Written By
Published Jan. 15, 2020

When it comes to adventure riding, in order to stay protected yet free enough to move around unimpeded, you need a durable and functional jacket that will stand up to some major wear and tear. It’s an added bonus if it looks good, and waterproof or water-resistance is a must. Today’s adventure motorcycle jackets are constructed from lightweight, high-tech, and ultra durable materials and designed to be light and breathable, but strong and tough. 

These multifunctional jackets are gaining in popularity with motorcycle riders all over. If you’re in the market for a new adventure motorcycle jacket, we’ve got you covered with our list of top-of-the-line favorites, as well as our informative buying guide to teach you exactly what to look for.

The Best Adventure Motorcycle Jackets

When it comes to a versatile, lightweight, functional, and well-priced motorcycle jacket, our top pick is the REV’IT! Offtrack Jacket. It’s ideal for warm weather ADV touring with its VCS zipper and panels and 3D mesh. The outer shell features rugged textile and is specially designed to optimize airflow.

The jacket comes with two different removal liners, including one waterproof liner and a thermal liner to give you customizable levels of comfort and functionality. You can also close the vents on the jacket in especially chilly or wet weather. This jacket is equipped with additional armor at the shoulders and elbows that’s rated CE level 2 for extra protection.

Key Features
  • Lightweight, rugged polyester shell
  • Two removable inner liners
  • Seeflex CE level 2 protection
  • Laminated reflection
Specification
  • Brand REV’IT
  • Model Offtrack
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Adjustable vents for customized airflow

Multiple well-placed pockets

Versatile

CONS

Arms may be too long

Not ideal for harsher weather conditions

Sizing runs small

The Atomic jacket has formidable padding in the shoulders, elbows, and back. The textile is thick and sturdy, and the liner does a good job of keeping you warm. It’s toasty with the liner in and sufficiently breezy with the liner out. The zippered sleeves keep the jacket tight around your wrists, and they are easy to unzip with one hand.

This jacket offers CE-approved armor in the elbows and shoulders that is concealed inside the jacket, but easily accessed from the outside when it’s time to remove it. It also features removable spine armor and a pocket for an optional CE spine protector, making this one of the most safety-oriented jackets on our list.

Key Features
  • CE-approved armor in shoulders and elbows
  • Removable Spine Armor 
  • Variable Flow ventilation system
  • Waterproof treated Rock Tex and Hitena outer shell
Specification
  • Brand Joe Rocket
  • Model 1651-5503
  • Weight 5 pounds
PROS

Warm and comfortable

Great ventilation

Fits even large individuals

CONS

Too many logos

Zippers may fail

Pockets may unstitch

It’s going to be tough to top the Klim Badlands Pro Jacket. This adventure jacket is specially engineered to hold up to the abuse and rigors of hardcore adventure riding. It features a three-layer Gore-Tex Pro laminate technology that is sure to keep you dry in some of the wettest weather.

To add to the overall durability, this jacket encompasses abrasion-resistant 500D Karbonite ripstop panels and Superfabric reinforcements that are designed to hold up well if you happen to dump your bike. Heavy-duty D3O Aero Pro armor is there to absorb impact and provide protection to high risk areas of the body during a fall.

Key Features
  • Gore-Tex three-layer pro laminate outer shell
  • 500D Carbonite ripstop panels
  • Klimatek cooling stretch mesh
  • Jacket-to-pant zippered integration system
Specification
  • Brand Klim
  • Model Badlands Pro
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Super durable

Plenty of pockets inside and out

Waterproof

CONS

Arms may be too stiff and snug

Back protector not included

Heavy even without the liner

The Transition 4 jacket can be worn in a variety of different climates. On warmer days, the pipeline vents maximize airflow on the chest, underarms, and back. It also features a rain guard barrier, waterproof zippers, and a removable insulated liner. The company’s patented under-the-helmet hood prevents water seepage in the collar area.

