Held Carese II Gore-Tex Jacket
I spent a long time looking at jackets to replace a well-ridden set of BMW Rallye jacket/pants which were my go-to riding outfit for well over 50,000 miles. After much back and forth, I finally went with the Carese II and Torno II pants and couldn't be happier.
What's Good? First of all, it's very comfortable. About 6 lbs lighter than the Rallye, the jacket was remarkably from the moment I first put it on. Second, lots of vents. Frankly, I find this a (much) better jacket on a very hot day than the RevIt! Cayenne Pro I bought for hot weather riding. The pockets are great - roomy enough to get all sorts of items tucked away, still have space for more stuff, and the outer pockets are waterproof.
I find the included SAS-TEC shoulder and elbow armor to be well placed and very comfortable. Hopefully, I will never have to attest to their quality in an accident, but SAS-TEC gets excellent reviews on that score. The removable Goretex waterproof inner jacket can be worn over the outer shell, which is a really nice feature. It makes it convenient in a storm, gives you a decent windbreaker to wear off road as well. (But it's just a waterproof windbreaker - don't expect much warmth.)
For me, the fit is excellent. Lots of adjustability and quite sleek, even with those few extra pounds. I like the color (which is more grey than white) and I wanted a change from the black and yellow bumblebee look.
What's Not So Good? Actually, I have no complaints with this excellent piece of gear, except that the jacket comes with a totally inadequate temperfoam back protector. Revzilla sells the integrated Held SAS-TEC full-length back protector for an additional $50, but Held really should have included it as standard in such a high end/high price item. I would recommend ordering the back protector at the same time you order the jacket, since it is valuable protection and adds a small amount of bulk which you may want to try on for size. (They say you can integrate the Held Sakari back protector into the jacket, but I went with the simpler and less expensive Quattrotempi Back Protector.)
At just over 5'11 and 200 lbs I found the XL to be the right fit. I might have been able to get into the Large, but with the amount of adjustability, I found the XL to be right - particularly after I added the SAS-TEC back protector.
I am very pleased with this purchase and frankly, I just wish I hadn't waited so long to buy it.
September 20, 2015
As close to perfect as it gets.
I am a touring rider and generally log 10K miles or more of riding every year. The Carese is one of those products that makes you wonder why the whole world isn't designed by Held? The fit is perfect. The armor is positioned correctly and the ventilation is really well thought out. Even on 90 degree days it is comfortable. The removable Gore-Tex liner is also a nice feature for cooler weather. You can even integrate the Sakari back protector into the jacket. All in all the Carese is worth the price. I can usually add a couple of hours of riding time to my day because of the comfort of the jacket. And it looks great.
June 15, 2015
The Swiss Army Knife of Riding Jackets.
To sum it up, I looked long and hard at just about everything currently on the market, but I kept coming back to the Held Carese II for its wealth of features.
Among the other jackets I considered were the Rev'it Defender (this was my closest choice and is a great price right now on Revzilla), Poseidon, Dainese D-Explorer, Klim Latitude Misano
I am 37 years old, I ride a Honda VFR and am into sport touring. My gear choices have evolved a bit, and I was tired of low/mid budget Joe Rocket gear that fell apart after little use (I won't touch their products again after my experiences on 2 sets of gear that came apart early but outside warranty).
I wanted something a little more secure / protected than the Alter Ego (mostly mesh) and the ability to tune the ventilation as I ride. This jacket does not disappoint.
I am 5'10" and a bit broader in the shoulders / neck / arms, but I carry about 10lbs extra around the belly. I used the Held sizing charts, and found myself on the upper end of the large fitment. Since there is a fair amount of adjustment in this jacket, I decided to go with the XL size. I am glad I did this, as the jacket fits very well with the adjusters moved in a bit at the waist and arms, while the shoulders give me the perfect amount of room.
Some of the features I most like about the jacket: the zip fastening of the cuffs on the sleeves, the never-ending array of pockets and vents, the ability to put the GoreTex inner layer OVER the jacket if required (I have not tested this yet, but it looks like it should work when I removed the liner), and the great fit. This jacket leaves me feeling very well protected without being overly bulky.
I opted for the upgraded SasTec armor, and bought the recommended Held SAKARI, Rückenprotektor 11026868-001 (back protector) which I then removed the parts and installed into the jacket. Seemed like a waste to buy the strap-on back protector just for the armor plates, but the price was virtually same as buying separate and I was unsure what the individual items are since Held literature does not specify. The back protector did require slight trimming on the top and sides (I used kitchen shears and they worked great) to fit the jacket pocket perfectly. The armor upgrade does add a little more thickness and bulk compared to the foam, but not too bad.
