Every serious rider knows that it’s nearly impossible to have one setup that works in all kinds of conditions. A jacket that is toasty in the cold of Alaska will cook you alive in the heat of Baja desert. It’s next to impossible to make a suit that works great in all extremes. Manufacturers do not give up though, and REV’IT! SAND is a product of such efforts.
Now that I have used REV’IT! SAND Jacket and pants for nearly a year I can give you fair and honest assessment of it’s abilities, advantages and issues. First, I would like to go over basic features.
SAND Jacket comes in few colors - Silver / Black (my choice), Silver / Red, Black / Silver (should have been my choice) and beautiful Safari / Black. I picked Silver / Black because it’s easily the most beautiful of them all, but as it turns out that gorgeous silver gets dirty awfully quickly, especially if you ride a lot. Luckily it washes really well, so if you do not mind taking the armor out once in a while, pick this color for ultimate visibility. Black / Silver will stay cleaner much longer, but it’s very plain looking. Oh well, thank god for good wife. By the way had I seen Safari / Black beforehand, I would probably choose it instead. It’s very unusual and will get a lot of attention.
SAND Jacket comes with 2 removable liners - one is breathable waterproof that looks and feels like Gore-Tex liners I have seen on BMW jackets, and one thermal. Both liners could be used either together or separate from each other. According to REV’IT! the outer shell is treated with water repellent coating, but it must have worn off before I got it wet for the first time. No complaints here - I knew the outer shell is supposed to get wet.
There are several vents on the jacket, and I must say they are extremely efficent. The chest vents open via the zipper and then you roll the fabric to the side, locking it in place with velcro flap. That exposes very open mesh, with a layer mesh foam underneath to aid air circulation. Another vent is on the sleeves, and that is one of my favorite features on SAND jacket - it allows the cuff to be wide open, so you can tuck in your gauntlets with ease. Two front pockets are supposed to be fully waterproof, and while I never risked putting my iPhone in there, they never leaked even in the worst rains I had to ride through. There is another waterproof pocket on the inside of waterproof liner, that is where my valuables usually go if the weather turns foul.
So how does it feel in daily use? What I love the most about SAND suit is that it’s pure and simple. A lot of manufacturers tend to over complicate their garments, hoping that if they pack them with gimmicks it will attract more customers. SAND is completely different in this regard. Every little feature is functional and useful, and everything works as it’s supposed to. There are almost no Velcros on the jacket, as they always wear out with time. I love how rugged the zippers are, I predict that they will outlast the jacket itself. All fabric transitions are reinforced with extra stitching, and elbows have rubber like coating to increase durability. You can tell REV’IT! crew learned from their past mistakes - all weak points of my older REV’IT! jackets have been addressed.
With both liners removed the outer shell is lightweight and comfortable. I was able to use the jacket throughout the summer, even though on some days I wished I was wearing full mesh jacket. Most of the time however I was right in my comfort zone. Little hook and loop on the collar really help to bring some air in. Overall, SAND outfit far exceeded my summer expectations as usually 3 season outfits are not great in the heat. I think the key is having the outer shell that is not treated with any waterproofing. Breathability is one of my biggest requirements since most of my riding is in try weather, and we rarely get rain here in Southern California.
SAND Pants work in similar fashion, with two removable liners you will be comfortable in most of weather conditions. I had to adjust the position of knee armor to insure it’s in the right place, but I’m taller than average, so that is expected. I keep forgetting about cargo pockets, and they are extremely handy for putting small things in them. The bottoms of the pants are larger than usual - it is clear that SAND pants were designed to accommodate bulky off road boots. There are plenty of Velcro adjustments to make them tight around the boot though. One small gripe I have about SAND pants is ventilation. While the pants seem to breath OK and the zippered vent brings some air in, it could be better. I hope REV’IT folks in Holland are listening.
This year we had some serious rains down here in Southern California, and I commuted through every one of them. Good news is that SAND performed as advertised - no leaks to report. On a couple occasions I noticed a couple of wet sports around my waist, but that is most likely caused by waterproof liner riding up. What I found works is making sure it’s over the pants when you already got on the bike, otherwise it creeps up when you swing your leg over. When outer shell gets soaked is surprisingly dries very quickly, especially on the bike. It also doesn’t carry a lot of water, WR coating must be working because I can hardly notice any difference in weight when it’s wet.
Overall I love my SAND suit. The cut is about as good as it gets and the features are excellent. If they made it from more expensive Cordura and included Gore-Tex liner I would be even happier. Wait, that would be the DEFENDER suit? I can’t believe I have to upgrade again. Oh well.