MO Tested: Tourmaster Ridgecrest Jacket and Ridgecrest Pants Review

I think I’m always going to think the one-piece Aerostich suit, be it R3 or Classic, is the best combination of protection, comfort, and convenience for people who ride their motorcycle a lot. But not necessarily for people who stop riding their motorcycle a lot, which is what the MO crew winds up doing since the invention of the Youtube. We find ourselves stopping along the side of the road to shoot video and photos. When you’re rolling, Aerostich airflow is good. When you’re stopped, it gets hot in there in a hurry. Whipping the suit off isn’t usually the answer, since most of the time we’re shooting in sun-blasted SoCal, where there’s not much shade.
Tourmaster, who have a long history of making good gear at great prices, offered up their new adventurish Ridgecrest jacket and pants; who was I to refuse? 
Ridgecrest jacket

As she leaves the box (which looked like a big-screen TV when the UPS man brought it to my door), this thing is rather bulky. But since it was June, I quickly figured out how to remove the lightweight Reissa breathable, waterproof zip-out liner (“an extremely thin waterproof coating or membrane that is lightweight for wearing comfort but extremely durable –  highly resistant to rain, wind and snow while maintaining breathability,” they say), along with the zip-out thermal vest liner. You can roll both liners up tight enough to stow in the big pocket at the lower rear of the jacket, but maybe most of the time in the summer you only need the waterproof Reissa one, which isn’t too bulky at all. In California summer, I leave both liners in the garage.
With no liners, what you’re left with is a lightweight jacket whose leading surfaces are mostly mesh, but with 1000-denier honeycomb nylon ripstop reinforced shoulders, elbows, and forearms backed by CE level-2 Safe-Tech shoulder and elbow armor, which lives in internal pockets in the jacket’s nice, 100%-polyester liner. Two sliding slack take-up straps per sleeve – one above the elbow and one below – let you snug the sleeves up to your buggywhip arms, to help ensure that elbow/forearm armor is going to stay between your meat and the street if the worst should happen, and to control flappage. There’s a removable ¼-inch thick EVA foam back pad too, which will protect you in case of BB-gun attack from the rear: The pocket could fit a real back protector if you want one, up to 17 x 12 inches, though Tourmster itself doesn’t offer one.

Size L fits my 5’8” body with 34-inch waistline quite nicely, leaving room for two more thin layers underneath with the liners in place. With a t-shirt inside, it’s flap-free even on naked bikes at supralegal speeds. Though there seems to be no way to keep the Velcro tabs inside the sleeves from scratching your arms a little as you get in and out, at least the microfiber-lined collar and cuffs treat you right. Cuffs get zippers and a Velcro flap, which allows you to wear all kinds of short or long gloves. Overall, the Ridgecrest is quite comfy and fits well once you’re in it.

Out back, the blue sections are ripstop nylon, with black mesh panels on either side, along with four-way stretch panels on the shoulders, underarms, and elbows for a snug fit and ease of movement. Also, Velcro-adjustable belts out back, one per side, let you adjust the waist. A windflap-backed big plastic YKK zipper seals the front, with the slider on the right as God intended.
Even though all the seams are nice and securely double-stitched, this is not a jacket for sliding down the Mulsanne straight; it’s a jacket for proceeding at reasonably legal speeds, for protecting you from slower, adventure-riding tumbles, and for keeping you cool while doing so. Setting out in the morning, temperature in the low 70s, it’s almost chilly riding in this thing on the freeway on an unfaired bike, such is the amount of air that pours through. Unlike some ADV jackets, there are no zippered flaps to adjust; it’s all or nothing. Well, all or stop and insert the Reissa liner. Ain’t nobody got time for that. 
For me, for this summer, it hasn’t been a problem since I haven’t ridden in the jacket in anything below 65 or above 95 degrees. But you might want to seal yourself up a bit better if you were blasting across the desert at above 100 degrees to keep from too quickly losing your precious bodily fluids. In humid climates, you’d probably love this jacket. When it cools off again in Cali, if it cools off again, it really does feel like this baby would be nice and warmish with both liners in.
Tourmaster has been around the block more than a few times, and the rest of the jacket has your needs pretty much met, if you don’t mind quite a bit of Velcro, which probably helps keep costs down. The two big lower pockets on front Velcro shut, and have smaller zipper pockets on top of them as well as handwarmer pockets beneath. There’s an internal breast pocket on the right with a picture of a cell phone, which I keep nothing in because the Velcro flap is a PITA to get open. There’s a bigger pocket inside left that also Velcros shut. My favorite, more expensive jackets either have no closure method, or a nice, easier-to-use nylon zipper you can choose to leave open. There are two external breast pockets, which do use zippers. Wherever you put it, your phone’s going to get wet if it rains. Reflective trim boosts your safety in low-light conditions.

