Dririder Vortex Adventure 2 Jacket
May, 2022… an impromptu ride to Townsville, North Queensland for a party, from Bendigo, Victoria… roughly 2,500 km. Three days up, stay a few days, then a quick, three-day return. The thought of flying hadn’t crossed my mind.
Checking the weather, I was heading for unfavourable, forecasted light rains, water over highways and expectant road closures. Wanting to travel light, I was keeping clothes and bike gear to the bare necessities, though not skimping on safety or functionality.
I wanted a competent all-rounder jacket, to handle rain, cold, heat and humidity. It needed waterproof ability, thermal warmth, removable liners and plenty of venting. This steered me to the reputably versatile, adventure-type range.
There weren’t many choices in Bendigo city, not a women’s jacket available, in this class, within cooeeee. The fallout from COVID meant lots of stock shortages. Available in my size, was a men’s Dririder Vortex Adventure 2 Jacket.
I researched the jacket and Dririder claims: …the ideal year-round, all-season option designed for touring yet capable of handling the whole range of Australian weather thanks to removable liners… and it had some decent reviews, from respected bike peeps, with one particular comment catching my eye:
“I’ve worn it through sweltering summer days and I have no reason to suspect it won’t be a faithful companion once winter has Melbourne in its grip and that’s down to just how practical a jacket it truly is.…”
Dririder is a reputable Australian brand, been around for a long time, a third of my gear is Dririder, so no reason to doubt this high praise. Believing it capable of the mission and expecting the majority of the serious water to be below the knees, I was happy to fork out a reasonable $500.
Features of Dririder Vortex Adventure 2 Jacket:
- Polyester 900D with 1200D shoulders and elbows ♥
Decent protection where it counts. The overall look was first-class. I loved the light grey colour, almost white, for optimum visuals andcoolness under the North Queensland sun. The favourable red and black trims gave it a bit of sass.
- Reflection front and back for low-light visibility ♥
Loved the super bright, shiny, silver reflectiveness, especially essential for riding in darkened days surrounded by greyness.
- Concealed chest vent panels, arm and large rear exhaust vents ♥
Oh yes, 110% for these vents, just loved these. They worked their magic with all the liners out and vents open when I was in the humid north.
- CE armour with Hi-Density foam back pad ♥
This is often overlooked when purchasing a jacket, but the quality of armour is super important for the type of riding. I was satisfied with the default level provided.
- Removable Throat Coat Velcro X
I guess for peeps with no hair past their ears or chin, this would be great, but arrrrgghhhhh, for me it failed badly as any hair that peaked out from under my helmet was caught in the Velcro. We all know how well we start with the hair tied up and away, but how long it stays there…
I felt claustrophobic with this closed; it sat too high up on the neck for me and the material felt stiff and uncomfortable.
After the first day, I removed it altogether; that’s a personal preference.
- Removable waterproof and breathable liner 15,000 mm / 7,000 mm X
Fail! This waterproof rating claims to handle “moderate rain, and light pressure”
The first day was perpetual drizzle to light rain; midway through the day, I was soaked to the skin. I wasn’t riding faster than 80 km/h due to slippery roads, potholes and a lot of areas where water covered the road.
Being stuck in the pre-winter outback of 8 to 12 deg C with a jacket’s main function failing, was unpleasant, to say the least and downright dangerous.
Not happy Jan!
The ever-unpredictable BOM weather gods advised rain was light and sketchy for the following day, so I chose to trust them. However, due to the wet and cold air, I was unsuccessful in drying out all the liners, plus my riding gear overnight, so I started in an uncomfortably damp state.
Luck held and rain wasn’t around much that second day, more just flooded roads, which my trusty Wide Glide, (now considering itself an adventure bike after a few doosey water crossings and many kilometres of clay and gravel roads,) waded easily through.
There was further rain on and off to Townsville, although never heavy, so I was extremely disappointed with the ineffective waterproof liner, as I was kept in a constant, wretched and often cold predicament.
No rubber-ducky, rain jackets for sale out where I was riding, so had to just suck it up. At one desperate moment, I was eyeing a Dorothy the Dinosaur raincoat, off a kid splashing through puddles.
- Removable 150g Thermal Quilted liner X
On the return trip, I had a chance to test this dry, yet the cold still trickled through to my skin. My base layers comprised of a long-sleeved, 100% Merino thermal shirt, plus Kathmandu fleece, which is sufficient in the same temperatures for my other winter, road trippin’ jackets. I wore my heated insert, which added another layer for a mild windbreak, but had it turned off for the test.
After a couple of hours, the chill factor was too intense, so flicked on the heated insert.
- Poly mesh comfort liner ♥
Yep, it’s impressive to easily remove a jacket wearing only a short-sleeved shirt underneath. An important feature in the tropics.
Big tick for this.
