Posted by: Jessie | January 29, 2012

Gear Review: First Gear Kilimanjaro Jacket 5.0

I got this jacket on super sale in 2009 because it is a discontinued color.  This is such a good jacket it is worth paying the full price.  As far as I am concerned, this is the perfect touring jacket.  They have a new model out for 2012, so now the Kilimanjaro 5.0 is on sale at closeout prices.

Usually if you are going on a multi-day trip you will want to bring rain gear.  Personally, I hate rain gear.  I feel like I am wrapped in plastic.  The Kilimanjaro jacket eliminates the need for a rain jacket because it is waterproof.  Even the zippers and the pockets are waterproof.  The fabric breathes so I don’t feel like I am wrapped in plastic.  I can wear this jacket on a cold day and, unlike my leather jacket, cold air does not leak through the zippers.  If it’s a warm day you can unzip the vents, there are five of them.  The zipper on the front of the jacket is a double zipper, so you can unzip the bottom to allow for more air flow and for more room to move.  This jacket also a removable liner that can be worn on its own as a windbreaker.  The liner also happens to be waterproof.  The Kilimanjaro jacket has CE approved armor in the elbows and shoulders, but the back protector is kinda whimpy.  It’s just a thin piece of foam.  Unfortunately it can’t be replaced with something more substantial because the pocket is not the shape of a standard back protector.

This jacket has a lot of pockets.  In fact, it has pockets inside of pockets.  The two big cargo pockets in the front have zippered “hand warmer” pockets behind them.  The zippers are waterproof, so they are a little stiff and a little hard to get into.  The cargo pockets fold over Velcro shut.  The way they fold make them waterproof too.  It is easy to overfill these pockets, making it difficult to zip up the jacket.  There are also two chest pockets that have waterproof zippers and Velcro and a snap.  These pockets can be a challenge to get into, but once you do get in you will find smaller organizer pockets for your pen, tire gauge, mileage log, earplugs, etc.  There is also a cell phone pocket and two other pockets on the inside of the jacket, and a hidden wallet pocket.  The removable liner/windbreaker also has two interior pockets.

My one complaint about this jacket is that even as bulky as it is there is not much room for layers under it.  It worked out well with my heated liner, but if I did not have the heated liner then there may not have been enough room in the jacket for enough layers to keep me warm on a cold day.  Also, the sizing is off.  Order one size smaller than you usually wear.  I ordered my usual size and it was huge on me.  The armor floated around loosely nowhere near where it should have been.  I returned it for one size smaller and it fits fine.

I wore my Kilimanjaro Jacket on a week-long trip down the Blue Ridge Parkway, down through Deal’s Gap, and back to Cincinnati.  I wore this jacket through rain, fog, 40 degree temperatures, 80 degree temperatuers, and every temperature in between.  What a wonderful jacket.  It kept me dry.  The pockets are waterproof and they kept my phone, camera, and wallet dry.  I was able to keep warm by adding extra layers underneath, and when the weather got warm I was able to open the vents and get good air flow.  When I wasn’t wearing the full jacket, I was often wearing the liner, which is a wonderful waterproof fleece windbreaker when worn on its own.  This could have been a miserable trip if I had taken any of my other jackets.  Good gear makes all the difference.

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  1. We are on the road 24/7. I have had that Jacket (the 4) and within a year the sleeves where the glove gauntlets rest have now a hole.
    I would say 300 days of full riding? I t really should not happen and probably will send it back. I am sure they will say it is old now… but yet, as mentioned, it should not happened as it has not with other jackets…
    Thanks for the report.
    Ara and Spirit

    • Thank you for stopping by, Ara. I wish I had the opportunity to be as hard on my jackets as you are on yours. I don’t know if they updated the fabric or not… I wonder if you called or emailed them if they would be willing to fix or replace it? It seems that people on epic motorcycle journeys often get a little extra help. What jacket do you wear now? Aerostich?

      Happy Trails!


      • Hi Jessie… I am hard on gear! There is no doubt!!! Aerostich did not last neither! The zippers mainly. I need to send that one back. All this really are not complains. Few of us ride as we do and the Manufacturers do not mind replacing a few. I am now wearing one that will never last!!! But… wanted one for a long time and the opportunity came about! “Barbour International”. I do NOT recommend it for two wheels… (should not even for three! [sidecar]). Has no protection at all… Just nostalgia!… You be well…. Ara and Spirit

  2. So important to find a good jacket. Mine was on clearance as well and I absolutely love it! If it was still available in my size I’d order another 🙂

  3. Thanks for the review of the Kilimanjaro! I’m on my second First Gear Monarch and love it but have wondered about how a longer jacket like the Kilimanjaro would be for touring.

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