KLIM BADLANDS PRO
The intention here had been to test KLIM’s new Carlsbad combo – something of a mid-range jacket and jeans that follows a philosophy of sturdy simplicity, ideal for the kind of riding RUST does: short, sharp and exciting. But with it out of stock in Europe, I received instead KLIM’s range-topping Badlands Pro to test. This is the kit you buy when you want to face and overcome every possible eventuality. Going around the world on a big tour, pole to pole and all that – you’d be after this one. This is the King Kahuna.
And you know, while I honestly was a little disappointed that I wasn’t getting the Carlsbad, the moment I unpacked the Badlands Pro I was instead off-the-scale delighted. I’ve not properly encountered KLIM before, but by heck on the basis of this kit I can tell you this is top shelf kit and then some. The moment I told RUST compadre July that I’d got this suit to test he disowned me, “I’m not talking to you anymore,” he said.
Point being KLIM make this suit something of a last word on everything that is adventure suits. They use the best materials, use the most care in manufacture and back up their products with the most cast iron of no-quibble guarantees. This is the Saville Row of adventure.
HOME & DRY
First test for this suit – which is in fact the third generation of the Badlands Pro – was the Rally Moto Tour of Wales Challenge. Obviously there was the 500km in 14 hours of the adventure ride itself, but as well the getting there and back – in all 1100 miles in three days. And not to mention countless rain showers and downpours. Just on the ride home along the M4 I counted six drenchings. Yeah, we saw a LOT of rain.
And here’s the thing. I didn’t wet get once. Actually that’s not true. In one downpour I started to feel a wetness on the left side of my chest. ‘Aha,’ I thought, ‘the suit’s letting go.’ Wrong, when I stopped I saw that I’d left a vent partially open. I zipped it up and continued – no more wetness. Throughout three days of on and off rain, including said torrential downpours I stayed utterly bone dry. Remarkable, honestly I’ve not had a suit do that before and not through the sustained heavy rain of the kind we experienced.
So that’s thanks to the GoreTex three-layer Pro Shell. For the record that’s the outer layer, not a zip-in layer. So only the outer layer of the Badlands Pro gets wet, everything else stays bone dry. And when I say outer layer, that’s kind of the only layer. We’ve become accustomed to multi-layer suits, with thermal and waterproof zip-ins. But to its credit the Badlands Pro isn’t like this. It’s one shell with everything within that. Which vastly reduces the faff quotient. Just zip in and ride.
The suit features D30 armour, called Aero Pro D30 here on account it’s highly perforated to improve ventilation. KLIM says there’s 44% more coverage through their spec of armour (than the next best comparable) while being perforated means it has five times the ventilation. Now while we didn’t have the hottest day to ride Wales there were times the work rate went up and the vents were opened – and yes, having vented armour at times like that – I like.
Talking of venting, my word its comprehensive. I count three vents on each sleeve, two big vents on the front body matched with two more on the back. Then the vents on the trousers. You can really blow the air through this suit. I find it amazing that somehow when closed up those same zipped vents remain waterproof. Trick design.
As with other suits the jacket and jeans can be zipped together – something I always do. I also really like the integral kidney belt found in the jacket. Kidney belts have kind of fallen out of favour, but having ridden with one since my schoolboy scrambling days I really do much prefer to ride with one, even on the road.
When it comes to staying warm, on those cooler days, while the jacket is very wind resistant you will eventually need extra layers. And here KLIM will assist with a range of base and mid-layers that not only compliment the suit but are designed to be worn on their own, too. And having the mid-layer sweater here, I can say again there’s equal quality and style in these garments. And of course unlike the zip-in layers of other suits you’re not left with extraneous zips and tabs looking kind of odd when the under layers are worn without the jacket. They make sense.
As well as the Goretex there’s Karbonite Ripstop superfabric for abrasion resistance in all the key wear zones where you might tumble down the road. What’s nice about this fabric is it combines maximum abrasion resistance with a remarkable flexibility – so the suit doesn’t feel like knight’s armour, it remains soft, pliable and comfortable.
The pants, by the way, feel generous in cut, so no bunching around the crotch, good length so they don’t sit halfway up your boot when sat riding, and there’s a generous cut around the calf/ankle so they slide easy over even a bulky MX boot like the A-stars Tech 7.
There really is just so much to this suit, and it’s only when you see it, touch it and wear it that you fully understand just how excellent it is. It costs a pretty penny, for sure, but you can ask for no more from an adventure suit. And yes, in the Sage and Hi-Viz colourways its looks damn sophisticated.
There is of course much more to say on this suit, but as this test is ongoing that can wait for a further instalment. For now, yes, I’m super-super happy with this suit.
Interesting review, I have the same suit and have come to a completely different conclusion. Personally the next level down in body armour would have been preferable, what is fitted in this jacket is way to thick and unyielding. I find the design hopeless, two chest pockets on the outside of the jacket so small they will not fit anything useful, I truly have no idea what they are designed for nothing I would normally carry will fit, pocket on the arm for a spot tracker, but it wont fit the Garmin do Delorme inreach?? one inside pocket worthy of the name and that is low down on the inside front, not much use to put anything in, and the front hand warmer pockets you cant actually get into with gloves on, I just really one one pocket to put a damn phone in, there are some mesh bits inside but they have some useless foam in as a chest protector and are just mesh and useless as any kind of secure pocket, what happened to the pockets of the earlier models?, Sleeves are so tight that cant fit anything in the way of layers or heaven forbid a heated jacket (despite the fact it fits fine in my previous jacket, same size, same make, different model), body armour will not stay in place and the new slide adjusters are a pain to adjust one handed. New vents in front of the jacket are great unless you take part in anything in which you need to wear a vest or you just wear a hi viz in which case they are a pointless waste of time, where as the armpit vents worked very well.
Trousers are garbage too, forward opening pockets? who thought that was a good idea?, again body armour wont stay in place so much so, I ended up taking it out, so what’s the point of paying for level 2 3do you cant use!!!
As for the advertising blub about the new fabric being lighter and more resistant ? it just looks and feels cheap by comparison to the older material, and I am not interested in a lighter suit, I want the most robust, wear and crash resistant available and the extra weight is just fine as a trade off, this new and current just feels lightweight and cheap, as well as cheaply made in comparison to the earlier versions. This is not worth the money, it is very well made but very poorly designed, especially in comparison to other models in the line up and very much so in comparison to the earlier versions of the same jacket. I would not waste my money on buying this.