Key Features Of The Best Motorcycle Adventure Jackets
Before we get into the reviews, let’s take a moment to understand exactly what we’re looking for in each jacket and the criteria we’ll make our judgements on.
For us there are 10 key features that need to be questioned in order to find the right adventure jacket for riders who all have varying needs. We’ll be as thorough as possible in the below reviews, providing you with all the nitty gritty details you’ll need to make the best choice.
While waterproofing is a very important feature for many riders. We won’t say that waterproofing is the most important feature of a jacket. When it comes to this sport / hobby / lifestyle or whatever you want to call it, safety is always our primary concern – we’ll get to that in a bit. Check out our reviews of the safest motorcycle jacket.
ADV riding is all about the unknown and being prepared for it. You don’t want to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere getting soaked in an intense downpour. The best waterproof adventure motorcycle jacket will keep you dry in the wet and cool when it’s hot.
It can be tricky to strike the balance between wet and overheating. Not all jackets are made with the same waterproofing materials and liners. Some of the jackets on our list are only partially waterproof, other jackets have a waterproof inner liner but not waterproof on the outside. In the list of motorcycle ADV jackets below we’ll cover each of the waterproofing features in more depth.
Another super important aspect that should not be overlooked in your ADV jacket. Having the right ventilation in your jacket can save you in those times where you’ll be coming close to overheating and dehydrating. I’ve definitely reached that point more than once. The feeling of having to climb off your bike to take a seat in the grass or on the side of the path because you can’t breathe properly while sweat uncontrollably runs down your face is not a feeling I enjoy. Having the right ventilation in your jacket can help prevent this, or at least delay the onset.
If you’re looking for both a waterproof and well ventilated jacket make sure that the outer liner of your jacket is breathable with a removable waterproof inner liner that can be stored in one of the cargo pockets (More on that later). Removable inner liners are ideal as they allow you the option to convert from a hot, heavy, although very waterproof jacket – to something a lot lighter and more “airy”.
Ventilation really comes down the amount of air that can pass through the rugged exterior shell of your ADV jacket. Usually this means Zips and mesh liners. Lot’s of zip in all different positions. Some of my favorite spots to look for ventilation on a motorcycle ADV jacket are around the neck area and the armpits. This is where I feel I get the maximum pleasure from the rushing cool air.
I know many riders that often overlook protection for style or aesthetics. While I’m also guilty of this crime every now and then, I never completely overlook protection. There are some jackets on this list like the Klim adventure jackets that offer more protection than a Sherman tank.
For many of us, this is an overkill. Nearly as much of an overkill than the attached price tag. (Don’t look here) Weekend warriors probably don’t need a full Kevlar body armor suit, but you still want something strong enough to protect you from any unexpected slips and falls.
The key areas you want to identify for armour in an adventure jacket are the shoulders, back and elbows. If you’re looking for the best motorcycle adventure bodysuit, make sure there is padding in the pants as well, specifically the knee’s area.
The best protective adventure jacket for motorcycle touring will come with a CE-certified rating which let’s you know you’re in good hands, or rather in a good jacket. Be sure to lookout for the CE logo which should be either EN1621-1 or EN1621-2 rated
We will also be looking at the level of abrasion resistance in each of the jackets. This feature may not be quite as important when riding off road but if you plan to use your jacket for road riding to work or longer touring rides abrasion resistance is an important feature. You’ll also find that some of the cheaper options are lacking in this area but for those that are a bit more money conscious, we have taken it upon ourselves to find the best adv motorcycle jacket.
- Inner Liner
A great place to start your search to narrow down your options is by looking at the inner liner. Motorcycle adventure jackets generally have two different types of liners that are all suited to different riding conditions. If you know where you’re riding, this feature can help to quickly identify the type of jacket you’ll need. The three types of lining are as as follows;
- Thermal Liner
Most of the best adventure touring motorcycle jackets come complete as an all in one solution. This basically means they are built with multiple liners which each serve a different purpose. First of, look at the thermal inner layer which should preferably be removable. In addition you will have the outer shell which also serves different riding styles. Often, only one of these layers will be waterproof which is a good thing as it helps out with ventilation.
