Olympia Hudson Mesh Motorcycle Jacket Review:
Sometimes mesh jackets can be low-budget, bare-bones affairs. They’re useful for keeping your body ventilated on a hot day, but that’s about it. In the case of the Olympia Hudson, venting is only part of the story on this robust motorcycle jacket.
Safety is the first thing the Olympia Hudson has going for it. In addition to the usual CE-rated elbow and shoulder armor, the Hudson also has something extra—CE-rated back protection. Too often, “back protectors” are simply pads that offer no protection at all, even on high-price jackets. Olympia went the extra step and included a CE-rated back protector, something we consider essential in a jacket.
There are mesh jackets that are almost entirely made of mesh material. While that’s great when it comes to the ultimate in airflow, it makes for a fairly shapeless jacket. The Olympia Hudson has its share of cooling mesh, and it is held together with high-density reinforcement panels throughout the arms and body. The panels give the Hudson a premium feel when you put on the jacket.
Adding to the nice feel of the Olympia Hudson is the ability to customize the fit. There are hook-and-loop belts on the waist and arms, so you can cinch them up to taste and style. Even better, they have a wide range of adjustment. Zipping up the jacket, there’s a stout YKK zipper that flows smoothly in both directions.
Unintuitively, the Hudson has a thick, tall neoprene-topped collar at the neck. When I first put the jacket on, it felt constricting, even with the hook-and-loop tab in the loosest position. Oddly, once I was riding, I never thought about the Hudson’s collar again. There was definitely some thought put into that.
When riding, the jacket has a great feel. The large mesh areas throughout the jacket flow air expediently, keeping me from overheating on a triple-digit day. The chassis feels good, and it doesn’t feel like a formless slab of mesh hanging on me. The cuffs are soft, and you can personalize the fit with the hook-and-loop cuff tabs. The Olympia Hudson feels like a proper motorcycle jacket, and the CE-protection never intrudes on the ride.
Although you can’t plan on carrying much cargo, what you do take with you will feel safe. The two exterior hand pockets have two levels of security—they zip closed, and have a snap-fastened flap over the opening. Inside, you might be surprised that there’s no Napoleon pocket for a smartphone. Instead, there is a large square lower pocket on the left side that uses a hook-and-loop closer on top.
The unexpected feature of the Olympia Hudson is that it is more than a mesh jacket. It includes two easily removed interior layers that can be used individually or in tandem with the main shell.
One layer is a waterproof jacket. It can be worn over the main shell, or zipped in under. I didn’t have a chance to rain-test it, but I would wear it over the main shell if I ran into rain. As a bonus, it looks finished enough to wear on its own as a rain-proof jacket with your motorcycle nowhere in sight. It also has the neoprene-enhanced collar to keep out rain and keep in warmth on chilly days.
The other layer is a traditional long-sleeve quilted layer with Thermolite insulation. It’s not too thick, so it doesn’t negatively impact the fit of the jacket when installed. Again, I tested the Olympia Hudson in heatwave conditions, so I can’t tell you how warm the thermal layer is. However, I feel confident that the Olympia Hudson is a solid three-season jacket.
Depending on how much cooling and flexibility you need, the Olympia Hudson may be the perfect motorcycle jacket for the typical non-frigid riding season. It handles the hottest days, yet stays comfortable should conditions get cold and rainy. At $230, the Olympia Hudson is more expensive than many mesh jackets, yet it offers protection and adaptivity to justify its price tag.
Olympia Hudson Jacket Fast Facts
Colors: Neon Yellow; Red; Black, Grey
Olympia Hudson Jacket Price: $230 MSRP