I don't want to commute without some armor with the traffic we have around here... not to mention the morons who pop up from time to time that intentionally try to kill you for some reason. Anyone have any tips for thin, breathable, yet armored riding gear for the hot months?
There are lots of great mesh products out there, but it really depends on how hot and how humid your riding area becomes. I didn't want a lot of biking gear laying around, so I chose Joe Rockets Alter Ego gear. Basically, this is three season wear (spring - fall), but here in Portland, OR, I can make it work year-round with a warm base layer in the winter (and my new heated grips). The jacket has some venting for spring/fall and the lower portion of the is made up of panels that unzip to reveal a mesh layer underneath. Same with the sleeves from the elbow down. The armor is mounted in the mesh, so the protection stays, but you need a place to store the unzipped panels if you convert to mesh on the road. Pants are not so convertable, but do have a long vent that runs from one knee, around the butt, to the other knee. Plenty of venting.
For boots I bought the Oxtar Air Tech (now called TCX, but same boots), gortex lined (waterproof) and breathable. I wear heavy sox when it is cold, thin (sport wicking type) when warm.
Here in Oregon/Washington the full jacket (with panels mounted), pants (with the vent open) and boots are not too warm until temps pass 90 degrees with little humidity, mesh after that. So, I actually rarely switch to 'mesh mode', since I typically don't ride in the heat of the day. In fact some parts of Oregon are pretty chilly in the morning, when I do most of my riding, so I almost always start out with the full jacket.