Klim Technical Riding Gear is serious kit for riders that want to prepare for the worst Mother Nature has to offer. That why I was keen to get the new Traverse Jacket for the winter season here in southern Oregon when rain and cold are the order of the day.
Klim has a number of options in its line that would befit a ‘round the world traveler, complete with details on details to meet whatever need may arise from the Sahara Desert to the uppermost reaches of the Dalton Highway. The Traverse Jacket is a bit more approachable than these top-of-the-line items, designed with simplicity in mind. It’s a lightweight, dual-sport styled, waterproof jacket that provides plenty of room to accommodate base layers in the cold or function alone as a suitable warm weather piece.
The Nylon 66 exterior is complimented by a Gore-Tex 2-Layer performance shell, which has passed Gore-Tex on-road motorcycle tests that determine whether a garment will remain waterproof at highway speeds. There are 500D Cordura reinforcements in the shoulders and the top of the arm also for additional abrasion and tear resistance.
There’s two large chest intake vents and two back vents along with the dual forearm vents, providing ample airflow when needed. All come with storm flaps and water-proofed zippers to keep the wind and rain out as well. The two exterior hand pockets also utilize the storm flap, waterproof zipper design.
The cuffs are adjustable via Velcro closures, as is the micro-fiber fleece lined collar, and there are elastic pull cords built into the bottom hem and collar that tighten these areas further.
The Traverse jacket features large zipper pulls made with grippy material so opening and closing vents or accessing pockets is easy with gloves on.
Inside, the moisture-wicking mesh liner is fixed and there is a single internal zippered pocket. Along with that, there are pockets for optional D3O armor in the elbows, shoulders and back. These must be purchased separately though, as the Traverse Jacket does not come with the armor included.
Fit, Performance and Price
I’m a size large and the large Traverse jacket fits comfortably. It’s no European-cut jacket and has room to move, which was nice when I added some layers for warmth and a long-sleeve armored shirt for protection. The wrist and neck cuffs seal nicely with the aforementioned closure systems so noticeable gusts of cold air didn’t sneak up my arms and the hem at the bottom is easily tightened with the elastic pull-string.
The ventilation is generous and will make this a fantastic jacket when the temperatures start to rise, but in the 30 to 40 degree Fahrenheit climate I’ve been facing recently those vents stay closed up tight. Thankfully, the nylon/Gore-Tex shell does a fantastic job deflecting cold air.
Even still, the Traverse is a thin-skinned piece. The lack of a quilted liner inside means the Traverse is a little light when it comes to keeping a rider warm, so you’ll definitely want to layer up if you plan on riding in the cold. The Traverse is better suited for spring, summer and fall riding out of the box. If you decide to tackle winter in the Traverse, consider one of Klim’s base layers like the Aggressor Long Sleeve Shirt in addition to the jacket. I never left the house without a base such as that underneath another long sleeve shirt and was good to go.
The Gore-Tex and storm flaps around the zippers have performed as expected in terms of waterproofing, and the Traverse jacket is a great choice for riding in a downpour. Water beads off the exterior of the jacket and has little chance of permeating the surface.
Thanks to large zipper pulls, accessing the vents and pockets was always easy enough, the only minor difficulty being when a pull-tab had settled under the storm flap. Then it was only a matter of searching for a moment before I was back in business.
It’s an extremely lightweight jacket also, thanks to the absence of liners and armor. A few D3O pads wouldn’t affect this feel much if one were to want the additional protection.
The main difficulty with the Traverse has nothing to do with it’s quality, but with the price. Sizes small through 2XL in either the Black or Green colorways will run you $399.99. For the 3XL, price bumps up to $429.99. This isn’t some cut-rate piece of gear, but sans armor and liner the MSRP is a little steep.
Even with the higher price tag, I’d highly recommend the Traverse Jacket because the money spent is a solid investment thanks to Klim’s fantastic warranty. Every product is guaranteed against manufacturer defects for the life of the product (lifetime is based on Klim’s assessment, not a person’s). Gore-Tex products are also guaranteed to keep you dry for the lifetime of the product. And finally, Klim offers a Gear Protection Guarantee for all motorcycle outerwear jackets and pants which states that if you’re in an accident within the five years of purchasing qualifying Klim gear, Klim will replace the gear free of charge. There are stipulations and procedures to complete to take advantage of this, but it’s a generous offer if things happen to go wrong on the road.
At the end of the day, the Traverse Jacket makes use of top-spec materials, fits comfortably and is true to size while offering plenty of room for base layers. It also provides reliable weather protection, which is precisely what you need when the clouds decide to open up. From the quality of its construction to the expansive backing from Klim’s warranty, it’s a piece I feel confident will last a long time through some hard use.
Klim Traverse Jacket
MSRP: $399.99 – $429.99
Sizes: Small – 3XL
Colors: Black or Green
Warranty: Lifetime against manufacturer defects and Gore-Tex Guaranteed to Keep You Dry; 5-year accident replacement coverage for qualifying items.