25,000 km Review: REV’IT! Defender GTX & Ventura Suits

July 20, 2013

Words by // Photography by Nita Breibish

Lets Be Honest

When we wrote our first review of REV’IT! gear a couple of years ago, we weren’t sponsored by them. Now we are. We think it’s important you know that before reading this review because it may change the way you think about our thoughts. We can assure you though that the good folks at REV’IT! have never asked us to write a “favorable” review in exchange for products and we have, in fact, turned down sponsorship opportunities with other companies because they’ve insisted that we not criticize their gear. But the people at REV’IT! understand that honest reviews of their products help them build better products – and that’s good for everyone.

About the Testing Conditions

In the year we’ve been on the road, we’ve seen just about everything. In Newfoundland we had almost two-weeks of torrential rain. In Tunisia’s Northern Sahara we had temperatures in the 40C’s and sub-freezing temperatures in Northern Italy. In Morocco we had a a couple of low-side crashes on asphalt, and very hard crash on a dirt track high in the Rif mountains. We’ve ridden thousands of kilometers off-road in dirt, gravel, sand, mud and had our fair share of river-crossings. We’ve spent thousands more kilometers on all kinds of roads – the straight prairie roads of western Canada to the tight winding silliness that is the Amalfi Coast in Italy. And through it all we’ve worn our REV’IT! gear.

First, a Little Bit About the Products

The REV’IT! Defender GTX jacket and pants are made up of a protective layer of Cordura at varying specs, SuperFabric to provide resistance to abrasion, puncture and tears, VCS | panels at chest and legs for ventilation (plus additional zippers at the pockets, arms and back), a detachable GORE-TEX® waterproof layer and an Exkin® Air thermal liner to keep you warm on cold days. To protect against the occasional off they’re also equipped with SaS Tec® CE protection at the shoulders, elbows and knees. As with the Cayenne Pro, instead of including the SaS-TEC back protector as standard, REV’IT! chose to offer it as an optional upgrade – which is a shame since I feel it’s an important part of any complete safety package. Standard, the jacket comes with a piece of fully perforated EVA foam fitted for the back-protector pocket. There are plenty of little touches that demonstrate an attention to detail that’s rare; for instance, zippers for rain liners and thermal liners are colour-coded so you don’t even have to think about what zipper goes where when your zipping in on the side of the road. It’s the little things!

The REV’IT! Ventura jacket and pants use a protective layer made up of PWR|shell 500D – REV’IT!’s own take on Cordura®. For ventilation there are Dynax mesh under a detachable collar for hot-weather riding, VCS zippers on the upper legs, arms and back. It also utilizes a detachable hydratex® waterproof layer and a detachable thermal layer for year-round riding comfort. For protection, the REV’IT! Ventura is fitted with ProLife® ladies CE protection at the shoulders, elbows and knees with perforated foam at the back and hips. We opted for the optional SaS TEC back protector for Nita’s gear. Of course the major advantage for this suit is that it’s been made – from start to finish – with female riders in mind, and it shows. REV’IT! has committed to building a product that acknowledges women who, as serious riders, need serious gear built specifically for them.

First Impressions

Right out of the box it’s obvious that the Defender GTX and Ventura suits represent an evolution over our previous gear. Without simply discarding all the lessons learned from their Cayenne Pro and Mistral lines, there are some immediate differences that make the Defender GTX and Ventura suits superior right off the bat.

First of all, it’s lighter. And not just a little. Taking out the jacket from the box, we found ourselves almost relieved at the weight difference. Sure, if we were to throw it on a scale the difference may seem nominal; but day after day of putting it on and taking it off – it adds up to energy saved for long journeys. It makes a difference. Don’t think immediate – think cumulative. Saving energy matters.

