Layer up, layer down, and easily snug your jacket and its armor into place.
Touring jackets are a great idea. Having a single garment that works through multiple seasons instead of a closet full is just simpler, for one thing. For another, layering up or down as weather demands is second nature to a lot of us, so a jacket with removable liners for different purposes just seems like an extension of that. Unfortunately, that creates a different difficulty.
When you take a bunch of layers off that formerly sat between your skin and the outside of your jacket, suddenly, it’s too big. Besides not perhaps looking the way you want it to, that can quickly become a safety issue if your armor is just flopping around and not staying where it should to actually protect you. How do you fix this problem?
If you’re Swiss gear manufacturer IXS, you create the Tour Jacket Flex-ST, complete with Size-Adjust System. When I first saw this name, I wondered if it was just more adjustable straps, sort of like the ones used on the waists of some jackets, or more commonly on backpacks or messenger bags. Turns out, IXS added strategically-placed zippers instead.
Going from the front of the waist, up over your shoulder, and down to the back of your waist on both sides, there’s a circumferential zip you can open or close. When both are open, the result is an additional 8 centimeters—or just over 3 inches in width. It’s perfect for layering in that super-warm hand-knit sweater in the winter, or maybe a technical fleece to keep you extra toasty in the cold.
It comes with CE level 2 shoulder and elbow protection, as well as CE level 2 back protection, all from impacTec. There’s a solto-Tex 2-layer Z-liner waterproof membrane, as well as a removable thermo lining, and a breathable mesh lining. Various width adjusters of the sort we’re all familiar with help you dial in the fitment just right. You get a two-way zip at the cuffs to help with ventilation, as well as 6 additional ventilation openings throughout the jacket. Four outside pockets, two inside pockets, and two Napoleon pockets give you plenty of stashable storage space on your person.
It comes in one color: black, from sizes S to 5XL. Recommended retail price in the U.S. is $349. No matter when you’re reading this, winter is always coming somewhere, so you’d better get ready.