FirstGear TPG Monarch Jacket For Women - 2014
- Cocona® waterproof-breathable shell
- D30® T-5 Evo Pro armor at shoulders, elbows and back
- Waterproof zipper treatments throughout
- Inner cuff wrist gaiter
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We tried jackets on our Fit Check mannequins and we think they fit sort of large. Also I checked a few sizes with a tape and came up with the same conclusion. You can even see that they look a bit large on the mannequins in the sizes they usually wear (Small and Large). Now granted, this jacket does not come equipped with a thermal liner and you’d likely be wearing heavier under-clothes with the jacket than we are using in the Fit Check, so making an exact recommendation is a bit tricky. But I’ll give you a qualified recommendation: * If you are likely to layer beneath this jacket, then choose the size you normally wear using the chart below. If you are between sizes, then go up. If you will likely NOT layer underneath, then buy one size smaller than you would choose using the chart.*
Our Two Cents
The Ladies Monarch Jacket for 2014 is very close to the men’s Rainier in terms of construction and functionality. So, let me borrow some of the review language from the men’s Rainier for you. I’m reviewing the jacket in comparison to other adventure touring type jackets we sell, like from Alpinestars and REV’IT!. The comparisons are valid for the women’s version also because this jacket differs from many other “3/4” style touring jackets on the market today for women: The departure with this jacket is two-fold. First, the basic jacket isn’t being offered with a rain liner or insulated liner, but rather FirstGear is focusing on the shell only. They assume you either already have technical under gear you like and would prefer to use or you can buy FirstGear’s two types of under gear… the TPG Tech Jacket and any one of FirstGear’s other underwear items. And the other big departure I see is with the use of Cocona technology to make a jacket shell that is waterproof and breathable. I did a bit of research and found a good trove of info on Cocona here. In a nutshell, it sounds like a treatment made to the shell of the jacket to make it both waterproof and breathable. Sounds like the same goal as a liner such as Gore-Tex, but without HAVING the separate liner. I’m inquiring with FirstGear for more specific information on how this works exactly. The immediate advantage I can see to this setup is the opportunity for better summer venting. If the jacket is not constructed with a waterproof mid-liner, then any zippered venting in the jacket will allow air to blow right through to your body and really enhance warm weather comfort. This jacket does have those zippers in the front and the rear. I’ll admit right away, I’m no adventure touring rider and I also live in a desert, so I have no firsthand experience with this technology or this jacket, but we are hoping for some feedback as this jacket finds miles on the backs of consumers. Switching gears… the jacket is also equipped with D30 armor which is a bit “above and beyond” the normal CE approved armor offered in most products. The armor is soft and pliable but upon impact momentarily stiffens to disperse impact and therefore better protect you from injury in a fall. We sell a lot of the D30 armor separately, but the pieces we sell are thinner and lighter than what is being offered in these jackets. The D30 pieces in this jacket are about twice as beefy by my estimation (although it appears to be the same material). And the pockets in which they are housed are completely adjustable as to position because there are large Velcro strips on which to position it. This will be useful to help fit your particular body shape. I’d rather not get too “windy” about all the other more “expected” features such as pockets, adjustments, etc, so I’ll refer you to our photo gallery and you can click through the pics to see all those. I personally think the ladies potentially will benefit from the Cocona treatment more than men. Ladies jackets are smaller and more trimly worn and reducing the bulk of the jacket like the Cocona technology does will be a good thing to reduce weight and improve fit. Holly, my wife, tried this jacket on in a women’s large and liked it pretty well although she commented on the sturdy nature of the armor. She felt it was thicker and heavier than it needed to be. The pictures made the jacket look like it had very long arms and a very long body, but it didn’t fit her abnormally in that respect. I think it may be a trick of the eye in viewing the graphic design of the jacket. :: Paul, 10-11-13