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Aether Draft Jacket Review

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Hot weather riding is an unfortunate reality of our sport. It can be unavoidable. You can strip off layers, but the sun will still beat down on you, sapping your body’s moisture and leaving you dehydrated. Opening up a couple of vents on an insulated jacket can actually cause convection, transferring heat more quickly than direct airflow. Evaporative cooling layers usually only last a short while. Mesh jackets are an excellent option as long as the material is strong enough to be protective, but they tend to be one-trick ponies, either wide open with complete venting or totally suffocating with a rain layer on. However, Aether has found a smart and stylish solution with its Draft mesh jacket.

Made primarily of leather and a polyester mesh, the Draft jacket is, classically, available in any color you want so long as it’s black.
Made primarily of leather and a polyester mesh, the Draft jacket is, classically, available in any color you want so long as it’s black. (Aether Apparel/)

The Draft jacket consists of two pieces, a waterproof outer shell and the leather and mesh jacket beneath it. The shell is made of a three-way-stretch nylon, has sealed seams to keep water out, and packs up small enough to fit into the back compartment of the mesh jacket. Zippered openings in the shell let the wearer reach through to access the pockets underneath or get partial venting if desired, but it is clearly not designed for independent use. It connects to the inner jacket with one snap at the end of each sleeve and one at the collar. Reflective sections at the back and on each sleeve help increase visibility, an important feature as you’ll probably only be busting out the shell in poor weather.

The mesh jacket is the real star of the show here. Most of the jacket is a mesh polyester that breathes like it’s barely there at all; Aether claims this fabric is “highly abrasion resistant,” though luckily we avoided testing that claim. Thick but soft leather panels on the forearms, collar, and pocket openings add to the jacket’s weight, which is substantial in the best way. Mesh jackets often feel light and flimsy, but the Draft, with D3O armor in the elbows, shoulders, and back, feels ready to do its job should things go sideways.

The Draft jacket is available on <a href="https://www.aetherapparel.com/" target="_blank"><strong>aetherapparel.com</strong></a> for $695.
The Draft jacket is available on <a href="https://www.aetherapparel.com/" target="_blank"><strong>aetherapparel.com</strong></a> for $695. (BMW Motorrad/)

Most riders want their jackets’ impact padding to be removable. But since this padding is needed on the joints, which are also friction zones, Velcro closures and zippers can be uncomfortable. Aether has figured out a clever solution here, with a second Velcro access point beyond the D3O back pad that reaches the elbow and shoulder pockets. Voila! No more itchy Velcro or zipper pressure point.

Branding detail on the collar of the Aether Draft jacket.
Branding detail on the collar of the Aether Draft jacket. (Aether Apparel/)

As mentioned earlier, there is a large back pocket on the mesh jacket similar to map pockets on adventure jackets. This one, however, is designed to fit the folded wind/rain layer when you’re not using it. This can limit exhaust venting a little bit, but it was hardly noticeable when used to stash the shell except for a little bit of added bulk. I personally preferred to just keep the shell in the saddlebag when I wasn’t using it.

The Draft jacket features a zipper-adjustable cuff.
The Draft jacket features a zipper-adjustable cuff. (Aether Apparel/)

I tend to fit between a L and an XL in most motorcycle jackets, as I have a tall, thin build and tend to need length more than width. In the case of the Draft I went with the XL, which fits my shoulders and sleeves perfectly. The lower hem of the jacket is a little bit low for me, causing a potbelly effect when I’m sitting on a cruiser. On standard or adventure motorcycles requiring a more upright posture, this isn’t really an issue. Many companies use zippers with a second pull to allow unzipping from the bottom, which alleviates this issue and would have been appreciated here.

The fasteners are, however, high-quality components; the zippers are chunky and large, and the snaps big and easy to find with your gloves on. In fact, every part of this jacket feels like it was developed, tested, and refined by motorcyclists. True, your kid may have to attend their second choice of college, but you’ll be cool and comfortable. In all seriousness, handsome gear that fits and functions properly and effortlessly is gear you’re more likely to use, which makes it an investment in your well-being.Therefore, Aether’s Draft jacket has the potential to return years of protection and comfort on your warm-weather rides.

Front and back of the Draft jacket with its outer shell equipped.
Front and back of the Draft jacket with its outer shell equipped. (Aether Apparel/)

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