Second of all, it’s softer. We can see all the grizzled ADV riders rolling their eyes but hear us out. The fabric used for the shell of the jacket and pants moves better with the body rather than against it. That means more comfort and less irritation and raw-spots after hours of riding gnarly terrain or the open highway. Also, when having one piece of gear provides multiple uses is important (think long-term overland travel by motorcycle, for instance) the pants and jacket are soft enough to use as a pillow and blanket – something we did on the deck of an overnight ferry to Africa. We had a great sleep even with the smell of sweat and feet all around us.

Thirdly, the ventilation is waaaaay better. One of our biggest criticisms with previous suits was their ventilation – especially in the pants. The two zippers on either leg were typically not large enough to allow for proper cooling in high temperatures. Sure there are other suits like the Sand for hot-weather riding, but if you’re overlanding for an extended period of time then carrying two riding suits is, well, impractical. Both the Defender GTX and Ventura suits have vastly improved ventilation systems when compared to their earlier counterparts – something we’ll get into in a moment.

Specifically About the Defender GTX

Findings on fit:

In case you forgot, I’m a big guy and European fitment doesn’t usually work out all that well for my body shape. I found the Cayenne Pro a little short in the jacket and pants, and a little tights here and there. Overall the, Defender GTX has a more relaxed fit that makes it more comfortable for me to wear – though that comes with some qualification. As a blow to my ego, my usual L – XL fitting had to be thrown right out the window. My original order of XXL was, regrettably too tight to be comfortable so XYL – or XXXL – was needed to fit my 6’3″, 230 lbs frame. It’s the recommended size in their sizing chart and it’s the best choice for someone my size. My recommendation with any gear would be to find a dealer where you can try it on first or find an online reseller who accepts returns and doesn’t charge a restocking fee. But if you’re used to North American sizing, think about buying at least a size larger than you’re used to.

Both the jacket and the pants have plenty of points for adjustment; cinches around the waist, abdomen and arms make the fitting highly customizable. I’ve found the jacket fits me exactly the way I want – slightly loose but with the protections snug to the contact points in case of an off. With the pants, my body shape seems to fall right in between the XXL and the XYL adjustment – so the waist is too tight on the XXL when the adjuster is all the way out and just a tad too loose on the XYL when the adjuster is all the way in. However the fit on the legs and the length is perfect. I fixed the waist issue with a $20 pair of suspenders which not only keep my pants up, they also provide a glimpse into what I’ll look like when I’m a grumpy old man!

Overall, I really like the more relaxed fit of the riding gear and find it very comfortable to wear over the course of a day.

Findings on temperature range:

I’ve worn the Defender GTX in a wide range of extreme temperatures and can honestly say that it’s held up very well in all of them. In moderate temperature ranges the suit is very comfortable to wear and the adjustability of it’s warmth through the various vents and layers makes it perfect for most riders. In warm weather, wearing the shell alone with vents open provides excellent ventilation for the rider. With even minimal forward motion I found the suit effectively cooling me into the mid 30°C (90°F)’s and even the low 40°C’s moving at speed.

Other than the two huge chest vents, my favourite new addition are forearm zippers that run the length of the forearm. Not only does it make it easier to slip on cold-weather gloves and attach the liners, it also provides excellent airflow throughout the jacket. My dream of larger ventilation panels for the legs was answered and the difference between the Defender GTX pant and the Cayenne Pro is staggering. These pants are a vast improvement in delivering cool air to the riders lower half. Even in the Northern Sahara I was surprised to find the Defender GTX comfortable while moving.

The new Exkin® Air thermal liner is thinner and warmer than previous version and even through a wet and dreary European winter I found that it kept my body temperature quite comfortable even down towards the -1°C  – +5°C  (29°F – 40°F) range for about an hour and a half. After that we’d need to stop and warm up somewhere before hitting the road again. For typical fall-weather riding at around the 10°C  (50°F) mark, riding with full layers was comfortable enough for all-day riding.

