VNM Sport ActivCool-GP Compression Pants Review

Over the years, I’ve paid scant attention to the baselayer clothing I wore when I was motorcycling when it was warm, and only a little more when snowmobiling or cold-weather motorcycle riding. Until relatively recently, cold-weather riding gear usually consisted of long johns under heavy jeans and a lined leather jacket or an insulated snowmobile jacket over a basic cotton or woolen turtleneck sweater. If it got really cold, I might resort to an insulated one-piece snowmobile suit. Comfort was kind of, well, optional.

VNM ActivCool-GP Compression Pants Review - Price

Times have changed and, as I got a little older, I wised up. I began to develop an interest in some of the other functions a good baselayer can offer. Compression fit, for example, was a concept I never realized could provide some physiologic benefits—fatigue reduction and more rapid recovery after physical exertion.

Modern fabrics can also be more effective in wicking body moisture away from the skin, helping to modulate body temperature for comfort in hot or cold conditions. The old days of fabric bunching up or fitting snugly by being overly tight are over. Even putting outerwear on or taking it off can be made easier with the right baselayer. VNM Sport, based on California’s Monterey Bay, makes a line of baselayer gear offering all these modern qualities.

We have already reviewed VNM Sport’s ActivCool-GP warm weather top, which I tested in the heat of beautiful Austin. We have also reviewed the Wisconsin-ready chill-reducing ActivThermal-GP baselayer.

Now, we’re trying the VNM Sport ActivCool-GP Compression Pants ($99 MSRP) with my motorcycles and vintage Sno-Runner.

In the heat and humidity of summer in Wisconsin, I rely on a well-ventilated leather or mesh jacket for cooling airflow on the upper half of my body. Lower half coverage has always been something of a challenge.

Excellent protection is available in either armored textile (denim) riding pants, such as the Ventura jeans from Cortech, or armored leather riding pants, such as the Pro Street pants from Joe Rocket. In hot, humid weather, I had usually avoided leather riding pants. To my surprise, the VNM ActivCool-GP compression pants have proven that leather riding pants need not be avoided in hot weather.

For me, perhaps the situation where the effect of the VNM ActivCool-GP compression pants was most noticeable was discovered inadvertently. By riding with black leather and black textile armored riding pants in succession on sunny days with summer-like heat, with and without the VNM baselayer pants, it was possible to get a vivid comparison of the product’s effect with each type of outer layer.

Without the VNM ActivCool-GP compression pants baselayer, both types of outer layer pants quickly transferred the heat gained in the sun to the skin. However, the VNM Compression Pants worn as the base layer substantially reduced heat transfer.

For cold riding conditions under insulated snowmobile and motorcycle riding pants, the smooth fabric and compression fit made the outer layer slip on and off easily and added an extra level of warmth.

That may seem counterintuitive given the ActivCool product name, but the same garment properties that help moderate body temperature in hot weather also work to do so in cold weather. This is similar to how insulation in a structure helps moderate interior temperature, whether the air conditioner is cooling the interior or the furnace is heating it.

VNM ActivCool-GP Compression Pants Review - Cold and Warm Weather

The sleek fit allows for a full range of motion without bunching or chafing. The performance was similar to that of cool-weather motorcycling gear. The only drawback for me is the lack of fly due to the unisex design—a minor inconvenience.

Whether under leather or textile riding pants, the VNM Sport ActivCool-GP Compression Pants make a noticeable difference in mitigating the transfer of the sun’s heat from the outer garment to me on hot summer days.

VNM Sport ActivCool-GP Compression Pants Fast Facts

  • Sizes XXS (21- to 24-inch waist) to XXL (38- to 46-inch waist)
  • Protection: SPF 50+ UV sun rays

    VNM Sport ActivCool-GP Compression Pants Price: $99 MSRP