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Best Summer Motorcycle Gear: Say No to Sweating Through Your Clothes

Stay cool and confident when outfitted in summer motorcycle gear.

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BYAndra DelMonico/ LAST UPDATED ON August 3, 2022

It is late July-early August, and I am sitting at a red light, feeling sweat roll down my spine. Even with the best summer motorcycle gear, riding a motorcycle in the Florida summer is brutal. Over the years, I have bought several pieces of gear that promised to keep you cool. I know firsthand that there is gear that claims to be breathable, and then there is real summer gear that is actually breathable. Nothing is worse than getting off the bike soaked in sweat and dehydrated because your gear had zero airflow or it did not wick moisture and dry the way it promised to. It is time to say goodbye to imposter summer gear and replace it with real summer motorcycle gear that keeps you cool, dry, and confident.

Best Overall

USWE Outlander 4 Backpack With 3L Hydration Bladder

Summary
Strap this backpack and hydration bladder to your back and sip water anytime you want.
Pros
  • No Dancing Monkey shoulder harness
  • Compatible with Helmet Handsfree kit
Cons
  • Water can taste like plastic 
  • Can feel tight on larger riders
Best Budget

Sedici Cooling Vest

Summary
Keep your core cool with this slimline cooling vest that you can wear under your jacket.
Pros
  • Waterproof interior 
  • Cut with a higher waist front and longer back
Cons
  • You have to dunk it in water to use it
  • Can feel bulky when under layers
Honorable Mention

Alpinestars Ride Tech V2 Summer Pants

Summary
Stay cool and comfortable in your most sensitive areas with these compression base layer pants.
Pros
  • Fully body-mapped construction
  • Pre-curved legs
Cons
  • Designed to work with a racing suit
  • Sizing runs very small
Best Summer Motorcycle Gear: Say No to Sweating Through Your Clothes
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Summary List 

Best Budget: Sedici Cooling Vest

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Our Methodology

Sweating through your gear is no fun and puts a serious damper on your ride. The team at The Drive gets it, which is why we want to help you find the best gear for your summer hot weather rides. When looking for summer motorcycle gear, I thought about my experience riding in the Florida summer heat. I considered a variety of gear that, when used together, create a more enjoyable riding experience. I stuck with reputable brands that are known for producing quality gear. Then I looked for features that would help specific pieces perform better in hot weather. I considered breathability, hydration, and moisture-wicking ability. Finally, the gear that stood out also had protective qualities like armor and abrasion-resistant fabrics. 

Best Summer Motorcycle Gear Reviews & Recommendations

Specs

  • Gear Type: Bag
  • Breathable: Yes
  • Material: Premium lightweight textiles

Pros

  • 3-liter elite hydration system included
  • Patented No Dancing Monkey shoulder harness
  • Exterior zippered pocket
  • Tube port compatible with Helmet Handsfree kit

Cons

  • Water can taste like plastic
  • Can feel tight on larger riders wearing a bulky jacket

Staying hydrated is a must when riding in hot summer weather. With this backpack, you do not have to stop riding to drink water. This slimline backpack sticks close to the body and holds an impressive three liters of water. Unlike other backpacks, this one uses USWE's patented No Dancing Monkey shoulder harness technology, which keeps the backpack securely in place without restricting your movement or breathing. Unlike other hydration bladders, this backpack has extra zippered pockets for you to store your keys, wallet, and other personal items. I like that this backpack comes with the bladder and tube, so you do not have to buy anything else to use it.

One complaint about this backpack is that the hydration bladder can give your water a funny taste, so rinse it out well before you use it. Additionally, you will need to add ice to the bladder because the water will get hot, which is not refreshing.