Since we’re currently travelling for years at a time, a major consideration for us is always space – and it’s the one problem with single-purpose layers like the Exkin® Air thermal liner. Once out of the Defender GTX, it’s not useful as a jacket or pant and simply needs to be stored which can be a problem for us. So, after using them for a while we decided to send them home and use layers that are multi-use – much like back-country campers would use. It works well for us when we have to plan long stretches in highly variable weather, but the included layers with the Defender GTX are great for shorter adventures where planning around a consistent weather pattern is possible. An idea for REV’IT! in future iterations could be designing thermal layers for use out of the suit – perhaps as a stand-alone thermal jacket or pant – or perhaps it makes more sense for manufacturers in general to leave thermal layers up to owners much like the technical camping companies have done.

Of course, the excellent GORE TEX® rain liners are always close at hand!

Pro-tip: Thermal liners are great if you can plan around the weather on shorter trips but they take up space. If you’re planning a longer trip where the weather will be highly variable, leave the thermal liners at home and pack layers like a back-country camper would instead. That way you’re prepared on and off the bike.

Specifically About the Ventura

Findings on fit:

[Nita] I was previously wearing a Dainese weekender-type jacket that wasn’t truly made for the type of riding we were about to do. It was merely a shell and didn’t offer any real protection or seasonal functionality, so it is difficult to compare the functionality of the REV’IT! Venture to anything I’ve previously owned. Minus the function, the things I can comment on are the fit and form. All I can say is, FINALLY!!!!

As all women riders know, it can be difficult finding riding gear that’s actually made for women. The REV’IT! Ventura Jacket was the jacket I chose to wear, since on and off it seemed to possess some notable differences from other jackets I’ve worn in the past. By touching upon a few very important points like smaller areas of blocky colors and shapes, more flattering contour lines, as well as the simple addition of waist cinches to all of their gear, REV’IT! seems to have figured it out, no pun intended. This is something that all motorcycle gear – men’s or women’s – should have. This helps with the overall shape of the jacket especially with all season touring, where the addition of climate control layers can add even more bulk. The cinches also makes it more versatile to all body shapes, since no two women’s bodies are cut the same.

[Nita] The Ventura pants were also a major improvement from my last pair, I previously wore a pair of REV’IT! Mistral women’s pants and although I can admit these were the best fitting pair I’ve ever had, for some unfortunate reason even with the waterproof membrane, they used to leave me wet in the tush during extremely heavy rainfall or on a previously rained-on seat. They also did not have the upper thigh ventilation that the Ventura pants have. I am happy to say, I haven’t had one issue with the Ventura pants at all and once again, for me, they nailed it on fit, protection and climate-control.

Findings on Temperature Range

[Nita]: Since Issa and I are on the same journey, the temperature ranges I’ve experienced are the same as his – freezing to boiling. The REV’IT! Ventura Jacket has plenty of ventilation in the form of arm-vents that run all the way to the inside of my elbows, which allows air to circulate well. It also has an innovative removable collar that effectively creates a fully-mesh area on the top of the jacket – an excellent way to transform the jacket into a summer suit. This is awesome!!! The only thing that I would add to my wish list would be the ability to remove this area while maintaining a higher collar. Having something higher to cover the neck at all times to protect from things like camera strap rubbing or worse, bug smacks, is a nice option.

Unlike Issa, I’ve kept my thermal liners. They’ve been really effective in managing the colder temperatures over winter and, since I’m small, they don’t take up much space – so for me it makes sense. Overall, the REV’IT! Ventura suit has done and excellent job of allowing me to manage my temperature on the bike.

