RockGardn Flak Jacket Review


Aug 15, 2001
Redmond, Washington
RockGardn Body Armor Review
by jen castle (jr_bullit)

What are the four most important questions you should ask before choosing next season’s body armor? Is it durable? Is it breathable? Will it protect me? Can I afford it?

Most of us have compromised on at least one or two requirements of good protection on the body armor we’re currently using. The armor you finally settled on was probably either way too expensive for your budget, hasn’t lasted the duration of the season, or hasn’t provided enough of the right kind of body protection. Those of us in the best of circumstances are simply dealing with sweating out a quart or two of much needed water every time we wear our gear.

For the past several months, the members of Team Rapid Descent Racing have been flinging themselves against trees and rocks, jumping up and down on their body armor, hosing the gear down and starting over again in an effort to find the best, most affordable body armor available. Below we have summarized our findings on what we feel is the best protection on the market today.

It’s called the RockGardn Flak Jacket. It’s price? A comfortable $183.00 dollars. What do you get for so few pesos? A lot, read on!

Straight out of the box your first impression is, “this is going to be a sweaty ride!” However, several runs down the hill later, you realize that the black mesh fabric is incredibly breathable, and actually doing that neat wicking thing that so much of our sports apparel promises to do but rarely does.

As you start to inspect the jacket, you’ll notice the double stitching around each of the thick pads on the chest and torso. Our first thoughts and impressions? The super durable zipper in front and the size of the Velcro straps and buckles that run from the shoulder guard to the chest and back protectors. On the majority of the armor-types we’ve tested thus far, those were the areas that inevitably fell apart before anything else on the gear. One thing you will notice as you’re playing around with your gear is that you can unlock the flexible spin protection sections from one another, so that they no longer lay properly or smoothly. We noticed it, and wondered about it, and were skeptical about it, until we actually put the gear on for a ride. It’s highly unlikely that during a ride, a jump, or a crash that you can contort your body into the angles necessary to unlock the sections. Our best recommendation is to look over your gear before putting it on, and make sure everything is situated properly. If you’re a seasoned rider, you probably do this already.

Like anyone, our first thought upon opening the box, was to strip down and put the gear on and dance around the room like dorks (okay so maybe not like everyone). We poked and prodded each other in well known areas that are commonly bruised and battered to see where the protection had holes, and where it didn’t. As is fairly common in body armor that fits like a jacket, there is little protection in the Flak Jacket for the highly exposed collarbone. On a major positive note however, for those of you who have taken diggers with your sides (and for those of you who can imagine how much that hurts!) there are well-placed pads along your middle to protect those fragile ribs, and the soft sides of your belly. We also made the common mis-judgement with the chest protecting pads. The pads aren’t only foam, as appearances would lead you to believe. RockGardn has hidden a hard plastic plate inside of each of those chest protectors. They are designed to both absorb impact, and block the blunt and sharp objects from doing damage to one of your most vulnerable areas.

After several months of riding and trying to wear this gear down, we’re convinced of its durability and toughness. The two largest drawbacks to the Flak Jacket is, again, the lack of collarbone protection, and the kidney belt which is well crafted but has little adjustibality for different size stomachs. The two drawback disappear, however, as you consider a) the price, b) the tested and proven durability of the jacket, parts, and material, and c) the overall protection that it offers, which is considerable.

To learn more about the Flak Jacket, and the other types of body protection offered by RockGardn, please visit www.rockgardn.com



Turbo Monkey
May 5, 2002
just south of the ATL
The shop just got mine in yesterday. Yeah, I did the "put it on and run into things" thing. Took a couple of punches from shop employees. It's supposed to be my Chistmas present from my wife. I guess I'll tell her today.:D


Aug 15, 2001
Redmond, Washington
Originally posted by KrusteeButt
Jen -
Just curious, did you guys test this for RockGardn?
I'm just curious if your comments will be taken into consideration.
I've talked with Mark@Rockgardn a lot about this flak jacket and his other products. But yes, I tested this for them, along with them being one of the team sponsors


Sep 11, 2001
Laval, Qc.
Hello all,

just had visite the web site, and see the CYA short. I wonder if these are very protective.

Last year i hurt myself at the hips twice and don't want that to happen again.


May 24, 2002
san francisco
First impression:

Just got my flak jacket the other day. Fits great, excellent padding and adjustability. The construction looks standard for the price range....not shabby although i'm not sure how well some of the stitching will hold up. But only time will tell. So once I get some rides in with this armor I'll write a more complete review.

BTW, the guys down at Rockgardn are super cool and way helpful. They had to wait a few days to recieve new product to ship out and they kept me totally up to date with what was happening with my order.