Product Review: Klim Overland Jacket
Improving comfort and safety for your riding adventures
There are certain truths in motorcycling: grabbing a handful of brakes leads to disaster; whacking the throttle open mid-corner is a recipe for a high-side; and, when it rains you get wet.
What was true yesterday isn’t necessarily true today. Technology is eroding the certainty of these truths: anti-lock brakes modulate monkey-handed braking, traction control smooths the whack-happy, heavy-handed, and Gore-Tex keeps you comfortable and dry, even in a heavy downpour.
The Klim Overland jacket is a technological leap forward when compared to fabric jackets of years-ago. The jacket employs a 2-layer Gore-Tex shell to keep you dry in pelting rain (yes, I have experienced this!) and the latest D3O armor and Cordura to keep you safe.
The jacket has a Gore-Tex outer layer that is breathable – meaning it allows water vapor to pass out, while not allowing rain to seep in. Since the weather protection is on the exterior of the jacket, it does not require a zip-in waterproof layer. External waterproofing means you are always protected from the sudden shower, a huge plus when the clouds burst and you can’t stop to zip-in a waterproof layer.
The Overland shell is tough with 840D Cordura overlays in the elbow, forearm and shoulder. The jacket feel as durable as leather, while maintaining the lighter weight and functional practicality of a fabric riding jacket.
The jacket is ready for adventure, but is styled in a subdue way compared to most “adventure jackets” (how many pockets do you need?). There are three exterior pockets: one chest and two hand warmer pockets. The chest pocket is perfectly sized for a smart phone. The hand warmer pockets are just deep enough and the right-hand pocket has a key clip.
The jacket has chunky, water resistant YKK zippers throughout. All of the zippers have large, long pulls that are ruggedly stitched and can be operated with gloves on. Well-spaced hook and loop fasteners close a storm flap over the front zipper and I have never had any leakage, even in driving rain.
The body is generously cut, but not baggie. The rear extends down slightly and is curved to cover the top of your butt. The torso proportions are perfect for my 5 foot 9 inch frame in a medium.
The arms are pre-curved and have a single adjuster just below the elbow. A built-in arm cuff blocks air from rushing up your arm. A simple hook and loop fastener adjustment closes the cuff down.
The collar is upright and lined with a soft fleece. It closes with a hook-and-loop fastener and a snap. It stands up nicely, blocking wind from your neck.
The jacket is a shell and has no thermal layers. This design allows you layer your off-the-bike clothes to suit the conditions. I feel this design is superior to a zip-in layer, which can only be used in the jacket. Layering regular clothes under the jacket reduces the overall weight you carry when touring and facilitates tuning the layers to suit your needs.
If the jacket has a flaw, it is the venting. There are two front vents on each side of the torso, with matching rear vents. Air flows through to body via the vents, which is adequate at riding speed. If you leave the jacket open a few inches at the neck and open the vents, you can be comfortable into the low eighties while riding at speed.
At slower speeds, such as riding technical off-road sections or city riding, the venting could be improved – especially in the arms. Because the jacket has cuffs, your arms do not get good air flow. This is mostly a small annoyance and is really the only complaint I have about the jacket.
I never want to crash my Overland jacket (I like it too much!), but if I did, I think it would hold up well. The jacket uses D3O, level 1, armor in the shoulders, elbows and back. The armor starts off a bit stiff, but is thin and quickly softens with your body warmth, making it flexible and supple and very comfortable. If you have a sudden impact, the armor becomes rigid, absorbing the impact. The greater the impact, the more shock is absorbed by the armor. The 840D Cordura feels like it could take a lot of abrasion before wearing through.
In all, the Klim Overland jacket is an excellent choice for adventure touring, cool to warm weather dual-sport riding or sport touring. The jacket combines sleek styling and the latest in protection from both the elements and the unfortunate crash.
The Klim Overland can be found at Roadside Motorsports in Williston. Ask Mary to help you with sizing and she’ll gladly help you with any questions.