Fieldsheer Hydro Heat Jacket – Gear Review

Fieldsheer is not the most well known brand but they’ve been around for a long time, since 1978 in fact, and they have a full line of budget minded gear to protect just about every rider out there. They also handle manufacturing for Tourmaster and Cortech; two brands seen in every motorcycle shop I’ve walked into or browsed online. I’ve put some miles on my older Fieldsheer Adventure Tour jacket and pants; at least 15,000 miles on the jacket and probably 8,000 miles on the pants and they have held up incredibly well but it was time to find something new. I first saw the Hydro Heat jacket at the 2018 Progressive International Motorcycle show in Washington, DC and nearly bought it after trying it on and seeing the improvements Fieldsheer had made between the two generations. In October, the jacket popped up at Motorcycle Closeouts for less than any heated jacket liner alone and I jumped on it. This jacket has a laminated waterproof outer shell and a heated soft-shell jacket as the inner liner; it comes with a harness to wire it to your bike and a 12V battery pack to run cordless; it’s waterproof, its versatile, it’s an awesome package.

Fit and Finish

Everything on this jacket is well thought out and plenty of time must go into construction. Stitching is consistent throughout, all the materials feel high quality and durable. I’ve seen jackets at much higher price points with loose threads or missed stitches but could not find any defects. Fit is of the Hydro Heat is slightly slimmer than my older Adventure Tour but is still an “American” box cut. Velcro adjustment straps at the waist, three position snaps at the forearms and biceps, and expansion zippers at the bottom hem of the jacket allow for adjustability to fit more specific body shapes.

Large areas of Phoslite reflective material make the jacket pop when hit by lights at night with the largest on the arms but some on the back and chest as well. The Adventure Tour did have more overall reflective area, but if wearing a backpack they may be covered up. Also, Fieldsheer decided not to offer this jacket in any other colors than black, so I hope you like the ninja/batman look.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Mobile Warming Dual Power Heated jacket liner looks like any other black soft shell jacket, and wears well on or off the bike. It is cut slim to fit well under the outer shell but does not limit mobility. At the wrist is an inner cuff with stretchy material and thumb holes to make sure the sleeves of the jacket stay down when used as a liner and help keep wind out. If I had any complaints with the comfort it would be the wiring harness in the liner, it feels like an extension cord strung across your shoulders. I think Fieldsheer/Mobile Warming probably could have either given it some more slack or used flatter wiring to reduce that feel.

Protection and Durability

The main chassis of the jacket is constructed from a 600 denier textile with doubled up areas at the shoulders and elbows. Fieldsheer calls the fabric Carbolex-HD, it is flexible and seems both more tightly woven and lighter in weight that the textile used in the Adventure Tour jacket. I think it will overall be more durable, however the Adventure Tour does have much higher denier overlays at the elbows and shoulders which would be a little bit more long wearing in a slide.

IMG_20190223_123900

Armor sees both improvements and a step back as well, the Adventure Tour came with CE rated pieces in the elbows, shoulders, and back, these were not the most flexible but definitely nice to have. The Hydro Heat comes with a flexible CE level 1 armor, Armadillo, which is similar in feel and function to D3O, but only in the elbows and shoulders. It comes with a foam pad in the back which can be replaced with a CE level 2 back protector; I would highly recommend doing so. The Armadillo CE level 2 back protector is readily available and inexpensive.

IMG_20190223_130207
Armadillo CE level 2 back protector

I’ve had one off in this jacket and took hits at the elbow and shoulder, the armor remained in place and functioned well. I had no bruising or discomfort beyond general soreness at either joint. I believe I landed off to the side of the road, as I was dirty but the jacket was not scuffed or torn.

IMG_20190223_124856
Elbow crash dirt

Features and Function

The features of the Hydro Heat jacket shell are not hugely extensive but what they’ve chosen to incorporate is well thought out and executed. There are only two interior pockets, a napoleon pocket which can be accessed without unzipping and a document pocket in the lining of the shell. The exterior has two water resistant cargo pockets with velcro closures and two zippered hand warmer pockets behind them.

Waterproofing is incorporated into the shell, a welcome improvement over the removable liners in the Adventure tour. However since this jacket does not use a liner system, Fieldsheer decided to remove the lower back pocket that the Adventure Tour had. I do kind of miss that as a handy place for my gloves when getting off the bike. The waterproofing has not failed me yet, and I’ve ridden through some pretty nasty autumn and winter rains. A removable storm collar is also included, which is honestly a bit of a ball ache to use but works exceptionally well when I take the time to use it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Venting is another area of refinement over the older jacket. The Hydro Heat has vents on the arms, chest, and back that go direct to the body and flow air even if you have a backpack on. While the Adventure tour had additional vents at the shoulder, they and the single back vent between the shoulders were rendered useless when wearing a backpack or hydration pack. One really great improvement isn’t necessarily a vent, but a hold-back hook for the collar to keep it open when the weather gets warm.

The Mobile Warming heated jacket could probably have a review to itself but I’ll try to keep it concise here. It is constructed as a soft shell jacket that is wind and water resistant with a light fill of Thinsulate to keep some heat in. Above that, it has heating panels in the chest, back, and arms to keep you warm when it gets chilly. There is also a wiring harness to provide power to heated gloves or glove liners. The heat level is controlled by a single button on the chest with 4 heat levels; 25, 25, 75, & 100%. It should also be noted the jacket has two input options; one in the right hand pocket intended for the battery and one inside, near the bottom hem, for use hard wired to the bike. When using the battery input in the pocket, the jacket will only heat the chest and back; the hardwire input will heat the arms as well but will deplete the battery pack much more quickly. Using the battery in the pocket as intended will give you about 2.5 hours of heat on high but considerably longer on lower settings. I’ve never gotten the battery below an indicated 50% and have worn it for extended periods, even on/off all day at the national zoo recently.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In conclusion, the Fieldsheer Hydro Heat jacket is a pretty impressive package, incorporating a well built, waterproof, armored shell with heated liner that can run on battery pack or wired to the bike is a really great concept. It is available on closeout directly from Fieldsheer at the time I’m writing this and I hope a new version is coming soon because it might be the best value I’ve found in motorcycle gear so far.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s