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The Best Adventure Motorcycle Jackets

best motorcycle adventure jackets review - The Best Adventure Motorcycle Jackets

What do you want from your adventure motorcycle jacket?

How about a jacket that’s:

  • Totally waterproof but with big holes in it, to let air in when it’s too hot
  • Protective, yet not bulky
  • Warm in winter yet cool on hot summer days out on the trails
  • Multi-layered and yet lightweight

Isn’t that a string of oxymorons?

As you can see, ADV riders need a jacket that covers a lot of extremes. An adventure-bike jacket is essentially an all-season jacket that has to offer brilliant winterproofing and waterproofing yet be cool and lightweight on hot summer days – cooler than a touring or standard textile motorcycle jacket would be.

Fortunately, the market is saturated with really good quality adventure motorcycle clothing. Manufacturers have risen to the challenge and adventure motorcyclists no longer have to choose between wearing an Army surplus jacket or bland-looking black textile touring kit.

CE Approval

Motorcycle jackets are rated as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE 89/686/EEC), which came into force in December 1989. In order to meet the legal requirement, jackets, trousers, one and two-piece suits must be tested to EN 13595:2002.

Any CE approved armour used in the shoulders or elbows, needs to meet EN 1621-1:2012.

What to consider before buying

The type of riding you'll be doing
If you're going to be doing a lot of riding in hot countries you don't necessarily need a jacket with a highly-technical waterproof membrane like Gore-Tex. In many cases, this will make the jacket hotter than a non-membraned jacket would be and it'll definitely make it more expensive.

Waterproofing over functionality
Adventure bike jackets tend to be equipped with a lot of pockets and they also usually feature multiple venting points. While these shouldn't affect waterproofing - especially if the jacket uses quality waterproof zips - pockets and holes for airflow are areas that could become weak points in prolonged exposure to heavy rain.

Our review criteria

We’ve set strict criteria for this adventure motorcycle jacket buying guide because, with over 400 jackets on the market, we can afford to be picky.

We only want to showcase the best adventure motorcycle jackets available. We’re here to save you the headache of having to look through tens of jackets to find a decent one.

  • Every jacket has to claim to be waterproof. We don’t want any hot-weather-only adventure jackets in this review.
  • They have to feature CE approved armour in the elbows or shoulders (bonus points if they also feature back armour)
  • They have to feature adjustable air-vents
  • They have to feature adjustable waist straps to ensure a better fit
  • They have to have an adventure style cut (to eliminate pure touring jackets)
  • They have to feature a connecting zip (preferably full-length)
  • Bonus points if they use a technical waterproofing membrane (such as Gore-Tex, Drystar, Outlast)
  • Bonus points if the thermal layer is a full jacket and not just a vest
  • Bonus points if they feature a removable storm collar
  • Bonus points if they feature a Napoleon pocket

Starting with a frankly ridiculous 400 adventure jackets on the market, we’ve boiled this showcase down to 7 great picks. As you have seen from our criteria above, all the jackets in this review have met a very high bar.

From under £100 to over £1,000

Why pay over £1,000 for an ADV jacket when you could get one for under £100?

That’s a good question and one we aim to answer in this guide.

We think you should budget £300 for a top adventure motorcycle jacket.

Brand plays a small part in the huge disparity in pricing, of course, but the most expensive jackets aren’t just down to brand snobbery. They often pack in more features, use higher quality materials, technical membranes and better quality fasteners and fittings.

Although the price has been a factor, we’ve recommended the jackets that we think are the best available right now – we haven’t just gone for the most expensive. In fact, our top pick is one of the cheapest ones out there.

BMW R1200GS Rallye offroad motorcycle boots - The Best Adventure Motorcycle Jackets

Anatomy of a quality adventure motorcycle jacket


It's always a good idea to try on different jackets from different manufacturers if you can. This will give you a good idea of how they feel and what you like about each one. If you're looking for the best adventure motorcycle jacket, no matter what your budget is, these are the features that we think you should be looking out for.

