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ADV ProductsKlim Badlands: Premium Gear for the Most Demanding Adventures

Klim Badlands: Premium Gear for the Most Demanding Adventures

 An Adventure Suit with all the bells and whistles, but is it worth the high price?

Published on 10.10.2017

Head out to any Adventure Bike Rally in the US these days and you’re bound to see a lot of Klim Badlands suits. The Badlands has become one of the most popular and recognizable suits on the market, which is a bit surprising considering its hefty price tag.

Sure, there are those who wear the ‘K’ Brand as a way to show off their swagger, but many others push their gear to the limit and want the highest level of protection and quality money can buy. So is the Badlands a superior suit that warrants the high price tag? We set out to answer this question and more with a long-term evaluation.

KLim Badlands Adventure Motorcycle suit

Let’s get into some of the details of what makes this suit unique. Beginning with the materials, the Klim Badlands Jacket and Pants utilize a heavy-duty 840D Cordura as their primary material. The 840D Cordura is one of the toughest fabrics available but abrasion and tear resistance is improved further by adding Armacor ripstop material in the high wear areas (chest, back and butt). Hot spots can form on the elbows, forearms, shoulders and knees during a fall, so the Badlands puts even more protection where it’s needed with a layer of Superfabric — tiny ceramic beads that maintain breathability and flexibility while offering more than 10x the abrasion resistance of leather.

All waterproofing is baked into the shell (no removable liners) with Klim’s highest quality 3-Layer Gore-Tex Pro material, which provides even higher levels of durability and breathability. Gore-Tex stretch fabric is also used on the back, shoulders and crotch to ensure more comfort and flexibility while working hard on the bike. Water-resistant exterior pockets can be found throughout the jacket and pants, along with a waterproof internal chest pocket to keep electronics and documents safe from moisture.

KLim Badlands Motorcycle Gear
The Badlands comes loaded with technology like molecular armor that stiffens on impact, Superfabric that is more abrasion-resistant than leather, and Gore-Tex Pro offering top-shelf waterproofing and breathability.

Impact protection is provided by D3O T5 Evo Pro XT molecular armor that exceeds CE Level 1 in the knees, hips, elbows and shoulders. The suit also comes standard with a a D3O Viper Pro back protector that exceeds CE Level 2 certification. What’s more, the chest and tailbone are protected with heavy-duty armor as well. Vents can be found in all the key areas with 10 on the Jacket and 4 on the pants. All vents flow air directly to the body without having to go through a waterproof membrane.

The Badlands gets all the bells and whistles and then some. Convenience features include a snap-down collar, a large rabbit pouch on the back, a hidden internal pocket for a passport or cash, an ID Pocket on the arm, a kidney belt for extra support, hydration pouch, a music player pocket with headphone access port and more. One thing it does not include is a thermal layer, but Klim offers a range of performance base-layers and mid-layers that can be used with the Badlands for colder weather.

How It Performed

Suiting up for the first time, I immediately noticed how stiff the Badlands feels. Most adventure riding suits are made of a 500D or 600D Cordura but the Badlands is much thicker, using 840D as its primary material. Yet, the fit is loose and comfortable without feeling like it’s oversized. It’s the perfect cut for guys with a hefty build and it won’t make you feel constrained when you’re moving around on the bike off-road.

KLim Badlands Motorcycle Gear

Heading out on a crisp Sunday morning, I was surprised at how well the suit blocks wind. Even with temperatures dropping into the 50s Fahrenheit I felt comfortable, and I found I could ride much longer in colder temperatures before needing to pull over to throw on an extra layer. Breathability was also good when the temperatures reached the 70s and 80s. Cracking open the large back vents and front chest vents was usually all that was needed to maintain comfort. Although, once in the 90s and beyond the suit can get toasty, even with all 14 vents opened up. If you are riding on the highway at speed, it flows air well and can handle the heat. but when riding off-road at slower speeds, working hard on technical trails, the suit can’t flow as much air and the thick fabric retains more heat.

While the Badlands does have many large, well-placed vents, a few improvements could help expand its temperature range in hotter weather (we can nit pick at this price right?). One thing I noticed is that the calf zippers have a gaiter behind them (to help catch water) and don’t flow any air when opened up. Personally, I would prefer to have a mesh gaiter or no gaiter at all to help improve airflow up the leg. Also, forearms are another essential area of cooling. A set of longer forearm vents would be helpful. In this price range, it would also be nice to have a full length vent that goes along the front zipper or a set of large chest panel vents to further aid cooling.

KLim Badlands Motorcycle Gear
Two large back vents help remove heat rapidly from the suit on hotter days.

The design of the Badlands is more focused on wet weather and that’s where it truly excels. The Gore-Tex Pro suit is fully waterproof even in a downpour. It’s the suit you want to be wearing when you’ve got hundreds of miles to get to your next stop and the sky opens up. With everything strapped closed and zipped up, the suit always remaind dry and it doesn’t turn into a sauna inside.