The jacket is true to size, and all the zippers are easy to zip up/down/open/close without any sticking. It also features soft, yet rugged microfiber lined cuffs and collar for added comfort. We also like the Phoslite 360-degree reflective piping and reflective rear triangle for increased nighttime visibility.

Key Features
  • Carbolex 600 denier outer shell
  • 1680 denier ballistic in the elbows
  • Aqua-barrier under-the-helmet hood
  • Pipeline venting with pinch vents
Specification
  • Brand Tourmaster
  • Model 8777-0417-05
  • Weight 3.5 pounds
PROS

Vents maximize airflow

True to size

CE-rated armor

CONS

Back protector is thin

Velcro may fail prematurely

Sleeves may be tight

The Firstgear Kathmandu Jacket gets a nod for being a highly adjustable jacket that gives you the ultimate in personalized fitment. You can adjust the collar with the specially designed slider snap that gives you up to 1.5 inches of play. You also get highly adjustable straps at the waist, forearms, and biceps. This jacket is constructed from a rugged Hypertex waterproof and breathable outer shell.

It features a fully adjustable D3O T5 CE armor in the shoulders and elbows which is more flexible, comfortable, and thinner than the standard armor you see on some other jackets on the market. We also like that this is one of the few adventure jackets that comes with a 1.5-liter hydration bladder.

Key Features
  • Hypertex waterproof outer shell
  • Highly adjustable wrists and collar
  • Hydration bladder included
  • Removable insulated thermal liner
Specification
  • Brand Firstgear
  • Model Kathmandu
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Comfortable and breathable

Backed by a two-year limited warranty

Rear dry pouch is large enough to store the jacket’s liner

CONS

May too snug in the arms to

Water bladder backpack needs reinforcement

Vents are less effective than on some other jackets

The Sedici Alexi 2 Mesh Jacket is a great pick for hot weather riding. When you need protection but don’t want suffocation, this jacket is the answer. It’s not a trad “ADV jacket,” true. But the breathability and the inlcusion of two liners makes it a fantastic 3-seaasn pick on road or off. It’s specially designed to promote maximum cooling airflow thanks to its mesh shell. It comes with a removable thermal liner and a removable waterproof liner for added versatility. The main body of the jacket is 600D dobby construction with hard mesh inserts at the chest, back, and inner arms.

Extra 1200D reinforcement is added to the usual high impact zones for added protection. Well-placed accordion stretch panels at the elbows and shoulders allow for greater range of movement than you get with some other adventure jackets. The neoprene-lined collar and throat insert help to keep you extra dry in wet conditions.

Key Features
  • 600D dobby construction
  • 1200D reinforcement on shoulders and elbows
  • Removable thermal and waterproof liners
  • Neoprene lined collar and throat insert
Specification
  • Brand Sedici
  • Model Alexi2
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Super breathable and lightweight

Extra liners allow you to ride in cooler or wet weather

Accordion panels in shoulders and elbows for added mobility

CONS

Outer shell is not waterproof

Doesn’t include a CE-rated back protector

Not suitable for use in colder climates

Best Adventure Motorcycle Jacket Buying Guide & FAQ

Whether you’re a seasoned ADV rider or just getting into adventure riding, one of the most important pieces of gear you need is a proper jacket. Not all brands are the same, and you should learn all the facts about this type of gear before you spend your hard-earned money on one. After all, some of them are rather pricey.

Our buying guide below includes everything you need to know about adventure motorcycle jackets. There are certain features you need to look for, and we answer some common questions you may have about this type of jacket. We also provide some tips to help you get the best out of your adventure jacket.

Benefits of an Adventure Motorcycle Jacket

Proper riding gear is critical when you’re on a motorcycle, as most riders know.  Not only does it keep you safe and protected, but it also dictates how comfortable you are when you’re on your bike. ADV jackets in particular are ideal because they are very versatile when it comes to the type of weather and conditions you encounter. Whether it’s hot or cold they are great, largely because they feature removable liners.