Only the best waterproof adventure motorcycle jackets will have fully waterproof outer and inner liners. In some regions where the rainy season is longer, riders may want to opt for a fully waterproof riding jacket. We’ll be covering a few of these in our review in an attempt to find the best 3 season adventure motorcycle jacket and it’s close cousin, the best 4 season adventure motorcycle jacket. We’ve also covered the topics of the best winter motorcycle jackets if you’re interested.
- Unlined adventure riding jackets
In hotter riding conditions, dual waterproof liners are an overkill and will lead to overheating (Unless the liner is removable). The best summer adventure motorcycle jackets usually don’t come complete with a thermal liner. Although, they will still offer an armoured exterior with waterproof protection and well ventilated mesh liners for those hot summer rides. We’ve already covered some of the best summer motorcycle jackets in another article which might be a good starting point if you’re in the market for a summer motorcycle jacket. For ladies reading this, we’ve haven’t forgotten about you either, check out the best summer motorcycle jackets for ladies.
This guide will be tailored to the more adventurous rider in need of something a bit more feature heavy. Summer ADV jackets generally do not have a thermal liner as you won’t be using the jacket in cold weather. The positive with this setup is that you can make the decision yourself to add a few extra layers underneath the jacket if you think it might get a little chilly.
The other positive is that many of the jackets on our list are somewhat inbetweeners. Offering the high ventilation of a summer ADV jacket with a dual removable inner liner for colder, wetter riding conditions.
The material used in the construction of an ADV jacket is quite important. Majority of jackets will be made out of a type of non-rip nylon fabric. Some are made out of extra durable Kevlar like the top of the range Klim jackets. All one really needs to look out for in the fabric used is the quality. You don’t want some cheap material that will rip or tear easily when riding through trees or leaning against a rock face.
From road riding you definitely want to make sure the jacket is abrasion resistant and non-rip. For more casual weekend riding a lightweight adventure motorcycle jacket would be best. In more recent years, leather has been widely replaced in the newer ADV jackets offering improvements in mobility, ventilation and protection. We won’t be covering any full leather jackets in this guide, but if that is something you’re interested in check out leather jackets review.
Related Article: Womens leather jackets
- Zip Quality
Similarly to the jacket material, you want to make sure the zip quality is very good. There’s nothing worse than cheap zips getting caught on your liner or caving in under pressure, preventing you from zipping up your jacket. ADV jackets are incredibly versatile. There’s a good chance you’re doing a lot of zipping up and down so getting a jacket with good zip quality will save huge amounts of pain and frustration.
- Cargo Storage Pockets
While storage pockets are really just a nice to have, they can be extremely useful. Especially when riding under questionable weather conditions. Some jackets have storage pockets large enough to stow your whole inner liner should the weather turn hot.
I usually use storage pockets for quick access to my phone, GPS, a couple FUEL gels, wipes for my visor or goggles and even some snacks.
The amount of storage pockets found on some jackets is actually a little bit ridiculous. It’s highly likely to lose something and spend a few solid minutes searching all your pockets. This happened a few too many times while out in the mountains that I now designate specific pockets for specific items, I strongly suggest you come up with your own “filing system” as well.
- Adjustable Fit
While the best adventure touring jackets are quite expensive, the positive is that one of these jackets is likely to last you a very, very long time which is why making the right choice is so important.
With the proper care, your jacket will probably outlast your current body condition. This means that having a jacket with customizable fit is something you should consider as long term investment.
Lookout for adjustable straps around the waist, chest, and arms and wrists. These straps not only help to provide a good fit, but can also be used to adapt to the weather conditions. Tighter fitting means more waterproofing and loosening the straps will allow for a bit more airflow and even allow you to wear your own underlayers without feeling claustrophobic.
When it comes to sizing, it’s obvious that you want to buy something that fits right. For the rest of this guide, when I refer to sizing, I’m talking about the actually true fit of the sizes in relation to a person’s body. Shopping online can get a bit tricky when you don’t get to try on the items first. Luckily with fast shipping and free or low cost returns, this has become a thing of the past.
Not all manufacturers use the same sizing chart and so in this guide I’ll do my best to let you know if sizing typically runs large, small or is just right.
Last up on our list of review criteria is the price. All of us are ultimately looking for the best adventure motorcycle jacket for the money, regardless of your budget. Some of the more hardore adventure riders will be looking at the upper end of the price spectrum, other riders just getting into the sport may consider something a bit cheaper.
