Textile gear that covers all bases: How Klim use the latest fabrics to create tough but breathable waterproof gear

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For adventure riders, there’s never been an answer to the age-old question: what gear is cool enough off-road but protective enough on-road and waterproof too?  

A suit that saves you from a 70mph slide will be too hot as soon as you hit the rough stuff surely? It’s a problem that Klim has been working on and thanks to a combination of three pieces of new tech, they think they’ve solved it with their Badlands suit. 

“Our biggest problem is that we’re never happy – we can’t stop tinkering,” says John Summers, Head of Marketing at Klim. “We also love a challenge. When the CE ratings came out, everyone said an AAA-rated Gore-Tex jacket couldn’t be made, so we thought we’d prove them wrong.” 

You see the challenge isn’t making AAA-rated gear – there are plenty of people out there that can do that. And it’s not making AAA-rated waterproof gear – there are plenty of people out there that can do that too. The trick is making AAA-rated gear that uses a Gore-Tex membrane because Gore set very high breathability standards.  

If you want to stick Gore’s name on it, it’s got to breathe and AAA construction doesn’t want to do that, so Klim had to get inventive.  

“The key thing for us is picking the right partners, so for the Badlands that’s Cordura, D3O and SuperFabric and in the case of the A3, Vectran,” adds Summers. 

Everything begins at a basic level – with the yarn itself. Klim works with Cordura right down to the molecular level, choosing the resin level in the yarn to tune exactly how they want it to react. They also twist the fibres together and then ‘spot weld’ them along the length to stop them fraying as they flex with use. In the A3, the material of the jacket is woven with Vectran, which has a similar strength to Kevlar but has high thermal stability, so it can reach over 330°C in a slide before it melts.  

“Key to providing protection as well as breathability, is the use of SuperFabric in the shoulders, elbows and knees,” says Summers. 

SuperFabric is made up of miniature ceramic plates on a backing material. The gaps between the plates allow water vapour and heat to escape, as well as allowing the material to flex. But if you hit the deck, the ceramic plates slide along the ground. Klim says the plates are twice as abrasion-resistant as leather and ten times more than Kevlar.  

Klim believes so strongly in the suits ‘crashability’ that they’ll replace them free of charge, no questions asked, if you crash and send in the police report (which they use to help understand how the product reacted in a real-world situation).  

After a huge slide on a motorway when he hit a patch of oil, the owner of the suit pictured walked away without injury. 

As you’d expect, a latest-generation suit bristling with all this tech isn’t what you’d call cheap. The latest generation Badlands Pro will set you back £1900 for a full suit. 

Jordan Gibbons

By Jordan Gibbons

News Editor, owns some old bikes. Should know better.