A favorite movie from 1980 that I like to quote often when on an adrenaline-raising adventure with my cronies is The Blues Brothers, starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. Specifically, I like to use the line spoken by Aykroyd’s character (Elwood Blues) when excusing various forms of buffoonery or skullduggery: “You have to understand, ma’am, we’re on a mission from God!”
So, when making my selection for my most recent set of riding gear, the Mission X line from FXR seemed to be calling my name. Yes, there were plenty of other reasons to be drawn to the Mission X line – including its funky yet somehow still subtle design, its nature as an uninsulated shell with an insulated, removable liner and its high-quality features like waterproof zippers and lots of available venting. Those, of course, were most important. Yet on a more cosmic level, I had to wonder if I had been sent on a mission by a higher power to try out the Mission X.
Like other FXR gear I had worn, the Mission X jacket fit my 5-foot, 11-inch, 190-pound frame well, once I accommodated for FXR’s generous sizing. While I normally wear a size XL in most other brands’ jacket, a size large from FXR was roomy enough even with a safety vest and multiple layers underneath. Sleeves are similarly cut long.
Because of the heat trapped by the aforementioned safety vest I always wear – plus the fact that I tend to work up a sweat while riding – I can often be found riding in just a shell, with the TekVest and a couple of thin layers underneath. The optional, zip-out insulation that comes with most jackets is usually destined for a storage box.
In general, that system has served me well, but not last year with the Mission X jacket. The outer nylon material was not nearly as windproof as similar jackets I have worn in recent years – I got particularly cold in the upper arms when whooping it up on the trails even on 15-degree F days. Suddenly that insulation I had previously set aside needed to be found and utilized!
When riding on warm, spring days, however, the Mission X gear jacket gave me all sorts of options to let the heat and sweat out, with 9-inch long vents under each arm and 6-inch vents toward the inside of each thigh in the matching pants, each controlled by easy-pulling waterproof zippers. Plus, a pocket on the right side of the jacket’s chest and two pockets in the pants each had slick, dry-vent material on their insides, allowing them to move air to the wearer’s body as well when the pockets were empty and open.
There were many other quality features – including a well-integrating wind skirt in the jacket, reflective inserts in key locations, removable suspenders on the pants, easy-to-adjust fitting on the waistband, padded knees and more. Overall, it was really nice gear that was easy to move around in and looked good-as-new after more than 2,000 miles of wear and multiple trips through the washing machine. It just wasn’t a great windstopper, so I had to adjust my normal dressing patterns to compensate.
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