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ADV ProductsBattle Born 2.0: Budget-Friendly Adventure Riding Gear Reloads

Battle Born 2.0: Budget-Friendly Adventure Riding Gear Reloads

Budget-minded ADV Suit gets upgraded waterproofing, protection and more!

Published on 04.09.2018

If there is one thing that’s a buzz kill for many riders entering our sport, it’s the high cost of adventure riding gear. You know the drill: you just dropped major cash on a new (used) adventure bike, and now you’re scraping pennies to pick up some cheap riding gear that you hope will get you through your first big adventure.

Midway through the big trip, disaster strikes when a storm moves in releasing a deluge of freezing-cold rain that soaks you to the bone. Even worse, you experience your first “big air” when you high side yourself off the trail. Battered and bruised, you lay there realizing that hand-me-down gear might not have been such a great purchase after all.

Like many of us, you had to learn the value of good gear the hard way. Typically, your next move is seeking out the wisdom of Google in search of the best adventure riding gear you can find on a tight budget. Nothing fancy, just a basic waterproof adventure riding suit that fits comfortably, with adequate protection and breathability, and a low price tag. Is that too much to ask? A few years ago we came across just such a suit that seemed to fit the bill — the ARC Battle Born Jacket and Pants.


battle born jacket and pants

The original Battle Born Adventure Suit ticked a lot of boxes in its debut. With its 600 denier polyester shell, ballistic fabric on the shoulders and knees and CE-rated armor, the Battle Born offered good base level abrasion and impact protection. It also had a waterproof membrane built into the shell, a thermal liner and 10 large vents to handle different weather extremes. Other unique features included a hydration pouch, ID pocket on the arm and a snap-down collar. But the best part about the Battle Born suit was that you got all that for just $340.

Battle Born 2.0: What’s Improved

battle born jacket and pants

While the first Battle Born suit was a top seller in ARC’s adventure riding gear line, there’s always room for improvement. And after receiving customer feedback, they identified several key areas they wanted to address to make it even better. The biggest focus was on waterproofing. The previous zipper vents could sometimes let some moisture seep in through the stitches in heavy rain. To address this, ARC used seam tape to seal the liner all the way up to the zipper teeth. They also upgraded all zippers to high-quality YKK type with heavy-duty plastic pull tabs, and the mesh material in the vents was removed for improved air flow.

battle born adventure riding gear - seam tape
All vent openings are now seam taped to ensure no water seeps through the stitching. It’s the same technique used on many high-end adventure riding suits.
battle born adventure riding gear - seam tape
Ballistic fabric on the shoulders and knees has been upgraded, and the shell receives a new weather coating and improved seam sealing to make it even more waterproof.

What’s more, they swapped out the shell’s waterproof liner for a more-breathable one and they put a treatment on the shell fabric to make it harder for water to soak in and load up. Additionally, there are now gators behind the pant fly and calf zippers to help ensure no water gets through. And when the weather gets particularly nasty, you can use cinch straps on the collar and jacket waist to keep the elements from sneaking through the cracks.

Styling has also been revised on the Battle Born pants and jacket to give them a fresh look. New color-schemes are less flashy and a new ballistic fabric is used on the shoulders and knees that resists fraying better. Additionally, comfort has been improved on the pant with a raised crotch area that offers a better fit. Other improvements to the pant include bigger hip pockets that are easier to get your hands into, new removable hip pads, and an extra front right pocket. Pant legs are also improved with zippers now stopping 2 inches from the bottom to keep them from getting stepped on. Also, button snaps along the bottom of the pant legs are now more robust.

battle born pant leg
The pant leg opening gets a gator to help improve weatherproofing, along with new YKK zipper and more-durable button snaps.

One of the big improvements on the Battle Born jacket is an improved collar with a longer Velcro closure to accommodate thicker necks. And like before, the collar is lined with a softer velvet-like material that avoids chafing and has a neoprene edge to give it a comfortable water-tight fit. Impact protection gets a boost as well with a new back pad that is now CE Rated. And the water hose holder loop on the chest has been upgraded to elastic material to make it easier to feed a large mouth piece through it.

Battle Born Adventure Riding Suit Back Pad
The new Battle Born jacket has your back covered with CE-Rated back protection.

Getting Reacquainted

Having put in many miles on the old Battle Born suit, the updated version had a familiar feel. One thing that felt immediately different though was the pants had a less baggy feel thanks to the new tidied-up crotch area. Even so, the suit still maintains a comfortable, roomy, workmanlike fit to it which makes it easy to throw on. Setting the knee pad height is also easy with the two position pouches, and forearm straps help keep elbow pads securely in place.

The new back pad feels as comfortable and compliant as the old one, but now there’s added peace of mind knowing you’ve got CE Level 1 protection. With the jacket’s longer Velcro collar closure, it’s now much easier to fix it in place while riding and less likely to come open.

Battle Born adventure riding gear - Jacket Collar
The new Velcro jacket collar has a longer closure strap that makes it easier to fix in place while riding.
Battle Born adventure riding gear - Jacket Collar
The Battle Born suit has a waterproof membrane built into the shell and a removable quilt thermal liner for colder weather.

You definitely notice a little extra bulk from the new hip pads in the pants. For those that prefer to ride without them, the hip pads can be easily removed. Personally, I prefer the added protection and the hip pads ended up coming in handy during a low side fall that occurred during testing.

battle born jacket and pants
ID pocket offers a convenient location to store your ID, cash or a small wallet.