Adventure jackets also provide a lot of protection in the form of body armor. If you have an accident, armor in the elbows, shoulders, and back will add another barrier between you and the road, reducing the severity of injury. Also, ADV jackets are customizable due to their adjustability. You can tighten or loosen the collar, waist, and sleeves for a better fit. They also have a lot of pockets for storage.

Finally, one of the best things about adventure motorcycle jackets is that you look good when you’re wearing one. They come in a variety of styles and colors, depending on your preference.

Benefits

  • ADV jackets keep you cool when it’s hot outside and warm when it’s cold and are usually waterproof.
  • They feature armor that protects various parts of the body (elbows, shoulders, back, etc.) in the event of a crash.
  • An adjustable collar, waist, and sleeves as well as a removable liner allows you to customize them for comfort.
  • There are numerous pockets for your wallet, cell phone, keys, etc. that are easy to access.
  • They look very stylish and sleek.
Man on motorbike riding on the road  

Different Kinds of Adventure Motorcycle Jackets

The type of riding you do dictates the type of jacket you wear. If you’re just cruising around town on a Harley-Davidson, you may opt for a leather jacket, for example. This, however, won’t do if you are an ADV rider. Instead, you need gear that is tough and can withstand different weather conditions and different riding terrain. They are usually made of nylon and are breathable and waterproof. There are basically two types of adventure motorcycle jackets on the market.

Thermal Lined

Many of the best adventure touring motorcycle jackets are all in one, which means they come with multiple layers. Typically, they will have a thermal inner layer that you can remove as well as an outer shell. Sometimes only one of these layers is waterproof, and other times both are waterproof.

The best motorcycle adventure touring jackets are used by riders throughout the year, no matter what the season. They are designed to handle a variety of weather conditions. That’s why a removable liner is so important. It keeps you warm and comfortable in the winter but can be detached when the temperatures rise.

Unlined

The best summer adventure motorcycle jacket will not include the thermal liner that other ADV jackets feature. Instead, you provide your own layers. This type of adventure motorcycle riding jacket usually has an armored shell and waterproof protection as well as vents, making it ideal for warmer weather.

However, it will not feature additional layers that help protect against cold temperatures. It’s up to you to buy separate lining in order to stay warm in the winter. This allows you to select the type of layers you need based on your preferences. You may want something a little thicker or thinner, depending on the conditions.

What to Consider When Buying an Adventure Motorcycle Jacket

As we mentioned earlier, not all adventure motorcycle jackets are the same. Some are less expensive with fewer features, and others are higher quality with more premium options. What’s most important is that you choose a jacket that fits your specifications. Still, some features are more important than others, and we outline them below.

Waterproof

Since ADV riders hit the road in all types of weather, one of the most important features to look for is a jacket’s waterproof capability. The last thing you want is to get soaking wet when you’re on a road trip. This is a nonnegotiable feature whether you’re off-road or even street riding.

The best waterproof adventure motorcycle jacket will keep you dry. However, not all adventure jackets are 100 percent waterproof. Some only feature a waterproof inner shell, which means the outer shell will still retain moisture. Make sure the jacket you select has the waterproof capabilities you require.

Ventilation

It can be very uncomfortable to ride in gear that makes you sweat and restricts airflow. The best adventure style motorcycle jacket will include plenty of ventilation. Specifically, the jacket’s outer layer should be breathable in addition to waterproof. This may seem counterproductive, but it’s an essential feature and many manufacturers have created designs to make it happen.

A good ventilated jacket will feature waterproof zippered vents that foster airflow. There’s no such thing as too many vents when it comes to adventure jackets. Keep in mind that a removable inner liner may slightly restrict the airflow and ventilation, but that’s unavoidable.

