Adventure riding to me is traveling for a short time on asphalt to get to hours of fun and exercise on non-asphalt. Anything can happen along the way and, being an All The Gear All The Time proponent, I was looking for a protection/comfort tradeoff for my new adventure gear. How much gear you wear is obviously a personal choice. Is it hot? Is it cold? Is it raining? Will I be in the dirt or on asphalt or both? Do I want to make a mortgage payment this month or buy new gear?
The Klim Traverse line is good-looking, light weight, durable, not bulky, provides four-season weather protection, and is comfortable. You will need heated gear or good underlayers, top and bottom, if the temperature drops.
Unboxing my new Klim Traverse jacket in Electrik Gecko color for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised by its lack of bulk and light weight. The overall shell, which is lower in the back to keep water off your butt when sitting, is Gore-Tex. So, it is wind and waterproof, and breathable.
Along the arms and shoulders, where one would likely slide when the rubber side didn’t stay down, are 500D Cordura overlays for abrasion resistance. The Traverse comes with D30 Level 1 CE shoulder and elbow protectors that are light weight, vented, and removable. A D30 Level 1 back protector pad is a $20 option—money well spent. Klim puts 3M carbon-black reflective stripes at the collar bones, cuffs, and across the top of the shoulders in the back.
Every zipper has attached, long fabric-pulls to make them glove-friendly. The Klim Traverse jacket has two zippered, water-resistant handwarmer pockets that are an angled nine inches tall and as much as nine inches wide. There is a waterproof zippered chest pocket that is 6.5 inches tall and five inches deep. There’s a very convenient elastic band key clip inside in the upper right.
The YKK brand jacket zipper is protected by a Velcro-closure storm flap. At each armpit are 13-inch double zippers that open to 2.5 inches wide for well-engineered airflow. Inside the jacket, on the left, is a waterproof six-by-seven-inch pocket with a headphone/charging wire port.
The fleece-lined collar is soft and smooth with an elastic pull cord within easy reach of your left hand to cinch it tight against rain and wind. There is an extra two-inch Velcro strap on the collar that stumped me for a while. I finally figured out it is there to hold the collar open when the jacket is half-zipped to help with airflow on hot days or when working up a sweat in some technical stuff. The bottom hem’s two elastic cord pulls cinch-up tight, and require two hands to cinch or release.
Klim’s website has a very extensive fitment decision-tree questionnaire. It came up with my usual size of Large for 5’ 10” and 195# male with an “older shape” body as a 67 percent chance I will be happy with LG—I am.
The Klim Traverse pants are also a Gore-Tex shell with 500D Cordura overlays all over the butt, thighs, knees, and back of the boots area. There is only one cargo type pocket. It is zippered and very spacious. Although the zipper is just six inches, the pocket angles up nearly a foot and is angled six-to-seven inches deep.
Klim strategically placed 4-by-11-inch black goat leather patches where you grip the bike with your knees when standing. There are Velcro adjusters on each side of the waist, plus two snaps at the front. Behind the zip fly is a gusset to keep the rain out if it passes the zipper.
At the bottom of each leg is 10 inches of Velcro that can adjust to a narrow ankle boot or wide to accommodate motocross boots. I wear 34×30 jeans, and the Klim Traverse 34 waist gives me extra room for an under layer or, as I did with no layering, tighten them up with the Velcro side adjusters.
In the middle of each thigh are 10-inch air vent zippers. Around the back of each thigh are six-inch zippers for the air exhaust vents. The Klim Traverse pants come in waist sizes of 30-42 in two-inch increments in their regular length for $380. The tall length is $20 more and also comes in two-inch increments from waist sizes from 32-40.
I planned a fun seven-hour, 180-mile ADV ride on a BMW R 1200 GS Adventure to test out the Traverse jacket and pants. If I wasn’t writing a review about them, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed I was wearing protective gear.
