We kicked open the door to leave for the El Diablo Run only to be greeted by 33 degrees and snow flurries. Not exactly ideal riding weather, but in the Black Hills you never know what to expect from Mother Nature and this afternoon she damn sure didn’t care that we were leaving on a cross country ride. I was headed south to Mexico to meet up with the Biltwell crew in San Felipe and needed to keep the packing light for the 3,000 mile round trip. After packing a tent, sleeping bag, camera equipment and a few changes of clothes, I didn't have a ton of room to pack multiple gear options. I had just picked up the new RSD Johnny Jacket and was stoked to try it on this whirlwind sprint across the country. What I hadn’t planned on was the temps ranging from 30 degrees to over 100 degrees. And the folks at RSD definitely don’t make claims that this is a cold weather jacket. But I was out of time and out of options, so I threw on my old ICON rain pants, some long underwear and a hoodie, suited up in my fresh Johnny Jacket, and headed down the road.

I had chosen RSD's Johnny Jacket because of its versatility. The body is waxed cotton while the arms are 1.1mm Dakota leather. Years back I bought my first-ever waxed cotton jacket from Roland Sands Design (the Tracker) and really like the fabric. It’s a little stiff at first but it breaks in nice and is extremely water resistant for not being 100% rain gear. The waxed cotton gives a more flexible, lighter feel in the body of the jacket while keeping the protective qualities of the leather arms. Throw in the Knox armor and the jacket is ready to keep you in one piece if you should take a tumble. The rotated shoulders and pre-curved sleeves make you feel relaxed in a riding position and with the zippered side pockets, large interior mesh pockets and zippered phone pocket in the left breast there is plenty of storage. An adjustable buckle waist and zippered sleeves allow the fit to be adjusted to your liking. And although I didn't need the vents in the beginning of the trip, when we were cutting across Baja in triple digit temps the intake vents in the biceps and exhaust vents in the back made a huge difference in my body temp. Collars are a big pet peeve of mine with jackets and the snap-down collar keeps the jacket from beating on your helmet in the wind and driving you crazy.

I definitely froze my balls off for a day or so until we hit temps above 50 degrees. But like I said, RSD made no claims that this is a cold weather jacket so it over-performed in my book. When we hit the warmer temps the jacket was perfect, it didn’t feel bulky like a full leather jacket and it was easy to move and turn in on the bike. The leather arms and armor kept the thoughts of road rash from entering my mind as we blasted through the sand covered corners in the southwest. I was able to stash my phone in the inside pocket of the lapel and keep a GoPro handy in the zippered outside pocket without any issue.

After 3,000 miles on the Indian FTR1200, with temps varying 70 degrees through rain, snow and desert, I can tell you I have a pretty good idea what the Johnny Jacket is all about. And it's a winner in my book. It checks a lot of boxes with performance while being non-traditional in style and material choices. Another nice perk is that off the bike it's easy to wear. You don’t feel all bound up or like you're walking off the set of Wild Hogs. You can easily wear this as a casual spring and fall jacket. I was a little concerned the day we left in the freezing temps, but the Johnny Jacket exceeded my expectations. For a sub $400 jacket, you can’t miss with this.