The REV’IT! Sand 3 jacket is, as the name implies, the third generation of a best-seller. We’ve been following the Sand series since the original REV’IT! Sand jacket review in 2010. That was followed up with the REV’IT! Sand 2 jacket we reviewed in November 2013. Now the Sand 3 jacket is here and although it looks similar, it’s been updated in many ways.
The Sand jacket has continuously been the best selling REV’IT! jacket and with good reason. It’s the highest tech jacket you can get without spending lots more for Gore-Tex, so it hits a sweet spot for features vs. price. The Sand 3 is even more “technical” than previous versions, with a renewed emphasis on adventure-touring or dual-sport.
I’d say it’s now more of an 75% dual-sport and 25% touring flavor than before; almost a reverse ratio from the original, which had more of a touring focus. The Sand 3 even has built-in fasteners for a Leatt or Moveo neck brace, along with MOLLE-like strips in the front and back, to carry…something. While that seems cool at first, there are probably a miniscule number of Sand 3 owners who will ever use a neck brace and fewer still even know what MOLLE connectivity is.
I do kind of wish there was a basic Sand 3 version without the attachment geegaws and then something like a “Sand 3X”, with the neck brace and MOLLE accoutrements for those (like me) who would prefer a less cluttered look. In any case, they’re there and there’s no doubt that the Sand 3 — especially in the sand color — looks the business. Beyond those minor detailing nits, there’s also no doubt that the REV’IT! Sand 3 has to be the premier mid-range 3/4-length jacket.
Don’t tell REV’IT!, but for 99% of motorcycle riders looking for an adventure-touring styled 3/4-length jacket, it makes no sense to spend more money and get not that much more other than a Gore-Tex shell. Maybe you’ll agree and maybe you won’t, so let’s see if we can work through all the details and you tell me.
The Sand 3 jacket has what appears to be a new type of polyester ripstop in the 600D shell, along with touches of Lorica synthetic leather here and there. The styling and detailing of every REV’IT! jacket has evolved and improved over the years and the Sand 3 is the best-looking yet, no question.
While the earlier versions looked a bit more touring than adventure, Version 3 definitely has a rugged yet high-tech modern appearance. That’s backed up by an encyclopedia full of features beloved by dual-sport fans, right down to the new thinner shell and liner construction, which also have the secondary effect of making the Sand 3 fit closer to size when the liners are removed.
We’ve discussed this issue many times on webBikeWorld, but the argument is still unresolved. People seem to go back and forth between wanting a water resistant shell — that is, having the waterproof layer at the outside of the shell, and having a removable waterproof liner. I have to say, I’ve waffled back and forth on this issue myself and I’m back to liking the removable waterproof liner solution, for a couple of reasons.
First of all, a removable waterproof liner can be removed when not needed, which is most of the time. Then you get the maximum amount of ventilation possible because the vents flow air directly through the shell and on to the rider. With the Sand 3, you can stow the Hydratex membrane liner (and the extra-thin removable insulating liner) in the new extra-large pleated back pocket (see photo).
As we mentioned in the Sand 2 jacket review, anyone who rides for more than a few minutes from home should have at least a cheap rain jacket, like the Tourmaster Sentinel rain jacket (review) I still use. Stow it somewhere on the bike and if it rains, use it.
But at least with the Sand 3 (and 2 and 1) jacket, you have the choice. This is why the Sand 3 is one of the best all-around motorcycle jackets you can own. You can wear just the shell and open the vents for maximum air flow.
The Sand 3 shell has a certain amount of water resistance, at least for light rain and/or short rides. Or, insert the Hydratex liner when it rains or if you need extra wind protection. We had a few intense rain storms here recently and in the interest of science, I deliberately went out for a ride in the Sand 3 outfit (we’ll review the pants separately).
It’s a little hard to tell when riding a motorcycle with some frontal protection, but the Sand 3 shell acts as a barrier for a certain amount of time, then the inner Hydratex liner does the rest as the shell becomes soaked. I was easily dry in a fairly intense rain storm (that thankfully included temperatures). And the Sand 3 jacket shell dries pretty quickly; the best way to do that is to remove the liners and hang them separately, then try to hang the jacket shell so the dry air can circulate through.
