Tested: Klim Traverse 2 jacket
In a line: Smart looking, well vented and lightweight waterproof shell
UK price: £409
(bought discounted from Adventure Spec)
Weight: 1025g (verified)
Size tested: Large (me: 6ft 1in/186cm • 210lbs/95kg)
• Has pockets for armour
• Dark grey is neither boring black not dull silver
• Vertical back vents work with a daypack
• Costs a lot
• Not an all-season coat without a heated liner
• Not convinced by cuff vents
• Miss the arm cinch straps from the Overland
What they say:
The KLIM Traverse line of completely waterproof, extremely durable and functional off-road outerwear is the benchmark in all-conditions comfort. Still unmatched in the industry, Traverse is the one solution trail and dual-sport riders can count on to deliver the most enjoyable ride in the most miserable conditions.
This generation of the Traverse receives an intelligent redesign to match the off-road legacy of our Dakar lineup’s improvements including a refined fit, updated reflective materials, and intelligent ventilation system improvements. As durable as ever, better fitting and with an increased comfort range, the Traverse is designed to take the threat of rain out of your riding equation. Ride all day, any day, every day in absolute dry comfort.
As with some of my bikes, my Klim Overland was a jacket I’d have been happy to have kept were it not part of my self-styled job to keep trying new things. Then in 2016 they dropped the Overland and replaced the original Traverse with the updated and much lighter Traverse II I have here. Pitched as a light, trail-biking jacket, rather than high-speed touring coat, it’s more or less the same as an Overland but without armour included, elbow cinch straps and less reflectivity too. Plus it comes in a less dull range of colours apart from the ubiquitous black: a dark olive green and the dark slate grey I have here.
The light, Gore-Tex 2-layer nylon 66 body shell fabric and spread of durable 500D Cordura patches or layers over the arms broad match the Overland – just about adequate for 4-season riding if helped by a heated vest, and up to prangs with a bit of armour. The main zip is two-way, with a velcro rain flap and rain gutter.
The adjustable, velcro-tabbed microfleece collar is less of a tight fit than the Overland – or at least it has a velcro closure, not pop studs. And there’s the same adjustable bottom hem to keep draughts at bay.
Vents are the best arrangement I’ve used for truly effective airflow: two huge slanted zip vents on the front (easily opened and closed on the move), with matching smaller exhaust vents at the back (less easily operated with the jacket on, even at a standstill). Vertical back vents still work when wearing the typical daypack.
They’ve added lower arm vents to the Traverse II which I’m not convinced are that useful when you can just open the velcro cuffs. The rationale is that vents enable you to keep cuffs, front zips and other adjustments closed so armour doesn’t dislodge too much when needed. Although I rarely use it, it’s good to have inner sleeves for optional elbow, shoulder and back armour.
Inside there’s the same lightweight mesh liner while will support the addition of some mesh drop pockets, as I did on my Overland (below). Or, you can use the rear vents to access all the space between the mesh and the shell.
In large it’s a snug fit on me with not much room for too many bulky layers, but that’s what a good heated vest is for. For that, I found the arm-cinch straps on the Overland were good at pressing the heated liner down on to the arms for added warmth. If it’s a long ride you can do as much with elastic or straps.
Other than that, I much prefer the slate grey and nearly black colouring, even if reflectivity has taken a back seat on the Traverse II. Looking forward to Traversing some miles with testing downpours.