Specs

  • Gear Type: Clothing
  • Breathable: No
  • Material: Polymer-imbued fabric

Pros

  • Waterproof interior
  • Quickly absorbs water
  • Low profile styling
  • Cut with a higher waist front and longer back

Cons

  • Clammy feeling
  • Dries out fairly quickly

Wear this vest under your existing gear and enjoy the cooling effect of evaporating water. To use, soak the vest in water before your ride. Wring it out really well, or it will drip and create puddles. The polymer-imbued fabric helps to distribute the water evenly. The inside has a waterproof lining to keep your shirt dry. The higher cut waist in the front and a longer cut in the back are a nice touch to this particular vest. This gives you better coverage where you need it while riding. This vest excels in sweltering climates where temperatures easily get over 90 degrees.

Unfortunately, I found this vest to give me a cool and clammy feeling, which I found unsettling. However, not everyone has this experience. It also dries quickly, so plan to re-wet it every 1.5 to 2 hours. To experience the vest's full cooling effect, you need to wear it under a mesh or highly breathable textile jacket. Do not wear this vest with a leather jacket as it can damage the leather.

Specs

  • Gear Type: Clothing
  • Breathable: Yes
  • Material: Moisture-wicking fiber

Pros

  • Fully body-mapped construction
  • Strategically positioned open mesh inserts
  • Muscle supporting compression to reduce fatigue
  • Pre-curved legs and flatlock seams

Cons

  • Designed to work with a racing suit
  • Sizing runs very small

You may feel warm when you first put these pants on, but don't let that discourage you from wearing them. Get riding, and you'll soon enjoy how they wick moisture and pull heat away from your body. Even in 90-plus-degree weather, you will feel cool, comfortable, and confident. The full body-mapped construction ensures they fit your form like a second layer of skin. Strategically placed mesh inserts give you plenty of ventilation. The slight compression effect supports your muscles and reduces fatigue. The pre-curved leg design and ergonomic flatlock seams make these pants stand out by maximizing comfort.

While you can wear these pants under your jeans or regular riding pants, they are designed to be under a racing suit. This is when you will get to enjoy their full cooling effect. If you wear pants that are not breathable over them, then you are defeating the purpose of wearing them. The sizing also runs small, so be careful if you have muscular thighs.

Specs

  • Gear Type: Footwear
  • Breathable: Yes
  • Material: Cowhide, rubber, and mesh

Pros

  • Shoes certified to CE - Cat. II - EN 13634 Standard
  • Rigid inserts on ankles
  • Gear shifter guard
  • Rubber sole with differentiated design

Cons

  • Flat insole
  • Lacing is a pain

These shoes are for when you want to ride, but you don’t want to look like you just got off your bike. Instead of gearing up in bulky boots, throw these shoes on. They are perfect for hot weather urban riding with a lightweight design that features mesh inserts for plenty of ventilation. While they may look like sneakers, there is protection hidden under those cowhide suede inserts. Rigid ankle inserts support your foot and ankle by keeping them in place. A nice touch is the gear shifter guard that keeps the tow box from getting torn up from your upshifts. The non-slip sole is way better than standard fashion sneakers because you never have to worry about putting your foot down and having it slide.

One potential problem with this shoe is that it has a flat insole. This is an issue for people like me with a high arch because there is no support for your foot. The lacing in the front is also a pain because you will go through the tedious process of loosening and tightening them whenever you want to take them on or off.

Specs

  • Gear Type: Jacket
  • Breathable: Yes
  • Material: High abrasion-resistant fabric

Pros

  • Compatible with the Bionic Hydration Pack
  • Height adjustable kidney belt
  • New Cell Technology back protector
  • Highly ventilated and flexible, rigid chest protector

Cons

  • Sizing runs small
  • Meant for offroad use so it lacks road protection

My husband has and wears this jacket regularly. He is a muscular guy, and this jacket only makes that fact more noticeable. If you don’t have muscles, this jacket will make it look like you do. Unlike traditional jackets, it’s a thin stretch fabric base with the armor attached to the outside. The lightweight fabric wicks sweat and dries fast, making it incredibly comfortable when riding in humid Florida weather. There are CE-certified protective armor panels on the chest, back, shoulders, and elbows. This jacket is a new version of the old Bionic Tech, with significant body fit and armor placement improvements. There is also a kidney belt that is fully adjustable to give you a better and more custom fit.

