While we typically associate mesh jackets with warmer climates, hybrid mesh jackets can be a good option in the hottest months of summer.
After hours of research and and with over six decades of combined motorcycle riding experience between us, we’ve come up with this list of the 6 best options to suit every budget.
Best Motorcycle Mesh Jackets
Dainese Air Frame – Ultimate Comfort
This jacket is comfortable in a way that has nothing to do with hot weather. The “anti-floating sleeve” design has a funny name but really does what it says on the tin.
The neck, waist and wrists are fully-adjustable and lined with soft material, but the real selling point is the removable windproof liner.
Using this liner will make your jacket significantly more comfortable when the temperature drops or the sun goes down. For UK summer riding, this is a nice touch – given the changeable nature of the weather and difference daylight makes.
The Air Frame features CE certified armour in the elbows and shoulders and has a dedicated pocket for back protection. Its quick-dry fabric is another notch on its belt of adaptability. Summer riding wrapped up.
What we like: Excellent, comfortable Dainese construction, removable, windproof liner and quick dry fabric
RST Pro Series Ventilator – All Weather Pick
RST’s Ventilator is a fairly complete solution to summertime riding. While it uses K300 mesh panels throughout the jacket and an inner mesh lining for comfort, the big attraction of this jacket is its removable thermal, waterproof lining.
Though it’s primarily geared towards summer riding, hardier folk wear these jackets well into autumn on account of its versatility.
All the usual solid construction stuff you’d expect from RST is present – MaxTex abrasion-resistant fabric bonded seams, and hook and loop adjustable arms and waist. This jacket is one of only two on our list to ship with elbow, shoulder, and back armour.
All in all, a great jacket at the price and more functionality than the competition.
What we like: It’s still a breezy summer jacket but if the conditions change, you’ll be warm and dry
RST Aero CE – One Season Pick
This is a dedicated mesh jacket – light, well-ventilated, and very comfortable. Like the other RST jacket on our list, this uses MaxTek fabric for abrasion resistance with K300 mesh for ventilation.
This one, however, doesn’t include the removable, waterproof, thermal layer, making it warm weather only. It performs really well in the hottest of UK conditions though.
Some people may choose to wear a layer underneath to get more versatility out of the jacket. We’d suggest going up a size in this case. Waist and cuffs seem to be slightly shorter than typical RST cuts.
It ships with elbow and shoulder protection installed and a pocket for back protection. There are lots of small, easily-accessible pockets and reflective detailing throughout the jacket.
It’s limited to summer use but an excellent choice for those months.
What we like: Good value, quality mesh jacket.
Rev’it Eclipse Jacket – Style Pick
Rev’it has gone for a back-to-basics look, kept the price reasonable and still managed to offer decent protection with this jacket.
With an understated cut and Knox Lite armour in the shoulders and elbows, this jacket is an excellent choice for summer riding when you might spend some time off the bike too. Impact zones use 600D polyester fabric and mesh ventilation panels are on the chest, back, and sleeves.
The Eclipse is highly adjustable – straps at the hips and tabs at the cuff and upper arm help you dial in a perfect fit. It has a couple of easy-to-reach slit pockets on the outside and a number of internal storage pockets.
We like the understated styling, how it feels lightweight and easy to wear off the bike and its performance in hot weather.
This jacket doesn’t offer a lot of versatility outside of summer riding but is a quality piece of equipment for the price.
What we like: Classic styling, well-ventilated and super comfortable
Alpinestars T-SPS Air – Durable Equipment
Designed for comfort in warmer conditions, this jacket also boasts quality armour and rugged construction.
Tough 600D, polyurethane-coated polyester makes up the bulk of the jacket and ventilation is supplied by the large mesh panels used on the front, back, and underarms.
The areas over the quality Nucleon Flex Plus shoulder and elbow armour panels are reinforced, making this a very durable summer jacket, well suited to the UK.
Hook and loop adjustments at the waist and a low profile collar make this a particularly comfortable jacket – especially in weather when a draft down the neck is welcome. Not quite as light as some of the other jackets on our list but this one should last a few seasons.
What we like: Durable, comfortable jacket with good protection
Macna Furio Textile Jacket – Great The Rain
This is slightly different from the other options on our list. It’s a textile jacket with 3D mesh inserts that help to increase airflow. I’ve used these “3D” mesh inserts before in the tropics and they really work, despite their silly name.
The main part of the jacket is constructed using 600D polyester with Durylon panels.
Safetech shoulder and elbow armour inserts are included, and this jacket ships with a CE certified back protector already installed. A waterproof over jacket is also included and compatibility with Macna’s Hot Vest is present – extending the seasonal range of this jacket.
What we like: Tough construction and a waterproof over jacket
Mesh jackets and clothing used to be a speciality item for summer in hotter climates – places like continental Europe, Asia, and parts of the USA.
But for the hottest summer months in the UK, or for tours through Greece, Italy, Spain etc., a mesh jacket is always a nice touch and sometimes a lifesaver.
Mesh jackets work by uses porous fabric to the front and rear that allows air to pass through, cooling the rider down, while still using abrasion-resistant materials on impact zones and armour.
Mesh jackets can’t offer the same level of protection as a top-end leather or textile jackets, but by reinforcing key areas and using armour inserts, they can offer a decent level.
All the jackets on our list come with shoulder and elbow armour pre-installed and many with a dedicated pocket for back protection. Typically, mesh jackets don’t ship with back armour inserts included.
You want to leave enough space for air to circulate but not so much that there’s material flapping around.
If you want to wear another layer under your jacket to get more use out of it – consider going up a size. Mesh jackets are usually intended to be worn over a thin base layer only.
It’s obviously quite tricky to make a jacket that allows air to pass through freely but not water. But if you have the money, such an item can be bought.
Other jackets opt for quick-drying fabrics. In weather hot enough to choose mesh clothing, you’ll dry quickly once the rain stops.
Some of the jackets on our list have a removable windproof liner, meaning your jacket can be used in less than ideal conditions. This is a welcome feature in the UK, where the weather is unpredictable at the best of times.