The Scorpion Vortex Air Jacket is a high-quality piece of kit at a budget price that does everything it states on the label. It’s surprisingly durable, well designed, it flows a ton of air, and it keeps you cool (as long as you’re moving) in even the most extreme temperatures I have ridden in. The waterproof liner is truly waterproof, and even if you don’t have it on when the rain starts, so much air moves through the garment that you’ll be dry five minutes after it stops anyway.
Materials & Build Quality
Sizing & Fit
Value For Money
One of the only jackets I’ve ever tested that actually flows air up and around the shoulder-to-neck hotspot to cool it
Flows an absolute ton of air, even when you’re walking to your bike
The 600D Rhino-Mesh doesn’t look particularly porous, but once you’re riding it doesn’t even feel like you have a jacket on
Extremely durable construction (no seam tears or even frays, no seams popping, just a really solid jacket)
Waterproof liner is truly waterproof, not just a “waterproof” liner that leaks around the seams
Very adjustable bicep and forearm straps help keep the armor on your shoulders and elbows
Full zip wrist closures—a premium feature on a budget jacket that is implemented perfectly
Waist adjustment strap only gives about four inches of total adjustment size
Single belt loop can feel like it’s tugging against the back of the jacket
Jacket has a tendency to ride up, possibly due to not having much waist adjustment
Does not come with a back protector, but does accept most brands without issue
The Scorpion Vortex Air Jacket: Awesome Budget-Friendly Summer Gear
To not put too fine a point on it, the summer for the Northern hemisphere of the Earth was a broiler. Many temperature records were broken, then broken again, and again, as the mercury just did not want to stop heading upwards. This resulted in temperatures in some parts of the US breaching 115 F for days on end, and for those using Celcius, parts of the UK reached over 40 C, while the hottest parts of Canada got nearer to 37 and 38 C.
There is a very good reason I am pointing out all these historically hot moments, however. While not marketed as such, the Scorpion Vortex Air Jacket that is the subject of this review is in the “extreme temperatures” class of gear, meant for the hottest weather while also keeping you cool and safe.
It couldn’t have arrived at a better time, either, with delivery occurring in the middle of July 2022, right as the heatwave began in full force here in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Every day was over 30 C, with many of them over 35C.
While the mesh airflow jacket I was already using, the Rev’it Arc Air, got the job done, it was still quite warm to wear for extended periods. This gave me a great base point for comparison, and as I will discuss in the “Real World” section of the review, the Scorpion jacket more than held its own against that baseline.
About Scorpion USA
Scorpion Sports USA is a subsidiary of Kido Sports, which is a South Korea-based motorcycle gear developer that has been in the helmet business since 2001. The Scorpion website likes to make mention of a number of global facilities, including a couple in the USA, but all of their helmets are manufactured in China.
The gear they produce is designed by an international team of engineers from Korea, Europe, and North America, and manufactured to strict tolerances. Given that they’re the official helmet supplier to many global racing stars, and that they provide gear for some of the toughest rallies and competitions around the world, you shouldn’t worry about where they’re manufactured. Let the quality of the helmets speak for themselves!
About webBikeWorld’s Review Policy
This product was provided by Scorpion for review during what was to become one of the hottest summers on record. Note that we do not allow brands to influence review scores or content. Please see our review policies for more information.
We here at webBikeWorld believe that you can’t just try something out once and give an honest opinion of it. Any product we test is actually used by our testers, and for half of July and all of August 2022, this was my only riding jacket—hot, cold, wet, dry, what have you.
Scorpion Vortex Air Jacket Features
Rhino-Mesh & 600D Polyester
The Scorpion Vortex Air Jacket is marketed as a warm to hot weather mesh riding jacket with a removable inner waterproof liner. As part of that design, almost every surface that is not holding armor (and some that are!) and is not part of the structural chassis of the jacket is made up of Rhino-Mesh, a Scorpion material that claims it flows 30% as much air as standard mesh while also providing 3 times the abrasion resistance.
Any parts of the jacket that are not mesh are made up of 600D polyester—namely in the shoulders, along the elbows, and across the lower back. These are there to provide both impact-zone protection as well as solid anchor points for the mesh to be sewn to.