I started the day with the temperature at 60 degrees on the freeway and ended at 85 degrees, slowly riding a sun-exposed, rocky-gravel road. I purposely only wore my skivvies and a T-shirt under the Traverse outfit to test the temperature range effectiveness and comfort level.
At 60 degrees and 70 mph, the Gore-Tex shells are windproof, so I was amply protected until I started testing the ventilation system. The zippers for the jacket armpit vents are easy to manipulate with one gloved hand. The 13-inch armpit vents have a double zipper that allows you to go full open or only partial high and low.
I opened the right armpit vent and found out in a hurry how much air this strategically designed vent lets in. The cold air hit my armpit and around my back instantly. I quickly closed the right armpit up. Again, with a gloved hand and riding with the cruise control on, I reached over and unzipped the left armpit vent. That resulted in the same strong flow of cold air going around my back. I proved the point of the excellent airflow of the armpit vents and zipped the left closed.
Next came the pant vent tests. While riding, I unzipped the back right-leg outflow vent, and then the front right inlet. My nether region was instantly aware of the flow of 60-degree air, and I stood up momentarily to see how far the airflow goes.
The leg vents do a great job of providing strong airflow all over that region. I was easily able to zip the back and front closed while riding. Not having to stop to adjust airflow in any jacket and pants is an appreciated convenience. While sitting, there was no bunching at the crotch nor any flapping of material anywhere. Unless I was consciously thinking about what I wanted to remember about the form, fit, and feel of the Klim Traverse outfit, I forgot all about them.
As the day warmed up and the technical level of the riding increased, I appreciated the air movement through the well-placed vents. It is hard to notice something that you don’t feel, but the breathable open mesh liners, top and bottom, did their jobs.
Although I didn’t feel the liner, I could feel I was hot enough to be sweating all over but not feeling any skin moisture. The open mesh liner and the breathable Gore-Tex were doing their intended functions.
I stopped to buy a half-liter bottle of water. I only drank a little and wanted to save the rest for later. I opened the right jacket pocket and maneuvered the plastic bottle inside, and zipped it closed. Even though the opening isn’t that large, the height inside the pocket came in handy.
Rain performance was excellent. I put in a three-hour ride in the pouring rain and the Traverse jacket and pants kept the rain out and me comfortable.
I didn’t crash, so I have to accept on Klim’s reputation that this motorcycle gear will be protective when it needs to be. Klim backs up its jacket and pants products with a protection guarantee and a “practical lifetime of the product” warranty. Quoting the tag on the jacket and pants, “If you are involved in a motorcycle accident within 5 years of purchasing qualifying Klim gear, Klim will replace the damaged gear free of charge.” The Klim website explains the meaning of their “practical lifetime of the product” warranty.
All the riding apparel in my closet was designed for touring. It is engineered for sitting for long periods, with a lot of road rash protection and no real need or concern for the combination of weight or activity comfort. The newly re-engineered Klim Traverse jacket and pants hit that concern straight on. The comfort, protection, and weather flexibility of the Traverse gear mean that layering options take up less room in adventure bike bags or rider backpacks.
Overall, the Klim Traverse jacket and pants look, feel, and perform like a well thought out outerwear. Klim gear has an industry reputation for being sturdy, durable, dependable, and feature-rich. Klim positions the Traverse line as a dual-sport, minimalist combination that provides comfort, reduced bulk, and all-season weather protection at a reasonable price point. If you are ok with a lower level of crash protection than full bulk jackets and pants provide, then the Klim Traverse line will reward you with all-day comfort and complete weather protection.
Klim Traverse Jacket Fast Facts
- Sizes: SM-3X
- Colors: Storm Gray; Gray – Electrik Gecko; Black – Kinetik Blue
Klim Traverse Jacket Prices: From $380 MSRP
Klim Traverse Pants Fast Facts
- Sizes: Regular, 30-42; Tall, 32-40
- Colors: Storm Gray; Gray – Electrik Gecko; Black – Kinetik Blue
Klim Traverse Pants Prices: From $380 MSRP