There aren’t many material options for motorcycle apparel, and most have disadvantages. Leather is supple and durable, but requires a cow to be slaught-ered. Synthetics are light and strong, but are made from non-renewable resources, namely petroleum. Cotton denim is comfortable and affordable, but doesn’t hold up well in a crash and soaks up water like a sponge in the rain. That leaves one other, ancient option: hemp. It’s supple, extremely durable, easy to grow and has lots of beneficial byproducts. None of which, incidentally, is getting high: While hemp and marijuana are both members of the Cannabis family, the former’s low THC content means it is not mind-altering if smoked.
At the moment Joe Rocket is the only manufacturer making riding garments from hemp. I recently had a chance to test the company’s Hemp jacket during a tour of the Pacific Northwest. I did not, thankfully, test its water-repellant coating nor its abrasion resistance—which company literature claims equals leather. The 100-percent hemp shell feels like supple canvas, and is about the same size and fit as a mesh summer jacket, only it’s windproof. There’s CE-approved armor at the shoulders and elbows, a “Big Air” vent along the torso and reflective piping for nighttime visibility, but aside from that features are limited. For me, that’s part of this jacket’s appeal: I don’t care for corporate logos or flashy graphics. I do, however, like seeing “HEMP” embroidered on the sleeve, and congratulate Joe Rocket for dismissing taboos to bring this jacket to market.
JOE ROCKET HEMP JACKET
A comfortable, affordable, "420-friendly' alternative to established materials like nylon and leather.