Tested by Phil Suriano
I consider myself to be very particular when it comes to my riding gear, so will always go for quality over price when I can justify it. It’s that approach that led me to the Klim Badlands Pro adventure touring jacket that’s available locally through Adventure Moto.
Unlike any other jacket manufacturer I’ve encountered, Klim back their product with a Lifetime Warranty, as well as a “Protection Guarantee” that means, if you are wearing the gear and involved in a motorcycle accident within five years of purchase, Klim will replace the damaged gear free of charge. Some Ts & Cs apply, but that’s an impressive level of support.
Designed and developed in the USA, the Badlands Pro features a heavyweight shell that’s made up of multiple patented materials, including Gore-Tex Pro, Cordura, Karbonite, Super Fabric and others – the list is far too long to completely cover here. And that’s just the exterior.
Key takeaways from the exterior construction are that the Gore-Tex Pro Laminate is the most breathable, durable and highest waterproofing shell construction available, the 500D Karbonite ripstop panels in key impact areas are highly abrasion-resistant and the Super Fabric in others is just as protective. Most importantly, it’s guaranteed to keep you dry.
That last point instantly won me over, as I prefer jackets to be waterproof without having to add a separate layer. I also prefer a jacket that stays dry on the inside – it makes overnight trips much better, especially if you’re camping and don’t have a place to dry your gear.
In terms of overall fit, various elements of the Badlands Pro have been redesigned for improved comfort. Wearing it for the first time, the jacket is stiff, but becomes supple with use. What doesn’t change is the weight. This is a heavy jacket, which makes the included kidney belt a welcome feature to take some of the weight and offer additional core support when riding.
Armour that Breathes
Perhaps the most innovative feature on the Badlands Pro is its Aero Pro D30 armour system.
Each armour pad – shoulders, elbows and back protector – offers increased coverage and exceeds Level 2 CE standards, but unlike most conventional armour, Aero Pro D30 features a honeycomb-like construction, so weight is reduced and breathability increased without compromising impact protection. In fact, Klim claim that Aero Pro D30 offers five times more ventilation than conventional armour. This is enhanced by the addition of Klimatek cooling stretch mesh in the elbows and shoulders.
While I appreciated the breathability of the Aero Pro D30 armour, what I really liked was the integral chest armour, meaning no need for additional protection against stones and rocks. Made up of a silicionised spacer mesh, this armour is also ventilated and breathable.
Inside Story and Pockets Galore
Lining the inside of the Badlands Pro is Polygiene odour-fighting mesh. Like other elements of the design and construction, this has been improved on the latest version of this jacket.
The collar has been redesigned to be less bulky, while a clever feature is a pair of lapel hooks that hold the collar open and prevent it flapping about when you’re riding in warmer weather.
On the topic of warm weather riding, a total of 12 ventilation zips permit precise adjustment of airflow to suit riding conditions.
A hydration bladder compartment is standard (a bladder is not included), with two routing options for the drinking tube, both of which are internal, so it won’t snag on branches when you’re on tight trails.
In terms of pockets, there are six outside and four inside. Outer pockets include a handy pocket for credit cards or cash on the left sleeve that I use all the time and a neat shoulder pocket for Satellite GPS devices. Inner pockets include a water-resistant pocket, two hidden stash pockets and a larger stash pocket behind the back protector.
High and Low, Hot and Cold
For the past five months, I’ve been using the Badlands Pro in different regions and different conditions, from the Victorian High Country and NSW Alpine Region to Townsville and Cairns in FNQ. Temperatures have varied from 4 degrees to 27 degrees, so the Badlands Pro has seen some extremes!
I use the jacket primarily as an outer shell, adding layers underneath and opening/closing the ventilation zips, depending on the temperature. When all vent zips are closed, the Badlands Pro is airtight, while when the venting zips are open, they work very well at allowing air flow in and out of the jacket. Pull tabs for the zips are large enough to grab and open on the go with gloves on, too.
In colder conditions, the built-in kidney belt came into its own, offering additional warmth, as well as comfort, around my core. It’s a great inclusion and I use it on every ride now, but it can be stowed when not in use.
There are jackets… and then there are jackets like the Klim Badlands Pro!
To date, it has proven to be super strong with no tears or rips, even with some of the abuse I’ve subjected it to.
Importantly, on those long adventure rides, it’s comfortable. There’s something of a tailored fit – at least to my body shape – with no feeling of looseness in the torso or sleeves. The Aero Pro D30 armour is light and doesn’t move around, but there are adjustment straps to get the ideal fit. If you want to make a suit of it, there’s a jacket-to-pants zipper system, too.
The only negative – and it’s a minor one – is that when a hydration bladder is full, it pulls down on the collar, exposing your neck.
At $1,695, there’s no denying Badlands Pro is expensive, but if you think of this in the same way you think about helmets, it’s not a major outlay. Also, this jacket’s extreme durability means it’ll pay for itself in the long run.
As you can tell, I’m a massive fan of this jacket and am interested to see how it will perform in high summer temperatures – that’ll be a real test.
The Klim Badlands Pro is available in Black, Cool Gray, Hi-Vis, Sage/Hi-Vis and Kinetik Blue, colours and S-3XL sizes (available sizes vary – check for current stock availability).