Using something like the Black+Gray Hi-Per Hanger (review) is a good idea and you should always have at least one of these for hanging motorcycle jackets or leathers. Bottom line here is that the Sand 3 jacket is, I think, easily the most versatile 3/4-length jacket in the REV’IT! lineup.
Mix and match and wear it with or without the insulating liner. Need more insulation? Throw on a cheap fleece sweater and the Sand 3 is a true four-season garment.
Sand 3 Jacket Shell
The 600D polyester ripstop shell of the Sand 3 has what feels like a new finish. We no longer have the Sand 2 or the original Sand jacket available to compare, but the Sand 3 feels different, if memory serves me correctly. It also feels more “heavy duty” and I can tell you that the stitching and construction is absolutely top notch. The impact areas use the REV’IT! “PWR shell”, which is a version of Cordura. REV’IT! says it has a high melting point and “tremendous tear- and abrasion-resistance” with “excellent durability”.
The overall quality of REV’IT! gear was always excellent but it gets better with every iteration, so they’re really paying attention and not trying to cut corners.
Like the Sand 2, the Sand 3 also has the same level of detailing that REV’IT! products are known for, including the extra bar tacked reinforcements (now with red thread) in the flex/stress areas. The fabric panels, the styling, the panel shapes, fit and construction on the Sand 3 are outstanding, no question.
There are some extra reinforcements by way of thicker fabric panels over the elbows and around the neck, but as with earlier versions of the Sand jacket, SuperFabric is not used.
Notes on the Neck Brace Attachment and MOLLE Straps
One of the biggest updates to the Sand 3 is the incorporation of a strap retention system for a Leatt neck brace (review) or a Moveo neck brace, of which I’m not familiar. My personal feeling is that there are very few owners who will take advantage of the neck brace attachment sytem. I have yet to come across a motorcyclist wearing a neck brace of any type, although there are probably a few.
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, so don’t get your hackles up and for the few riders who actually do wear a neck brace, this may be a big plus. In fact, I’m sure these features will be a big selling point for the jacket, so I may be in the minority here. But the neck brace attachment system adds some strange-looking black straps added to the shoulders, on the chest and in the rear of the Sand 3 jacket.
I wish there was a non-brace version without these straps, which seem like kind of an affectation if you aren’t wearing a brace. The straps are a sort-of MOLLE system also, although I’m not sure if they actually meet the MOLLE standard. Supposedly, you can hang some gear off the MOLLE loops — what, I don’t know and you also need to be cautious about hanging on gear that can hurt you in a crash.
I’m sure not everyone will agree; it’s probably a “love it or hate it” feature, but I for one would rather do without the added strapping.
A couple of us who remember the originals think that the Sand 3 seems to fit trimmer than the original Sand or the Sand 2 jacket. But the jacket shown here is a size XL and we probably could have fit into the size L. The model shown in the photos normally takes a size L.
The XL should fit a 44-45″ chest and 34″ sleeve. Actually, we said the same thing about the Sand 2 jacket and there was a note in that review to order a size L the next time, but we forgot.
Note also that some of the retailers list a 41 to 44 inch range for the XL which is way off on the low end; anyone with a 41 inch chest will be absolutely swimming in a size XL Sand 3 (and Sand 2) jacket.
The Sand jacket series has always featured a wide range of adjustments, due to its adventure-touring focus. The new system on the Sand 3 uses the very nice vertically adjustable (variable adjustable) strap system. The waist straps on the body of the jacket are adjustable up and down by pulling the special plastic D ring up and down along the track.
There are two side waist adjustment straps, an upper and lower. The upper adjuster has the vertical height adjustment in both front and rear, while the lower strap is sewn to the upper part of the pocket on the front and the rear cargo pocket. The sleeves have one sewn-in adjustment strap at the forearm and the same two-position snap at the bicep found on the Sand 2.
The Sand 3 does not have the secondary three-snap adjuster on the outsides of the upper chest, which was designed to hold open the front vents.
But if you tighten the upper waist adjuster, it does tend to pull the chest vent open, so it serves virtually the same purpose but with fewer parts.
