My riding gear closet is starting to get silly. I’ve got helmets and gloves that I haven’t worn for years but can’t seem to part with, pairs of boots for occasions that never seem to arise, and after paring down the collection a bit, three jackets.
I love my leather jacket. It’s old and worn in and fits me well, but there’s no ventilation, it weighs a ton, and when it rains, it becomes a soggy mess. So I started searching for yet another jacket that would meet a few crucial criteria.
First, it needed to be versatile and multi-seasonal. I wanted to be able to layer up under it and ride in chillier weather, but have the ability open some vents for summer rides, too.
Next, it needed to be waterproof. Not water-resistant. Not rain-repellant. Waterproof.
Finally, I didn’t want to look like was auditioning for the next Long Way Round series, with taupe, grey, and beige colour schemes on a coat that’s boxy and all pockets.
Beyond all of this, the jacket needs to be constructed for safety, of course.
My search quickly showed just what a tall order that wishlist was until I stumbled upon REV’IT!’s Trench GTX that seemed to fit the bill.
Confident that the Trench was just what I needed, the kind folks at REV’IT! sent me a black one to try. Unpackaging it, I was immediately impressed. The build quality and materials surpassed any riding garment I’d had before, and the fit wasn’t bulky – something I’ve found with too many ADV-style jackets.
Of course, the Trench GTX isn’t meant to be a hardcore ADV jacket, but rather an urban riding and commuting garment, giving it that simpler style, unadorned by high-viz tape and gaudy logos. Despite its more casual intent, REV’IT! has constructed the Trench from 400 denier nylon to withstand some nasty slides across the pavement should that ever occur.
The elbows and shoulders come with flexible SEEFLEX protectors that are tested in various temperature ranges to ensure they’re as functional in the cold as they are in the heat. There are built-in pockets for chest and back protection, but neither is shipped with the Trench, so I ordered REV’IT!’s SEESOFT level 2 back protector from Fortnine. It fits snugly within its pocket and remains situated on my back exactly where it’s meant to be, and its perforation allows for some airflow, preventing swamp back.
The GTX in the Trench’s name refers to the GORE-TEX lamination that’s applied to the outer layer nylon. This is key since it means even in the rain, the outer layer never gets soaked, which would add weight and pull heat from the rider.
On my Maritime ride this summer, I encountered a seriously soggy day on Prince Edward Island, and the Trench GTX did exactly what it was supposed to, keeping me both dry and warm, but it’s also breathable, so there was none of the clamminess I’ve experienced with other rain gear.
Fortunately, most of the multi-day ride was under sunny – albeit windy – skies that let me put the Trench’s versatility to the test. The liner was used for chilly mornings, a highlight of which is the plush neck roll that acts like a scarf to prevent cold wind from travelling down the rider’s back. It’s a bit fiddly to get the liner out thanks to a pair of zips and no fewer than eight snaps, but it rolled up compactly enough to stuff into my already-full luggage.
When things heated up in the afternoons, the rear zip vents were opened, along with the pair of chest openings. The latter are particularly clever with a pair of vertical zips and horizontal Velcro closures that open up much of the chest area to the wind. The open chest flaps are held in place with magnetic snaps, and even at speed, these vents can be easily manipulated. REV’IT! calls these Aquadefence panels and when closed, the Velcro (and wind) seal the panels against a rubber gasket that surrounds the mesh opening, ensuring the waterproofing isn’t compromised.
At speed, the system works as prescribed, but in stop-and-go traffic, most riders are still likely to find the Trench GTX too hot for the most sizzling days. Some venting in the sleeves might’ve helped.
From a technical standpoint, the Trench GTX delivers, but I was just as impressed with its style and comfort, too. It’s light enough, even with the protective panels and liner in place, that it doesn’t feel like you’re piggy-backing a second person while riding. With the liner out, it’s quite light and offers excellent moveability. There’s adjustability at the hem, waist, forearms, and cuffs, all of which help prevent things flapping in the wind (nobody wants that!) and gives the Trench an overall trim look.
This is a costly piece, ringing in at $840 Canadian at the retailers I checked, but REV’IT! has done a great job with this one and it feels well worth the investment. I like the simplicity of the black finish on my jacket, but it’s also available in an army green shade, too.
The Trench GTX checks all the boxes on my wishlist for a do-all, multi-season jacket and exceeded my expectations for fit, quality, and style, too. I can finally pare down that riding gear closet and retire the beloved leather jacket for good.