There are a ton of adventure motorcycle jackets on the market, all claiming to offer a superior level of protection and other intrinsic benefits.
And yet, rider expectations often go something like this:
- “I want a very light adventure jacket with a ton of protection…”
- “That’s fully waterproof but with plenty of airflow vents…”
- “While being super cold in summer and super warm in winter…”
It’s about the right time to snap out of our motorcycling product fantasies. There really is no such thing as the perfect solution and often, you simply can’t have it both ways.
You see, us ADV riders demand jackets that cover a multitude of extremes. It can therefore be difficult to find a ‘perfect for all environments’ jacket.
But yet…there is a sweet spot. This adventure jacket venn-diagram we created explains our thesis:
In a nutshell:
- Opt for low cost and you’ll get poor protection and/or breathability
- Opt for protection and you’ll be paying a fortune, plus it’ll be heavy
- Opt for lightweight and you’ll get less protectoin and it’ll be expensive
And if you wanted to know our pick? While the sweet spot is in the middle, we always put pricing last, especially as you’ll probably have this ADV jacket for years to come.
When you’ve spent a fortune on your motorcycle and you’re out there vulnerable on the roads, it’s best to avoid (or at least minimize) the anxiety of wearing one of those cheap-as-chips jacket from Aliexpress. The jacket you buy only has to save your bacon once and it’s worth every single penny, and a whole lot more.
That’s enough justification to spend up for the best. Now, let’s get into the gear!
Best Adventure Motorcycle Jackets For Serious Riders
We have curated this list through consulting with dozens of riders and our own industry knowledge. While we may earn affiliate commissions on this page, this has in no way shaped this order of recommendations.
And so, here are the best adventure motorcycle jackets for long distance riding:
1. Klim Badlands Pro
Hands down the best adventure motorcycling jacket for 2022 is the Klim Badlands Pro jacket. When first launched, this jacket was already top-of-the-line and has only ever gotten better since. Sounds unbelievable, right?
Not when you consider the tech that Klim places into their jackets making them worth every cent. The Gore-Tex 3L weatherproofing is ridiculously good while still being excellent and ventilation, especially here in the tropics of Queensland. And despite all that comfort, it doesn’t fall short on protection either with Aero Pro D30 armor paired with their very own Karbonite Ripstop fabric across much of the exterior.
The downside here? This thing isn’t cheap! Placing the second most expensive on our list at the START of a product roundup wasn’t our initial idea, but this jacket is miles ahead of the competition, bar the Adventure Rally jacket shown below. And remember, pricing should always be your last consideration IF you’re the serious rider who demands performance.
2. Dririder Vortex Adventure 2 Jacket
Unlike the Klim Badlands Pro above, the Dririder Vortex is more affordable and better suits the weekend warrior rather than the hardcore adventure seeker who’s racking up stamps in their passport. It can be purchased with matching pants and both feature a ton of technology that you’d often pay more for with other brands.
This is the perfect budget-friendly option that doesn’t compromise too much on the important elements such as ventilation, protection and rain deflection. Plus – it looks as though it’s worth twice the price, but you won’t be too disappointed if it’s stolen while you’re away from your motorcycle.
3. Klim Adventure Rally Jacket
Klim makes a second appearance on this list given how much the brand is synonymous with adventure riders globally. This time – it’s their best jacket that absolutely packs a punch! And unfortunately, punches a hole in your wallet too…but it’s definitely justified.
Now in its 4th generation, it’s got the goods to make it the ultimate touring jacket for serious riders who rack up the miles. Being designed for the Dakar Rally, this jacket will withstand the demands of the most serious riders with its Gore-Tex layer that’s strong and guaranteed to keep you dry during those South American rain storms.
Do you need to spend the equilavent of 100 tanks of fuel on an adventure motorcycle jacket? Probably not. While the Klim Adventure Rally Jacket is the best that money can buy, it’s over-engineered and designed to withstand seriously high speed crashes. Us crusty adventure riders typically ride slower and take managed risks without needing to race to the next destination.
4. RST Pro Series Adventure-X
Across Australia, the RST Pro Series Adventure-X has one of the most commonly-seen jackets here. It’s incredibly safe yet is light and comfortable at the same time and like many jackets featured on this list, comes with CE certification. Like the Klim above, it is used by some Dakar Rally competitors but is designed for adventure riders first and foremost.
