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Klim Marrakesh jacket review 2023

Published on: 31 July 2019


The best motorcycle jacket in the world just got even better. That claim about the Klim Marrakesh sounds a bit overblown, I know. You have to say it in a Jeremy Clarkson-type voice to make the statement sound a little less pompous, although we still very much believe the sentiment to be true. Klim motorcycle gear is some of the best in the business. We especially love the Marrakesh, and so do our customers. We have sold huge numbers, and personally I cannot ever remember coming across a single person who doesn’t love wearing it.

But for 2023 there’s a new version. The fundamentals are the same, but there are some improvements with the new one, and it comes in a couple of new colours too. But before we talk about the updated Marrakesh, let’s talk about the concept of the jacket, and why we rate it so highly.

Klim Marrakesh jacket 2023 in teak

The Klim Marrakesh. What it is.

At its heart the Marrakesh is but a humble mesh jacket. Mesh jackets are ten a penny. Every manufacturer produces one. The are blindingly simple to make and, as a result, they tend to be as cheap as chips. And all of them do a similar job. They will have mesh panels on the chest; and sometimes in the arms and up the back. They allow you to sweat easily, the skin’s natural way of cooling itself down. At the same time they will make it possible for the oncoming cool air to flow around the body. But rarely are these jackets particularly protective.

The Marrakesh is basically a mesh jacket on steroids. The outer chassis is made from a heavy-duty, 1000 denier, loosely-woven Cordura mixed with Elastane for added stretch. The material is immensely strong; way stronger than your average mesh jacket, which explains why the jacket achieves an AA rating under EN17092. To put that into context there are a number of high-end Gore-Tex jackets from people like Rukka, and indeed Klim, that only reach the single A level. And in fact there’s only one Gore-Tex jacket on the market that reaches AAA. So an AA rating on a jacket like this is pretty impressive.

Klim Marrakesh jacket 2023 AA label

An AA rating on a high air-flow jacket is pretty impressive.

The stretch also makes the Marrakesh probably the most comfortable motorcycle jacket you’ll ever ride in. It wears more like a tracksuit top than a motorcycle jacket. Of course, it comes with a full suite of D3O armour, but even so this is a jacket you could comfortably wear all day long.

But the other secret of the Marrakesh is its breathability. A normal mesh jacket will have mesh panels strategically positioned around a Nylon chassis. But every single panel of the Marrakesh flows air: the chest, the back, the flanks, the arms. Nothing flows as much air as the Marrakesh. In hot weather there is no jacket quite like the Marrakesh. By contrast, wear the Marrakesh on a chilly day, and you’ll freeze; again because of the air flow.

Klim Marrakesh jacket 2023 cool weather

On a cold day, the Marrakesh needs to be supplemented with layers.

So, on one level, one could suggest that the Marrakesh is little more than a very good mesh jacket. But actually, to us, it is much more. It is the building block for a simple but very effective layering solution that provides you with the perfect riding outfit whatever conditions you find yourself in.

So let’s talk about what we term ‘the system’.


The Marrakesh system

By supplementing the Marrakesh with three other garments, all of which can be folded into tiny packages, you’ll have a jacket that you can literally wear anywhere in any weather. Wherever in the world you are.

Guy wearing Icebreaker merino base layer top

A good quality base layer is the vital foundation of any layering solution.

When it’s hot, you would simply wear the Marrakesh over a lightweight synthetic or Merino base layer. A fine English summer’s day. A ride down through France, Spain or Italy. Cresting the dunes in the Sahara. Or crossing Death Valley. You’ll find nothing more appropriate. Or more cooling.

But when the temperature drops a little, you can easily find yourself getting a little too cold for comfort. And that’s when you would put on Klim’s Zephyr beneath the Marrakesh.

Guy wearing Klim Zephyr wind shirt in blue

The Zephyr is gossamer thin but can make a huge difference to how you feel.

Now the Zephyr is a gossamer-thin windproof jacket. It’s so light, you’ll barely know you’re wearing it, but the difference it can make to how you feel on the bike can be huge. And that’s because one of the most significant contributors to getting cold on the bike is what is known as the ‘wind chill factor’. At five degrees at seventy miles an hour, the body will perceive the temperature as minus two. Traditional insulating layers won’t combat the affects of wind chill, as the wind can pass right through them. What you need is a windproof barrier. And that, in essence, is what the Zephyr is. Put it on, and you’ll notice a huge difference.

Now a windproof membrane is pretty much the same as a waterproof membrane. The difference with a windproof garment is the the seams won’t be taped. And so, when you wear a Zephyr beneath the Marrakesh you will also get some protection from the rain. Not for long, and not in a huge downpour. But for half an hour or so the Zephyr will keep the rain off.

Guy wearing Klim Maverick down jacket in black

When the temperature drops, you also need to insulate heat from the body.

