Klim Altitude Women’s Gear – Early Adopter Blues

Klim Altitude Women’s Gear – Early Adopter Blues

I’m in for over 10,000 road miles on Klim women’s Altitude jacket and pants so, I feel like I can fairly give my impression of it.

When I was looking for GORE-TEX gear in the summer of 2014, based on how happy everyone I know who owns the brand Klim has been, it seemed like a perfect choice. The introduction of their women-specific Altitude jacket and pants presented itself as perfect timing. The caveat? At the time, gray was the only color available for the Altitude. If you wanted the suit, you bought gray or you bought something else.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Are you an idiot? It’s a light color, it’s going to get filthy.”

Honestly, I thought the same thing. Aesthetically, I really like light-colored gear and having owned and cared for some in the past I thought I would just continue my efforts of being diligent about keeping it looking tidy. My prior experience had been: when it started looking gross, you throw it in the machine/tub, let it dry and voilà! the suit would look gorgeous once again.

It seemed easy enough, so I bought the suit with dreams of finally being dry without rain gear.

In the beginning: Look at me – clean as a whistle!

My first major outing of the suit was during a ride through the Alps. We had variable weather for 10 days and a couple thousand miles ranging from hot, to cold, to mist, to snowflakes and downpour. The most important thing for me was that I stayed dry. Day in day out, I was feeling like a million bucks in my super-suit never having to stop and don rain gear.

Overall the cut of the jacket works for me. It has enough give and room in my “problem areas” without creating loose flapping fabric in others.

I do miss having a top-opening pocket for ease of use on the jacket. There are side vertical-zippered pockets at the hip level. I never feel secure enough to put anything in them such as a phone because chances are I will not zip the pocket and I’m afraid that whatever is in there will fall out.

The jacket front does have 2 large vertical pockets. My favorite part is the elastic tethers and plastic clips inside of them. I use them for my camera and my SPOT tracker.

The pants? I feel like the rise is too low when I’m in the seated position and that bugs me. The pockets on the hip are too shallow to put much in them. I use them for small items like loose bills, change and a chapstick. You cannot fit any typical smartphone, camera or a wallet in there while you’re trying to free up your hands. There are no pockets on the legs to do that duty either.

Returning from my alpine trip I rode into the autumn again with its variable weather and again I stayed dry. In that regard the Altitude suit has been absolutely terrific.

After a several thousand miles, it became time to wash the suit. Keeping it clean is important to keeping it waterproof. Besides, while it might look good from a distance, the road dirt was really starting to show if you were standing next to me. What’s that saying? Good from far, far from good. That describes the appearance of this suit to a T.


Klim has pretty clear washing instructions which I followed.

My collar before:



My collar after:


I washed the gear per the Klim instructions. The result on my pants?



When the gear didn’t come clean, I soaked it in the tub with some Oxiclean powder. I even used Oxiclean stain stick on certain greasy spots on the backs of my my pant legs. After the Oxiclean soak, I put it through the washer 2 more times.

The washing really didn’t do much of anything, visibly. When it was all washed and dried for the last time, I resigned myself to the fact that I would never get this suit clean. The real slap in the face was to have another chick rider look at me and say “your jacket looks like shit.” Burn! 😆 That sucked to hear because I can’t do anything about it. I spent over a grand on this get-up. But… she’s right.

This is what my “clean” jacket looks like:

  • Jacket $550-ish
  • Pants: $500

I’m in for over $1000 to look like a perpetual dirtbag. Awesome. If you’re naïve like me and think you’ll be able to wash this suit to keep it visibly clean, think again.

  • The construction quality, fit & finish of the suit is great.
  • It is waterproof. I have not gotten wet through it.
  • The zipper pulls become frayed and fuzzy from snagging on the velcro.
  • The rise on the pants is too low for me.
  • Love the elastic band clips in the front jacket pockets.

For 2015, Klim introduced the suit in black and I feel, frickin’ bummed. It’s the early adopter blues. If I could trade this suit in for a black one, I’d do it in a heartbeat.


12 Replies to “Klim Altitude Women’s Gear – Early Adopter Blues”

  1. I’ve had the jacket for two seasons, the pants for one. Haven’t washed the pants yet but the jacket has been washed twice. Some grime stays but, overall, it looks (and smells) better after the washing. The waterproof part is the best! Pants fit like Hefty bags but I still get lots of compliments and questions everywhere I go. About 30,000 miles on the jacket so far, 12,000 on the pants. LOVE the massive thigh vents on the pants❤️❤️❤️ Contact Klim about your thoughts on the gear. They are very receptive to comments and will make future tweaks to improve them in the future. For now though, will be a dirty but dry girl!


    1. Yes, it is nice to have that new jacket smell 😀

      Waterproofness was my first priority so I’m totally happy on that front. It’s an awesome suit with regard to doing it’s job. Can’t complain there.

      The rest? My fault for being impatient and not waiting for black, I guess.

  2. Being a light color has it’s advantages. While it shows dirt it will help you show up better to those in cars. Maybe that cage driver will say, “wow that chick’s riding suit looks really really dirty, I better avoid her”. Or they could say “What did I just hit? Oh, it looks like a black speed bump in the middle of the road”

    Seriously, the lighter color will help you be seen better. And it will also keep you cooler in the hot sun.

    Lastly, I can say from experience that their gear does protect you when you go down. Hopefully you can see the below link to see what my jacket looks like after hitting the road at highway speeds


      1. The scuffs were not too bad. It was the slices in it from the road that kind of sucked. The right elbow had a pretty good sized hole in it as well. But it did it’s job and I just got my new jacket in the mail today.

        1. That D3O armor is pretty amazing. When you touch it and flex it it can be hard to imagine that it would ever do it’s job but clearly it does.

          Did you go with the same model?

  3. I’m a Stich guy and mostly hi-vis. Always filthy and impossible to clean.
    How many people have asked you if you’re a fireman?
    If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked, I’d have about 55 cents. But nobody ever asks me any other time.

  4. Great review. It sucks that the duds are stained. BUT, it’s better to have a suit that looks well-used than to be all spanking clean because you never get out and ride. 🙂

    I’m sure folks admire your dirtiness for that very reason.

    For the record, I read your posts in a timely manner, but can’t comment easily from my phone. Since that’s how I read the posts, I don’t often say much. But I am reading along.

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