Handling Extremes

We tested the new Battle Born suit over several months with a wide range of conditions from city riding, to the Mojave Desert and the high elevations of the San Bernardino National Forest. On the road, the new suit flows more air than its predecessor with the vents open, most likely due to the removal of the mesh material that previously lined the vent openings. On warm days I was able to keep the jacket’s thermal liner in, with vents open, up to about 80 ºF (26.7 ºC), as long as I kept moving. With the liner out though, the jacket’s direct-to-body venting can take you up to the high-80s ºF comfortably.

battle born suit testing

battle born adventure suit back vents
Large back vents help heat escape efficiently on hot days and a built-in water bladder pocket is a nice convenience.

Only when the weather dropped below 40 ºF (4.4 ºC) did I ever feel the need to ride with the thermal liner in the pant. Riding with the thermal liner out, the pant has a soft mesh inner lining that helps prevent chafing on the knees. And on hot days, the front and rear thigh vents are particularly good at cooling your legs.

Riding with vents closed, the new waterproof membrane seemed to provide better breathability. But when it did get a little swampy inside, cracking open the vents aired everything out quickly. I never experienced any water seepage while riding in the rain and the new weather coating makes the water bead up on the surface rather than build up. Another nice touch are the new YKK vent zippers. With their smoother operation, they make it more convenient to adjust vents while you ride.

adventure riding gear in the rain
A new shell coating causes water to bead up on the surface rather than soak in. This helps prevent water from loading up in the suit and less moisture reaches the shell’s waterproof membrane.

Final Thoughts

The new Battle Born Jacket retails for $199 and the Pant is $149. That’s just $10 more than the original Battle Born, and you’d be hard pressed to find another suit in the sub-$350 price range with waterproofing baked into the shell, direct venting to the body, CE-Rated back pad, and premium YKK zippers throughout. ARC’s strategic updates seem to have paid off with an improved look and fit, along with better waterproofing, breathability and protection, while still keeping the suit in the budget-friendly range.

battle born suit review

battle born jacket and pants

Overall, it’s a great starter suit with true 4-season comfort that’s ready to get you through some serious adventures. While there are pricier suits out there that offer more protection and creature comforts, the Battle Born suit has the basics covered. Perhaps well enough that you won’t feel the need to replace it with a higher-end suit for a long time. It’s also nice knowing that it comes with a “Lifetime Warranty” against defects. If you do ever encounter a problem, even years down the road, they’ll repair it or ship you a brand new one.

Not everyone has the funds for top-shelf adventure riding gear, so it’s good to see that ARC is helping keep the costs low and value high. Hopefully, their success will spur more ADV gear brands to follow suit (pun intended).

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Battle Born Jacket Battle Born Pants
Photos by Stephen Gregory

Author: Rob Dabney

Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Mexico, Africa, Europe, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.

Author: Rob Dabney

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16 thoughts on “Battle Born 2.0: Budget-Friendly Adventure Riding Gear Reloads

  1. You’re standing, and riding, in the bright sun, and telling all about how the water-proofing is sooo much better!!?? How about telling how water-proof the suit is after riding all week in the Northwest Rains!!!

    • Hey Ron. We don’t get rain out west here as often but when it does rain it comes down hard! We got some pretty heavy rain at the end of winter that gave us an opportunity to test the suit’s waterproofing. While everyone else was canceling their rides, we were excited for the opportunity to get in some rain riding! Also, check above there is one photo from one of our wet weather tests.

  2. This looks like pretty good stuff. I can’t stomach the prices of a lot of gear (e.g. Klim, Rev’It, etc). They must think their stuff is made of gold or something. And sometimes maybe it really IS really good, but a lot of us can’t afford it. We spend our money on the bike and accessories for the bike, and then we see a helmet that’s $600?? Or a $1000 jacket? Leave that crap to what I call the Adventure Posers or the guys who somehow have sponsorship for all their trips.

    • Hey Larry. There are different levels of waterproofing whether it’s electronics, watches, luggage or gear. The longer something is exposed to heavy rain or submerged, the more likely it is to succumb to having water seep through. Try standing in 6 inches of water with the most expensive waterproof Gore-Tex boots. In less than 5 minutes, you will start to feel the water coming through.

  3. I love the look and the price of this set, but I wonder about its comfort in the southwest summer heat. I am looking for a good 4 seasons riding jacket, I am leaning towards some of the Olympia offerings, but the price on the Battleborn set is inviting…

    • It flows air pretty good through the jacket and pants. This suit is tuned more for colder, wetter weather but will handle high 80s reasonably well.

      • Rob, thank you for the article. I think what Renato is asking, and what I would like to know also is how about handling temperatures in the upper 90’s?!

        • Hey Michael. If you are riding in the 90s alot, it might be worth investing in a premium suit with advanced materials and additional venting that can handle higher temps. The BB suit might be a little hot to do this regularly.

  4. Maybe on your next version, you can make it so it can support chest pads. Was in a bad wreck and have 8 plates holding ribs together on left side. Need to have them protected also now. So hope you will design next version with them also.

  5. Until you start producing these in more than one length per waist size, it is only going to appeal to a narrow audience. One size, fits some.


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