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Imagine trying to explain the concept of adventure motorcycle jackets to an engineer for the first time: You want an all-season touring jacket, but it’s gotta work well on technical off-road trails too.
You need it to be 100% waterproof, but it can’t run too hot in the summer… Or cold in the winter for that matter. And let’s also throw in a couple dozen storage pockets for good measure, and if it’s not too much to ask, let’s make those waterproof while we’re at it.
At first glance, this sounds like a project best left to the folks at NASA or maybe next year’s graduating class at MIT, but lucky for us adventure riders, these outrageously versatile and protective jackets can be obtained without any serious connections in the scientific community.
What’s even better is that nowadays there’s a great adventure motorcycle jacket option out there for pretty much any budget. Here are our top picks this year so far.
Best Adventure Motorcycle Jackets
1. Klim Badlands Pro: The Best Adventure Motorcycle Jacket Overall
The Klim Badlands Pro has been the adventure motorcycle jacket to beat for years, and at the time of writing, it’s still the best ADV jacket out there. Every inch of this jacket screams quality from its premium Superfabric slide zones to its D3O armor panels in the shoulders, elbows, and back.
The 3-layer Gore-Tex shell delivers industry-leading waterproofing, and its twelve total vents provide endlessly adjustable airflow.
The Klim Badlands Pro is an absolute go-anywhere in any weather beast, and our testers have been abusing theirs for over two years with zero issues to report.
You’ll pay a pretty penny for this level of technology and protection, and the heavy-duty fabrics will run a bit warm in the hottest weather, but pound for pound there’s no other adventure motorcycle jackets out there that deliver the goods like the Klim Badlands Pro.
- Premium materials throughout
- Top-notch safety features
- Proven Gore-Tex 3-layer weatherproofing
- One layer to beat most all weather. No sub layers or external layers.
- Runs too warm in hot weather
2. Rev’It Vertical GTX: Best Overall Value
We know what you’re thinking: How did the Rev’It Vertical GTX make this list while top-dollar jackets like the Dominator and Defender are nowhere to be found? Well, we’ve got three words for you: Laminated Gore-Tex liner.
As in the liner that’s not included in the Rev’It Defender’s $900 asking price. As in the liner that you’d have to pay nearly $1500 for in the Dominator.
Granted the Rev’It Vertical uses a two-layer version rather than a three-layer, but it’s just as “money-back-guaranteed” as its fancier sibling, and doesn’t require a second layer to keep the wet stuff out. You’ll also get the same premium SEEFLEX CE level 2 armor in the shoulders and elbows and the same fantastic VCS ventilation system.
The 400D fabric is thinner than what you’ll find on more expensive options and you’ll have to drop another $70 for the back armor (same deal as the Defender), but the quality of this jacket punches so high above its price point there’s just no contest for us.
- Premium features at an outstanding value
- Laminated Gore-Tex shell
- SEEFLEX level 2 armor in impact zones
- Back protector sold separately
- Shell fabric could be thicker
3. Olympia Dakar: The Essential Adventure Motorcycle Jacket On A Budget
Olympia jackets don’t get enough love in the ADV community, which is a shame considering the Olympia Dakar is one of the most well-equipped adventure motorcycle jackets out there for the money.
For about $400 you stand to gain a burly 1000D/500D outer shell, CE-rated armor in the shoulders, elbows and back, and added thermal and waterproof liners for all-weather versatility.
On its own, the highly breathable mesh makes for a great hot-weather jacket, but should things get wet/cold, you can arrange the other two layers to suit the climate.
Having to tote around and rotate three different layers gets old after a while, and the Dakar’s boxy cut won’t score you any cool points next to something like the Klim Badlands above or Alpinestars Halo below, but at this price point, the Dakar’s versatility deserves some serious love and admiration.
- Modular 3-layer system adds versatility
- Breathable mesh is great in hot climates
- Great value for a “3+ season” jacket
- External rain shell required for waterproofing
- Boxy cut/dated styling
4. Firstgear Kilimanjaro: The Technical Shell On A Budget
Firstgear is known for delivering high-quality motorcycle gear at standout prices, and the Kilimanjaro adventure motorcycle jacket is arguably the best value in their lineup.
