An ex police motorcycle Sgt and Tactical Pursuit Advisor, Dave has advised police forces around the UK and further afield, as well as addressing The International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI) conference on how to deal with the criminal and anti-social use of motorcycles. He has owned everything from mopeds at 16 through sportsbikes, off roaders, supermotos and currently rides a Honda Africa Twin.
Date reviewed: January 2020 | Tested by: Dave Yorke | Price: £99 | exotogg.com
The Exotogg Thermal Lightweight Bodywarmer on review here won the Outdoor Industry clothing product of the year award in 2019, promising you’ll go ‘from cool to very warm in four breaths.’ So is it any use for motorcycle touring and adventure riders?
As summer rolls into autumn, it’s a tricky time of year to decide what to wear on a motorbike if you want to remain warm in the evening but not overheat during the afternoon. I’ve been wearing the Exotogg on ever-colder rides with my Africa Twin...
Exotogg calls this a mid-layer – you pull it over your head and it wears like a life jacket, although it’s nowhere near as bulky. There are hook and loop straps to attach the front of the garment to the back – keeping it close to your body – although these could have been a bit longer to allow for more adjustment. I did, however, appreciate the extra piece of hook and loop that provides a backing panel to the exposed strap, meaning your base layer doesn’t get pulled at by the exposed hooks.
This British-made garment is unique on the market, so how does it work? Inflating via the mouthpiece using only up to four breaths means that the rider has an air barrier between them and the outside; it’s a simple but effective means of keeping warm.
While I was riding through Autumn I could feel that my arms – which aren’t covered by the Exotogg – were colder than my body, but I did remain warm in the core around my chest; a sure sign that the Exotogg was doing exactly what Tony Hawkins, the designer, intended.
The Exotogg can be worn uninflated, where it still acts as a wind stopper
The Exotogg is pretty comfortable once on but was a little grabby on the base layer I was wearing when I was in the process of putting it on. It was the same when I tried it with a T-shirt.
Once it’s fitted though, it’s comfortable and if it’s not inflated it still acts as a wind barrier. Because it has to be inflated to create the thermal barrier it’s obviously going to grow in size, so I had to wear a jacket with a little bit more room in it than my usual one – if you have a really tight-fitting jacket, this will just make things that bit tighter. My body movement wasn’t restricted and it was easy enough to put on mid-ride when I stopped for a break.
Using my small CamelBak Mule, the inflator didn’t interfere with the pack’s straps, but if you have a larger pack, for instance a Kriega with its wide straps, you might want to check how it feels. But don’t worry – Exotogg offers a 60 day trial with free returns if you’re not happy.
The Exotogg is made from TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) – a light material that’s resistant to cold, meaning it won’t crack in extreme low temps and should be usable for years. At just
At 260 grams including the inflating tube, it’s very light and it certainly seals well; I left the Exotogg inflated for over a week without any noticeable air escaping.
Once you’re ready to deflate the jacket, it’s as simple as pressing the top of the valve in the inflation tube and giving the garment a squeeze.
As the Exotogg obviously gets bigger when you inflate it, you need to make sure your jacket can accommodate it
With no batteries to buy, electrical cables to plug in, or for that matter no wiring modifications needed to attach to your bike, the Exotogg is a very simple but effective way of maintaining body warmth.
I switch to my more hefty thermal gear in deep winter, preferring to use the Exotogg in those transitional seasons (of which British weather seems to be mostly made up). It can of course be used when you’re not riding, but on the bike, it enables you to stay out longer in more comfort.
Layering up is the best way to keep warm, and by creating that barrier of trapped air around your core, the Exotogg is an effective and versatile addition to your riding kit…