Protection is another major focus of the Badlands. It uses some of the best armor protection available and has multiple adjustment positions for the elbow and knees to give you a perfect fit. External Velcro straps also help fix the elbow and knee pads in place so they won’t shift out of the way on impact. The D3O molecular armor is also comfortable on your joints, staying pliable until impact when it stiffens up. Knowing you’ve got abrasion resistance that is even higher than leather with Superfabric on the knees, forearms, elbows and shoulders improves confidence during high-speed riding as well.

Walking through Death Valley in the Klim Badlands Jacket and Pants

KLim Badlands Motorcycle Riding gear D3O Armor
The Badlands is loaded with premium D3O armor throughout, giving riders more confidence to push their limits on the trail.

Comfort of the Badlands is good in terms of the overall fit, but the stiffness of the material is something to get used to. After riding thousands of miles in the Badlands from Death Valley to California’s Central Coast and the High Rockies of Colorado, the material has softened up a bit over time, but its still quite stiff. The waterproof zippers and button snaps are also stiff and usually take two hands to work them. Although for some, that’s a small price to pay for the durability, waterproofing and protection the suit offers.

The collar is one area where Klim could improve comfort without sacrificing protection. The micro fleece collar lining is plush but the material at the tip of the right side of the collar is Cordura and can chafe your neck. There is also a single button snap with Velcro backing that closes the collar around your neck. If your neck is thick, this single snap position may not be ideal and the collar may come loose if you close it with just the Velcro alone.

KLim Badlands Motorcycle Gear Night Visibility
Nighttime visibility is improved with reflective panels in key areas.

What has impressed me the most about the Klim Badlands jacket and pants though, is how well it is constructed. After countless miles of rough off-road riding over the last two years that included scrapes with trees and the occasional tumble, it still looks practically new. The stitching in stressed areas hasn’t frayed a bit, the fabric in high wear areas still looks fresh. No problems whatsoever with broken zippers or even zipper tabs. Clearly, it’s a high quality suit and highly durable.

Who Is It For

Adventure Riders who want the confidence of knowing their suit has some of the best protection, durability and waterproofing money can buy. Especially those planning long-distance journeys who want a suit that can handle a variety of weather and terrain, and don’t want to risk getting stuck in the middle of nowhere with a glitch in their gear.

KLim Badlands Adventure Motorcycle suit

Our Verdict

At roughly $1,600 for the jacket and pants, the Badlands is one of the most expensive suits on the market. That kind of investment can be hard to justify in pure dollars and cents, but when you look at the advanced materials, the complexity of the construction, the long list of features, its proven durability and waterproofing… clearly there is a lot of value there. More than anything, it’s an investment in superior protection and peace of mind. An insurance policy for that day when the big crash happens. For many, the investment is well worth it to get some of the best protection available on the market.

There is room for improvement in comfort and ventilation, but in terms of its overall performance it’s hard to match the Badlands. For those adventure riders that are pushing their limits, riding the hard days, the value comes in its long-term durability and knowing the suit will handle pretty much anything you can throw at it. Even better, it comes with Klim’s lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.

What We Liked

  • Loose fit without feeling baggy.
  • No pulling over to get your waterproof liners out.
  • High levels of impact and abrasion protection.
  • Awesome waterproofing and breathability.

What Could Be Improved

  • Better venting on chest, forearms and lower legs.
  • The suit material is stiff.
  • A more comfortable collar design.

Klim Badlands Jacket and Pants Specs

Colors: Black, Grey, Green
Sizes: Jacket (Small to 3XL), Pants (30 to 40 waist with tall sizes)
Price: Jacket ($949.99 – $999.99), Pants ($649.99 – $669.99)

Shopping Options

Badlands JacketBadlands Pants
Photos by Stephen Gregory & Spencer Hill

Author: Rob Dabney

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5 thoughts on “Klim Badlands: Premium Gear for the Most Demanding Adventures

  1. Hmmm, who is it for? Wealthy poser in foreign land, screams “Rob me now!”

    D3O armor also appears to be in hip point areas, a point missed in the description. (Forgive me, I mean no disrespect to the article author).

    Lastly, I saw references to CE levels, but I could not discern if ” CE Approved” .vs “CE Certified” was meant.

    CE “Certification” means little in the CE process. People who spend for this level of protection demand CE “Approval”, and they know the difference.

    • May I make an observation? Nobody in Central/South Americas, or Asia, or Africa knows what Klim is or what it’s worth, and the Badlands isn’t exactly flashy – quite the opposite, it looks a tad simplistic, especially compared to other brands – so I would be more weary of theft in the States, where people actually recognize Klim. In which case, an easy solution would be a sharpie pen to black out the logo? 😀

    • guess you haven’t looked at the Dianese, Touratech, Rukka, Revit or Belstaff jackets that cost a lot more for a less jacket, are way more gawdy….or are you just trying to be edgey making negative comments. Ride more comment less!!

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