This criteria is up to you, but I hope this guide has helped you to identify all the best adventure motorcycle jackets worth considering.
Nothing quite beats getting out into the open on your adventure bike. Some of my favorite adventure riding has been done in the beautiful mountains of South Africa and the rocky valleys of its neighboring country Lesotho.
Local rides around the states have been just as exciting. What most of us love about adventure riding is the element of surprise. You never know what’s waiting around the next bush or what lies beyond the hill in the distance.
I’m a huge fan of adventure touring but something that often throws me off guard is the extremely dynamic terrain and having the right gear for the right ride. Riding in extremely hot conditions with a Gore-Tex liner can lead to extreme overheating and dehydration. Riding without a waterproof liner in the wet makes for an incredibly sh*tty ride.
With that in mind, we’ve set out to find the best motorcycle adventure jacket offering the versatility you need to enjoy any ride under any conditions.. There are a few key brands that stand out among the rest. Klim, Alpinestars, KTM, and Dainese. We’ll be taking an in depth look at all of their top adventure jackets and hopefully find the best adventure style motorcycle jacket for your next wet and wild adventure ride.
We’ve scored and ranked each jacket on the following criteria which you can use as a personal guide to finding the best adventure motorcycle jacket for yourself.
Best Overall Rated ADV Jacket
|Product||Best For||Overall Rating|
|1. Klim Dakar Jacket||Motorcycle adventure jacket for hot weather||★★★★|
|2. Klim Latitude Jacket||Waterproof Adventure Motorcycle Jacket||★★★★★|
|3. Joe Rocket Ballistic Adventure Jacket||Budget Waterproof Motorcycle Jacket||★★★|
|4. Joe Rocket Atomic ADV Jacket||Adventure Touring Motorcycle Jacket||★★★★|
|5. Firstgear Kathmandu Adventure Motorcycle Jacket||Adventure Motorcycle Jacket For The Money||★★★★|
1. Klim Dakar Jacket
Klim is well known as a leader in innovation when it comes to motorcycle adventure gear. After looking deeper into the components it’s no surprise why the brand is held so highly in many riders minds. The Klim Dakar jacket is incredibly versatile and has a way interlinking jackets designed for off road paths and street riding with little compromise.
The Klim Dakar jacket easily makes its way onto our list of best adventure motorcycle jackets as it inspires confidence in all terrains both at high and low speeds. The rugged nature of the jacket makes it perfect for any terrain and features as one of the best 3 season ADV motorcycle jackets on the market.
The Klim Dakar adventure jacket has been around for some time already, however, Klim made some huge improvements in 2019, making the jacket lighter, more ventilated and a lot more comfortable than the previous design.
Removable sleeves for hot days are easily stored in one of many storage pockets. The large pocket on the back is ideal for keeping any removable parts from getting lost.
It’s worth mentioning that this jacket does not come standard with full waterproofing or armor, however you do have the option to buy these components separately. What this means is that the Klim dakar jacket is poised to be the best motorcycle adventure jacket for hot weather. This can be taken as a positive and a con. It enables you to use your own compression vest armor if you already have or you have the benefit of adding the Klim D30 armour into the pockets found on the back, shoulders and elbows.
- Our top pick for best hot weather adventure motorcycle jacket
- Lightweight and durable 600D chasis
- Karbonite micromesh material
- Karbonite ripstop overlays on shoulders and elbows
- 500D 4-way stretch zones
- Zip-off sleeves (store in rear pocket)
- 3M Scotchlite reflective material
- Bio-motion recognition
- Two large, adjustable wrist vents with dual zippers
- Two bicep vents
- Two sleeve-hole vents
- Two rear exhaust vents
- Hidden stretch-straps allow collar to be pulled open for increased ventilation
- Two chest pockets
- Two hand pockets
- One rear pocket for storing zip-off sleeves
- Two inner chest pockets
- Comfort collar
- D3O compatible back, shoulder and elbow armor pockets (armor sold separately)
2. Klim Latitude Jacket
Klim first introduced the latitude jacket back in 2012 and have since made some considerable improvements. Some of these basic changes include better ventilation through the foldable collar, more robust zippers, tighter air seals on the ventilation sections as well as improved inner pockets.
