While it’s always satisfying to get a good deal and save some money, sometimes in life you get what you pay for.
This is especially true when it comes to motorcycle gear. Believe me, I know because budget shopping was all I could afford in my early years of motorcycling.
Sure, I’ve managed to find decent gear at reasonable prices, but I’ve also spent a lot of time getting cold and wet in the saddle on winter trips, or scorching hot on summer tours. due to lack of quality or functionality.
So when the opportunity arose to ride Klim’s Kodiak Touring Jacket a year ago, I was excited to see what you get when you step into a top-of-the-line touring jacket.
From the peaks of green summer adventures to the icy lows of snowy rides, I’ve put it through its paces in just about every scenario an adventure rider could think of over the past year. Here’s how it worked.
Klim Kodiak touring jacket
First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.
At £1,299.99 the Kodiak costs more than I spent on my first motorcycle. In fact, throw in the pants at £749.99 and the whole thing costs more than my first and second bikes, combined.
To put it simply, the Kodiak Jacket comes at a premium price, so it has to perform exceptionally well to justify it.
This approach won’t be for everyone, and if this reveal requires you to smell salts, then this probably isn’t the one for you. But, if instead you ask yourself “is it worth it?” then you will definitely want to keep reading.
Look, fit and protection
The Kodiak certainly looks the part. There are three colors to choose from (black, navy and grey) and all are subtly stylish, with a look that evokes road touring rather than hardcore adventures.
On the gray jacket I wore, fluorescent yellow trim and reflective silver sections increase visibility for other road users, while perforated goatskin shoulder and elbow patches add a touch of class (while still also helping to protect me, but more on that later).
The fit was perfect for my 6′ frame right out of the box, with a slim design designed to minimize fabric flutter when blasting along the highway. If that’s not quite right, adjustment straps at the forearms, biceps and waist allow you to tailor the fit. The cuffs, which allow cuffed gloves to easily slip underneath, also have velcro straps to keep the wind out, and there’s an elasticated hem.
Overall the Kodiak turned out to be a very comfortable jacket to wear for long days in the saddle. However, it is quite heavy. There is a reason for this though and it seems like a fair compromise as Klim has packed a massive amount of protection into the jacket.
Level 2 D30 armor can be found at the elbows, shoulders and back to provide impact protection during a stop, while there are also two chest protectors included and a kidney belt. Kidney belts aren’t quite what they sound like; rather than protecting your kidneys, they instead support your lower back and core, making them perfect for long days of riding in the saddle.
These goat leather patches at the key impact areas of the shoulder and elbow will also help with abrasion resistance in a slide, completing the most comprehensive protection I’ve seen on a ski jacket. road-oriented tourism to date.
I had a few light falls on green lanes and came out unscathed thanks to the armor, but I’m happy to say I’ve yet to call the Kodiak into high-speed road action. Nonetheless, it’s reassuring to know that the substantial protection is there and that Klim hasn’t skimped on rider safety.
How does he behave in the saddle
I wore the Kodiak for most of the year and it performed very well in just about anything the UK weather could throw at it.
Starting with the conditions that riders actually love to ride through, the Kodiak kept me cool in hot weather. Zippered wrist and bicep vents are very effective and allow plenty of airflow through the sleeves, a notoriously sweaty area. Meanwhile, two chest zips and two rear exhausts also allow air to pass around my torso.
The collar also opens and hooks over the shoulders to allow air to freely hit my chest, which proved a lifesaver in the scorching temperatures. It’s never going to offer the same ventilation as a mesh summer jacket, but considering how well the Kodiak excels in bad weather, it’s very capable when the mercury soars.
And boy, does it work well when the weather turns. When I close those vents and secure the removable storm collar, I’m protected by a three-layer laminated Gore-Tex Pro shell that’s waterproof and windproof. I haven’t yet felt a hint of wetness after a year, even though I’ve been through biblical thunderstorms with it.
If that’s not enough, Klim includes their goose down midlayer (it’s not a zip liner but a full-fledged tech garment that sells for £230 on its own) to provide winter warmth. . It’s a wetsuit that kept me warm in the depths of January, an impressive feat that justifies that initial cost.
The Klim Kodiak is a true four season jacket and has stood up to everything I’ve done including winter rides, sunny days and touring monsoons. In addition to weather protection, there are also many features that also make life in the saddle easier.
There’s a ton of storage, with eleven pockets spread around the jacket. There are five inside (one hidden for valuables like passports), three outside the chest (one for a tracker/radio), two handwarmer pockets and a small pocket identification/emergency information on the left wrist, ideal for quick access to a toll booth.
This may seem like overkill, especially since I’m traveling light, but it’s nice to have the option. I would, however, prefer the handwarmer pockets to open from the top rather than the sides, to keep me from freaking out about things falling out if I forget to zip them.
Finally, there is the matter of longevity. After a year now (which is a fraction of the time potential buyers hope theirs will last, I know), all indications are that it will last a very long time. Even after a year of intensive use, it is in superb condition.
The Velcro closures are as sticky as the day they came out of the box, and the textile exterior and leather patches are impeccable. Even the fluorescent yellow sections, which usually attract dirt like a bright light bulb to a moth, saw only a tiny bit darken.
I’ll raise my hand and say I’m not an obsessive cleaner either, the Kodiak just aged like Jennifer Aniston.
The GORE-TEX waterproofing held up too, with the added peace of mind that the entire jacket is backed by the brand’s lifetime warranty should anything go wrong on that front.
This is where the Kodiak really starts to justify that price.
I’ve owned £300 jackets that endured two years of heavy use before finally giving up the ghost, roughly an outlay of £150 per year. If the Kodiak keeps running for eight hours, it delivers a similar value. Keep going for 10 years and suddenly you’re in bargain territory. Okay, a step too far maybe, but you get the picture.
Klim Kodiak touring jacket: conclusion
So, is the Klim Kodiak worth it? To put it simply, yes.
To justify that price, it has to outperform 99% of four-season touring jackets, and it does. It looks great, the fit is perfect, the protection is all round and it copes with all the weather forecasts a cyclist might encounter in the UK. Plus, after a year of steady driving, it’s still a pristine one, which bodes well for the future.
If you have the money, you will make a great investment. And if not, well, maybe you have a kidney for sale?
Find out more about the Klim Kodiak jacket on the brand’s website today.