MC Tested: Held Aerosec Jacket

Worried about the changing weather? Held has you covered.

The closest thing to all-weather perfection we’ve worn, but what’s with those cuffs?Julia LaPalme

Building a true all-weather jacket is no easy task. It means combining the seemingly mutually excusive traits of sealing tightly against the cold, flowing plenty of air when it's hot out, and remaining completely waterproof in the rain. Held's AeroSec jacket achieves all of that, and it does it without the use of removable liners or complicated features. The AeroSec can transition from warm and watertight to one of the best-venting jackets I've ever worn in a matter of seconds.

The secret to the AeroSec’s success is the use of Held’s “2IN1” technology. Within the jacket is a separate windproof and waterproof chamber that you can zip into, arms and all. It’s similar in concept to a removable rain liner except that it stays put at the back of the jacket when not in use. It’s there when you want it, doesn’t add any noticeable bulk (assuming you make some modifications, listed below), and even helps the jacket flow air when the vents are open.

That’s because the front of the chamber, which serves as the rear lining of the jacket when it’s not being used, is faced with eighth-inch-thick 3-D mesh. With that against your posterior, air rushing in through the perforated chest panels and full-length arm vents and main-zipper vent can purge your back of sweat. On a hot day, it’s divine, and it’s a feature that makes the AeroSec the best-venting jacket I’ve worn this side of a full-mesh setup.

The chassis is top-notch German fare, as you’d expect from a premium brand like Held. There’s 500-denier Cordura fabric laced with pockets, reflective patches, adjustment straps so you can fine-tune the circumference of the arms (at the bicep and forearm) and waist, and CE-approved armor in the usual places. I only have two complaints about the jacket. One of them was easily remedied with a razor blade, while the other is inexplicable.

First the simple issue: In order to affix to the matching AeroSec pants, the jacket has connecting flaps and zippers—three of them—inside the jacket. There’s also a large neoprene phone pocket. I’ve never been fond of zipping pants to jacket, so I sliced the stitching and yanked everything out. The result is a much simpler, less cluttered jacket interior.

The second and more annoying issue pertains to the cuff design. The openings are huge, and the thin Velcro straps and the terminus of the arm-vent zippers make cinching the cuffs down on your gloves a clunky affair. If you’re wearing thick, insulated gloves the cuffs may fit perfectly, and perhaps that’s Held’s idea. But if you’re wearing anything thinner than full-on winter gloves you’re going to have extra fabric to contend with. It’s a peculiar and clumsy aspect of a jacket that is otherwise beautifully engineered and highly functional.

Held Aerosec Jacket
Price: $600
MC Grade: A-
Summary: The closest thing to all-weather perfection we've worn, but what's with those cuffs?