When it comes to waterproofing, the Klim Latitude jacket and pants for adventure motorcycle riding really does stand the test of time. The latitude jacket has been tested in conditions ranging from freezing to harsh deserts. What enables this test to be run across such a different span of terrain is the two layer shell which resides in the main body of the jacket. The double shell layer is made from Gore-tex while the abrasion areas are beefed up with Gore tex and an 840D Cordura compound which essentially adds to the waterproofing, breathability and protection. If a jacket built from Gore-Tex is your priority, then the Klim Latitude Jacket would be the best gore tex adventure motorcycle jacket on our list.
With these multiple layers Klim is incredibly confident in the ability of this jacket and it’s matching pants to keep you dry in any conditions and I would stand by this too.
The ventilation is also well above par. I love the two large vents across the chest which is what maximizes the intake of air as cruise head first. The circulation of air is outstanding with a large mesh exhaust vent on the back allowing air to flow freely through the jacket to minimize drag and air resistance at higher speeds. Overall i would say the ventilation of the Klim Latitude ADV jacket is superior to many other motorcycle adventure jackets on the market.
- Guaranteed To Keep You Dry
- Gore-Tex 2-Layer Performance Shell & Cordura laminate in abrasion zones
- Long distance ergonomics
- 3M Scotchlite reflective materials for visibility
- D3O Level 1 CE protection on elbows and shoulders
- D3O Viper Stealth Level 1 CE back pad
- Adjustable pad pockets
- Klimatek cooling stretch mesh in elbow and shoulder pad pockets
- 6 ventilation ports (2 arm, 2 chest, 2 back)
- Improved waterproofing in venting locations
- 5 external pockets: 2 long chest map pockets, 2 front hand pockets, 1 sleeve id pocket with hidden chest pocket
- 4 zippered internal pockets and 1 secret internal pocket: hidden document pocket behind back pad
- Mesh comfort liner with anti-odor
- Jacket-to-pant zipper integration system
- Zippered waist/hip expansion panel
- Adjustable waist cinch straps
- 2 sleeve adjustment straps keep armor in place and opens vent
- Lined comfort collar with adjustable collar cinch
- VELCRO® brand adjustable wrist closures
- Hypalon headphone access port
- Hypalon zipper pullers
3. Joe Rocket Ballistic Adventure Jacket
As we tend towards a riding world where versatility has become just as, if not, more important than waterproofing, it’s important to look at all the features that could make your adventure touring jacket perfect for use under different conditions.
At the price point the Joe Rocket adventure jacket is certainly a formidable competitor for the title of best budget adventure motorcycle jacket. It does take a little getting used to the two step removable insulated sleeve liners, but other than that, complaints are far and few between.
While the manufactures of the Joe Rocket jacket are not quite as confident as Klim when it comes to guaranteeing the waterproofing (Joe Rocket say the jacket is water resistant) the tough exterior still does a fantastic job of keeping out any unwanted water.
The elbows and shoulders are reinforced with ballistic Nylon which does a great job protecting your body when cruising around trees and rocks. The armor plating is CE certified.
This jacket has a lot to offer when it comes to being versatile. It features two liners, both removable, and both serve a separate purpose. One for warmth and insulation and the other for waterproofing, so depending on where you live and ride, this really does meet the requirements as one of the best motorcycle adventure jackets for hot weather. While it’s not the cheapest or most expensive ADV touring jacket, it finds itself in a respectful price point that could position the Joe Rocket ADV jacket as one of the best budget waterproof motorcycle jackets.
- Waterproof Rock Tex 600 outer shell
- 840D Ballistic Nylon reinforced shoulders, elbows & forearms
- CE approved armor at the shoulders & elbows
- Removable spine pad with pocket for optional CE spine protector
- Two-way main zipper with dual closure button secured storm flap
- FullFlex articulated back expansion panels
- Variable Flow ventilation system
- Waterproof zippers
- Extended fleece lined collar
- Removable insulated full sleeve liner
- 5 outer pockets (2 chest, 2 cargo & rear storage)
- 4 inner liner pockets
- 10-point adjustment system (waist, torso, wrists, & arms)
- Improved extended back fit with elastic hem for
- 360 degree reflective stripes
4. Joe Rocket Atomic ADV Jacket
Overall Rating : 4.5
Value For Money : 4.6
Protection & Durability : 4.4
Features : 4.4
Comfort : 4.5
Style : 4.6
Ventilation : 4.2
Fit : True
In our review of the Joe Rocket Atomic 5.0 we found this ADV touring motorcycle jacket capable of playing with any of the top jackets in our list. It features tight sealing waterproof lining which is ideal for any wet weather conditions. It’s definitely rugged enough to protect you, yet light enough to offer breezy ventilation for summer riding with the added full sleeve liner for cold weather riding.