Specific to Both Suits

Findings on rain protection:

Over the past 25000 km we’ve seen a lot of rain – from light to absolutely torrential. Our journey through Newfoundland was fraught with hour after hour of torrential downpour. On our first heavy-rain day, water  found it’s way onto my chest and arms which left me chilled for the last hour of the ride. It turns out that the leakage was caused by human error. Each zipper has a little “garage” for parking to keep the elements out and I’d failed to close them properly. Water had come through the neck because I’d not snapped down the rain-liner properly. Also, Nita had part of her shirt-sleeve exposed beyond the rain layer which drew water up her arm.  These things are important! Having learned from those experiences we can honestly say that we’ve never had water seep through since. A little diligence goes a long way!  I’m happy to report that the GORE-TEX® layers on the Defender GTX, and the Hydratex Layers on the Ventura have provided both of us with excellent protection from rain during our travels.

As a side note, the outer-shells are water-resistant – not water-proof – which means that in heavy rain it *will* get soaked – as expected. But it dries quickly in a hotel room or a tent which makes for a happier next day. One thing to also note is that, of the four pockets on the Defender GTX jacket, only the two chest pockets are waterproof. The two pockets on the Defender GTX pants are also waterproof. On the Ventura, there are only two pockets on the jacket, neither of which are  waterproof – something Nita’s added to her (short) REV’IT! wish-list!

Pro-tip: When using gauntlet-style rain gloves, don’t pull them over the outer shell. The repellant nature of the shell means that water will run down the arms into the gloves – something we found out the hard way along the long roads of Newfoundland. Instead, pull them over the rain liner and under the shell. Trust us, it works.”

General Thoughts on Liners

The liners in any piece of motorcycle gear are always a compromise; they provide protection from the elements at the cost of space and convenience and for most riders that should be a completely reasonable sacrifice. The great thing about them is that they  allow for a certain amount of customization – the liners don’t work for a particular trip? Leave them at home. For everyone who’s had to strip down to their skivvies on the side of the road to throw in the rain liners knows of the inconvenient part, but after a while it just becomes an opportunity to have a laugh at the strange looks passers-by throw you! Still, multi-use liners that stay put without the use of fasteners inside the jacket would be great. The liners in REV’IT!’s Defender GTX and Ventura suits are very good for their intended purpose.

But How Do They Crash?

In short? From our experience on low-speed crashes, very well! We’d rather not perform any high-speed crash tests :) I have to say that we opted for the optional SaS Tec® back protectors because, well, our back’s are important. My first on-road crash was a low-side climbing a steep wall of switch-backs in northern Morocco. Mine was a stupid mistake – a momentary lapse in focus – and down I went.

I slid about 20 feet and the bike a lot farther. Thanks to the Defender GTX I was up and hoisting my bike up before Nita could get there to help. I landed on my right side and slid along on my back and there was literally no wear on the jacket or pants from my off (or none I can see) except for where the buckle on my boot wore a tiny hole through the leg about two inches above the cuff. Other than that: nothing. Also, where my knee and hip hit the ground there was no appreciable bruising which is a testament to the SaS Tec inserts ability to absorb and distribute the force of impact. I was honestly amazed at how fine I felt after! Not that I’d like to repeat it anytime soon – there’s something about watching your bike slide toward a cliff that tends to cause knots in the gut.

[Nita] My on-road crash was unavoidable; a wide swath of oil and coolant from a truck whose engine let go mid-way around a roundabout – also in northern Morocco. The front-end touched the liquid and down I went – sliding backwards through the intersection while my bike led the way! Besides a few scuffs, oil marks and a tear at the strap-fastener, my REV’IT! Ventura has held up beautifully through it all. Now if I could only figure out  a way to replace that pull tab that has mysteriously gone missing on my pants cinch strap.