What truly sets this jacket apart from most other warm and hot weather jackets I’ve tried on our own, however, is that the upper chest is also made of Rhino-Mesh, and feels as structurally solid as the Rev’It Arc Air I referred to in the introduction.
Because of such a huge frontal area of mesh, almost 90% of the surface, the two chest zippers are not, in fact, for ventilation, but lead to upper chest pockets that are perfect for keeping things like the necessary paperwork for your bike, light snacks, or even smaller pieces of chest armor should you like. The main pockets at the waist are very deep, all the way to the central zip, and will accommodate a pair of gloves, your keys, wallet, and other items without issue.
On the inside of the jacket, you will find one zip up internal pocket on the right hand side, with a drop in, velcro closure pocket on the left hand side. Both of these pockets are easily big enough to hold things like a smartphone, a wallet, a money clip, or items of similar sizes.
It should be noted that these pockets are ventilated, but are also outside the liner when it is installed, meaning you won’t want to put items susceptible to damage from water in these pockets.
Unlike some competitors, the liner does not have any internal pockets, so if you think you’ll be caught out in the rain, a waterproof backpack, tail bag, pannier locker, or, in a pinch, putting said items into a ziplock bag before going into your pockets are alternative ways to keep things dry.
Scorpion Vortex Air Jacket Protection
The armor in the Vortex Air is all non-Newtonian armor, making the jacket very comfortable and flexible for normal riding, but taking the impact if you do come off your bike. The armor is composed of Scorpion’s Exo-Tec material, which carries a CE Level 1 rating. This is more than enough for relaxed everyday riding, as long as you are sensible with your speed and have the “idiot filter” between your brain and your right wrist.
What impresses more about protection, however, is the fact that the entire jacket meets at least 450D abrasion resistance, with 600D on the elbows, shoulder, and wrists. It used to be that mesh gear, if you slid out into a lowside, would melt from the friction. RhinoMesh won’t melt at all, and will fray in a controlled manner to dissipate as much kinetic energy as possible while also protecting your skin.
The other impressive thing is that those ratings are for every angle of the jacket, so no matter what you’re sliding against, you will have that abrasion resistance. For such a lightweight, “thin” jacket, that is very noteworthy.
By keeping the jacket light, airy, and able to flow a lot of air—but also placing CE Level 1 armor and highly abrasion resistant materials throughout—Scorpion has really worked out how to make a hot-weather jacket that I feel safe riding in. That, in the end, is what matters.
If you buy a piece of gear but you don’t feel safe in it, that’s going to sit in the back of your mind and potentially distract you. Knowing that this jacket will protect me lets me focus on riding.
Scorpion Vortex Air Jacket Fit & Comfort
As you may have already noticed, there are a bunch of straps and bands that are built into the Scorpion Vortex Air Jacket, around the waist, bicep, and forearm areas. I should note here that I was provided with a size 3XL jacket, as I have a 50 inch chest circumference and 27 inch sleeve length.
The jacket’s initial fit, with the waterproof liner installed and no adjustments to the straps was, surprisingly, moderately loose. As a larger rider, I am used to having to buy a size up and cinch it down, or somehow squeeze myself into gear that is technically the correct size for me but is “euro” fit.
Having a jacket actually fit a bit big on me was a pleasant surprise. However, there is one issue in that the collar and neck opening, despite the jacket being 3XL, is tight to my neck. For the record, I am about 20 inches in neck circumference, with the jacket’s neck being 19.75 inches. All things considered, it’s not uncomfortable (nor does it cut off any blood flow or air), it just fits quite snug.
With the liner removed, as it was absolutely the middle of a heatwave when the jacket arrived, I found that I had to cinch the waist straps as far as they would go to get a good fit at the waist. There isn’t much room to cinch with, only about 4 to 5 inches of extra velcro to attach to. The arm straps were a lot more lenient, and I was able to get the sleeves tight, but not uncomfortably so, around both my forearms and biceps.
A nice touch with the wrists is that it is a zip closure instead of a strap, which makes getting your gloves on and off, and then sealing the closure over the wrist of the gloves quite easy. On the flipside, if you wear gauntlet style gloves, getting those zips tight and then being able to slide them into the wrists without issue (instead of catching the flap of a velcro closure against the gauntlet) can be tricky.