I have not had a chance to do a lot of riding with the new gear and have not rain tested it yet, but I expect it shall work well. I will post some updates once I have had more time to really put this gear through its paces, but initial impressions are that this was a great choice. Do shop around for the Held stuff, as there are considerable differences in prices from one retailer to another, which I discovered while searching for the armor upgrades.
April 4, 2015
High price point, but worth it.
I have only had this jacket for one season so far, but it is by far the best of the jackets I considered. I have ridden in stop-and-go traffic in 95 degree temps and freeway speeds in 45 degree temps. One day a week, I will commute 90 minutes each way on the bike. The ventilation is amazing. I have yet to remove the inside liner despite riding in hot Eastern Washington summers. Winter riding does require a bit of a liner under the jacket. Of course airflow and comfort will depend on the type of motorcycle. The jacket has dramatically cut down on helmet wind noise. I have not tested the jacket in a downpour yet, but it has exceeded my expectations in all other conditions.
I am 6 feet tall and about 180 lbs. The jacket does fit a little snug, but I would call it appropriately snug, as I would rather not have a jacket flapping in the wind or have my armor shifting around in a crash.
This jacket replaced my First Gear Kilimanjaro for winter riding and my old Marsee Ultra Ballistics jacket for summer.
The only negative I can say is that the sleeves run a bit long. I wear 35" sleeved shirts. I have Held Air N Dry gloves. I have a difficult time getting the sleeves inside the gauntlet of the glove.
Other than this, this is a great jacket and worth the money.
2004 BMW R1100S
February 7, 2015
Held Carese GTX jacket (previous model) - very well made jacket!
This is review of Held Carese GTX jacket which is very very similar to new model (Carese 2), so I hope potential buyers find it useful.
I am using it 8 months / cca 3000 km (cca 1850 miles) so far and have driven in temperatures from 0 C till 26 C (32 F till 79 F). Around 40% of the time in light to moderate rain and temperatures below 11 C (52F). Jacket was excellent in all temperatures ranges (I wear thin Primaloft One 100 jacket beneath for warmth) and did not leaked. At 26 C temperature with sun shining, liner removed and vents open it was super comfortable. But vents really add value probably at much warmer temperatures then 26 C, which I did not tested yet. Great fitting jacket, very quality made, I feel very well protected in it.
I was looking for 4 season (adventure) touring jacket which I can wear from slightly below freezing to whatever heat temperature I may encounter. It had to well cover back and be waterproof (I live in central Germany where it rains weekly, if not daily (rain-sun-rain-sun), throughout the year). And it had to be well ventilated for the heat.
I did not bought jacket at Revzilla (since I live in Germany), but thought to give back to community as Revzilla has helped me a lot with great reviews from both Anthony and the readers.
Snug fitting jacket, no flapping in the wind at all. Can be cinched tight worn just over a baselayer without GTX liner, but can also accommodate (tightly) baselayer, midlayer and Primaloft jacket beneath GTX liner. I have long arms and sleeves are a bit on the short side, but a long gauntlet gloves are compensating for a sleeve length and there is no gap.
Among others I have tried Alpinestars Durban, Revit Defender, BMW Streetguard 3, Rukka Cosmic jackets. First two being jackets with removable GTX liner, BMW and Rukka having liners laminated to outer shell (BMW having Schoeller C-Change and Rukka GTX).
Streetguard 3 and Cosmic do not have the same amount of ventilation as the other 3 jackets so they went out of shortlist. Also price played a role and Streetguard 3 is tailored too short for what I want in jacket.
Well made details:
SAS-TEC SC-1/15 XL back protector (sold separately) covers back well. Elbow and shoulder protectors (also SAS-TEC) are at the right places, not moving at all. There is also small pocket for coccyx protector. It is worth to buy immediately both additional SAS-TEC protectors. You can buy both protectors also Held branded. I think Held protectors are the same SAS-TEC protectors (maybe just branded, am not 100% sure).
Mesh vents are much better made then on other jackets I have tried. They are very tightly woven and sturdy, kind of outer mesh jacket material, not just a flimsy inner net. They inspire confidence that even with vents opens jacket still have full protective functionality. Furthermore, it looks as if no bug (wasp, bee or whatever) could get tangled in mesh, neither make contact with a skin even if jacket is worn just over T shirt. Even mosquito could not pass through mesh vents. Arm mesh vents from wrist to shoulder are great and have 2 functions (vent + cuff opening for easy wearing). Also, wrist velcro is not covering the zipper, so once you cinch it the way it fits, you use only zipper for opening the cuff (no need to open and close velcro every time you wear a jacket).
