A Motorcycle Touring Jacket With No Equal

Author: Ray  Date Posted:5 September 2022 

HELD CAMARIS JACKET REVIEW – “Felt the Gore, absorbed the breeze, loved the quality.”

I managed to acquire the Held Camaris jacket for the New Zealand launch of the Yamaha Niken.

Cool, I thought. I shall look so very fine. The hot backpacker babes in their insane painted-on yoga pants (Go to Queenstown and tell me I’m lying) will dislocate their pelvises in their efforts to get those pants off as I ride past them.

Of secondary consideration would be my relative water-resistance, armoured awesomeness, and, if the temperature fell into the crazy numbers on those alpine passes, climactic enhancement with Gore-Tex.

As an unashamed fan of the Held brand, I am always keen to try whatever new wizardry come out of Germany. And when I shrugged the Camaris on two things were instantly obvious.

The jacket is a combination of leather and textile with a removeable Gore-Tex inner liner, which you can take out, stick on your backpack/girlfriend’s handbag/topbox and then put on over the top of the actual jacket if it starts to rain. Or you can leave it in and allow the outside of your jacket to get wet.

The second obvious thing was that while it is cut flatteringly long, like a proper sub-zero polar item, it’s actually a mid-season jacket that allows a lot of cooling air to reach you even with the Gore-Tex liner inside. Take out the liner, and you have a summer jacket par excellence.

It has the unbeatable Held Sas-Tec armour in the shoulders and elbows – so comfort and first class impact protection is built in, and you can easily add a back-protector as well.

It’s not vented, but then it doesn’t need to be. I found it to work just fine in hot weather (30-odd degrees) and my nipples only started to harden when the temperature started to slide south of 15. So it’s no winter unit. But in summer, spring and autumn, it will do very well indeed.

It’s not one of those jackets you just can’t wait to get off when you stop. Long-wearing comfort is a hallmark of Held – and I have done some big miles in the gear. There’s nothing worse than a jacket that gnaws, chafes, or rides up in the wrong places when you’re riding. Bear that in mind when you’re trying any jacket on. How it sits on you in front of a shop mirror is not how it might sit on you when you’re on your bike. Held gear is invariably cut to be ridden in.

All these German jackets always have enough pockets, including a handy Smartphone repository just inside the left-hand chest area, which you can get to without having to unzip the whole jacket. It also allows you to easily run earphones from that pocket to your helmet. And think of the super microwaves invigorating your heart as you ride.

The sleeves are proper riding length, but with a long zipper that runs up from the cuff that allows you to either wear your gloves inside your sleeve or outside if that’s the way you roll. The cuffs are bit bulkier than normal because of the Gore-Tex liner inside the jacket, so gloves which have snug-fitting cuffs may need to be adjusted in that area.

The collar is soft and has that clever little magnet in the fastening tab that gently fastens the collar for you.

The quality is top-notch. It has to be. Held competes in Europe with all the top-shelf brands and normally beats them in gear compares the proper Euro bike magazines hold each year. The Germans take this stuff seriously. So every zipper, stitch, the linings, the pockets, the Velcro fasteners, just last and last. I have Held gear which is four years old and seen some hard miles and it still works and pretty much looks like it did the day I got it.

There’s nothing I don’t like about it and a lot that I do. This melding of quality leather and textile is very effective – and dare I say somewhat stylish. Dashing even. Almost Hussar-like.

OK, ladies. Your yoga pants go on that pile over there. Keep it orderly.

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