One drawback of this jacket is that it is designed for offroad use, so you are sacrificing some road protection. However, there is high abrasion-resistant fabric at the impact points, so you are not left without any protection. The sizing runs small, but this is expected with Alpinestars.

Specs

  • Gear Type: Clothing
  • Breathable: Yes
  • Material: 67 percent polyamide and 33 percent polyester

Pros

  • Compression base layer
  • Wicking and quick drying
  • Antibacterial and anti-odor
  • Stay put waist

Cons

  • Can feel constricting at your shoulders
  • Brand-specific

Stay cool and reduce muscle fatigue with this sleeveless compression shirt. The bright yellow color and teal accents give it a fresh summer feel. The thin fabric fits your body like a second layer of skin, making it effective at wicking sweat from your body. What I really like about this shirt is that it is antibacterial and anti-odor, helping you stay fresh despite sweating it out on your ride. In addition, this base layer's extra length helps keep it in place while you are riding and gives you additional coverage on your lower back when in a leaned forward position.

One issue with this shirt is that the compression quality can make the shirt feel constricting at your shoulders and through the hips. Other similar shirts have stretch panels to prevent bunching and tightness. For some, they may take issue with this shirt being BMW branded. However, I find the branding subtle and not an issue.

Specs

  • Gear Type: Bag
  • Breathable: No
  • Material: 1200 denier polyester with a sealed TPU-coated nylon liner

Pros

  • Holds up to a 12-pack of bottles or 18-pack of cans plus ice
  • Sealed interior lining
  • Sized to fit virtually any OEM saddlebag
  • Side-mounted carrying handles for easy access

Cons

  • You need saddlebags to use it
  • Can throw your weight balance off

You don’t wear this piece of gear, but it’s still helpful in keeping you cool and hydrated while out on a long ride. The unique shape of this cooler means it can neatly fit into your motorcycle's saddle bag. Kuryakyn makes high-quality gear, which shows in this cooler's construction. The high denier polyester fabric makes the outside of the cooler durable. I really like the wide top opening and ability to unzip the entire top, making it easier to reach in and grab a cold bottle of water. You can pack 18 cans or a 12-pack of bottles in there.

The biggest drawback of this cooler is that you need saddlebags to use it. In addition, while it is made to be universally compatible, it won't be a perfect glove fit for everyone’s saddlebags. This cooler takes up the entire saddle bag, so you are giving up this storage space for anything else. Finally, coolers full of ice and water can get heavy, which can throw up the balance of your bike.

Our Verdict

My top pick for the best summer motorcycle gear is the USWE Outlander 4 Backpack With 3L Hydration Bladder because it keeps you hydrated and gives you more storage. This will help your body stay naturally cool and keep you hydrated so that you can keep riding.

The Sedici Cooling Vest is an affordable alternative to keeping you cool. Simply dunk it in water and throw it on under your gear. This simple vest will have you feeling cooler in no time.

Consider Secondhand

When we start shopping for tools and products, we never overlook the secondhand market. In fact, it’s usually the first place I look. Whether you’re scrolling through Amazon’s Renewed section, eBay for car parts or tools, or flipping through the pages of Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, you have hundreds of thousands of used tools, parts, and gear ready to be shipped to your doorstep. Refurbished to like-new status, they’ll be willing to give you many more years of faithful service all while saving you money. 

If those options don’t have what you need, your local salvage yard is great for car parts, while swap meets are a great resource you should tap. Just Google either and head on down.  

Secondhand Tips

To make your secondhand search easier, here are two tips to finding the best deals and making sure your new-to-you stuff wasn’t destroyed by the previous owner. 

