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ADV ProductsKlim Carlsbad: Versatile, Streamlined, Gore-Tex ADV Suit

Klim Carlsbad: Versatile, Streamlined, Gore-Tex ADV Suit

We test Klim's mid-range ADV Suit with a streamlined off-road design.

Published on 04.12.2018

The Carlsbad is an exciting new addition to Klim’s ADV Suit lineup and possibly one of the most versatile they have produced to date. With its D3O CE Level-1 armor (including hips and back), multiple vents and plentiful cargo opftions, it has excellent potential as an adventure companion. The Carlsbad has a technical Gore-Tex shell with no liners or layers that offers a more streamlined body than some of Klim’s more robust pieces.

This mid-range ADV Suit (in Klim’s line) is intended for casual adventurers or those looking for a lighter and less-bulky option. But it’s still packed with premium features like Karbonite Ripstop fabric on the shoulders, arms and knees, along with stash and ID pockets, Poron tailbone pad, and YKK waterproof zippers. Ever since I first saw the Carlsbad in pre-production, I was eager to see if it would live up to the hype Klim had built around it. Let’s see how it matched up.

How It Performed

Klim Carlsbad ADV suit review


The Carlsbad vented well in the Arizona heat, kept the chill out in Utah and remained watertight in Pacific Northwest. Lightweight shell materials made for a broken-in feel from day one, and its relaxed cut wasn’t restrictive for any type of riding.

The Carlsbad was very adaptable, which is precisely what I look for in an ADV Suit in this price range. I never found a situation or condition that it could not adapt to and it wasn’t for lack of effort. Venting was adequate with the forearm vents making a helpful contribution to air movement throughout the torso. Although, the addition of bicep vents and dual-purpose chest pocket vents could significantly improve airflow.

For storage this suit excelled. It may seem silly but the front cargo pockets on the jacket were one of my favorite features. Top flap openings made it easy to access contents with gloved hands, and side access pockets behind were great for keeping digits warm off the bike. The total capacity of the jacket and pant was impressive and very useful. Armor placement was top notch, and forearm straps kept the elbow pads firmly in place. Klim’s use of D3O gave me just as much confidence on road as it did off-road, where I put it to use!

Klim Carlsbad ADV suit review

Klim Carlsbad ADV suit review

The only thing I felt was missing in the way of armor was chest protection and more than just a ‘CE Level-1’ back protector. But at this price point, the Carlsbad still offers adequate protection. A more subtle safety feature was the 3M laminate reflective material that seemed less pronounced at first but turned out to be explicitly designed to attract more attention. As a whole, the Carlsbad’s comfort, venting, and versatility lead to it outperforming my expectations.

Who Is It For

The Carlsbad is perfect for riders that desire good protection and premium features but don’t necessarily want the weight and bulk usually associated with those requirements. Ventilation is on par with Klim’s other premium adventure garments, but this particular piece has the decided advantage of lighter weight materials making it ideal for a broader temperature range. The Carlsbad is a wide-reaching piece; it fills the gap between the bombproof Badlands and lightweight Traverse perfectly. As it is equally fitting for long distance travel and adventure riding in a wide range of climates, this makes it an ideal piece for a broad cross-section of riders.

Klim Carlsbad ADV suit review

Our Verdict

This suit impressed me from the first time I donned it, and I was hard-pressed to find many faults in its design. In my opinion, the Carlsbad’s most prominent flaws were its ‘optional’ kidney belt that never entirely stayed in place and what I thought to be a more generous than necessary cut to the pant. These were in no way deal breakers; this ADV Suit’s positive attributes more than outweighed its shortcomings. Overall, I think the Carlsbad is one of the best pieces Klim has produced in recent history. While it does carry a premium price tag, it still represents a great value with all it has to offer.

Klim Carlsbad Adventure Motorcycle suit review

What We Liked

  • Plenty of pockets with ample cargo capacity.
  • Forearm vents were all-stars, and the suit as a whole moved air well.
  • Smoothly transitioned from adventure touring to true off-road riding and was just as well suited for commuting.

What Could Be Improved

  • When the optional kidney belt stayed in place, it worked well, but that wasn’t very often.
  • Extra room through the thigh was appreciated, but the leg openings were a bit wide and baggy.
  • Chest protection really would have rounded out the armor in the jacket and made me feel a bit safer.

Klim Carlsbad ADV Suit Specs

Colors: Jacket (Black, Brown, Grey, Honda Black/Red), Pant (Black, Grey, Honda Black/Red)
Sizes: Jacket (Small to 3XL), Pant (30-42 regular, 30-38 tall sizes)
Price: Jacket ($549.99 – $579.99), Pant ($489.99 – $509.99)

Shopping Options

Jacket Pants

Photos by Spencer Hill

Author: Spencer Hill

“The Gear Dude” has been fueling his motorcycle addiction with adventure since first swinging his leg over a bike in 2010. Whether he’s exploring his own backyard in the Pacific Northwest or crisscrossing the United States, Spencer is always in search of scenic off-road routes, epic camping locations and the best gear possible. He began writing shortly after taking up two-wheel travel to share his experiences and offer insight with his extensive backpacking, camping and overland background.

Author: Spencer Hill

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