The Joe Rocket Atomic 5.0 adventure motorcycle jacket is versatile enough to be used as a full offroad adventure jacket or a sport touring jacket.
I don’t promote sport touring in the rain for safety reasons of course, which makes the waterproof Rock Tex outer shell a bit redundant for road use, although very handy for off roaders. Comfort is spot on in the Atomic 5.0. This is mainly thanks to the stretch fabric panel around the back of the jacket, improving ventilation and mobility.
Finding the right fit is easy as adjusting the size is incredibly simple which offers a good fit for any body size with multiple adjustment straps located around the arms, wrists and back sections.
The Atomic 5.0 features more than enough storage including waterproof pockets for water sensitive valuables as well as a hidden inner chest pocket.
For extra protection, Joe Rocket sells back plates like the Speedmaster 2.0 that can easily be fitted to your body although it does not have a built in backplate which is generally prefered.
Like many of the top products, Joe Rocket has a matching set of paints, converting the Atomic 5.0 into a full adventure motorcycle jacket and pants combo that rivals some of the best alternatives.
- Rock Tex waterproof outer shell
- Externally accessible CE approved armor in shoulders and elbows
- Removable spine pad with pocket for optional armor
- Variable Flow ventilation system
- Waterproof zippers
- Wind Tunnel Cooling
- Full Flex back expansion panels
- 6 point Sure Fit custom adjustment system
- 2 outside pockets, 1 internal chest pocket
- Large padded lower back storage pocket
- 8” zipper plus 2 belt loops for ADV jacket and pants
- Removable insulated full sleeve liner with internal pocket
- 360˚ reflective panels
5. Firstgear Kathmandu Adventure Motorcycle Jacket
The Kathmandu jacket will be our choice as the best textile adventure motorcycle jacket around, which is no surprise given this is one of the top jackets offered by FirstGear. It’s constructed with Nylon and a Hypertex waterproof outer shell which is surprisingly breathable and durable.
Air circulation throughout the jacket is very impressive, thanks to the waterproof and windproof shell which sports large air vents across the chest and armpits. Incoming air is displaced through the supersized mesh vent on the back side of the jacket which works great when you start opening up the throttle.
Adding to the waterproofing features are the waterproof zips and pocket flaps which prevent water from gushing into your cosy little pockets when you pin your bike through a puddle or river. A conveniently placed rain hood is situated in the neck collar which fits perfectly underneath your helmet if you plan to use it while riding. Quick access to the collar makes the hood ideal for any quick fuel stops along the way on a rainy day.
The full thermal liner liner works great in colder climates and can be removed for hot weather riding or when you start to overheat in the mountains. One of the best features of Kathmandu adventure motorcycle jacket is the removable backpack with built in hydration pack. The hydration bladder has a capacity of 1.5 litres and can be removed
The features packed into the Kathmandu jacket seem to weigh more towards colder weather riding while there are other jackets in this review that are better suited to high temperatures. The Kathmandu will however get the job done perfectly in cold to moderately hot conditions.
This ADV jacket is definitely not short on storage compartments. It sports four pockets up front and a massive pocket at the back. The hydration backpack can also be used for storage if you end up running out of pockets.
Protection is top notch in the Kathmandu jacket. Packed with hardcore CE approved armore around the shoulders and elbows as well as a high density foam padding on the back. The construct is made from a 420 denier non rip nylon which serves to protect you in case you go down or end up sliding across the dirt, gravel or tar.
FirstGear also have a pair of Kathmandu pants where the quality matches that of their high end adventure motorcycle jacket.
- 2 Year Limited Warranty
- Dynamic fi for all body types
- Waterproof and breathable Hypertex outer shell
- 420 denier rip-stop nylon
- Fully adjustable D3O T5 CE Armor in the shoulders and elbows
- EVA dense foam back pad
- Integrated collar rain hood
- Removable backpack with 1.5 liter hydration bladder
- 2x 8” vertical chest vents
- 2x 9” armpit vents and
- 2x 9” vertical rear exhaust vents.
