The Hinterland is the flagship textile jacket-and-trouser combination from British brand Oxford Products, which is itself already famous for among other things, great value riding kit and a multitude of essential tools, kit and potions. It falls under the company’s ‘Advanced Riderwear’ sub-brand and is a progression of the laminate technology Oxford unveiled a couple of years ago with its Mondial suit.
The Hinterland is different in several areas. First off, it uses Oxford’s TriLaminate outer material to provide protection as well as the first line of weather-beating ability. It also uses Oxford’s Dry2Dry membrane to enhance waterproofing while allowing the body to breathe.
The advantage of a laminated jacket is that the water sits on the outer surface and while it may eventually begin to be absorbed in sustained or heavy rainfall, it begins by beading on the surface to minimise the increase in weight as it sheds water.
I know it works – a two-hour blast across country, in torrential rain for the first half and the remains of it for the second left the outside filthy and wet but inside, I was completely dry.
It is also warm; the thermal liner is thin but I have ridden in 1°C with just a set of all-season base layers underneath and felt absolutely fine. The thermal liner only zips in for a short part of the torso and there are poppers at the bottom but a wide flap sits under the main zip to prevent any draughts as you are riding.
There is also a storm flap behind the zip that keeps draughts and water out and it means that only having to do one zip up to get in to the jacket is very convenient.
There are both short and long connecting zips on the trousers and the jacket and they are as easy to access and do up as any I’ve tried. Once on the bike, they prevent any gaping at the small of the back yet don’t become restrictive as you ride.
In fact, this is another of the Hinterland’s qualities. It doesn’t use traditional adjusting straps to tailor the fit - you choose the right size and a combination of hidden elasticated sections (such as within the upper arm) and stretch material in non-critical locations (like behind the shoulders and above the knees) allows loads of flex and comfort whether on the bike or off it.
The neck has a sliding adjustable popper for fastening and a hook to hold it open if you want some air flow. The collar is neoprene lined and is very comfortable and the cuffs are easy enough to close tightly to go under gloves though they are a little narrow to go over thicker ones. Similarly, the ankles open to reveals a gusset and twin Velcro straps that close over most boots well.
If things get a little warmer, then you can open vents to get additional air flow. The jacket has four; two on the forearm and two on the chest, all of which are accessible as you wear the jacket.
The rear exhaust vent, to create a through-flow of air, needs the jacket taking off to get to (unless someone else can do it for you) while the trousers have a pair of vents on each thigh – one front and one back. All are closed by a waterproof zip and have large tabs to make finding and operating them easy, even with gloves on.
Both the jacket and trousers are CE AA-rated for abrasion resistance and overall construction and the jacket comes with Level-1 armour in the shoulders and elbows and the trousers, Level-1 knee armour and pockets for hip armour. There is a pocket for a back protector (£21.99 for Level-1 or £29.99 for Level-2) but I use an airbag vest and there is plenty of room for it.
Speaking of which, I went for a Large in the jacket and Medium in the trousers, with a regular leg length (there are long and short options as well) whereas I normally take an XL jacket and L trousers. I suspect this is partly as it comes up large but also, because it is more fitted than many textiles, it doesn’t need to be large to allow you to move around. I also find there is room for my In&motion-powered airbag vest without the whole lot getting too cumbersome or restrictive.
It feels quite stiff to begin with but as time – and the miles – go on, it has loosened up and become more pliable. I find that the trousers are a little high in the crotch – whether zipped to the jacket or just worn with braces, they seem to compress certain organs but a little otching around in the saddle can help with this.
The optional hip protectors (£9.99) are described as large and large they are; I find they can become a little constrictive and intrusive around the front of the trousers but I’d rather have them than not.
There are plenty of pockets in the jacket (two front, three inside, one rear) and trousers (two front) that can house pretty much anything you need though annoyingly, the Napoléon pocket, just inside the main zip, isn’t big enough to house an iPhone 11. I have to put it in one of the pockets in the liner lower down, which makes getting to it trickier when all zipped in.
I’ve used this suit almost exclusively this autumn and into winter and so far, have found no real fault with it at all. It is comfortable, snug and doesn’t have any additional flapping material, it’s warm and has kept me dry in some proper nasty weather.
It’s AA rating breeds confidence in the kind of conditions it excels in and though the armour is only Level-1, it can be upgraded is required. I haven’t tried it in warm weather yet (there hasn’t been any for some time) but have no reason to think it will be any less able than it is in cold and wet.
Thus far, it would appear to be a great all-round suit for any bike and in any conditions.
Trilaminate for excellent waterproofing
Warm in cold weather and cool when it gets hot
Flexible design for a snug, comfortable fit
Stiff to begin with but loosens up