Good double storm flap over main zipper. Velcros are sewn beneath outer material, not over it. Chances that velcros rip off from the jacket are minimal. Magnetic closures on main storm flap are nice touch, however at least bottom one at the hem would be better if it is proper snap.
I was initially suspicions regarding 2 front main “cargo” waterproof pockets as they are just a flap over and do not have a zip. However, items are stored securely and pockets did not leaked in moderate rain so far. Take note pockets are not very spacious. Item of size or a bit larger then i.e. Garmin nuvi with 5” screen can fit in and not much more.
Passport pocket is convenient (not waterproof) and accessible from outside with closed jacket beneath the storm flap. Back pocket can fit several maps in it.
Liner is well attached with a zip throughout and zip in the sleeves. Liner breathability and size wise wearing comfort are excellent. I have tried Alpinestars Durban, Revit Defender and Held Carese liners at room temperature over midweight wool and polartec powerstrech baselayers, just wearing them for some time in house to check breathability and comfort. Durban is GTX Packlight (less breathable) and it started to feel clammy very soon. Defender and Carese liners were very comfortable. No discomfort at all. It proved also later in use.
Carese liner is completely open at cuffs and hem with no possibility to cinch it. Probably manufacturer designed it that way so that a jacket is more breathable. Liner is for my taste too short both in cuffs and in hem (it is shorter then outer jacket). Open cuffs are good design because it is easy to put gloves under, length is compensated with glove gauntlets and cinching done by outer jacket cuffs is sufficient. So cuffs are OK.
However, liner hem length and no possibility to tighten it, is a serious drawback of this jacket (other drawback is outer jacket hem design and tightening system, which allows drafts). I just feel sometimes cold creeping in and cooling lumbar area. When I wear Primaloft or windproof softshel beneath (both outdoor industry products) internal climate is great, as both jackets are long enough in the hem and hem tightening is excellent, preventing any drafts.
Also, liner is a bit too tight and too short in neck area. Held is advertizing new model Carese 2 that liner can be worn over outer jacket. Other then that, differences between Carese and Carese 2 seems minimal. I would advise anyone looking to buy Carese jacket to try Carese 2 model as it may have improved liner design.
During 1300 km (800 miles) tour where daily temperatures were from around 6 C till 26 C (42 F till 79 F) and I was changing from combinations of primaloft+liner+outer jacket to only outer jacket and back to primaloft+liner+outer jacket, I am more convinced that what I was thinking initially that 3 layer GTX (i.e. Pro Shell, where GTX membrane is laminated between outer shell and protective inner layer) is better design then removable liner. At least for tarmac and white road touring.
I am new to motorcycling, but have 17 years of mountaineering and outdoor experience. Rain and wind needs to be stopped at most outer layer. That way most body warmth can be trapped beneath.
I am mostly wearing GTX liner in Carese even in dry weather, mainly for better wind protection and warmth retention. However, there is layer of air between outer cordura jacket and liner, which does not contribute enough to warmth retention, and when outer jacket becomes wet probably does not add value at all. With time and use, once outer jacket will not be so water resistant as new, it will drench in rain, and all air trapped on outer side of liner is useless. Also having removable liner means less space for internal warm layers.
When one wears jacket with removable GTX liner, there is less space between GTX liner available for warm layers versus if the same jacket would have had outer shell water and windproof. Also one carries thick layer of clothes (outer jacket) of not much use for warmth retention, while on 3 layer GTX all space beneath very outer layer is utilized for warmth retention and layering. Not to mention main aspect that even if with time DWR (Durable Water Repellent) of 3 layer GTX jacket get worn out and outer layer drenched with water, that thin bit of material on outer side of GTX membrane is only part which is wet, but complete jacket stays dry, while on removable liner concept one is wearing heavy wet jacket. That is why in serious rain, I wear my 15 years old mountaineering GTX jacket over Carese and Carese stays dry. But that means 3 jackets for the rain (Outer GTX jacket+Carese outer+Carese liner) vs. only one jacket (3 layer GTX).
I am planning to go for 3 layer GTX jacket with good ventilation, i.e. Klim Badlands Pro. Time will tell if there will be a need to keep Carese. Although jacket is so nice that will probably be kept if there will be any aspect where it may complement 3 layer GTX jacket.
Carese is mostly 3 season jacket. You can survive winter and rain, but for that I think 3 layer GTX is the only proper solution. Saying that I think that 3layer GTX is anyhow better design for touring and therefore I do not give 5 stars to item with removable liner, regardless how good jacket is. Removable liners I find as a compromise which has a huge design flaw for riding in changing weather conditions. If you still want to buy a jacket with removable liner, for whatever reason, Carese is one very well made jacket. Recommended.
April 12, 2014