Alpinestars Valparaiso Drystar Jacket
An okay Intermediate ADV Jacket... Sometimes Uncomfortable
I'm new to adventure riding and this is my first ADV type of jacket. When I bought my bike, my dealer threw in a HUGE apparel discount on any brands they carried, so I went Alpinestars. I have a lot of other Alpinestar's street gear in my closet so I decided to lean towards yet another A'star's product since the jacket will easily mate up (zip into) with any of the 3 pairs of A'star's pants I own.
I also own the Valparaiso pants. I'll throw up a pants review soon, but a short synopsis in case you're looking to buy both: they're good as a system from 30-85 deg F, wet or dry.
Back to the Valparaiso Jacket.
-This is only a 4 season jacket if you live in a climate that doesn't involve 90+F and humidity. Here in Houston, it will be late fall-winter-early spring jacket, but I see how you could use this all year elsewhere.
-Lots of venting! When chest and back vents are open you can really feel the air flow.
-Removable Drystar layer works well.
-Expandable collar does great in the cold.
-Large back vent is a great idea and works well.
-THE COLLAR. Seriously, at this price point why isn't there a collar retention system? In warmer weather you'll want to have it open for more air flow to the neck and chest. There's a small elastic retention piece that lowers the collar tab but doesn't hold it out of the way. I had an alterations shop sew in a piece of velcro to the inside of the collar tongue so I can at least keep the tongue of the collar from flying around causing chaffing on my neck. The velcro was attached just behind the Astar's logo on the neck of the collar.
-THE COLLAR 2.0. This time it's the small piece of velcro that is meant for the tongue to stick to on the right side of the neck. It's a long piece of "hook" type velcro, which loves to grab your helmet straps and fray the fabric on your helmet. Easy remedy though: Get some loop velcro and sling it across the area that grabs the helmet. There's still plenty of room for the collar tongue.
- Chest and back armor. It's thin foam. Seriously, at this price point Astar's could step it up a little. If I didn't already have chest and back protectors from my other Astar's gear then I would be looking at other products that included it... COUGH - REV'IT?? It's approximately an extra $100 if you're looking to beef up the protection.
-Arm Vents. They work okay, but once you open them up all the way you lose retention of your elbow/forearm protection. If you were to go down, that pad may not be in place to save your bones. Therefore, I only unzip partially from the top, which makes the jacket too hot for 90+F. You're basically just working with chest and back venting, really.
-Thermal and Daystar layers. They work well, but like the other reviews suggest, they bunch up at the neck/collar.
-Sizing. If you're used to Astar's, then you'd know that they run "euro" or smaller than you'd think. I'm normally a XL in their gear and at 200lb & 6' tall and 42" chest. I was surprised that the XL fits slightly loose this time. However, this jacket is a little larger than what you'd expect. It's more of an American cut. I didn't return the XL for the L since with the two layers included and upgraded chest/back armor installed, the chest/abdomen area is fine. Without the layers I made it work with the sleeve and waist adjustability. Although the sleeves are about a 1/2" too long. I'll live.
If I lived in the mid-atlantic states or similar temperate regions, then this jacket would be my go-to. However, I don't. So it'll only be my go-to late November through early March. Rev'it Cayenne Pro will be my next purchase.
If you're okay with taking some time to fix the collar issue on your own, (it cost $5 by the way) then this jacket is pretty good. The jacket and pants do well as a set too.
Just don't be afraid to look at other manufacturers. Competition is stiff at this price point and I certainly had my blinders on due to Astar's familiarity and steep discount.
November 22, 2015
Do Not Buy This Torture Device!
I bought this jacket in preparation for a 3,000-mile road trip. Having had an entry-level Alpinestars jacket for the past several years, it seemed like a no-brainer to upgrade to their top-of-the-line touring jacket. Trying on the jacket for the first time, it did seem rather uncomfortable, but I figured it would break in and made the $430 mistake of removing the tags. Now having taken my first ride with the jacket, a better description would be torture device. The collar is designed in such a way that both the outer shell and the rain liner, when zipped up, get bunched up, and the folds dig into and chafe your neck and Adam's apple. At speed, with the wind, the collar mercilessly presses, constricts, and batters your windpipe to the extent that, as a person who lives to ride, I would honestly rather sit at home on a nice sunny day than ride with this jacket. Hours afterwards, my neck is still red and irritated from the chafing. As a result, I will be taking my journey in a few weeks with my old, worn jacket--but $430 poorer.
Another serious issue: Part of the thinking behind getting this jacket was the rain liner. I initially thought it would be more convenient and comfortable than having to pack and wear a second rain jacket. That might have been the case if it were comfortable enough to ride with rain or shine. Unfortunately, it is a major endeavor to install. One has to locate and zip two separate zippers and then locate and fasten two loops at the top and bottom and two loops on the insides of each sleeve, making sure that the sleeves do not twist so you can still get your arms through. It takes about 5-10 minutes in my living room to do this properly. The idea of having to go through this process on the side of the road in a sudden rainstorm leads me to the conclusion that a second rain jacket is a much better idea. As to comfort, as noted above, the rain jacket compounds the chafing problem substantially.
On the plus side, the ventilation system does seem to work well, but this does not even come close to making up for the problems with this jacket.
To sum up, this is a seriously uncomfortable jacket, and it might not be apparent just how uncomfortable it is until you get out and ride with it, thereby foreclosing your ability to return it.