Once the jacket is on, zipped up, and adjusted, after about five minutes you will forget that you’re even wearing it. Despite the heft of the jacket with a back protector inserted and all the armored bits within, it sits extremely well across the shoulders and doesn’t pull either to the front or the back in any major way. There is also a belt loop clasp at the bottom of the rear of the jacket—however, unlike vertical belt loops, this one is horizontal to go through the actual belt loop of your riding jeans, not just around the belt itself.
No Universal Zip
I do have to deduct a point here, however, in that the jacket does not have a universal zip above the belt loop to combine with any number of riding pants. I would have liked to have the option to zip the jacket to my Tourmaster overpants during the two days all summer that it rained when I was out on my bike. Many competitors do include the universal zip, so the lack of one here is too much to be ignored.
Scorpion Vortex Air Jacket Build Quality
As with most, if not all, Scorpion gear I’ve encountered, the build quality is superb. Despite 1.5 months of heavy use, going riding four to six times per week, as well as getting washed, hung up to dry, and getting rained on a couple of times, the jacket hasn’t even so much as frayed a seam. All the stitching is as tight as the day it arrived, the hi-viz yellow has not faded at all from a combination of sun exposure and being washed, and even with some sweat soaking into the collar, the material hasn’t stained or faded from salt.
As I was using this jacket as my primary jacket, I was not gentle with it, either. Wallet in one pocket, earplug case, house keys, and garage door opener in the other. Zips closed and then tugged to make sure they’re closed. Pre-ride stretching, as well as crouching, leaning over, and stretching to inspect all parts of my bike before riding.
Also note the very small amount of waist adjustment, with my fingers grasping the adjustment slider that is on the side of the jacket.
Throughout all of the extremes of weather it was exposed to, as I will describe in a moment, not even a single seam has started to fray. I can only rate the build quality as superb, and it is reassuring that despite not being gentle with it at all, the jacket is still structurally sound in case I do have an unfortunate encounter with the pavement.
Scorpion Vortex Air Jacket in the Real World
This was perhaps the wildest summer in Calgary for at least a decade, if not of this century. We had absolutely every type of weather dumped on us in the 60 days of July and August.
Performance in Different Temperatures
For example, there was extreme heat nearing 40 °C (104 °F), suddenly transitioning to overnight frosting and near-freezing mornings where the temperature struggled to get over 15 °C (59 °F) before noon. We had torrential rain, light showers, heavy hail, and even a tornado warning as a supercell formed to the West of the city due to the extreme heat causing a massive inversion.
The Scorpion Vortex Air was exposed to all of it, and then some. It deflected some gravel away from my body when I had to change lanes behind a truck coming from the local quarry, and took a couple of splashes from puddles during the fierce rainstorm that I was caught out riding in.
As the saying goes for Calgary, if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. It went from 28 °C and sunny to a torrential downpour in about 10 minutes flat, while I was a good 40 minute ride from home.
What impressed me the most about the Scorpion Vortex Air is just how true to its name it is. The instant I was rolling even down my alleyway to head out onto the street—and I will mention I was wearing either my KLIM or Mobile Cooling cooling shirts underneath—I could feel the air moving through the mesh of the jacket to wick away the heat.
On the days when it was over 30 °C, I would usually take my car and take advantage of the automatic climate control and air conditioning therein, but I could comfortably ride in 85 to 100 °F heat as long as the bike was moving.
Stoplights and intersections just reinforced how much air flows through the jacket, as the moment I stopped moving and flipped up the visor on my helmet wipe some sweat from my face, I felt almost instantly like I was a boil-in-the-bag supper that had been left on the stove an hour too long.
Thankfully, once moving, even in first gear, the airflow resumed and all of that heat evacuated in about a second flat. I am seriously, truly impressed with the new Rhino-Mesh that Scorpion is using, as it truly does flow a hell of a lot more air than my other hot weather jacket, the Rev’It Arc Air, and I honestly would peg it at about 30% to 40% more airflow apples to apples.