With all the liners inserted, the jacket felt very snug. Inserting them though was tormenting and time-consuming. There are colour-coordinated loops and buttons, where the white loop goes to the white button, black to black, so the concept is great, but I found the black-to-black most hindering with a background also of black.
A contrasting colour for the loop and button against the black would have made life on the road so much smoother, where most of the liner changes were made, not from the comfort of a well-lit lounge room.
- Arm and waist adjusters for optimum fit ♥
Loved the arm-adjusting options depending on what liners and other layers were underneath. It’s important to feel your elbow armour will stay in place too.
The waist adjuster is great for a bit of shape too.
- Stretch panels in shoulders and elbows ♥
Loved these too! The ability to comfortably bend elbows for the helmet on/off was refreshing. A major dislike of gearing up is that last bit… doing up the helmet strap.
Wearing the average fitted jacket, the elbows don’t often bend that easily.
Just put the helmet on before the jacket you say? Mmmmmm…. yeah, nah!
Road tripping is a whole new ball game of riding, especially when short on daylight with multiple elements to factor in. Depending on the helmet and layering around the neck, I can’t even see the jacket bottom to connect the zipper quickly.
Each minute counts, especially trying to make that last destination at the end of a hard day and you’re losing light fast.
- Waist expander zips ♥
Great for those feeling fat days and when layering up underneath.
- Waist connection zip ♥
For those who like matching pants; this gives a secure connection and as the pants are heavy with armour, the zip keeps them up.
No idea how quickly you’d get them down though if you need to pee quick.
Velcro, Velcro, Velcro!!!!!!! Oh, my flamin’ lawdy… X
Velcro on motorcycle gear seriously does my head in. It sticks to everything it’s not meant to and more often than not, doesn’t connect with what it’s designed for.
I don’t know what can replace Velcro… I’ll need to think about that, but I can’t remember having a jacket where it became such a frustrating issue.
- Multiple storage pockets ♥/X
Whohooooo… I thought, no need to wear a hip bag. When I saw all the pockets, I was ecstatic, places to stash those necessities I like to carry on my person in case I come off.
The idea of the pockets, a big thumbs up… the use of the pockets in an ideal climate, another big thumbs up.
All these wonderful pockets in the rain, a big thumbs down. They all failed badly when wet; my contents sat in contained pools of water.
It was like they were waterproof, but from the inside – out… not from the outside – in.
- Hydration Bladder Pocket ♥
I was impressed there was a water bladder insert in the back and was looking forward to using that. I didn’t though as it felt weird to me, possibly as I’m not used to it. With the back armour, plus the water bladder, I felt too bulked up.
My seating position is different to an off-road stance of mainly standing, so I’d think that it would be great for that as well as a more upright road position.
It came in useful for popping a couple of light clothing items in, I’d removed during the day.
I normally carry my water bladder in an oilskin bag, at the top of my forks, so was happy to keep that set-up.
Sometimes it’s the seemingly little things, that if not right, can cause the rest to fail. This is a well-made garment, the zips, pockets, all seams, etc., are sewn to a high standard.
It’s great in hot, humid climates with all the vents open. It’s great for generic Summer, Autumn and Spring riding, when there’s rain no more than a few seconds, drizzle and not too much below 12 degrees. I wouldn’t use this for my regular go-to Winter jacket.
♥ Thumbs up
- Airflow is amazing with multiple cooling vents, front, back and inner arm
- Elbows and shoulders movement is refreshing compared to traditional-styled jackets
- Fitted well, felt sturdy and protected in all the right spots for an off
- Love the waist adjustment, looks smart offering femininity
- Plenty of pockets, great when dry
- Love, love, love the length down over the hips
- I loved the colour scheme and the reflectors
- Quality of manufacture, excellent
X Thumbs down
- Big FAIL was the rated waterproofness
- The Velcro wrist closure was bulky, making gloving up awkward and time-consuming, possibly because it was a male jacket
- Pockets were great until it rained
- The 150g thermal quilted layer, in conjunction with my thermals, a Kathmandu fleece didn’t cut it in the cold
Whilst the Dririder Vortex Adventure 2 Jacket has positive and quality features, it failed as an all-rounder for me, which was the purpose of my purchase.
A falling-short, 3-star rating from me.
Winter gear is super important to get right; getting stuck out in the doon docks with inadequate warmth and dryness puts a dangerous dampener on any trip.
Will I buy Dririder products again?
Bloody oath I will…
Dririder has been a staple in my motorcycle gear closet since I started riding. This time I just happened to luck out.
Review by Katarina Dálaigh
For a medium to higher priced comparison, see the REV’IT H20 Adventure 2 review.
There is such a thing called a Waterproof Rating which is worthy to note, if you are considering buying wet-weather motorcycle gear.
It will help you decide on a garment worthy of the price tag and the ride planned.
Having gear fail in cold and wet conditions can put you in a perilous position, so choose well when planning your motorcycle wardrobe.