Klim Carlsbad Jacket Review: Good for Off-Road Riders?

I recently had the chance to test out the updated Klim Carlsbad jacket and pants. As an adventure rider who spends a fair amount of time off-road, I was looking for a versatile jacket and pant combo that could handle both on and off-road riding conditions.

In this article, I’ll share my experience testing this set and what I learned about its key features, upgrades, and real-world performance.

But, the main question I will answer in this review will be: Is this the best adventure motorcycle jacket for you? Let’s find out!

Klim Carlsbad Jacket


Key Takeaways

  • Versatile street and dirt use
  • Serious impact protection provided
  • Comfortable in varying conditions

Highlights of the Klim Carlsbad Jacket and Pants

Before diving into my full review, here are some of the highlights of the Carlsbad jacket and pants:

  • Constructed with 3-layer Gore-Tex for proven waterproofing and breathability
  • Beefed up with abrasion-resistant 630D ripstop nylon in high-impact zones
  • Upgraded to CE Level 2 armor (elbows, shoulders, back, hips, knees) for serious impact protection
  • Improved venting for better airflow when riding in warmer conditions
  • A handy spot for a SPOT tracking device on the chest area
  • The jacket has hook loops to hold it open for increased airflow
  • Easy-to-reach internal document pocket and hidden valuables pocket

I’ll expand on these features and others throughout my review. But first, let’s look at who the Carlsbad set is designed for.

Ideal Rider for the Klim Carlsbad Jacket and Pants

The Carlsbad jacket and pants are aimed at adventure riders who:

  • Split their time between on-road and off-road riding
  • Ride larger ADV bikes like the BMW R1200GS or KTM 1290 Super Adventure
  • Need a waterproof and protective jacket and pant
  • Don’t require heavy-duty armor found in hardcore off-road gear

The Carlsbad set really hits the sweet spot between a fully street-focused riding kit and a hardcore dirt bike setup. You get serious weather protection and impact armor without sacrificing mobility or comfort.

While still capable of road use, the Carlsbad leans more towards off-road performance. For a more street-focused alternative, check out the Klim Latitude jacket.

Key Upgrades Over the Previous Version

I tested the 2022 version of the Carlsbad jacket and pants, which brings several noteworthy upgrades over the previous generation:

Improved Gore-Tex Layer: The 3-layer Gore-Tex shell now uses Gore’s FPL 400 material instead of the FPL 200 of the past version. This enhances waterproofing while ticking breathability.

Beefed Up Abrasion Protection: The new Carlsbad uses 630D ripstop nylon in the jacket’s torso and the pants’ knee areas. The past version used 500D nylon here. This adds serious abrasion resistance for off-road use.

Upgraded Armor: The CE Level 1 armor of the old Carlsbad is now replaced by Level 2 armor in the elbows, shoulders, back, hips, and knees. Better impact absorption for hardcore terrain.

Venting Improvements: The jacket gets better chest and arm venting thanks to its new open-side panel design. No more vent-covering flaps.

Spot Tracker Location Change: The dedicated pocket for a SPOT tracker device moves to the left chest area for easier access if you crash.

Other Notable Changes

Beyond those major upgrades, Klim made a few other helpful tweaks:

  • The jacket gets handy snap loops to hold the collar open while riding
  • A smaller stash pocket was added to the jacket’s left sleeve.
  • Pants get stretch panels behind the knees for better mobility
  • Reflective details on the jacket and pants boosted visibility

The core DNA of the Carlsbad remains focused on agile off-road performance, just with thoughtful improvements in key areas. Next, let’s look at sizing and fit.

Carlsbad Jacket and Pants Sizing and Fit

I’m 6 feet tall, weigh around 205 lbs, and have a 42-inch chest. For the Carlsbad jacket, I opted for a size large, which gave me comfortable room to layer underneath. The size large pants were also a great fit for me with my 32-inch waist.

Here’s a breakdown of the sizing for reference:

Carlsbad Jacket Sizing

SizeChest Size
Small35 – 38 inches
Medium38 – 41 inches
Large41 – 44 inches
XL44 – 47 inches
2XL47 – 50 inches
3XL50 – 53 inches

I recommend trying on the jacket and pants to dial in your ideal size. But the above charts provide a helpful starting point.

The Carlsbad jacket has a relaxed adventure fit that allows room for layering without impeding movement. The pants are comfortably roomy as well while including useful adjustments at the waist, hips, and lower legs to fine-tune the fit.

Now, let’s dive into the jacket details.

Breakdown of the Klim Carlsbad Jacket

Here are the key features and details of the Carlsbad jacket based on my first-hand testing:

Construction and Materials

  • 3-layer Gore-Tex® Pro: Provides guaranteed waterproofing along with improved breathability over the past version
  • Abrasion-resistant 630D ripstop nylon: Used on the torso, shoulders, and upper arms for added durability
  • 3MTM ScotchliteTM reflective details: Enhances visibility in low light conditions
  • YKK®