Scorpion EXO StealthPack Jacket Review
When saddlebags, tank bag and tail bag just aren’t enough
Every once in a while, a slick design comes along that gets me to do a double-take. In this case, it is a jacket that does double-duty, designed by Wisconsin’s own Bob Koller for Scorpion Sports.
The Scorpion EXO StealthPack riding jacket not only functions as an armored riding jacket, it doubles its functionality as a backpack—but maintains a clean, sleek look while doing it.
The exterior is tough but supple 600D premium polyester textile backed up with CE Level 1, form adaptable, Sas-Tec flex armor at shoulders and elbows. The shell includes forearm, bicep and waist adjustability to customize the fit as well as a total of six pockets: two chest, two hand warmer, and two internal pockets.
The interior liner includes a pocket in back for an optional SC-1/15 back protector. The exterior is not specified by Scorpion as waterproof, but since the StealthPack makes it very easy to bring along your full rain gear when you think it may be handy, that’s not much of a problem.
There is NightViz Reflective piping across back to the shoulders to provide conspicuity in low-light and night riding conditions. YKK heavy duty zippers close things up.
The need for ventilation is not forgotten. The design includes two large dual-purpose chest pocket/intake vents on the front to work with two mammoth back exhausts that are integral with the built-in backpack feature, as well as two 11 inch-long zipper closure underarm vents that run down each side of the jacket’s front.
OK – those are the essential construction features of the StealthPack Jacket that make it an excellent riding jacket in and of itself. It’s what more the design has to offer where things get interesting—particularly if you are one of those riders who tend to use a backpack to tote gear on your commute or day trip.
The StealthPack can be used in two different configurations: quick access lighter loads or full capacity loads. It is designed for ergonomic distribution of the pack load across the back and has an internal load-adjustment strap and waist straps to allow the rider to tightly secure the load.
In my backpack-hunting days, one of the most galling things that can happen with a loaded pack is the pack itself moving around. That can ensue when the backpack doesn’t keep the load snugly against the wearer’s body. I found the design of the StealthPack prevents that problem; it’s tough to imagine a way to get the pack load closer and more snugly up to the body.
When not loaded, the side zippers on the pack compartment can be opened to create mammoth ventilation openings for cooling since the sides of the pack are made with mesh material from top to bottom.
When set up in max-load mode, the Stealthpack Jacket can gobble up to 20 liters of cargo. A large flap is concealed in the pack’s interior to be pulled out when in max cargo load.
That flap is secured shut with twin nylon straps with quick-release nylon buckles that are concealed inside the lower half of the pack and come out through two slits concealed under the small flap across the mid-back. The cargo pocket is so deep it extends down the entire length of the garment’s back.
The snaps at either side of the top of the pack compartment can be opened for loading but should be closed in any use mode. When not in use, the pack feature disappears into the back making the StealthPack appear as a standard riding jacket.
Shock-absorbing padding down the back provides for added comfort and additional airflow channeling. A 3D mesh divider between jacket shell and backpack allows airflow through the jacket and out the side panels of the main body of the pack. Those side panels are mesh to act as exhaust vents for the torso vents. Taken together, these parts of the design allow for positive airflow to vent the jacket even when there’s cargo in the pack.
A waterproof compartment that is built into the outermost shell of the jacket is provided for laptops, tablets, etc. that can hold (up to) a 17” laptop (ScorpionEXO recommends using a padded sleeve—not included—specifically designed for laptops). The pocket has a closable flap of its own that secures with hook-and-loop across the top.
To use the pack in light load mode, simply open the small exterior top flap that closes with hook-and-loop. For max load, open the top and pull out the wide top flap concealed within the pack, open the side zippers all the way down, open the top snaps on each side and load up.
Once the load is positioned in the pack, close the top snaps, buckle the large top flap with the straps the come out of the mid-back, and put on the jacket. Before closing the front main zipper, open the small zippers at each side of the lower front inside and pull out the waist load adjustment strap. Buckle and adjust that, and if necessary open and adjust the external side waist (hook-and-loop) adjusters.
