7mesh Airmap Is the Ultimate in Breathability and Water Resistance

7mesh Airmap Is the Ultimate in Breathability and Water Resistance

Photos by Geoff Livingston

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Put air in its place. With Airmap, air is the key to regulating temperature, making the difference between a cold miserable ride, and getting out to enjoy a perfect winter's day. Getting your layers right is always tough, and we've all been there where we didn't get our windstopper layer right and ended up freezing on the descent, or went full waterproof and cooked on the way up. We'll still get it wrong every now and then, but 7mesh are always looking out for that next goldilocks material that can handle every scenario.

Airmap is 7mesh's new line of PFAS-free outer shells designed to balance protection from rain and wind while also managing heat effectively. In a time where we're more aware of our impact on the environment, many companies are having to rethink their approach to waterproofing as we move away from the 'forever chemicals' that are commonly found in waterproof garments, non-stick cookware etc. and move into a greener future.

With Airmap 7mesh took a new approach to layering; build the garment in layers, rather than layering on the body. By mapping different fabrics in different areas, they can control how breathable certain areas of the garment are, better controlling heat and ventilation, helping them breathe better during high intensity efforts, while still being windproof where it matters and keeping rain off in all but the worst weather.

Sam riding through the fog on a North Shore mtb trail

The Science

Airmap panels, when thoughtfully positioned, effectively regulate airflow to control the movement of heat and water vapor. With three configurations—single, double, and triple layer—Airmap panels seamlessly integrate technology into carefully crafted patterns and articulation. This results in a tailored experience, providing a great fit, unrestricted movement, and consistent optimal performance and ventilation.

Single layer panels feature a recycled stretch woven face fabric treated with PFC/PFAS-free durable water repellent treatment (DWR), offering air permeability and some water protection. Double layer panels, with a stretch woven face fabric laminated to a recycled polyester knit backer, provide wind blocking and water resistance while allowing air permeability to vent heat and moisture. Triple layer panels incorporate a stretch woven face fabric laminated to a waterproof, breathable polyurethane membrane, and a polyester knit backer, prioritizing maximum waterproof and windproof protection over air permeability.

Sam pushes his bike uphill in the rain and fog

All of this, in laymans terms, means that Airmap garments are highly breathable, with wind-proof and water resistant panels mainly in the front, more breathable panels on the back and with lots of stretch built in, combining the best elements of your favourite waterproofs, windstoppers and soft shell layers. While Airmap pieces are not waterproof, they do feature fully taped seams and several waterproof panels, making the garments water resistant, keeping the user pretty damn dry, but more importantly regulated in terms of temperature.

Road, Mountain, and Anywhere in Between

Airmap is designed for any type of riding, from road to mountain, gravel and any other type of riding you can think of. Perfect for our changeable shoulder and winter season conditions here in BC where you never know what to expect. You might encounter a bit of rain, fog, sun, snow, but if you're working hard, you can be sure Airmap will be working hard too. 

Sam rides a chunky rock garden on a North Shore trail

While there are no hard and fast labels or rules, there are more fitted pieces within the Airmap range leaning toward road/gravel/cross country type riding, such as the S2S Jersey and the S2S Vest which are the only pieces with the 1-layer Airmap panels, for high intensity efforts. On the other side sits the Cache Anorak with a looser fit, front pocket and hood, perfect for protection from the element on mountain epics. Somewhere in the middle sits the Cache jacket and Grit pants, where they would make great mountain, gravel or commuter pieces with a slightly looser fit in the jacket than the S2S, and plenty of stretch in the pants with room for knee pads and thoughtfully designed pockets to keep your smartphone safe.

Designed in BC, Built for the Shore

Designed, developed and tested right here in BC, 7mesh HQ is just up the road in Squamish and is owned and run by cyclists, so you know that they take their product testing seriously. We get some of the most extreme weather here in Coastal BC, which makes for a pretty serious testing ground. On test here is the Cache Jacket and Grit Pants, put through their paces by Sam in some classic North Shore conditions, from rain to sun and classic dank, wet foggy conditions. 

7mesh Cache jacket has fully taped seams and useful pockets

The sweet spot for Airmap are those seemingly ever-present weather conditions in between rain and dry, where we spend the majority of our winter. Keeping the rain off in all but the worst rainstorm when only the hardiest riders are out on the trails, the Cache Jacket beads nicely and doesn't let the water in until it starts pouring, with the front of the jacket totally watertight and windproof, it's perfect for damp descents, while the back of the garment works to vent excess heat out on the way up, making for a balanced temperature all around. 

It's the same story with the Grit Pants - waterproof front panels keep the rain and wind off in the direction of travel where it's important, with 2-layer panels at the backs of the legs for ventilation. Stretch seams mean you can stay dynamic on the bike without feeling restricted like a more traditional waterproof pant will.

Two side pockets and a chest pocket on the Cache Jacket, and two hand pockets with mesh internal sleeves for a smartphone on the pants give plenty of storage capacity that isn't bulky when used. A full zip on the jacket means it can be opened up on the climbs if need be for better ventilation, and half-elasticated cuffs on both gives them a snug fit around the ankles and wrists with a little extra overlap on the wrists to make sure there's no exposed skin between jacket and gloves - smart. Fit as always is excellent and tailored to work best on-bike, where it's tighter in the chest and looser at the back so that it doesn't bunch or feel tight when on the bike.

Sam wears a 7mesh Cache jacket in the rain

In short, Airmap is something we grab for 80% of our rides in the shoulder and winter seasons. Combined with minimal layering, they work great for regulating temperature and staying dry if the weather turns. Though it may not be the first thing we grab if it's already wet out - for that take a look at some of their more traditional waterproofs including the Thunder Pants (women's version here) or Skypilot jacket (men's version here). For cold, dry days, check out 7mesh's WTV (Wind, Thermal, Ventilation) collection.

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Sam sits on his bike in the rain on a foggy day