Protection

An adventure motorcycle jacket and pants usually come with armor. Look for CE-certified armor for the best protection. Armor that meets this standard offers maximum protection to the shoulders, elbows, back, and knees. To ensure it’s CE-certified, the armor should have the CE logo on it with either EN1621-1 or EN1621-2.

In addition to armor, the best adventure motorcycle jacket will also feature abrasion resistance. This may not be as important when you’re off-road because dirt is softer than pavement, but it is vital for those days that you eat the miles on the highway.  You want to protect your parts in case you crash.

Pockets

The more pockets you have, the more things you can stuff inside them. This includes items such as your wallet, phone, and keys. While you may have bags or luggage on your bike for storage, pockets are much easier to access.

It’s also important to make sure the pockets are waterproof, particularly if you’re using them to store electronic gadgets such as a music player. Some adventure touring jackets even feature handwarmer pockets, which can be very convenient when you’re walking around off the bike and want to keep your digits from freezing.

Customizable

The best motorcycle jacket for adventure riding is versatile and has a lot of options for a customized fit. Not everyone has the same body type, and a good jacket provides features that allow you to loosen or tighten certain areas.  Specifically, the jacket should have an adjustable waist, collar, and wrists.

These features also allow you to make adjustments in relation to the weather conditions. You may need to loosen the waist to accommodate more layers in the winter or have the ability to remove a liner in the summer. Also, look for compression straps, which prevent flapping in the wind.

Tips for Buying and Using Adventure Motorcycle Jackets

You may be tempted to just buy an adventure motorcycle jacket, hop on your bike, and explore the outdoors. However, it will pay off if you do just a little bit of research before you buy a new jacket. There are several things to keep in mind before you make a purchase.

For example, if you’re the type of rider who isn’t bothered by a little rain, you need a jacket that can withstand a heavy downpour. And if you’re really serious about ADV riding, you need to pair that new jacket with a corresponding pair of pants. These are just some of the things you need to consider when shopping for an adventure motorcycle jacket.

  • For added protection, choose a jacket that has a storm collar, which will keep your neck warm and dry, particularly in the driving rain.
  • For ultimate weather protection, buy pants that match the jacket because they will fit better and will be more compatible.
  • If you’re looking for a jacket that is especially warm, choose one with a technical waterproof membrane.
  • If you get thirsty when you are adventure riding, look for a jacket that is compatible with a hydration pack or select one that is designed to accept a hydration pack hose attachment.
young man wearing riding protected while wearing best adventure motorcycle jacket  

Best Adventure Motorcycle Jackets FAQ

By now you’ve learned a lot about adventure motorcycle jackets and their benefits. Still, you may have some questions about when you can wear them and whether it’s better to buy some brands compared to others. Here we answer some common questions riders have about adventure motorcycle jackets.

Q: Can I wear an adventure jacket for commuting?

Yes. Adventure jackets are versatile and are meant to be worn throughout the year in various conditions. They are typically cooler than touring jackets because they feature more vents. They also often have removable liners. 

Q: Is it better to buy a brand name adventure jacket? 

It’s more important to look at the armor included in the jacket. It should be CE-certified and high-quality regardless of the jacket’s brand name.

Q: What is Cordura fabric? 

In addition to motorcycle jackets, Cordura fabrics are used to make military gear, luggage, and backpacks. It is highly resistant to abrasion and tears. It’s a good feature to have in an ADV jacket because it is very durable.

Our Top Pick

Our pick for the best adventure motorcycle jacket is the REV’IT! Offtrack Jacket. It’s ideal for warm weather ADV touring with its VCS zipper and panels and 3D mesh. The outer shell features rugged textile and is specially designed to optimize airflow. If you’re looking for a great combination of durability, functionality, appearance, and price, it’s tough to beat.

Sources:

  1. 10 Big Bike ADV Tips – Ultimate Motorcycling
  2. Basic Off-Road Riding Techniques for Adventure Bikes – ADV Pulse

MORE TO READ