Think of this as the cheaper alternative to the Klim featured above. While it isn’t waterproof, it does ventilate very well (four-season design) but remains surprisingly simple. There are only two pockets but the rear of the jacket can handle a water bladder for those hot summer days on the bitumen.
5. Klim Kodiak Gore-Tex Jacket
The Klim Kodiak is one of the most underrated adventure jackets in existence. It can be hard to find (especially in the size you’re chasing) and it’s typically available in the darker colors, but don’t let that discourage you. This jacket definitely delivers the goods!
This is a great choice if you’re into winter riding want a warmer jacket that’s heated by the sun. We have seen these used quite often in the snow and given the thick liner, it wouldn’t suit summer riding too well.
6. REV’IT! Dominator GTX Jacket
While the adventure motorcycling fraternity has been upping their game over the last 30 years, there is nothing like the technology you’ll find in the REV’IT! Dominoator GTX Jacket. We always think to ourselves “surely REV’IT! can’t make this jacket any better” and next year comes around with even more features.
What’s unique about this jacket is the modular add-ons you can add depending on your riding terrain. Want to use a neck brace with your riding jacket? Check. Chasing a cooling vest so you aren’t sweating on a hot summer’s day? Check. Want a kidney belt that’s removable? This has that too. This really is the next level, but you’ll definitely be paying for it!
7. Buse ADV Pro STX Textile Jacket
A lesser-known brand which is prevalent in Europe and the United Kingdom is the brand Buse. This German brand has been in business for years but is only just making a stand in the English-speaking markets. Their jackets have some interest and unique designs that scream ‘ADV rider’ but features do go well beyond their design.
You’ll find their jackets to offer a ton of insulation for those cold winter mornings paired with protection for when you do eventually take a tumble. These jackets come with a vest which you can remove. We personally found this especially helpful on a recent multi-day trip as we could use this at our campsite in the evening to stay warm without having to wear the entire jacket. Essentially, it was perfect for saving space in our pannier bags.
8. RJAYS Sand Adventure Jacket
RJays is synonymous with those who prefer the bitumen but they do manufacture some excellent adventure jackets for offroad enthusiasts. This jacket is a true four-season beast with both thermal lining and ventilation which is easily adjustable.
Where this is unique is that it comes in some unique colors that tend to blend in with the terrain. When you’re stealth camping with your adventure motorcycle, it’s imperative that you’re not easy to spot from others and jackets are an easy give-away. Not with the Rjays Adventure range!
9. O’Neal Baja Unisex Adult Jacket
Right – we’ll cop some flack for highlighting anything by O’Neal on this list (as they’re synonymous with young MX riders, not us crusty adventure riders) but hear us out here…
O’Neal has created a relatively affordable jacket that provides some basic protection at a basic price. This represents the cheapest adventure motorcycle jacket on this list but still offers a variety of pockets, a windproof shell and an adjustable collar.
10. Alpinestars Revenant Jacket
Have you ever flown business class and thought “Wow! This is the life!”…? then this jacket is for you. The alpinestars Revenant Goretex Pro Tech Air Jacket is designed (or rather, engineered) to serve serious adventure and dual-sport riders alike who demand comfort and protection.
This jacket combines the lightness of an MX vest paired with the rigidity of a full-blown adventure jacket. It has large pockets that can fit a passport, carnet and insurance documents for those drawn-out border crossings. It also has an airbag system providing even more protection in the off-chance you crash your ADV bike.
11. Klim Latitude Gore-Text Jacket
Alright, we get it. We’ve mentioned Klim several times on this list, but it’s for good reason. They are the leading brand for adventure motorcycle riders and are constantly innovating to be the industry leader.
Unlike most that are featured on this list, the Klim Latitude is significantly more affordable. It doesn’t feature pockets which is a preference for some riders (pockets do get bulky after all) and comes in a variety of colors. We prefer the high-visibility green, especially if riding in developing countries where the traffic and road rules are in dire need of refinement.