  1. Waterproofing: The vast majority of adventure kit is waterproof but some is designed to be worn in hotter climates and so air-flow and low weight replace waterproofing and warmth as the priority. If you are riding in all weathers, make sure your kit is waterproof and even better if it uses a technical membrane such as Gore-Tex, Drystar or Outlast, along many others.

  2. Quality zips: With a touring textile suit you might not use any of the zips except the main zip. But on an adventure touring suit you'll be wanted to adjust air vent openings, disconnect your jacket from your trousers and get access to pockets. If the zips aren't waterproof when they need to be or if they're low quality or use teeh that can break, the suit may end up leaking.

  3. Adjustment: Adventure suits tend to be cut on the generous side. This is great as it allows greater flexibility and a better range of movement, ideal if you're out of the saddle. However you want to be able to adjust the jacket in the waist, upper arms, wrists and chest to maximise air flow or tighten it all up to stay warm and stop the jacket flapping at higher speeds.

  4. Layers: Some jackets will have two layers, an outer with a waterproof membrane and a thermal liner or three laters; a thermal liner, waterproof liner and then outer layer. There are pros and cons to each setup. If you are going to ride in hot climates, a triple-skinned jacket is a good bet as you can remove the thermal and waterproof layer and only ride with the abrasion and impact resistant tough outer layer. If you want a jacket that has a foot firmly in the winter corner, then a bonded layer - i.e. Gore-Tex or Outlast is a safe bet. The jacket outer will shed water before it can penetrate the outer, ensuring the jacket also dries off faster and you stay warmer.

  5. Attention to detail: Any fasteners from poppers to Velco adjusters should be positioned in such a way that they won't scratch your bike's paintwork, end up with them pressing into you or make wearing other kit difficult. If the sleeve cuffs don't have much adjustment, getting gloves on will be a pain. If the collar is secured with a zip, wil you be able to remove it with gloves on? If you leave a pocket undone will your stuff fall out (side entry pocket) or will it fill with water?

  6. Venting: If you're riding in hot conditions you'll want to maximise airflow. Quality vents in the front in multiple areas such as the upper arms, shoulders and chest and exhaust-vents in the rear will ensure you keep cool with maximum airflow. Zips should close in an upward direction and should be waterproof. As a bonus if there's a storm flap t shield the zip from the elements that'll ensure they don't leak in wet conditions.

  7. Protection: Last but not least, your jacket should keep you well protected. The outer fabric should be thick enough to feel robust but not so chunky that the jacket feels rigid. There should be CE approved armour in the shoulders and elbows at a minimum but a back protector insert is worth having. Impact zones such as the shoulderd and elbows may have an additional layer of fabric or leather to improve their protective qualities.
alpinestars textile jackets andes drystar v2 adventure motorcycle jacket - The Best Adventure Motorcycle Jackets
Ben's Pick

Top quality jacket, amazing price

The Andes V2 Drystar from Alpinestars ticks every box, it’s also stylish, made by a quality brand and amazingly well priced.

It’s made using a 100% waterproof Drystar (which is Alpinestars version of Gore-Tex) and features a long-sleeve removable thermal liner. There’s CE armour in the elbows and shoulders and provision to add armour in the chest and back too. All the zips feature storm flaps and the front pockets are also waterproof. There’s are further internal pockets, including a Napoleon pocket and a rear pocket too.

Easy to reach zipped air intakes and exhaust on the rear keep the jacket cool and double as pockets too. There’s adjustment in the waist and arms for a secure fit and double-layer material in the elbows and shoulders. Not to forget, it’s also a slick-looking bit of kit.

rst paragon 5 textile jacket silver adventure bike jacket - The Best Adventure Motorcycle Jackets
Also Great

It makes £800 jackets look silly

This Pro Series Paragon 5 jacket from RST has a spec list that makes some adventure jackets that are four-times the price look silly.

