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ADV ProductsKlim 626 Drifter Jacket and Outrider Pants Review

Klim 626 Drifter Jacket and Outrider Pants Review

Adventure Riding gear with a comfortable, casual workwear look.

Published on 03.09.2018

The Klim 626 Drifter Jacket and Outrider pant combination are comfortable riding gear disguised as casual workwear. Both the pants and jacket are specifically designed to be simple, functional and stylish, while providing base level abrasion and impact protection for commuting or casual adventures.

The first thing you notice about this pant and jacket combo is that it doesn’t look like your typical motorcycle gear. Your average adventure riding suit is heavily built and aggressively styled, while the 626 line can pass muster as casual clothing without a second look. The minimal branding, monochrome color scheme, and simple canvas material all work together to achieve an understated yet appealing look at a reasonable price point.

The Drifter Jacket utilizes a beefy YKK front zipper with a cover flap held in place with magnetic buttons, offering a classic look without the hassle of manipulating traditional button snaps. The inner lining and pockets are plaid and the fabric detail is exposed when the cuff and pocket linings are opened. Water-resistant waxed Cordura canvas material offers abrasion protection and looks even better after wearing it a few times. There are no zipper vents on the jacket but it does have ‘Pit Holes’ for breathability. Four external and three internal pockets provide plenty of room for storage, while CE Level-1 D3O armor in the elbows, shoulder and back provide impact protection.


Klim 626 drifter jacket and outrider pants

Klim 626 drifter jacket and outrider pants

Like the Drifter Jacket, the Outrider Pants are made of Cordura canvas, but without the wax coating. The pants also share the same plaid detailing on the inside and feature YKK zippers. Five pockets provide room for storage, while pockets on each knee hold CE Level-1 D3O armor that can be easily removed when you arrive at camp or work. With knee pads out, the pants have the same look and feel as a pair of Carhartt work pants. They can also be worn with a belt like normal pants and incorporate additional CE Level-1 D3O armor in the hips.

How It Performed

The Klim 626 Drifter Jacket and Outrider Pants were tested in a variety of conditions. For commuting usage, the gear has the feel of regular street clothing. The pant and jacket are not heavy or bulky and the soft 3DO armor does not get in the way, which makes gearing up for that morning commute a breeze. For long-distance cruising, the Jacket and Pant provided plenty of protection from the wind. The fit was also very comfortable during long stretches of road and the material didn’t flap around.

Klim 626 drifter jacket and pants
With limited venting, the Drifter Jacket and Outrider Pants can run hot on the trails.

During our testing, we did encounter some technical terrain that really put the Klim 626 gear to the test. This involved strenuous riding with many tipovers on rough, rocky trails better suited to enduro bikes. The pants were lacking in ventilation but the lightweight, flexibility and fit helped make up for it. Under normal conditions, the suit was comfortable up to about 85° F. But with a lack of ventilation under strenuous riding conditions, it gets hot in the mid-70s. Some relief could be found by riding with the cuffs open. We also tested it in cold weather and the suit remained comfortable down to around 55° F without any additional thermal layers.

The CE Level-1 3DO armor in the elbow, shoulder, knees and hips did a good job of absorbing numerous falls without incurring any injury. The pads are also easily removed for cleaning but can be a bit challenging to put back in. Tight form fitting pockets in the liner, with discreet Velcro closures, hold the the pads in place and Velcro strips provide some adjustability for proper knee placement.

Klim 626 outrider pants

Klim outrider pants with d3o armor
We liked Outrider’s option to remove the knee armor, turning them into a regular pair of pants. Back at camp, you don’t feel like you need to get out of your gear.

The D3O back padding in the Drifter Jacket is very large and it slides into a zippered pocket. Although when removing the back pad for cleaning, we noticed it was partially torn in the lower lumbar section. We don’t remember having a fall on the back but possibly the padding was torn while folding the jacket for storage or during the assembly process.

After two hot summer rides in the Sierras, the jacket was in need of a wash. The care instructions on the Drifter Jacket had us scratching our head though… “Do not wash. To clean, wipe with damp cloth. Hang to dry.” A call to Klim customer support gave us a bit more detail. They confirmed it is OK to wash the jacket but the water-resistant wax coating will wash away. Klim recommended a product called “Otter Wax” to re-apply the waxed coating, or spray-on waterproofing products probably work just as well from a functionality perspective.

The Klim Drifter Jacket looks even better after it begins to build up a little dirt patina.

Who Are They For

The combo is a great solution for someone who is looking for simple yet versatile riding gear for ‘fair weather’ adventures. It’s a good starter suit for a new adventure rider or it can be an extra suit you keep for sunny days.

Our Verdict

The Klim Drifter isn’t exactly hard-core adventure gear but the D3O armor did its job on one of our toughest adventures. If you are looking for more weather protection and versatility, there are other alternatives out there in this price range. But if you want to be comfortable and you like the look of Klim’s 626 line, the Drifter Jacket and Outrider Pants combo are a nice option.

Klim Drifter Jacket and Outrider Pants

What We Liked

  • Nice styling. Casual look and feel.
  • Lightweight yet sturdy.
  • D3O armor is soft, light and functional.
  • Convenient removal option for the knee pads.

What Could Be Improved

  • Adding pit zips would improve venting without changing the look.
  • Use a softer material than cordura for the inner collar.
  • Add subtle reflective features for nighttime safety.
  • Could use some basic water-proofing that won’t wash away.

Klim Drifter Jacket and Outrider Pants Specs

Colors: Jacket (Black, Blue, Brown, Green), Pants (Black, Light Brown, Dark Brown)
Sizes: Jacket (Small to 3XL), Pants (30 to 40 waist with tall sizes)
Price: Jacket ($299.99 – $329.99), Pants ($169.99 – $179.99)

Shopping Options

626 Drifter Jacket 626 Outrider Pants

Photos by Rob Dabney | Stephen Gregory | Spencer Hill

Author: Mike Massucco

Mike is an avid explorer and accomplished, award-winning Industrial Designer. He has been obsessed with wheels, gears, gadgets and the outdoors since birth. This combination of passions have given him a unique inside perspective into the world of product design and testing. A combination of insatiable curiosity and poor impulse control have driven him to continue exploring every backroad, single track and unique destination in the Western United States.

Author: Mike Massucco

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Antony Clark
Antony Clark
March 31, 2020 5:37 am

Hi Mike, great review. I am having difficulty determining which colour you were wearing in the review photos. I love the colour (and patina!) you were wearing but I can’t tell if it was the brown or the green. Thanks again for the great review.


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