The Bottom Line:

The REV’IT! Defender GTX and Ventura suits are truly fantastic pieces of kit that provide a complete package for any adventure and demonstrates a strong evolution of  REV’IT!’s commitment to producing some of the industries finest motorcycle gear. Here’s why:

  • Temperature management (especially heat) has been vastly improved over previous suits
  • Shell is incredibly durable and resilient to crash-wear
  • Shell is far more comfortable for longer riding
  • SaS Tec® protectors have proven themselves highly effective in crashes
  • Durable GORE TEX®  and Hydratex rain liners are excellent and showing no wear
  • Fit is much nicer for folks on the taller / bigger / larger side
  • Ventura’s women-focused design is excellent

If we could have the world, we’d ask for this too:

  • Multi-use, wearable liners
  • Bigger ventilation panels on the Ventura pants
  • Waterproof pockets on the Ventura jacket
  • Taller sub-collar on the Ventura jacket

Features we truly love:

  • The forearm vents are surprisingly awesome
  • The ventilation panels on the Defender GTX
  • The removable collar on the Ventura
  • The styling of both suits


Specifications from the REV’IT! website:

REV’IT! Defender GTX Gore-Tex Jacket

Make it safer. Make it lighter. Make it stronger. The fifth generation of adventure jackets since the groundbreaking original Cayenne jacket. The Defender GTX sets a new standard in apparel for the adventure and serious touring rider. Every stitch, reinforced. Fabrics which are both lighter and stronger. A new DWR coating prevents water from soaking the outer layer, while the removable GORE-TEX® Performance Shell removable membrane ensures the highest level of waterproofing and breathability, guaranteed. Superfabric ceramic panels and SAS-TEC armor protect, while huge vents, large pockets, glove friendly pull-tabs, and a great Exkin Air thermal liner complete the package. Every aspect of the Defender GTX was designed for easier use, and more abuse than the competition, period. This jacket forms a recommended combination with the DEFENDER GTX Pants.


  • Outer shell: Cordura® 500D ripstop with Teflon® coating, PWR|shell 500D with Teflon® coating, Cordura® 1000D ripstop with Teflon® coating, SuperFabric®, Neoprene
  • Insulation: detachable Exkin® Air thermal liner
  • Waterproofing: detachable GORE-TEX® Performance Shell LTD liner
  • Breathability: detachable GORE-TEX® Performance Shell LTD liner
  • Composition: 
    • outer shell: 100% polyamide
    • lining: 67% polyester, 33% polyamide
    • thermal liner: 100% polyamide (insulation 100%polyester)
    • membrane: 73% polyamide, 27% Gore-Tex® membrane (ePTFE)
  • Protection: SaS Tec® CE protection at shoulders and elbows, fully perforated EVA foam at back, CE prepared for Sas Tec® CE or Seesoft Back Protector
  • Visibility: laminated reflection at chest and back


  • Fit: tour fit, regular
  • Adjustability: UTA | tab at cuffs, flexisnap, adjustment straps at waist and upper arms, adjustment tab at under arms, adjustment drawcord at hips
  • Ventilation: VCS | panels at chest, VCS | Zippers
  • Features: collar hook, COOLMAX® mesh lining, long connection zipper and double short connection zipper
  • Pockets: waterproof stash pockets, slit pockets, membrane storage pocket, inner pockets

REV’IT! Defender GTX Gore-Tex Pants

The perfect match to the Defender GTX jacket. The Defender GTX trousers incorporates the same technology, fabrics and construction as their mate. With SAS-TEC armor, a reinforced seat with 3D mesh inserts, large air vents, and the removable GORE-TEX® Performance Shell membrane and Exkin Air thermal lining, Defender GTX trousers are all conditions adventure ready. These trousers form a recommended combination with the DEFENDER GTX Jacket.