The fact that this is intended to be a long-distance touring jacket makes this an epic fail by Alpinestars. Looking back on all the fun I have had on long motorcycle tours over the years, every one of them would have been a nightmare if I had had to wear this torture device wrapped around my neck. In fact, I would honestly rather not ride at all if I had to ride with this jacket.
May 10, 2015
i feel safer with this jacket, great one from alpine.if you want a nice all year around jacket this is the one
December 22, 2014
Overall a good jacket
The day I got the jacket I left on a 1,500 miles ride through Nevada, Utah, Arizona and California. The look of the jacket is nothing special, quite the same as most jackets out there. It was confortable enough and did perform great in the range of temperatures from 90 to 50. Above that it feels rather hot, not as great air flow as claimed in the ads. Below that temperature range I don't know yet. I had not had the chance to see how dry it may be when raining either.
As for protection, just as in other reviews for similar products in the same price range, I think it should have back protection too. Shoulder and elbow protection seem good enough. The fabric feel very resistant and the finish is quite good. It looks and feels like a quality product. At one point I left the jacket on the seat when I got off the bike and didn't notice that part of it was resting right on the pipes which were hot as for a barbecue. I thought that that was it for the jacket and to my surprise, although the fabric was quite hot, it had not the smallest damage. Not even a dark dot. That was quite reassuring on the good choice I had made by buying it.
October 29, 2014
A real contender in the 4 season jacket market...
Finally at the point where I can give a full review after having worn this jacket in varying types of weather. First my size, as I think that is always important when purchasing apparel online. I'm 5'11, 165lbs with a slim build. 31/32" waist in jeans with average chest & shoulders. Per the helpful RevZilla rep I spoke to on the phone, I ordered the Medium and it fits me perfectly. Waist length and arm length are perfect! Not too tight with the rain & quilted liners in.
The jacket is made very well (as expected for an A* at this price point) I wanted a true 4 season jacket and the different configurations make that easy to achieve with this jacket. So far I have ridden it on a cold, rainy day that was in the lower 50's WITHOUT the quilted liner and just a long sleeve t-shirt. I was cool, but not cold, more importantly I stayed completely dry.
The last 2 weeks I also rode in temps that were in the mid 80's and sunny, I kept the rain liner in and had a just a t-shirt underneath. I opened the chest vents, zipped open the arm vents, as well as the large back vent and the amount of of air moving thru the jacket was incredible! I was worried this might be a "hot" summer jacket, and while it's no air textile; I feel anything into the 80's and it will still be my jacket of choice.
Today I commuted into work in the coldest weather of the year, it was 44 when I left my house and I had both liners in and just a t-shirt and wifebeater on underneath. I should also mention I was using a Rev'It Windstopper Balaclava tucked into my collar. My speeds ranged from stop & go to 70mph. I was comfortable on the cool side but definitely not cold. Had I been wearing a proper long sleeve base layer I think I would have been perfect.
Now onto my only gripe about the jacket that stopped it just short of 5 stars. When you zip the outer shell all the way up and fasten the velcro collar, due to the design it causes a slight fold of the left side collar at the top of the zipper that causes it to hit my throat/adams apple. It's a bit uncomfortable especially when turning my head from side to side which causes it to tug on my throat and has caused some chaffing, even though Alpinestars has lined both the rain collar and the shell collar with soft fleece. Is it a deal breaker? Hmmm...I love this jacket, but lets just say had I been more aware of this prior to riding it and removing the tags....I'm not sure I would have bought this jacket. I do not have an obtrusively large adams apple or anything and this issue may not bother someone else. But I felt it necessary to add to my review. That being said I still recommend the Alpinestars Valparaiso Jacket...especially given the heftier price tags of some of its competition.
I'll be adding a full review of the Valparaiso pants as well once i have an opportunity to use them in varying climates.
October 6, 2014
Excellent touring jacket
I just took this jacket on a 5000 mile trip through the western US and it performed flawlessly. We hit temps from the low 50s to the low 100s and it covered them all. It does flow air pretty well even though I was on an FJR which blocks a lot of the wind. In rain or shine I was comfortable until it got over 90. Then I closed down the vents to about 20% open, put some water on my base layer shirt and was cool as a cucumber. Highly recommended for long distance touring.
August 9, 2014
I'm 6'3" 260 and the xl fits very nicely. Snug with all the thermal inserts, but sleeve length is good and torso length is perfect. Tons of pockets. Arms tighten up nicely and stay in position. The ventilation is excellent. I live in the LA area and a jacket that's able to stay cool is a must. Have yet to test the other liners as the weather hasn't permitted so far. Great value. Highly recommend this jacket for anyone looking for a highly versatile jacket and don't want to spend a fortune.
July 20, 2014
Called DryStar for good reason!
I purchased both the Valpo DryStar jacket, pants and also the gloves for a 4 day ride in NC / TN around the Smokeys. We did both on and off road in all conditions. It was sunny and high 70's to rain and 40's. One day got caught in mountains during massive downpour in 46 degree Temps. Not one time did I get cold or wet. This suit handles anything you can throw at it! I will say the neck closure, while easy to work, was a bit uncomfortable for me because it rubbed where my helmet strap sits. Eventually I got it sorted out. Also not enough pockets. Could use some pockets on the arms. I also warn people that these suits run REALLY small. I'm 6-4 and 220 and had to go to 1XL jacket and 2XL pants. The 2 inner liners take up lots of waist room. All in all, I love this suit.
May 24, 2014