At just over $400, this is one of the most affordable jackets on our list, yet Firstgear managed to bake premium features like laminated 2.5-layer waterproofing and D30 armor (including a back protector) into the price.
Think of the Kilimanjaro as the more affordable version of the Rev’It! Vertical above: A well-built technical shell that’s built to handle any weather or terrain. The liner is proprietary rather than Gore-Tex, so it doesn’t breathe quite as well, but Firstgear includes other rain-focused features to make up for it like a tall neoprene storm collar and waterproof exterior pockets.
We’ll also note that there’s no thermal liner included in the Kilimanjaro, but you’ll have plenty left over for warm layers considering the $250 price difference.
- Waterproof laminate shell at a great price
- D3O armor including back protector
- Fantastic rain features like a neoprene collar and waterproof pockets.
- Proprietary waterproofing not as breathable as Gore-Tex
- Thermal liner not included
5. Alpinestars Halo Drystar: Best New ADV Jacket
The Alpinestars Halo Drystar is new for 2022, and offers a bold new take on the essential adventure motorcycle jacket. The Alpinestars Halo gets high points in our book for its four-season versatility, which combines a removable Drystar waterproof/breathable layer with insane levels of adjustable ventilation (you can literally zip the sleeves clean off) for a jacket that’s just as good in the hot desert sun as it is in freezing rain.
The anorak/side zip style might not be everyone’s cup of tea (it definitely works better in black, if you’re asking us), and the sewn-in armored panels limit your standalone armor options (the Halo wouldn’t be a great match for the Alpinestars Bionic Action jacket, for instance).
Small complaints considering this adventure motorcycle jacket delivers CE-AA rated protection and all-weather performance for half the price of its competition.
- Four-season comfort
- Fantastic adjustable ventilation
- CE-AA rated protection
- Polarizing style
- External rain jacket required for waterproofing
- Non-removable armor
6. Klim Baja S4: The Best Hot Weather ADV Jacket
Adventure motorcycle jackets are great, but if you’ve ever worn one in the serious desert heat, you know they get sweaty in short order. Klim knows this too, which is why they designed the Baja S4 as a laser-focused hot-weather riding jacket for the off-road enthusiast in all of us.
With a full mesh chassis and an abundance of four-way stretch zones, this jacket keeps you all day cool and comfortable, even when you’re hard at work tackling technical terrain.
We also love that although the Baja S4 is ideal for off-road biased adventure riders, it’s no slouch on the road either. Klim achieves a CE AA safety rating without sacrificing rider comfort by using a mixture of vented D3O armor inserts and air-permeated Superfabric crash zones.
The jacket has zero insulation or rain protection to speak of, but if you spend most of your time riding warm sunny days, there’s no better adventure motorcycle jacket out there.
- Full mesh construction for maximum airflow
- Outstanding range of motion for technical off-roading
- Maintains CE AA safety rating
- No rain protection
- Limited to warmer months
7. REV’IT Sand 4 H2O: Honorable Mention
If you’re loving the fit and finish of the Rev’It gear above but just aren’t looking to shell out that much cash, you’re in good company beside the thousands of satisfied Rev’It Sand 4 H2O owners out there.
We consider the Sand series Rev’It’s first “serious” adventure motorcycle jacket, and as such, it checks all the essential boxes: It’s waterproof, four-season ready, well protected with SEEFLEX level 2 armor, and packs plenty of adjustable ventilation for hot days.
The Sand series takes a more basic approach to keep costs down, so you’ll get a three-layer system for weather protection (like the Olympia above) and proprietary waterproofing (as opposed to Gore-Tex), but it gets the job done year-round and remains one of the best entry-level options on the market.
The latest version also employs a full 500D ripstop polyester chassis and a full-length center vent at the front of the jacket at no extra cost compared to the outgoing Sand 3.
- Rev’It quality and construction at an entry-level price
- Fantastic ventilation
- Four-season versatility
- Three-layer system
- Proprietary waterproofing rather than Gore-Tex
So which adventure motorcycle jacket is the one for your next ride? Hope you found this post helpful!
I’m a motorcycle adventure travel addict who has been rippin’ two-wheels across remote lands and working in the motorcycle touring industry since 2018! I’ve since developed MotoMoves to offer tips and tricks on adventure motorcycling as well as take you along for a few rides here and there. Enjoy!