Joe Rocket Hemp Jacket Review

Bart Madson | December 1, 2009
Joe Rocket Hemp Jacket
The Joe Rocket Hemp Jacket: an alternative riding jacket for the riders who want to hear lots and lots of pot jokes…

“Plus, if you grind it up you can smoke it!”

Oh, if I had a nickel for every time I heard that clever aside while wearing the Joe Rocket Hemp Jacket, I could probably buy a little baggie of hippie lettuce from the white Rastafarian in Dorm 2. That’s right, hemp is related to the illegal substance everyone got to know in college that makes you happy, a little paranoid and think that jam bands are actually good. But no, Joe Rocket claims the material for its new jacket contains THC levels below 0.3%, so smoking it “results in a headache, not a high!”

So why hemp? Well, JR claims it’s more durable and insulating than cotton. And the soft hemp fabric certainly feels comfortable, as the jacket is extremely lightweight. I found the fit quite relaxed, without the stiffness you feel in some textile designs. The two adjustable waistband straps Velcro a tight fit about the waist, with elastic adjusters at the sleeves cinching down around the arms.

There is still good protection from the wind and cold, however, in particular if you keep the insulated liner in place. A wide Big Air vent – a mesh extension zipped into the front – delivers a cooling breeze, exiting out two rear exhaust vents – though the overall ventilation wasn’t as great as I expected. Riders expecting the hemp to be a porous surface like mesh will be disappointed.

A removable back pad delivers protection, but the space could accommodate a full back protector as well. CE armor inserts in the shoulders and elbows further supplement crash protection and JR promises the hemp material “rivals road race quality cowhide.” That’s a claim we’d have to smoke three or four jackets to believe outright, as the hemp feels so thin it’s difficult to not imagine it shredding apart on the asphalt. However, our Joe Rocket rep personally assured me the green stuff is ultra durable and I’ll take him at his word, though it’s a claim I hope to never test.

Joe Rocket Hemp JacketJoe Rocket Hemp JacketJoe Rocket Hemp Jacket
The Joe Rocket Hemp Jacket makes for a great casual riding jacket. It’s lightweight, comfortable and looks great.

Hemp jacket lows? It’s not waterproof and riding it in the wet felt like I was wearing a heavy burlap potato sack. Another downer – well, after a couple months my jacket started to smell a little funkier than my jackets normally smell. Almost hippie-like… Maybe it’s the organic fiber, or maybe the alternative nature of the hemp fiber rendered my deodorant ineffective. It’s a smelly mystery. Another low for me is the $250-265 MSRP for a lightweight riding jacket? That’s enough to make me wonder if that 0.3% THC claim is bogus or not!

Definite highs for the Hemp Jacket (get it, highs) are its looks and simplicity. Some jackets I’ve worn have something on the order of 15 to 20 pockets, or at least that’s how it seems when I’m looking for my cell phone that I can feel but not find the right opening to retrieve it. The Hemp Jacket has a pleasingly minimal three pockets and its zippers and straps are easy to do up and get on the road fast. The straightforward styling also satisfies my tastes. The Black and Olive color options could be condemned as drab, I suppose, but I like the earthy tones.

Here’s the deal, the Joe Rocket Hemp Jacket is lightweight, comfortable and alternative. For long-distance touring, riders will want more versatile waterproof options. For the particularly hot and humid areas, a lightweight breathable mesh is a better choice. However, the Joe Rocket Hemp is a solid overall design and a great buy, especially if you’re an earthy type with a hankering for a new warm weather riding jacket.

Plus, if you grind it up you can smoke it… Sorry, had to say it.

Product: Joe Rocket Hemp Jacket
MSRP: $250-265
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Bart Madson

MotoUSA Editor | Articles | Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for 10 years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to motorcycle racing reports and industry news features.

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