Lightweight inflatable Air Gillet by Exotogg
RRP £97 with Free Postage
I ride motorbikes throughout the year and dressing for the changing weather is challenging, as being too cold is both miserable and dangerous. I usually ride with lots of thin layers that I add and remove as I need. This is a pain, as it means stopping, getting off the bike and taking the jacket off to add or remove a layer every time.
The Exotogg is a vest for under your jacket that I had never seen before. The stand-out element: it’s inflatable! This vest is made of a tough, recyclable TPU rubber-like material with a valve close to the neck that you blow into to inflate it (usually just three or four breathes will suffice). This air acts as an insulator, the same as it does in your homes double glazing. Independent lab tests confirmed it is 10% more effective than feather down!
I went for a 200-mile ride on a cold (7 degree) and windy autumn day. At speed, I am guessing the wind chill would have been 0 degrees or less. I started the ride with the vest deflated and without my heated grips on, as I wanted to get cold and work up from there. The first thing I noticed was this vest is great at preventing winds getting through your jacket, reducing wind chill instantly (as a young rider I would do a similar thing by stuffing a newspaper down my front). After half an hour or so of riding I was starting to feel cold, so when I stopped at a red light, I puffed three breathes in the jacket and rode off - that’s how quick this thing is. Within minutes I felt the difference: my core, particularly my back, was no longer cold. Over the ride, the weather turned colder, so when I had the opportunity, I puffed some more air in and it stepped up the warmth very noticeably. You do feel a bit puffed up, but this didn’t affect my riding. In fact, I suffer from a bad back and this seemed to act as a body splint and keep me from hunching over. I liked the hugging feeling a lot.
Over the years I have tested lots of heated base layers, but I don’t ride in them as I find them too complicated. The two main heated base layers the Exotogg competes with are bike battery fed items, where you have to attach power wires to your bike and risk draining your battery, or the type that have their own battery source but a limited battery life. The Exotogg, in comparison is never going to drain your bike’s battery or stop working.
As this is a tabard that goes over your head, it can also lay out flat and be used as an additional sleep mat or even as a pillow on a camping holiday. I am looking forward to trying to use it as an air seat cover on a really long ride, as I see no reason it wouldn’t work
Wearing this vest also doesn’t have to be restricted to motorbikes, as I have tried it when I was walking the dogs and it worked really well keeping me toasty warm.
The Exotogg folds up onto its own bag and weighs about half as much as a can of beans (260g), so if I am not wearing it, I will definitely be carrying it in my top box. With the 5-year guarantee, it can sit there for months until you need it - that can’t be said for batteries that drain and fail.
For a motorbike garment, this is inexpensively priced at just under £100.00 and cheaper than the battery competitors.
Clever and works very well
Fast to inflate
Don’t need to get off the bike
Only comes in black. I know it’s a rubbish con but that’s how good this is - colour was all I could think of!
5 out of 5 stars