REV’IT! stayed with the same type of main entry zipper on the Sand 3 jacket, the large YKK “Vislon” type, which operates smoothly. It has a metal zipper runner with the standard REV’IT! metal loop for the pull. Again, we haven’t had very good luck with the REV’IT! zipper pulls and I’m not sure why REV’IT! swaps these out for their own design.
The main entry pull is sturdy enough, but the stylized pulls on the vents just don’t seem like they’ll last and based on previous experience with this type of thin REV’IT! pull, I’m anticipating future issues with these. Also as on the Sand 2, the main entry zipper pull on the Sand 3 is the locking type with a single runner, that locks in the down position.
This one seems to operate more smoothly than the pull on the Sand 2; there have been some issues with various brands of jackets using the YKK Vislon plastic zipper teeth and a metal pull.
We suggested a dual zipper runner with the locking feature when we reviewed the Sand 2, but it has not appeared on the Sand 3. A jacket at this price point and with adventure-touring in mind should have a dual runner. A two-way zipper would also help to allow more ventilation in hot weather.
Again like the Sand 2, the remaining zippers on the Sand 3 appear to be the YKK Vislon type also, although not all of them are branded.
Collar and Adjuster
The Sand 3 has the REV’IT! adjustable snap system for the collar; the adjuster is attached to the right-hand side of the collar. Unlike the Sand 2, there is now a snap to hold the collar open on the left to allow the neck to remain open, which is pretty much a mandatory feature on a modern adventure-touring jacket.
The inside of the collar has a very comfortable but somewhat thick lining of what I think is the same micro-fleece material used on the Sand 2.
The Hydratex liner has a short stand-up collar with a thin micro-fleece liner.
Pockets and Storage
The Sand 3 jacket continues an adventure-touring pocket selection, with the two main front cargo pockets getting a couple of nice features. These pockets are waterproof and now include a metal snap on the inside of the flap, located towards the centerline, in addition to a hook-and-loop strip.
The snaps are placed on a separate section of fabric on the inside, which hides the snaps, giving the pockets a nice, clean look. There are hand-warmer pockets behind and each of these also gets a hidden metal snap on the inside about at mid-height. Again, this helps keep a smooth outer profile for the pockets yet makes the hand-warmer pockets easier to access because there’s no zipper.
The full-width storage pocket in the rear of the Sand 3 continues over from the Sand 2. It uses two vertical strips of hook-and-loop and a hidden large metal snap in the center to keep it closed.
The removable insulating liner has a single internal pocket now with hook-and-loop and now on the right side, rather than the left as in the Sand 2. The Hydratex liner gets a pocket on the left side and this one has a waterproof zipper. This pocket is repeated on the inside of the jacket shell. Like the Sand 2, the Sand 3 still does not have a vertical pocket on the inside of the left placket, which is one of my most-used pockets, for stowing my wallet when riding.
Bottom line here, the Sand 3 doesn’t have quite as much storage as other jackets, which wouldn’t be a problem, but that inside vertical wallet pocket on the left placket is sorely missed.
Safety and Protection
The Sand 2 jacket had ProLife CE-rated shoulder and arm/elbow protectors, which were the mid-range type installed in REV’IT! jackets. The Sand 3 jacket (and other newer REV’IT! clothing) now comes with CE Level 2 certified EN1621-1:2012 Seeflex protectors. So the ownership of Seesoft by REV’IT! has finally paid dividends for riders.
The sleeve vents of the Sand 2 had a 40 cm long zipper towards the front that worked as a two-way vent system. The Sand 3 now has a huge 52 cm long dual zipper vent on the sleeve, so it’s 30% longer. The zippers can be opened at any position and they’re not blocked by the forearm sleeve adjuster. The chest vents are 27 cm long and backed by the REV’IT! “3D” mesh. There’s about 80 mm of width under the vent, so it could also be used as a pocket in a pinch
There are two rear vertical vents on either side in back of the arms, both are 20 cm long. As of yet, no one has copied the Aerostich under-arm vent for some reason, probably the most successful and useful vent types there is on a motorcycle jacket. Also, the zipper pulls are very easy to access and use, sliding easily over the big Vislon zipper teeth.