Belt Loop Placement
It was not perfect, however, because of two very small but significant quibbles I had with the jacket. The first of these is that the belt loop is centered on the small of the back, and only attaches to one part of your pants.
Compared to the Rev’It Arc Air, which uses two loops across the width of the back, it can feel like the jacket is tugging up against the loop, and once or twice while riding I had to drop my clutch hand to the small of my back to make sure it was still attached and not riding up. The sides had risen and air was getting around, giving me the illusion that the belt loop had let go.
The other quibble is that without the belt loop, the jacket does ride up. It may be because I am not exactly the thinnest or lightest of riders (I prefer to call myself aerodynamic, but the truth is I have a belly), or it may be because the waist adjustment straps don’t give as much adjustment as I would like.
In any case, the first time I rode with the jacket and did not have the belt loop done up, I had to pull over after about 20 minutes to tug the jacket back down as it had ridden up halfway to my navel. With the belt loop done up, it does want to creep up my body, but the loop holds it down.
Waterproof Liner Performance
The only other aspect of the jacket that is both annoying but also works really well is the waterproof liner. For the big, sudden, torrential downpour I was caught out in, I did not have the liner installed or with me as there had been no storms forecast at all. I did get quite soaked, but thanks to the amount of air flowing through the jacket as well as the fabric technology of cooling shirts, I was dry again in about 5 minutes flat after the rain stopped.
I did intentionally go out riding with the liner installed, however, on a day when a storm was forecast. The annoying thing about the liner is even though it breathes while not allowing water through, it also blocks a lot of the airflow that passes through the jacket.
In other words, even on a 25 °C day, it was brutally hot in the jacket, only really becoming properly cool when I was on the major 100 KPH (60 MPH) roads to get the sheer volume of air through the jacket needed to wick away the heat.
As forecast, however, the storm did come and the rain did fall. The waterproof liner is truly waterproof, I will give it that, and I was dry as the Sahara despite a good dump of water from the sky, so much so that I even pulled over under a bridge when it started to hail lightly. That gave me a great opportunity to unzip the jacket and feel around the inside of the liner, and apart from my sweat, no rain had made it through.
I know that waterproof fabrics, by their very nature, don’t breathe all that well, yet with how much air the Vortex Air jacket flows, my personal thought is that a water-resistant liner that breathed better would be far more appropriate for the jacket. As I discovered in the other storm, after the rain stops falling, the jacket is like tossing a wet shirt into a tumble dryer, and all the water is whisked away in minutes.
Final Thoughts: Scorpion Vortex Air Jacket
For a jacket that comes in at less than $200, the quality and airflow of the Scorpion Vortex Air is not just some of the best I have experienced in the budget price range, but across all the gear I’ve tested. As I described, I have not been gentle with the jacket, as our review policies and methodology are “use it as you would any other piece of gear you own.”
While I wasn’t jumping up and down on it and driving over it on my bike or in my car, I did have a lot of time leaning, stretching, reaching, crouching, and other movements in the jacket when off the bike that would see other jackets start to complain.
I must reinforce just how superb the airflow is through this jacket. Despite not looking like it will flow any air from the tightly spun mesh, once you’re riding, it feels like you’re not even wearing a jacket. That is how much air gets through the thing, and unlike other jackets which promise to whisk air away from the key hot spots of your underarms and over your shoulders by your neck, the Vortex Air actually does let the air carry the heat away from those areas.
My only complaints about the jacket are, if we’re being 100% honest, nitpicking at best. The only glaring omission is a jacket-to-pants universal zip, however I can understand the reasoning as Scorpion does not make overpants, just riding jeans. Feedback for a version 2 of the jacket, I would say!
I can say with absolute certainty that the Scorpion Vortex Air Jacket has displaced my Rev’It Arc Air jacket as my primary summer/warm weather riding jacket, with the Arc Air now relegated to moderate temperature riding (15-20 °C) or as a backup jacket in case I do encounter the pavement wearing the Scorpion.
This jacket is well designed, fits incredibly well on a “Canadian/American” sized body, and apart from being a touch tight at the neck, is incredibly comfortable to the point of feeling like it’s not there. Definitely a recommended jacket.