Fox Racing Defend 3L Water Jacker & Defend 3L Water Pant Review



Review & Photos by Dario DiGiulio

Riding in the rain isn’t for everyone. From the hassle of getting ready, to the sketchier conditions, and what sometimes feels like the inevitable fact of being cold and wet, it’s no surprise trailheads get a whole lot quieter when winter rolls around. Damn near every company that makes apparel has tried their hand at solving the wet weather problem, but few have really nailed it when it comes to actual on-trail performance. With their new Defend 3L (3-Layer) Water Jacket and Pants, Fox Racing is hoping to provide the ultimate offering. How did they get on? I’ve been putting them through Washington’s wettest gauntlet to see just how well they hold up.


For the new Defend 3L line of rain apparel, Fox has employed some of the more popular methods to try to balance waterproofness and breathability, with both using 3-layer waterproof fabrics (albeit with a different construction) with a DWR treatment applied. While the look of both is quite simple on the exterior, there are some hidden features to try to increase the usability.

Fox Racing Defend 3L Water Jacker & Defend 3L Water Pant Review


  • 3 colors – Black, Copper, CRML
  • 5 sizes – S-XXL (plus Womens XS-XL)
  • 91% polyester, 6% elastane, 3% polyamide nylon
  • Cordura in high-wear areas
  • Fully taped seams
  • Waterproof zippers
  • Pit zips for venting
  • 10k/10k Waterproof and Breathability
  • DWR treatment
  • Full-size adjustable hood
  • 2 zippered hand pockets
  • MSRP: $274.95


  • 3 colors – Black, CRML, Emerald
  • 6 sizes – 28-38 (plus Womens XS-XL)
  • 80% polyester, 13% polyamide nylon, 7% elastane
  • Cordura in high-wear areas
  • Fully taped seams
  • DWR treatment
  • 2 zippered hand pockets
  • MSRP: $249.95
Fox Racing Defend 3L Water Jacker & Defend 3L Water Pant Review


To get a sense of relative fit, I’ll do my best to describe my dimensions and build. I’m around 6’3” tall and 175 pounds, with a +5” ape index. Long limbs, pretty skinny. Picture in your head one of the War Boys from Mad Max, if that rings a bell. Like many mountain bikers, I have the big legs small waist thing going on, which can be a tricky fit issue with more standard cuts of apparel.

The Defend 3L kit showed up just in time, as we caught our first major rainfall of the year, with just around 3” accumulating in one day. Never one to skip a ride, I suited up and rolled out, kitted out with the Fox shells. Climbing is where rain gear typically falls very short, as you end up sweaty and soaked from the inside in no time, so I made sure to get out for plenty of rolling and physical rides while rocking the kit. On the climbs, the jacket is okay, but far from the best amongst other rain layers I’ve used. Compared to options like Endura’s MT500 shell, the ventilation is pretty minimal, with only pit zips to help you dump heat and the 10k/10k wateproof/breathability rating which falls short of many in this price bracket. With other jackets offering many ways to let some air in, I have a hard time reaching for the one that traps all your heat. For exceptionally cold places, this could be the ticket, so long as your output isn’t too high while riding.

In terms of fit and features, the Fox Defend 3L Jacket is a bit of a mixed bag. The finish and look of the piece is nice, and of high enough quality to last a fair bit of use. That said, the fit is a bit odd for most people (I had a few size-large friends try it on as well for reference.) The sleeves are plenty long to work while riding, and the torso covers the back from the dreaded rooster tail effectively. But where those two connect, things go south. The armpit junction is weirdly baggy, leading to an awkward feeling fit, especially when off the bike. While riding, it does allow for better range of motion, so perhaps it’s a worthy tradeoff to some, but strange all the same. My final gripe is about the hood, as while it’s big enough to fit over a half shell, it’s too short front-back to actually protect your face or the front of your helmet, meaning you still feel a bit open to the elements.

Though the simplicity of the Defend 3L Jacket is part of what holds it back, it’s one of the main strong suits of the Defend Pant. With a great fit that is neither too tight nor too loose, they allow a bit of air to flow around your legs, all while keeping the water out completely. For my long legs, the inseam length is a bit too short, which means you’ll end up with some very wet feet and ankles, but assuming you’ve got a good sock/shoe combo that’s a separate issue. The textured Cordura butt panel effectively avoids the slip-n-slide feel that other rain pants can cause, which makes them great for longer pedals in foul weather.

As a combo, the Defend 3L kit does keep the water out well, and has remained waterproof even over some long rides out in the slop without wetting through. The color options and large size range mean there should be something for everyone, assuming you’re in the market for a simple downhill-focused rain kit. Most days, I’m still reaching for a lighter windbreaker, but the Defend pants do come out on truly foul days.

Fox Racing Defend 3L Water Jacker & Defend 3L Water Pant Review

The Wolf’s Last Word

With a great fit and effective weather-resistance, the Fox Defend 3L Pants are a great addition to a foul-weather kit, so long as your legs aren’t too lanky. On the other hand, there are several jackets on the market that offer better features and fit within the same price range, so it’s hard to recommend the Fox Defend 3L Jacket unless you’re committed to the style and color options above all else.

$274.95 – Defend Jacket
$249.95 – Defend Pant


We Dig

Quality materials & construction
Great fit on jacket and shirt
Small details make the Northwoods Jacket stand out

We Don’t

Some durability concern with lighter fabrics
Fit on pants can be odd for some
High price for overseas manufacturing


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