LAST UPDATED: January 15, 2020

The Best Adventure Motorcycle Jackets (Review) in 2021

Best Choice KLIM Dakar Jacket KLIM Dakar Jacket
Best Value Joe Rocket Atomic Motorcycle Jacket Joe Rocket Atomic Motorcycle Jacket
Premium Pick Alpinestars Men's Jacket Black Large Alpinestars Men's Jacket Black Large

If you’re an adventure rider, you need a high-quality, rugged jacket that will withstand a wide variety of conditions. Whether you’re riding off-road or traveling a long-distance on a road trip, the right gear is paramount. You need protection that is made of durable materials and removable layers, so you can ride comfortably in all types of weather. 

Choosing the best adventure motorcycle jacket can be difficult, but we’re up to the challenge. Check our our buying guide below for the best jackets for ADV riders.

The Best Adventure Motorcycle Jackets

KLIM’s Dakar jacket is geared towards multi-season, off-road, and dual-sport riders. It features a lightweight 600 denier chassis and Karbonite material on the back, stretch zones, and shoulders/elbows. The fit is excellent, and it leaves just enough room for armor in the shoulders, elbows, and back. The zippers in the lower sleeves are convenient because you can just unzip the wrist up two inches to remove the jacket even with your gloves on.

The jacket is waterproof, windproof, and has a great venting system. While the jacket is high-quality and durable, the arm length may be slightly too long for some riders, and it may be slightly tight around the midsection, depending on your weight.  Also, while it includes pockets for armor, the armor itself is not part of the package.

Key Features
  • Lightweight 600 denier chassis
  • Zip-off sleeves store in back pocket
  • 500D four-way stretch zones
  • 3M Scotchlite reflective material
Specification
  • Brand KLIM
  • Model 3122-001
  • Weight 3.1 pounds
PROS

Waterproof and windproof

Great venting system

Versatile

CONS

Arms may be too long

May be tight on the midsection

Armor is not included

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.

The jacket is comfortable, has excellent ventilation, and is true to size. And since it comes in so many sizes, it’s also very comfortable if you’re larger in stature. One downside to the jacket is it features a lot of logos, and not everyone likes that much advertisement. Also, the zippers may fail over a short period of time, and the pockets can easily become unstitched.

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

This jacket is heavy, warm, comfortable, and stylish. It works really well in an upright sitting position and is vented well enough to provide good air flow in the summer heat. It has plenty of pockets and cinches for a custom fit as it’s adjustable at the forearms, biceps, waist, and neck. It’s waterproof and includes external Velcro pockets for safe storage.

It fits most riders well but has little room to spare, and the arms may be a little snug. It does not come with a back protector, and it’s quite heavy even with the liner out. Also, the Velcro on the collar may not stay put.

Key Features
  • CE-certified elbow and shoulder protectors
  • Reinforced polymer-printed texturing
  • Premium YKK zipper
  • Reflective graphic details
Specification
  • Brand Alpinestars
  • Model 1728_20683
  • Weight 4.41 pounds
PROS

Warm, comfortable, and stylish

Good air flow

Waterproof

CONS

Arms may be too 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.

The shoulder and elbow armor are CE-rated, removable, and rest where they should. However, the back protector appears a little thin. Also, the Velcro on the cuffs may start to fail after a short period of use. There may not be enough room in the sleeves for some riders, and the collar may be too small

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 Oxford Montreal jacket is solidly constructed, fits great, and looks slick. It features a waterproof liner with Rainseal technology. The collar is adjustable with a neoprene edging for comfort. It has reflective panels for 360-degree visibility, and two large box pockets at the front, which are expandable, water-resistant, and include hand warmers. The extended tail on the back provides additional weather protection.

However, the jacket may not be as comfortable for taller riders, and the adjustment straps could be a little tighter. Like many other jackets, the back protector is a super thin foam. It’s an English-made jacket, so the zipper is on the left, which may be odd for Americans and right-handed people.

Key Features
  • Ripstop and CE armor in the shoulders and elbows
  • Tall Amara-lined, multi-adjustable collar
  • Accordion stretch panels on the rear
  • Airflow vents on front and rear
Specification
  • Brand Oxford
  • Model TM571203L
PROS

Waterproof liner

Solidly constructed

Extended tail for extra weather protection

CONS

May not be comfortable for tall riders

Back protector is subpar

Adjustment straps not tight enough

This versatile jacket features full-length arm and side torso vents for air flow on hot days. It’s very durable, secure, and safe, and very comfortable even in warm weather. The removable thermal EverHeat liner keeps you toasty on cold days, and it features CE-certified viscoelastic armor in the shoulders and elbows.

The jacket comes with two large cargo pockets on the lower front, two chest pockets, one large cargo pocket on the rear, and one internal waterproof pocket in the liner. However, the factory back protector that comes with the jacket is made from a cheap foam material. Also, the bottom layer is waterproof, but the outer shell is not. Finally, the zip-down chest vents don’t seem to do very much because the wind simply flattens them to your chest.

Key Features
  • Main body is 500 denier nylon
  • 1680 denier nylon abrasion zones
  • Exo-stitch safety seams
  • Heavy-duty mesh ventilation
Specification
  • Brand Scorpion
  • Model 12901-5
  • Weight 5 pounds
PROS

Good air flow

Durable and comfortable

Multiple pockets

CONS

Back protector is cheap foam

Only inner layer is waterproof

Zip-down chest vents are ineffectual

This adventure touring jacket is the most affordable on our list and is meant for all-season riding. It’s rugged, strong, and comfortable, whether you wear it in the summer or winter. The waterproof jacket is breathable and features a mesh lining.  The fit is highly adjustable, and it’s long in the rear, so it covers the low back very well. It also feels comfortable and is not restrictive.

While the jacket is an excellent value, it isn’t without some faults. One of the downsides is the arms are a little snug on some riders. Also, the zippers may fail over a short period of use, and despite being waterproof it may leak in heavy downpours. It’s also a little warm in very hot temperatures.

Key Features
  • 600D Cordura construction
  • CE-certified armor
  • 100-percent waterproof
  • Lined Reissa membrane
Specification
  • Brand HWK
  • Model Adventure motorcycle jacket ADV 1
  • Weight 2 pounds
PROS

Highly adjustable fit

Breathable

Excellent value

CONS

Arms are snug on some riders

Leaks in heavy downpours

Too hot in some 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 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.

When you ride a bike, you’re going to get wet at some point. 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.

Biker girl in a leather jacket riding a motorcycle

Best Adventure Motorcycle Jacket 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?

A: 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? 

A: 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? 

A: 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 KLIM Dakar jacket. The company is well-known for its technical riding gear, and this jacket does not disappoint. It’s waterproof, features an excellent venting system, and it fits most riders really well. The Dakar is also very durable and well-constructed.

Sources:

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