper snaps, which cover the zipper once in its fully zipped up position.

Upper main zipper closure snaps for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket Main zipper cover snapped closed for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

Yep, the Halo uses these slick snaps all over the jacket—in this case, for the front vent window’s roll down cover.

Snaps that hold down the front vent window for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

This is the only fastener configuration that I have a total bitch about. The rain jacket can be fastened into the interior of the Halo. But doing so is such a PITA that I just put on the rain jacket and then the Halo. Why? Because of the hassle involved to attach the sleeves of the rain jacket to the sleeves of the Halo. Not worth it for me. Mark’s cussing level rating is 8/10.

All of the attachment points are easy to use, EXCEPT FOR THE DAMN SLEEVE CONNECTIONS. This one attaches to a loop sewn into the top of the rain jacket.

Top Velcro attachment for rain jacket inside the Halo Rain Jacket attached to the Halo on top

These attach to each side of the rain jacket inside of the Halo.

Rain jacket sides attached to the interior of the Halo

And here is where the nightmare begins. Fishing the snap from inside the Halo’s sleeve and then looping it through the rain jacket’s sewn-in loop is cussing central for me. I won’t say more; do what you want.

Rain jacket sleeve loop for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket Sleeve snap for rain jacket on Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

Interior Labels for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

Here are images of the important notifications that are either labels sewn into the Halo or included with the jacket. I include them in this review because there are some folks who like to know this information before a purchase.

 

Card for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket rain jacket Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket card explanation Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket card explanation

 

Tag with model number for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket Fabric label for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

This label indicates that the Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket is Tech Air ready, which means it is compatible with their airbag vest.

Tech Air Ready label on Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

Complaints about the Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

There aren’t many, to be sure. In a past life, I worked for Playstation and in 2007 was tasked with developing a Quick Start Guide for the products. In Japan, the culture is to read all directions, warning labels, etc. In the USA, we read NOTHING and do everything until we cannot—and then we MAY refer to instructions. So I am intimately familiar with how to develop instructional content.

Besides the horrible sleeve fastening system for the rain jacket, my real bitch is about the absence of instructions on how to use the incredible features of the Halo. Sure, it shows you how to remove the sleeves, but what I find is that most of their ‘instructions’ are simply cursory in execution.

When I watched Ryan’s video from his F9 channel, he stated something about this being the first time he had to “read the manual” for a jacket. What manual? This one?

Front of manual for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket Pages of manual for Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

Thick as hell, but it says next to nothing. Come on, Alpinestars—you have produced a remarkable product, innovative and thoughtful. Put some effort into explaining how to use the damn thing.

In the End: Final Thoughts on the Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket

It’s not often that I find a motorcycle product that is innovative and useful. My trusty Aerostich jacket and pants have been with me for decades. And although I’ve never experienced a real street crash in them, other than a stupid tip over, I cannot say firsthand how my Stiches fair in a crash. I can say that while teaching people at the track, some have worn the Roadcrafters and crashed at speed. Their protection was fine.

So to purchase this Halo was a big deal. And I will say, for me, it is worth the money. The ventilation is incredible and so are the features. The asymmetrical zipper, allowing a full vent window in the very center of my chest with a corresponding vent window in the back, is genius.

Removable sleeves while retaining the armor is also genius, and I remove them when riding off road in hot weather. Will I remove them while riding on the street? That’s as-yet unknown.

Like my Zero DSR dual sport, the Halo is not ‘the best’ at all things. It’s not as protective as full leathers, or as comfortable as my KLIM Marrakesh jacket. But just like a dual sport bike, I can use the Halo in many situations where other purpose-built jackets and bikes would fail. On any trip where I may encounter rain, high heat, or even snow—hands down I’ll take my Halo.

The fit is more European than American—more fitted than, say, KLIM jackets. I like the look, which I explain as “if Star Trek married Star Wars and had a Samurai kid!” The silhouette of the jacket is a bit Japanese, which OF COURSE I like.

Author in Alpinestars Halo Drystar Jacket photoshopped next to Star Trek, Star Wars, and Samurai movie characters

I have created a video about the FEELING of airflow through the Halo. I figured it’s much better to show this portion than to tell. “The right tool for the right job” is one of my many mottos.

Finally, I wanted to mention that the Halo is currently difficult to find. This is as of August 2022 and may change.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Alpinestars
  • Price (When Tested): $479.95 USD
  • Available Colours: Black/Black (as tested), Dark Khaki/Sand Yellow Fluo
  • Sizes: SM, MD, LG, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL
  • Review Date: August 2022

Important Links / Where to Buy

 

Leave a Reply

  1. Any thoughts on ventilation with the rain jacket over top, or alternately water resistance of the main jacket? Is the rain jacket more of a “nice to have in a downpour” thing? What kind of weather have you had this out in?

    I watched the Fortnine video and thought, at the time, that it just looked so goofy and complicated that it didn’t hold much appeal for me, though after reading your review, I am seeing a lot of upside on this thing.

    1. Dwayne, I have NOT ridden with the rain liner on the exterior. I have worn it inside when the coastal temps dropped to around the mid-40s. Surprising how warm that little layer can be. I have reviewed the KLIM Down jacket here and if I had known I was going to be out that late with the weather here in the Bay going from 81 to 43 I would have hauled the Down mid-layer. But since I can store the rain fly in one of the pockets I was glad I had it. I have NOT ridden in the rain but did spray it down with my hose just to see how it would do. It did well, as well as my Aerostich Darian which is waterproof and has served me well over the years.

      I really appreciate the design of the Halo. I combine it with the Helite Turtle 2 so it flows air really well with the Turtle’s front three clips which create an opening. Like I say in my review, I don’t get sh!t to review these things unless you consider a small stipend real pay. As my true pro friends who are writers say “You’re giving those web bike guys a great deal.” LOL So this is just MY view of MY jacket. I’m really pleased with it. I had planned on reviewing the Halo Pants but after getting two pairs where the sizes are inconsistent I decided to bag that review. Plus the pants are damn heavy. I’ll stick with my Marakesh pants and a new pair I’m getting soon, the John Doe brand. Hope this helps. One thing I noticed is all retailers are delayed here in the USA obtaining the Halo. No idea why.

  2. This jacket really brings out the appeal of the knox urban sombrero even more.
    £250 plus the £120 waterproof layer.
    I really didnt see that being a thing I’d consider.