Ridgecrest jacket Specifications

Colors
Men: Black, Hi-Viz, Navy, Sand, Women: Black, Sand

Sizes
Men: 14 sizes from Small to 4XL Tall, Women: 9 sizes from X-Small to Plus X-Large

Tourmaster Ridgecrest jacket

+ Pros

$240
Lightweight, flows plenty of air
Lots of storage

– Cons

Loses style points to the expensive Italian stuff
Mucho Velcro
Sorry, I didn’t get to test it in the rain or cold

Shop for the Ridgecrest jacket here

Ridgecrest pants

The Tourmaster Ridgecrest pants are, not surprisingly, more of the same, with an 8-inch zipper out back for connecting them to the jacket if so desired. I never bothered, since the pants stay up fine on their own and even have a raised waistline at the back to keep out drafts. Size LG, sadly fits my 34-inch (ok, 36) waist just right with not much room to spare, but Velcro belts either side let you pull the waist in tighter in the unlikely event that you lose weight.
The Ridgecrest pants are also available in Sand/Gray, which makes their construction easier to see than my black ones.
These are mostly made of abrasion-resistant 600D polyester fabric, with 1000D honeycomb nylon ripstop reinforced knees and seat. Atop your thighs and along the back of them, you’ll find the same mesh that lets the jacket breathe so well, with stretchy material in the crotch and other crucial areas to allow freedom of movement.
What’s not so great about the pants compared to the jacket is that there are no adjustments to snug up the legs like there are for your arms, and the pants are cut like baggies from the ‘80s. Or was that the ‘90s? They didn’t really flap around much on the bikes I was on, but I did feel a little unfashionable with all the extra fabric hanging around. You can snug the pants up around your boots with a zipper and a pair of Velcro straps, but you’re stuck with that jodhpurs feeling around the thighs.

Then again, now that these are in production, I see Tourmaster offers the pants in 17 (!) sizes, so maybe I would do better in a MDS instead of my LG, whose too-long legs may be part of my problem? Tourmaster, being the big brand it is, should be widely available in many brick/mortar stores for trying on.
Armorwise, you get the same CE level-2 pads in your knees/shins, inside pockets that allow you to adjust the height of the 10-inch long pads to three different positions. Aside from fashion, you have to hope the bagginess of the pants won’t allow the pads to not be in the right spot when you need them to be, a thing that seems a bit iffy as delivered. My knees feel safer behind the big square pads of armor Aerostich sticks in the knees of its less baggy legs.
There’s more ¼-inch thick EVA foam in the hip pockets, which will also accept optional Safe-Tech 720 hip pads. The pants don’t come with a thermal liner, but they do get the same Reissa breathable, waterproof, and supposedly windproof zip-out liner as the jacket. Your normal front pants pockets are there, sealable with more nice YKK plastic zippers, as well as two generous cargo pockets alongside your thighs, sealed with zippers under Velcro flaps.

Ridgecrest pants

Colors
Black, Sand/gray

Sizes
Men: 17 sizes, from 3XL Short to 4X Large Women: 5 sizes, X-Small to X-Large

Tourmaster Ridgecrest pants

+ Highs

Plenty of room in there for your stuff
Good airflow if not great like the jacket
Sturdy construction

– Sighs

The loose fit makes you wonder if the knee armor will stay in place
Not as sexy as your skinny jeans
Wonder why the ladies only get five sizes?

Shop for the Ridgecrest pants here
FAQ
How to care for a Tourmaster jacket and pants?
The tags say to neither machine wash nor dry clean the jacket or pants, but we’ve machine washed plenty of other nylon/polyester items with no ill effects, and we don’t know anyone who dry cleans their motorcycle gear. You? Using the gentle cycle and cold water settings is easier on both the gear and the washer, and it’s much better to remove the armor first. For caked-on mud, hang the stuff from a clothesline or whatever, and hose off as much dirt as you can beforehand.
Where is Tourmaster gear made?
The Ridgecrest jacket and pants are designed in the US, and manufactured in Pakistan.
What back protector fits in the Tourmaster Ridgecrest jacket?
The back protector pocket in the jacket’s polyester lining will hold armor up to 12 inches wide between your shoulder blades, and up to 17 inches tall. The very top of the pocket necks down to about 6 inches wide, as does the lowest part that protects your lower back. The jacket comes with a ¼-inch-thick Safe-Tech back protector, which is better than nothing. Tourmaster doesn’t offer its own upgrade, but there are a bunch of protectors from reputable manufacturers available at the tip of your Google finger.
Additional Resources
MO Tested: KLIM Baja S4 Review
Best Adventure Motorcycle Touring Suits For Braving The Unknown
 

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