But when the temperature drops further you are going to need something more robust; something that is going to effectively insulate the heat that is always being generated by the body. And there is nothing better at doing this than a down jacket. After all, that’s what anyone climbing Everest would wear. Of course, you can wear any down jacket under the Marrakesh. Klim does a great one called the Maverick. It’s not cheap, but we do think it’s the perfect weight. With its 90:10 duck down/duck feather composition it’s as warm as you’ll ever need, but still compact enough to fit under the Marrakesh. With a Zephyr and a Maverick beneath the Marrakesh, you’ll be as warm as you’d be in even the best, most winterised, technical jackets.

Guy wearing Scott jaclet and trousers next to BMW GS

A Scott waterproof is the final layer; you’ll need it in the rain.

But you’ll still get wet when the heavens open. Which is why there’s one final component. The Scott waterproofs. It’s simply the best waterproof money can buy. It’s stretchy, so we wear it quite tight. It’s comfortable to ride in, it is incredibly breathable, and it won’t flap in the wind and make a noise.

The problem with layering, whether you climb mountains, sail boats, or ride a motorbike, is that you have to stop and put layers on, and take layers off. But this is the only way that you can enjoy the perfect set up, wherever you find yourself. On a warm day, you just wear the Marrakesh. Let’s say it’s a bit chilly; you put the Zephyr on. Really cold? The Maverick. The heavens open. The Scott. Sounds complicated perhaps, but if you you wear a traditional, technical jacket with a fixed membrane, you’ll never be comfortable once the temperatures head towards the thirties.

But with the Marrakesh and its layers you’ll never be inappropriately dressed. And what’s more, you’ll feel comfortable whatever the conditions are because, as we have suggested, the Marrakesh is the nicest jacket you’ll ever wear.

Klim Marrakesh jacket 2023 in teak lifestyle

The new for 2023 Klim Marrakesh

The new Marrakesh is not massively different to the old one. Most of the changes are fairly minor.

We lose one external chest pocket, but we get a much more useable one inside the jacket. The pocket zips now have non-stretch panels around them, probably to prevent the material from becoming mis-shapen if the pockets are over filled. There are no longer any volume adjusters on the sleeves. But we think the jacket looks all the better for this. The collar now sits lower at the neck. And you get a credit card pocket at the sleeve. And, from the external view, that’s about it.

Klim Marrakesh jacket 2023 D3O Ghost armour

The new Marrakesh comes with level 1 Ghost armour in the elbows and shoulders.

One of the main changes is to the armour. Instead of normal D30, you get Ghost in the elbows and shoulders. This makes the new Marrakesh even more comfortable, but it does set up one useful upgrade for those always looking to edge protection a little in their favour. The Ghost armour is Level 1. But swap this for Level 2 Ghost, and you’ll barely notice. But Level 2 armour technically absorbs twice as much energy as Level 1 armour. And if you want to go down this route, we are offering an upgrade. We’ll swap out all the Level 1 armour in the jacket, including the protector in the back, and we’ll replace it with Level 2; and we’ll only charge for the difference. That’s £50.00.

Klim Marrakesh jacket 2023 hem drawstring

A great upgrade for the new Marrakesh is a drawstring in the hem.

The other significant changes to the Marrakesh jacket is a drawstring in the waist. One of the problems with the Marrakesh has always been that it does not come in a sufficient number of sizes; just five, where most motorcycle jackets come in maybe 10. And what this means is that some people can fall between sizes. And when this happens the one that is too big can sometimes hang a bit like a skirt. But the drawstring allows the hem to be pulled in. It makes a big difference. And we know because we’ve been adding our own drawstring to Marrakeshes for years.

There are also two new colours for 2023. The old grey and black colourways remain, albeit in the new design. But these are joined by Petrol Blue and Teak.

Klim Marrakesh jacket 2023 in Cool Grey lifestyle

In summary

The Marrakesh, and the system we talk about, will not be for everybody. We think that the versatility it offers is extraordinary, and something you won’t get from any single waterproof, technical jacket however much you pay.

But it might not work for the long distance commuter who won’t want to change his outfit halfway to work. It might not work for the person who goes on tour with a bunch of mates who, you can bet, will not want to pull over and wait for you when it starts raining. And it won’t work for the person who just likes the idea of a ‘one-stop’ solution; even though such a jacket won’t always be particularly nice to wear.

Klim Marrakesh jacket 2023 in black lifestyle

The Marrakesh may not work for everybody, but for the weekend rider and for touring, the system means that you’ll always have the right riding solution.

In terms of prices, the New Marrakesh has gone up by just over 10% to £450. The Zephyr costs £100. The Maverick £270. And the Scott, £90. All together, that’s around £900. That buys you a good, but not the best, Gore-Tex jacket. But the problem is that there is no valid head-to-head comparison here. A traditional Gore-Tex jacket will be great in the rain. With the appropriate thermal it would be great in the cold. But it will never be great to wear when it’s hot. By contrast, the Marrakesh with the Scott over the top will perform better in the rain than even the best laminated jacket.

Finally, we should mention that there is a new Marrakesh pant. Now historically, we haven’t always given the Marrakesh pant a fair hearing. We’ll do a review soon, and we’ll see if we can be a bit nicer about them. But one thing we do know is that it has a much slimmer, less off-road, fit.

For more information and to buy online, click Klim Marrakesh jacket.

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