This is another advantage of having an internal waterproof liner — the zippers don’t need to be waterproof, so they slide easily up and down. If the Hydratex liner is installed in the jacket, the air flow directly on your chest is limited but the circulating air around the top of the liner does help to improve the efficiency of the moisture exchange through the Hydratex liner.
Remove both the Hydratex and insulating liners and the front vents are very efficient — better than the vents on the Sand 2, which were already very good. Also like the Sand 2, if the two back vent zippers are opened to exhaust the air, you can really feel a “flow-through” effect.
And those huge, nearly full-length arm vents only add to the amount of air flowing through the Sand 3. Bottom line in this category is that the Sand 3 has about the best ventilation system you’ll find in a non-mesh jacket. The ability to remove the Hydratex liner is a huge benefit also for warm-weather riding.
Sand 3 Jacket Liners
One of the features that has always made the Sand jacket series among the most versatile you’ll find is the mix-and-match capability of the included liners. REV’IT! actually pioneered this capability way back around 12 years ago when we first started reviewing their gear.
The insulating liner in the Sand 3 feels thinner than before and this is a good thing. With modern insulating materials, thickness doesn’t necessarily yield more warmth and, in fact, for motorcycle riding, a trim fit may be even more important. Again, you can always add a cheap fleece sweater, vest or other insulating layer if necessary.
The Hydratex liner (closest to the shell) and the insulating liner (closest to the rider) can be attached with short zippers and snaps to mix-and-match for your choice of insulation and/or water resistance. When the liners are removed the Sand 3 doesn’t lose as much size as previous versions, but as I noted earlier, be sure to check the sizing because the Sand series has traditionally been about one size larger than expected.
One carryover feature from the Sand 2 is that the thermal liner in the Sand 3 does not have a front main entry zipper. It has two extended flaps in front that can be sort of folded over each other (or meet in the middle, depending on your chest/stomach size). The Hydratex liner does have a main zipper and it also has two overlapping flaps with snaps, so it works very nicely to block any cold air.
Also like the Sand 2, in cooler weather the combination of the Hydratex liner and the insulating liner do an excellent job at keeping me warm. And at this point, I can say that my old Cayenne Pro jacket (review) is pretty much relegated to the closet, because the Sand 3 is lighter, trimmer and keeps me just as warm.
Other Features of the Sand 3 Jacket
The Sand 3 jacket has a nice array of laminated reflector strips placed at strategic locations. The reflective material isn’t branded but it is highly visible when energized by light, as you can see in the photos. The sleeve cuffs on the Sand 3 appear to be unchanged from the Sand 2, with a snap to hold the end closed where the long sleeve vent zipper ends.
Also, the sleeve cuff adjusters now have a very long strip of hook-and-loop, which provides a large adjustment range. There’s still no dart or gusset sewn in under the adjusters however, which adds more bulk to the sleeve cuff when it’s cinched tight.
The Sand 3 jacket also has both short and long pants attachment zippers on the inside and we’ll describe the Sand 3 pants in an upcoming review.
The wBW Opinionator: REV’IT! Sand 3 Jacket
Versatile, good-looking and comfortable.
Very good ventilation at chest and arms.
Water- and wind-proof Hydratex liner.
Can fit the Seesoft Level 2 back protector.
No placket wallet pocket.
Not a fan of the MOLLE strips.
Ditto on the neck brace connectors.
The REV’IT! Sand jacket is the most popular in the company’s lineup and with good reason. If you want to step up from the basic Joe Rocket, Tourmaster, etc. generic 3/4-length jacket types to something that has much better build quality and real-world-usable features, you really can’t do better than the Sand 3. In fact, spending (lots) more money gets you only incremental upgrades, like Gore-Tex and Superfabric. If you really need those, well, you really need them and you’re willing to fork over the dosh.
I’d rather have the Sand 3 and spend a few bucks more on the back protector insert, the Challenger cooling vest and the high-viz external vest for a rig that might even be better than the Gore-Tex types.
So for the vast majority of the rest of us, the Sand 3 is pretty nearly the “perfect” 3/4-length jacket.