12. BMW Ralle Jacket
The last on this list happens to be a favourite of Frontaer. This jacket is iconic and synonymous with BMW riders who want to match their dream bike. These are a little harder to find online but can be found on the shelves of BMW motorcycle dealerships nationwide. With 10 pockets of storage, you’ll easily find a spot for your passport, maps, phone and a whole lot more.
We have enjoyed using this jacket in the warmer Australian months but it equally worked well in the Victorian High Country. After 3,000km, this jacket certainly didn’t feel like compromised in any way and yet didn’t put as much as a dent in our bank accounts either!
Need some help choosing the right jacket for your riding? Then you’re in the right place. Use this guide to help you pick the jacket that will be serve your riding odyssey!
Lined Vs Unlined
Let’s make this as simple as possible:
|Best for winter||Best for summer|
|Includes liner||Need to buy liner|
|More expensive||More affordable|
|Good for snow||Bad for snow|
|Sweaty in summer||Good for summer|
Ventilation is hugely important if you’re riding in summer, but is needed for winter riders too. You don’t want your heat to build up to a point where you begin sweating. Therefore, it’s best to find a jacket that has good airflow where the vents can be zippered open or closed on both the front and back.
You don’t want a jacket that’s good heavy, otherwise you’ll fatigue yourself quite quickly. At the same time, a jacket that’s too light often lacks the protection you REALLY need, otherwise it defeats the purpose of having a jacket.
We need to acknowledge that ADV riders can put on weight, especially if away for months at a time. You’ll want a jacket that has some extra space to expand, especially in the mid and lower sections.
The last thing you’ll want to do is be carting two jackets around.
If you’re simply riding around your state or country, it’s often unnecessary to have pockets on your jacket. On the other hand, pockets are handy for those doing border crossings and need to store valuables when they’re away from their motorcycle.
At the beginning of this round up, we mentioned that pricing should be your last consideration. And again, we have placed this last. It’s best to buy the more expensive that you can afford. Buy once, buy right. Every jacket on this list should last at least 5 years, with some typically lasting 10 to 15 years with regular care and maintenance.
Adventure Motorcycle Jackets
Why are adventure motorcycle jackets so expensive?
There is a ton of work involved with the design of a fully-spec’d adventure motorcycle jacket before it even reaches the start of the production line. Add in the cost for manufacturing, shipping and merchandising, and it’s little wonder why you’re often paying $500 to $1,000 for a decent ADV jacket for riding.
Can adventure motorcycle jackets be used for commuting?
Absolutely. Adventure motorcycle jackets are actually over-engineered for commuting so it’ll be ideal for your daily commute and weekend escape.
What jacket did Ewan and Charley wear in the Long Way Down documentary?
Fancy some cosplay? Ewen McGregor and Charlie Boorman wore BMW motorcycle jackets as both riders were sponsored for this documentary. These jackets are now more than 15 years old and were superceded by the BMW Ralle Jacket.
Are adventure motorcycle jackets comfortable to wear?
Yes. While bulky, ADV riders generally find these jackets reasonably comfortable to wear. You won’t be doing yoga but you also won’t feel like a stiff bodybuilder either. They typically offer enough flexibility where you need it.
Closing Thoughts from Frontaer
Just like so much in the world of adventure motorcycling apparel, you’ll want to be kitted out with the best gear that you can. You might look like a storm-tropper in a stray jacket but that’s a heck of a lot better than being stuck on a hospital bed, possibly for weeks… and especially in a 3rd world country.
Forking out $1,200+ for an almost-guaranteed all-weather performance and all-season comfort, paired with latest and greatest safety features money can buy doesn’t appear too costly. That’s especially so if you intend to see the world from the saddle of a high-spec adventure bike that you’ve already spent $20,000+ on.
Yes BMW owners, we’re looking right at you…
And yet for the rider whose somewhat new to the ADV and dual sport world, or for the casual weekend warrior, you typically won’t need the latest and greatest technology to stay safe on the trails and have a ton of fun. Especially if you’re often cruising along in the lower end of the gearbox.
Even our ‘worst’ picks on this list still pack a ton of protection and technology for the money, and would get you around the world in one piece better than anything you’ll find on AliExpress.
But if money was ultimately no object, the Klim Badlands Pro receives our solid tick of approval any day of the week.