It’s a three-layer jacket, with an outer made from hard-wearing ballistic textile. There’s a Sinaqua waterproof lining and a thermal quilted inner jacket.

It features CE approved armour in the shoulders and elbows and a CE Level 2 approved back protector. The seams are either double or triple stitched to maximise impact and tear resistance.

There’s all manner of adjustment and venting, to ensure a snug fit or maximum airflow. From the waist zip panels, to the chest poppers and upper-arm velcro straps, the intake and exhaust vents will keep you cool on sunny days.

The best cheap adventure motorcycle jacket

The cheapest adventure motorcycle jacket we could find was this Texpeed Waterproof Motorcycle Jacket. At under £60, it’s amazingly cheap. Suspiciously cheap? Well, let’s see.

It gets great customer reviews and the specification sheet looks decent; CE armour, 600D Cordura, removable thermal vest.

However, at this price, it’s highly unlikely it’s going to be properly waterproof. But if you’re just after a cheap textile motorcycle jacket with adventure-bike styling, then it’s not a bad shout. As long as you aren’t planning on staying completely dry.

Can you get an Adventure motorcycle jacket under £100?

 

merlin textile jacket neptune outlast black adv motorcycle jacket 305x305 - The Best Adventure Motorcycle Jackets

 

That old adage of buy cheap buy twice comes into play when we’re talking about Adventure jackets as they’re pretty complex things to put together.

We think £60 is a little too tight.

In fact, we think you ought to be spending around £200 to get a quality adventure motorcycle jacket that will keep you protected, stand up to some abuse, not leak and last for a good few years.

So you can see why £60 just isn’t going to cut it. However, we set ourselves a challenge to find the best adventure motorcycle jacket under £100.

Our pick is this Neptune Outlast Jacket from Merlin. It’s a quality bit of kit.

Made from 700D polyester with 100D ballistic nylon on the impact areas (shoulders, elbows). There’s a full-body thermal lining – not just a waist coat. Removable CE Level 1 armour in the shoulders and elbows. It uses YKK zips throughout. There’s a removable breathable waterproof drop-membrane, front and rear venting and a raised collar. You can also grab a pair of matching trousers that zip into the jacket.

The only downside might be that it’s only available in black and not the sand or beige tones that seem prolific in the world of adventure bike suits.

Colour aside, for £100, it’s a bargain.

Adventure jackets: Ben's Top Tips

A storm collar is a great defence against driving rain and it'll keep you dry while your neck tube keeps you warm.

Technical waterproof membranes will make a standard jacket that bit warmer than a jacket that has a regular outer.

Try and buy a matching jacket and trousers, to ensure a good fit and better weatherproofing

Some jackets are designed to accept a hydration pack, others will have clips to help you route a hydration pack hose attachment.

Some jackets feature a thermal vest whereas other feature a full thermal jacket meaning your arms will stay warmer.

Our shortlist: The best adventure motorcycle jackets

4812418617 d69e2975ff b 1024x681 - The Best Adventure Motorcycle Jackets

This was a tough shortlist to put together.

With over 400 different adventure jackets on the market, there’s a lot of choices out there.

We created a longlist by applying our top three criteria; it has to be waterproof, feature CE armour, and have adjustable venting. This got us down to 180 jackets. 

We then eliminated anything that didn’t have the proper adventure look and then picked a maximum of two jackets from a single manufacturer. To be honest, if we hadn’t done that, there would have been four Alpinestars jackets in this review.

We then whittled our list down to 7 different jackets by looking at their finer features and picking the ones that we think offer something better than the rest or a unique feature that Adventure riders would like.

When it comes to jackets, adventure-sport riders have a truly demanding wishlist and we think we’ve got it pretty well covered.