- YKK #8 Vislon two-way main zipper to keep out the elements
- YKK #5 zippers on the chest and pockets.
- Large 14” rear dry pouch
- Reflective taping
- waterproof and breathable stretch material on elbows and underarms
- Removable, fully insulated, thermal liner with wind blocking, adjustable, cuffs
6. Alpinestars Andes v2 Drystar
The latest improvement of the old Alpinestars Andes jacket is the V2. Substantial improvements in the design and particularly ventilation make this one of the best adv motorcycle jackets.
In our Alpinestars Andes V2 review we found the added protective reinforcements to the shoulders and elbows have drastically improved protection against abrasive surfaces.
Below the surface lies the Drystar membrane as well as the perforated lining which makes ventilation a real breeze. It also comes standard with a removable long sleeve thermal lining which makes for a hell of a versatile adventure riding jacket capable of doing a great job all season round.
New and improved ventilation is a result of the new Direct Ventilation system which has two large air vents across the chest with waterproof zippers. Allowing for air circulation through the jacket are two large exit vents on the back.
Detachable shoulder and elbow pads are CE certified and work well together with a high density foam padding across the chest and back area.
The main zipper and waterproof flap make the Andes V2 adventure riding jacket very waterproof as they are held closed by a velcro hook.
Alpinestars have always been great at paying attention to small details, and this is still evident with the anti tank scratch, rubberized liner along the bottom of the jacket.
Finding the right fit should be pretty easy. There is an abundance of adjustable fitment straps across the sleeves, wrists, waist and chin area along with straps for fastening the Andes V2 Drystar pants for adding protection and comfort.
- Advanced textile and Drystar waterproof and breathable material
- Zippered Direct Ventilation System (DVS) chest air intakes and back exhaust ports
- CE-certified elbow and shoulder protectors
- Pockets for optional chest and back protection (sold separately)
- Reinforced elbow and lower arm abrasion resistance
- Reflective taping for low light riding
- Front waterproof cargo pockets
- Large external utility pocket
- Integrated soft edge collar
- Premium YKK zipper with double sliders
- Removable long-sleeve thermal liner
- External zippered pockets
7. Dainese D-Explorer Gore-Tex Jacket
Similarly to the Andes V2 above, the REV’IT! Sand 3 Jacket is the new improved older brother of the Sand 2 jacket. Most of the improvements have been a result of a design more focussed toward a 4-season jacket that could easily be one the best options for short daily trips, longer touring and the more abusive off road terrain.
The focus on a 4-season adventure motorcycle jacket is most prevalent through the redesign of the zippers and ventilation system. All front zippers across the chest, back and sleeves have been increased to allow more airflow into, around, and through the jacket.
Many jackets that target the 3-season or 4-season rider often struggle to bring a well rounded and versatile jacket to the market. With the Sands 3, by simply removing the inner waterproof liner, the jacket turns into something perfectly lightweight and airy for a hot ride.
Enhanced protective armor as well as styling are also evident in the latest design. With color options now increasing to match the rest of your gear you shouldn’t have any issues looking the part. Protective padding also fit the contours of your body a lot better than the older model. REV’IT call this their Seeflex protection which has a CE level 2 rating.
Overall this adventure riding jacket is very impressive. It stacks all the latest features into one powerful and protective asset that would be a good fit for any adventure rider. The best part is that while adding all the extra features REV’IT have still managed to keep the price under control making the Sand 3 one of the best adventure motorcycle jackets for the money with a focus towards being a waterproof, insulated and light 4-season adventure motorcycle jacket.
- Ripstop polyester outer shell
- Detachable insulated thermal liner
- Detachable waterproof hydratex liner|
- 3 Outer shells made from polyester and polyamide
- Seeflex CE Level 2 protection at shoulders and elbows
- Back Protector (sold separately):
- Reflective panels for low vis riding
- Adjustable straps around the collar, waist, under arm, upper arm, cuffs, and hips
- VCS I zippers in front, chest, back and arms
- Quick stash pockets, membrane storage pocket, hand warmer pockets, inner pockets