If you’ve ever ridden with a loaded backpack—or even walked any distance with one, for that matter—that shape-shifts while you’re underway and slides off-center, you can appreciate the StealthPack’s ability to integrate the load with the garment to help prevent that.
The interior of the jacket is polyester mesh to breathe freely in hot weather. There is no zip-out liner and with all that mesh and a non-insulated outer shell, the best operating range is from cool to very warm weather however your body may define that.
In very cool weather (maybe 45° to 55° F), a good thermal base layer is in order—at least that was my impression as I used it on my Yamaha V-Max with no windshield on cool late October and early November days.
That said, the external shell does a good job cutting the wind when all the vents are closed. The interior storm flap also works well to prevent cold air infiltration at the main zipper up front.
With all the adjustability available, the fit is easy to get just about perfect for any riding position you may take. Sizing for the jacket is consistent with other brands, but if you do tend to want to ride in cool weather, you may want to consider going a size up from your usual size to accommodate a base layer.
Topping all this off is Scorpion’s three-year warranty for textile apparel.
As I mentioned at the top, we had a unique opportunity to be in touch with the designer of the StealthPack Jacket, Mr. Bob Koller. So, naturally, we took advantage and asked him about the design process.
UMC: The Stealthpack jacket is really an inspired design – so, what inspired it for you?
Bob: I think over the years just being out and about on the bike and I wanting to stop somewhere to pick something up but didn’t have enough storage on the bike or a backpack along to carry it. The great thing about the StealthPack is it is there when you need it without compromising the look of the jacket. With the current trend toward smaller displacement bikes, storage will always be at a premium.
UMC: Have you designed or co-designed any other Scorpion products?
Yes, most recently in spring of 2019 we launched the Vortex Air Mesh jacket that is super lightweight and flows a ton of air. Pound for pound we think it is one of the best mesh jackets on the market. http://www.scorpionusa.com/product/vortex-air-mesh-jacket/
We also have been innovating with a few casual looking riding shirt/jackets that are fully lined with our rhino-mesh abrasion-resistant material. The Abrams Riding shirt we just launched in fall 2019 in a good example of this type of jacket. We are well known in the motorcycle industry for creating some totally unique and badass helmets like the Covert and the Covert X and now we are doing the same with the apparel line . http://www.scorpionusa.com/product/abrams-riding-shirt/
You will have to stay tuned for the spring 2020 launch, but we have a great jacket coming out that can be worn in five different ways and just might also help you carry some extra gear.
UMC: In the design process, do you personally do in-use testing or review of some prototype versions prior to the design going to production?
Bob: Absolutely. During our development process we prototype the jacket at least 4 times, sometimes up to 5 or 6 times. During each phase of development, I will test ride the product along with other members of our team and we will continue to make modifications and improvements to the product until we feel that it is ready to go to production. The entire process of development may take up to 9 months depending on the complexity of the product.
In the case of the StealthPack jacket we tried at least 6 different construction techniques to carry the weight of the load across the lower back and reduce the stress and pulling on the shoulders as a typical backpack does.
- Jacket: Scorpion StealthPack Jacket
- Distribution: See the Scorpion website
- Exterior material: 600 denier polyester main body material
- Lining material: Polyester mesh.
- Available sizing: See Scorpion website: http://scorpionusa.com/support/size-charts/fitment-exowear
- Closures: Heavy-duty YKK main zipper with internal storm flap, and hook and loop closures
- Special features: Black, gray and sand colors available, reflective accents for low-light conditions, zipper closure ventilation system on torso. Back interior pocket for optional SC-1/15 BACK PROTECTOR.
- Warranty: Scorpion EXOWear is warranted against defects in materials and workmanship for 5 years on Leather, 3 years on Textile, 1 year on Mesh products, 1 year on Covert Jeans/Flannels, and 1 year on gloves from original date of purchase, this warranty is limited to the repair and/or replacement of parts and the necessary labor and services required to repair the item. Normal wear and tear is not covered by the warranty.
- MSRP: $199.95 – $214.95