Alpinestars Andes V2 Drystar

Our Top Pick

From £199

alpinestars textile jackets andes drystar v2 adventure motorcycle jacket 305x305 - The Best Adventure Motorcycle Jackets

The Andes V2 Drystar from Alpinestars ticks every box, it’s also stylish, made by a quality brand and amazingly well priced. It’s made using a 100% waterproof Drystar (which is Alpinestars version of Gore-Tex) and features a long-sleeve removable thermal liner.

There’s CE armour in the elbows and shoulders and provision to add armour in the chest and back too. All the zips feature storm flaps and the front pockets are also waterproof.

There are further internal pockets, including a Napoleon pocket and a rear pocket too. Easy to reach zipped air intakes and exhaust on the rear, keep the jacket cool and double as pockets too. There’s adjustment in the waist and arms for a secure fit and double-layer material in the elbows and shoulders. 

Not to forget, it’s also a slick-looking bit of kit.

It’s also available in other colour options. From £199.

Dojo Kiso Adventure Jacket

From £110dojo jacket textile kiso black stone adventure bike jacket 305x305 - The Best Adventure Motorcycle Jackets

Another cheap adventure jacket but another cracker. If you haven’t heard of Dojo, it’s a range by manufacturer ARMR Moto, who make quality bike gear aimed at those on a budget. The Dojo Kiso is cheap but it’s not low quality. It’s made from a 600D outer, with CE approved armour in the elbows and shoulders and provision for a back protector insert.

It uses a three-layer system with a Dry Tek waterproof liner, a thermal liner and the jacket outer. All zips are YKK, the jacket’s main zip features a storm flap. There are ventilation zips at the front and rear, two external outer pockets, a waterproof wallet pocket, an internal phone pocket.

There are poppers to adjust the arms, velcro to adjust the cuffs, upper arms and waist. All-in-all it’s a great jacket that happens to be really cheap.

From £110.

Oxford Montreal 3.0 Adventure Textile Jacket

From £150

oxford textile jacket montreal adventure bike jacket 305x305 - The Best Adventure Motorcycle Jackets

You might not know that Oxford Products now have a range of proper motorcycle clothing. For years they’ve been banging out cheap locks and motorbike accessories but even though it’s cheap, this jacket is not to be sniffed at.

It’s a three-layer jacket featuring a removable waterproof drop-liner, a thermal layer and the jacket’s outer. It features CE elbow and shoulder armour and a back protector pocket.

There are two large adjustable box pockets at the front, a Napoleon pocket and an external rear pocket. There’s a zip and velcro cuff to help you easily adjust your gloves to get a good seal. It uses YKK zips and has excellent adjustment in the arms, waist and cuff. Large front and rear vents, a tall collar and a clever hidden hood.

Oxford has paid a lot of attention to the small details with this jacket and it won a RiDE magazine Besy Buy award too – it’s a cracker.

It’s also available in lots of other colour options.

Rev’it Neptune 2 GTX Gore-Tex Adventure Jacket

From £450

rev it textile jacket neptune 2 gore tex motorcycle jacket 305x305 - The Best Adventure Motorcycle Jackets

Replacing the popular Neptune jacket is this revised Neptune 2 from Rev’it. It’s designed with versatility and flexibility in mind. It’s a three-layer jacket. The outer is made from a Teflon-coated 600D polyester, there’s a removable Gore-Tex waterproof lining and a removable thermal liner.

It features flexible CE Level 2 armour in the elbows and shoulders with preparation to accept an insert back protector too. There’s lots of adjustment available in the sleeves, waist, collar and cuffs.

There are two front pockets with storm flaps, a stash pocket and Napoleon pocket. There’s also a provision in the rear pocket to keep your Gore-Tex liner stowed away.

The venting is spot on, with zippable front and rear air-flow but also the chest area can be kept wide open using a popper-fit system to maximum airflow. Remove both internal layers and you’ve got a cool and protective jacket for hot summer days. Zip everything up and you’ve got a brilliant winterproof jacket from a quality brand.

If you want a slightly more ‘adventure’ style then check out the Sand Jacket from Rev’it. It’s another top bit of kit.

