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Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them









PRODUCT REVIEW: Power Trip Dakota II All-Weather Jacket

Ideal for first-time textile jacket wearers

By S. Masyn Moyer
1/23/2011

Christmas came early for me last year. It wasn’t in the form of garland, wreaths, lights and a Christmas tree all wrapped up in a bow. No! It was delivered by the next-best version of Santa Clause, my UPS man. In a plain brown box handed to me on an 80-degree fall day in Denver, I received the Dakota II jacket from Power Trip, sent to me by WRN Editor Genevieve Schmitt to review. But this isn’t just any jacket—this is the mother of all jackets, as I soon discovered. 

I started out my riding career wearing leathers even though I was pretty sure there were alternatives available. I just didn’t take the time to look. I’m from Minnesota and currently reside in Colorado, so I know a bit about extreme riding weather. The only defense I can give of my initial choice in attire is that leather is a traditional (Harley-Davidson) biker look, and I preferred it.

The Dakota II was delivered to my place of business, the hair salon I own, whereupon I immediately tore open the box to reveal this gorgeous black jacket made of RockTex 600 that is 100-percent waterproof. RockTex is the brand name of this textile fabric; the number 600 is its denier count. 

All the armor is removable, as is the foam spine protector that can be replaced with an optional CE-approved one. Detailing on the jacket is sleek and feminine without being too girly. The jacket is all black (the only color available) except for a small red logo at the nape of the neck and a hint of red peeking out from the interior lining at the center zipper. Short bands of reflective piping drape over the shoulder blades. That’s it for reflective abilities.

As an adult female, I am so done with all-over-bedazzled, logoed clothing that adorns shop walls in the name of fashion. Give me a practical piece of clothing tailored for a woman’s body and with a sexy (understated) vibe to it, and I’ll buy it! Really! At the end of the day, I am still a girl who likes to shop and have lots of options in my closet. 
 
I did, however, have real reservations about this jacket at first. All the protective pads are in it, and the last thing I want is to wear a racing jacket on my Harley or look bulky and masculine. The day it arrived, I watched as my salon manager, Erika, put the jacket on while I was busy working with a client. She fumbled with all the zippers and layers (because there are a lot) for about 10 minutes. She worked her way through what goes where and why, but once she had the jacket all zipped up and struck a pose… well, let’s just say it looked hot on her! It hugged every curve and gave her a couple where she needed them. 

I was relieved about the overall look, but still a little concerned about what it would look like on me. See, the difference between Erika and me is that she is more feminine on top—curvy, small waist, etc.—whereas I am more linebacker with a chest, a true farm girl frame. But when I finally slipped my arms into it, I liked it too. I was not fully in love with the armor because I’m not a safety-conscious girl, but noticed the armor was not restrictive at all. And I loved how flattering the jacket looked before I even touched any of the adjustments. I just hoped once I got it home and personalized it, I would feel the same.

Three hours later, I spent an hour getting acquainted with the jacket. I adjusted the straps and zipped and unzipped the (patent pending) ventilation panels until I had a full understanding of how everything was supposed to work. When I was all done, I packed it on my bike for a trip to New Mexico the following weekend.  

I covered about 1200 miles that weekend through the Rocky Mountains and a couple national forests. Temperatures ranged from full sun and 98 degrees to rainy and 63 degrees on my return. Climbing my first peak, I put on the jacket without the lining. It was still in the 80s, but I was a bit chilled in the mountain air. I found the jacket comfortable and easy to wear. It also kept all the water out during a steady drizzle, though I never hit a big downpour.

As the air warmed, I unzipped the outer layer, exposing the mesh lining, and opened the zipper across the back above the adjustable waist to allow air to flow through from the front to the back. Because I have 14-inch ape hangers and no windshield on my bike, I was prepared for the jacket to balloon up and become an instant sail. I was thrilled when it didn’t. The jacket maintained its form and didn’t ride up on me even though I hadn’t used the convenient snap loops provided to attach the jacket to my belt loops. It kept me cool enough to continue wearing it in the warm sun, and I actually felt protected—something I hadn’t fully felt before in my leathers.

The small amount of air moving through the jacket was the only thing that surprised me. For slightly better airflow, it seems the design would be better served with two more vents either under the arms or along the hips. Don’t get me wrong—I was comfortable. I just expected a technical jacket like this to have a bit more airflow than what I got. 

On the last day of my trip, the weather changed dramatically, and I needed to cover 500 miles and a mountain pass by early afternoon. The day was miserable and cold. I was woefully unprepared save for the jacket. For the next six hours, every part of my body was freezing and uncomfortable except the parts covered by this jacket. 

Early on, I had carefully zipped back in the soft, 100-percent polyester, full-sleeved lining. Although nicely constructed, the lining is not a stand-alone piece, which would have been nice for long-distance trips when space is an issue. There is enough room in the neck area that I can zip the jacket up fully over a scarf that covers my face and neck. I don’t snap the zipper located at the top center of the neckline, as that feels a little snug for me, but it wouldn’t be overly tight if I had to secure it.  

Several gas stations and 10 cups of scalding hot coffee later, I arrived home in Boulder, Colorado, my final destination. As I pried my frozen body from my bike just in time to see my first client, I was left with only one wish for next Christmas dancing in my head—that the UPS man bring me a pair of pants just as cool as this jacket!

As mentioned above, the Dakota II costs $149.99 for XS to XL and $164.99 for 1 Diva and 2 Diva. For more photos and to find a dealer, visit Power-Trip.com

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