Tested: Olympia Expedition Jacket

A feature-rich, multi-layered textile jacket for the long tour.

Olympia jacket review
Just outside the gates of the Grand Canyon's North Rim, the waterproof shell came in handy! Hi-vis accents might be dorky but improving visibility is always good, especially in the rain.©Motorcyclist
Olympia Expedition jacket review
Our Expedition jacket was combined with Olympia’s MotoQuest Guide pants, which coordinate perfectly and offer the same features, benefits, and drawbacks. The pants zip open to the waist for convenient entry and exit. Also, the patch of leather on the inside of the knee and lower leg is a quality touch.©Motorcyclist

As motorcyclists we’re getting pretty accustomed to machines with incredible versatility. There are lots of bikes that claim to be “around the world” ready and a select few that could stand behind that. In the same fashion, there’s plenty of gear on the market that claims three (or even four) seasons of capability. Olympia’s Expedition jacket is one of those pieces.

The Expedition has a biblically long list of features, from CE-approved armor in the elbows, shoulders, and back, to the “Mega Vent Panel” aeration system designed for maximum ventilation. The outer shell is made from a combination of 500 and 2000 denier Cordura, sprinkled with Scotchlite reflective piping and five external pockets. There’s a mesh lining bonded to the inside of the jacket, as well as an insulated liner and an included waterproof shell that can fit under or over the outer shell.

Sound complicated? It is, but then so are adventures. Many of the Expeditions bells and whistles work just right. The neoprene-framed collar is easy on neck skin and has a clever hook-and-loop setup that allows the top of the collar to be cinched tight or left loose without flapping in the wind. Circumference of the sleeves and waist is also adjustable, which is handy considering the Expedition has so many layers that can be added or removed, and the cuffs can be worn over or under gloves.

Olympia Expedition jacket review
Clever hook-and-loop placement means the collar can be sealed or left open, with no flappy strap. The padded neck curtain is comfy.©Motorcyclist

More good news arrived with the first rain—it was more sleet, actually. The waterproof shell (splashed with hi-vis material, incidentally) had been waiting in the saddlebags and fit neatly over the outside of the Expedition, repelling an hour or so of freezing rain while riding and during frequent stops. A nifty spandex hood concealed in the collar of the rain shell unwinds to run under the helmet and keep water from creeping down your neck. The included shell fitting over the jacket is brilliant. Why let your jacket soak through to a waterproof liner? Olympia gets it.

There are, however, a few cons we should mention as well. At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, this editor is too long and lean for the Expedition. It’s a boxy fit, but if you’re more the stocky or barrel-chested type this jacket is liable to hold you just the way you like. The one overriding critique of the Expedition’s features is the sheer number of them! With so many vents and pockets and adjustments there are zippers and straps absolutely everywhere. Even after multiple long rides wearing this jacket it was hard not to grab the wrong zipper pull (some color coding would help), or reach into a vent instead of the poorly placed lower pockets.

Olympia Expedition jacket review
Tucking the enormous flap of Cordura away can be annoying, but the massive vents breathe very well on a hot day.©Motorcyclist

To us, it doesn’t offer quite the usability we would expect for the $430 MSRP. But, aside from a few small design flaws and complexities, it’s very well equipped and does deliver warmth, waterproofness, and incredible ventilation. However complex the systems are, if you were leaving to ride around the world tomorrow the Expedition is worth considering.

OLYMPIA EXPEDITION JACKET

Price: $430
Contact: olympiamotosports.com

MC GRADE: B-

Verdict: Thoroughly versatile, but also expensive and complicated.