Held Carese 2 Gore-Tex Adventure Jacket

From £550

held carese2 jacket  gore tex adventure motorcycle jacket 305x305 - The Best Adventure Motorcycle Jackets

All the Held kit we’ve seen has been made to a great standard. I’ve put more than 20,000 miles on a Held textile touring suit and it’s not had any faults.

The Carese 2 is a new two-layer adventure-style touring jacket, featuring a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane and Coolmax mesh lining. The outer is made from hard-wearing DuPont 500D cordura and it features CE approved armour in the shoulders and elbows.

There are a staggering 14 vents on this jacket – in the chest, shoulders, upper arms and of course on the rear too. The Coolmax and mesh lining keep you cool and comfortable while providing the protection you need when all vents are open.

There’s no storm collar and no thermal lining which technically should mark this jacket down a notch or two.

However, with its awesome venting system, it’s such a good option for those who want a motorcycle jacket that will keep you cool and comfortable on hot days. So we figured it earns its place in this review as our readers wouldn’t have a problem buying a £20 fleece to act as a thermal liner – should they need it.

Buse ADV Pro STX Textile Jacket

From £390

buse adv pro stx textile jacket light grey motorbike jacket 305x305 - The Best Adventure Motorcycle Jackets

You might not have heard of Buse – they’re a German brand but they’re now available direct in the UK. Established over 25 years and they make a range of really well-specced motorbike gear.

First of all, Buse has nailed the adventure-bike style. This is a great-looking jacket. It’s a three-layer jacket, with a tough polyamide outer, a removable waterproof, windproof and breathable liner to keep the elements out and a removable thermal liner to keep you warm.

There’s removable CE Level 1 shoulder and elbow protection and a removable CE Level 1 back protector too. Seans are triple-switched in impact areas to improve safety, while there are velcro or popper adjusters in the hips, waist, upper and lower arms to ensure a comfortable secure fit.

There are ventilation zips in the chest, upper and lower arms and at the rear to offer good airflow to keep you cool on hot days. You won’t be short for carrying capacity as it has eight external pockets and two internal. 

It’s a really understated jacket but packed with quality features.

RST Pro Series Paragon 5 CE Textile Jacket

Recommended Pick

From £199

rst paragon 5 textile jacket silver adventure bike jacket 305x305 - The Best Adventure Motorcycle Jackets

This Pro Series Paragon 5 jacket from RST has a spec list that makes some adventure jackets that are four-times the price look silly.

It’s a three-layer jacket, with an outer made from hard-wearing ballistic textile. There’s a Sinaqua waterproof lining and a thermal quilted inner jacket.

It features CE approved armour in the shoulders and elbows and a CE Level 2 approved back protector. The seams are either double or triple stitched to maximise impact and tear resistance.

There’s all manner of adjustment and venting, to ensure a snug fit or maximum airflow. From the waist zip panels, to the chest poppers and upper-arm velcro straps, the intake and exhaust vents will keep you cool on sunny days.

There are great details such as the map pocket, two Napoleon pockets, reflective detailing and a comfortable Neoprene collar and removable storm collar.

There’s no denying it has ‘get me to the Sahara’ written all over it. It’s a good-looking adventure jacket, with a brilliant spec at an amazing price.

Adventure Motorcycle Jackets FAQs

What jacket did Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman wear in Long Way Down?
They both wore BMW’s Rallye adventure suit, which is available to buy from BMW motorcycle dealers.

Can I wear an adventure jacket for commuting?
Absolutely. It’s a perfect choice for all-year riding and will be much cooler on hot summer days when compared to a touring jacket, due to the number of vents.

What is Cordura fabric?
Cordura is a hard-wearing man-made material that is designed to withstand abrasion and resist tears and scuffs. It is a great material for adventure motorcycle clothing as it has long-lasting durability. ​

Sources

Thanks to the following websites which helped us research and write this review of the best adventure motorcycle jackets:

https://motoadventurer.com/