  • Always check the condition and look for signs of a crash because gear worn in a fall is no longer suitable for use. 
  • Used gear needs to fit you like new gear, so don't buy ill-fitting gear in a slightly wrong size just to save a few bucks. 

Things to Consider Before Buying Summer Motorcycle Gear

Heat Dissipating Method 

The purpose of buying summer motorcycle gear is to keep you cool while riding. Consider the method the gear uses to pull heat from your body or prevent it from heating up. Some gear uses heat and moisture-wicking abilities to pull heat and sweat from your skin to evaporate and keep you cool. Other gear has plenty of ventilation to encourage air to flow through to your body. There is also gear that you purposefully get wet to cool you through natural water evaporation. Finally, AC-vented suits force cool air throughout the gear to pull heat from your body and cool you down. 

Safety and Protective Features 

Staying cool is important during the summer, but you should not sacrifice safety. Low-quality gear highlights its cooling features but lacks protection. Your summer gear should still have reinforced stress points, armor at impact points, abrasion-resistant fabrics, and supportive inserts. Also, look for CE-certified level 1 or 2 armor to ensure it will protect you in the event of a fall. 

Gear Type

There is no escaping the heat unless you decide not to ride. There is no one magical piece of gear that will make you feel like it is late fall in July. However, you can use a combination of gear types for a cumulative cooling effect. For example, start with base layers that protect your skin from the sun's UV rays while wicking moisture away from your body. Then look for a breathable jacket while still protecting impact points with armor. Finally, having a hydration method is a must because you will sweat and become dehydrated. Hydration packs are convenient or a cooler in your luggage keeps the water cold and can easily be shared with your fellow riders. 

Summer Motorcycle Gear Pricing 

Quality motorcycle gear is not cheap. The cheap gear that you do find is not worth buying because it will let you down when you need it most. Expect to pay about $100 or more for your gear. Some pieces of gear can easily cost several hundred dollars. The exact price will depend on the particular item you are buying. Base layers and clothing typically start around $50 to $100. Jackets, backpacks, and shoes usually start around $100. More expensive gear typically comes with more features, durable construction, and innovative materials. Try to buy the best quality gear that you can afford. You can always upgrade later. 

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: Do the same buying factors apply to pants, gloves, etc. as they do for jackets?

A: Yes, the pants, gloves, and jacket you buy must fit your body size and shape. They all need to be designed for the style of riding that you do and the climate that you ride in. Your gear should be made from durable materials with strong construction methods. Look for additional protective armor for additional impact and abrasion resistance. 

Q: What do you wear on a motorcycle in hot weather?

A: Do not wear sandals, shorts, and a tank top. While these clothing items keep you cool, they do not protect you while riding. Instead, wear clothing and gear that is motorcycle appropriate while also made from textiles that will keep you cool. In addition, there should be venting to encourage airflow and moisture-wicking ability to keep you dry. 

Q: What do you wear on a motorcycle in hot weather?

A: You should wear clothing and gear that is protective but also breathable. You do not want to wear gear that will retain heat or insulate your body. Look for textiles with abrasion-resistant qualities that won't sacrifice protection for comfort. Always wear a helmet, gloves, and appropriate footwear. 

Q: How do bikers stay cool in summer?

A: Bikers use various methods for staying cool when riding during the summer. This includes wearing items such as clothing that wicks sweat from the body, gear made from breathable textiles, hydration packs, and active cooling gear. 

Q: Should I wear a motorcycle jacket in summer?

A: Yes, it is recommended that you still wear a motorcycle jacket during summer riding. A jacket provides a layer of protection from impact and abrasions. A jacket can also protect your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays. 

Q: Do motorcycle jackets keep you cool?

A: Some motorcycle jackets are designed to have greater breathability and ventilation, which will help to keep you cool. However, this also requires air movement to experience the cooling effect. There are expensive jacket and suit options with a built-in AC system to keep you cool.

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