  • Outer shell: Cordura® 500D ripstop with Teflon® coating, PWR|shell 750Dwith Teflon® coating, Cordura® 1000D ripstop with Teflon® coating, PWR|shell 750D stretch with Teflon® coating, Karvin cowhide (PU coated), PWR|wax 1200D
  • Insulation: detachable Exkin® Air thermal liner
  • Waterproofing: detachable GORE-TEX® Performance Shell LTD
  • Breathability: detachable GORE-TEX® Performance Shell LTD
  • Composition: 
    • outer shell: 100% polyamide
    • lining: 87% polyester, 13% polyamide
    • thermal liner: 100% polyamide (insulation 100%polyester)
    • membrane: 73% polyamide, 27% Gore-Tex® membrane (ePTFE)
  • Protection: SaS Tec® CE protection at knees, fully perforated EVA foam at hips, CE prepared for Sas Tec® CE hip protector
  • Visibility: laminated reflection at calves


  • Fit: tour fit, regular
  • Adjustability: adjustment straps at waist, adjustment tab at ankles
  • Ventilation: VCS | panels at upper legs
  • Features: stretch lips at back and knees, COOLMAX® mesh lining, short and long connection zipper, adjustable protector pockets, calf zippers
  • Pockets: slit pockets

NOTE: As of spring 2012 REV’IT is no longer including Superfabric panels on the Defender Pant


REV’IT! Women’s Ventura Jacket

Serious equipment for the serious female rider. The REV’IT! Ventura Ladies jacket includes all of the important safety and practical features of a top-of-the-line adventure jacket, but with some specific features that enhance the comfort level even more. A good example is the waterproof, detachable liner, which can be easily removed and stowed away in the back pocket. Huge two-way zippers at the sleeves, and a fully removable collar that hides a big air mesh panel, allow the wind to flow in freely. Bottom line? The world’s first true ladies’ adventure jacket. Ready for Paris… but made for Dakar.


  • Outer shell: PWR|shell 500D, Dynax mesh, PWR|shell 500D stretch, Lorica®
  • Insulation: detachable thermal liner
  • Waterproofing: detachable hydratex® | 3L (5000mm H2O)
  • Breathability: detachable hydratex® | 3L (7000g/m2/24hrs)
  • Composition:
    • outer shell: 99% polyamide, 1% elasthane
    • lining: 68% polyester, 32% polyamide
    • thermal liner: 100% polyamide (insulation 100% polyester)
    • membrane: 100% polyurethane (tricot 100% polyamide)
  • Protection: ProLife® ladies CE protection at shoulders and elbows, fully perforated EVA foam at back
  • Visibility: laminated reflection at shoulders and back


  • Fit: tour fit, regular
  • Adjustability: UTA | tab at cuffs, flexisnap, adjustment strap at waist and upper arms, adjustment tab at under arms and hips
  • Ventilation: VCS I zippers at sleeves, VCS I panels at shoulders
  • Features: collar hook, stretch lips at elbows, removable collar, long connection zipper and double short connection zipper
  • Pockets: stash pockets, membrane storage pocket, inner pockets

REV’IT! Women’s Ventura Pants

Female riders everywhere can say, “It’s about time.” The first true multi-functional, all-season ladies’ trousers are a must for every serious female rider. Hidden under sophisticated looks are details that experienced riders demand, such as height-adjustable CE-approved Pro-Life ladies’ armor at the knees, a detachable hydratex® 3L membrane and thermal liner, and short and long length options to accommodate a wide range of body shapes. Remove the liners and let the air flow through the VCS zippers at the upper leg. Short or long connection zippers make it easy to zip the REVIT VENTURA Ladies’ trousers to any REV’IT! ladies’ jacket.


  • Outer shell:PWR|shell 500D, PWR|shell 500D stretch, Lorica®
  • Insulation: detachable thermal liner
  • Waterproofing: detachable hydratex® | 3L (5000mm H2O)
  • Breathability: detachable hydratex® | 3L (7000g/m2/24hrs)
  • Composition:
    • outer shell: 100% polyamide
    • lining: 76% polyester, 24% polyamide
    • thermal liner: 100% polyamide (insulation 100% polyester)
    • membrane: 100% polyurethane (tricot 100% polyamide)
  • Protection: ProLife® ladies CE protection at knees, fully perforated EVA foam at hips
  • Visibility: laminated reflection at calves


  • Fit: tour fit, regular
  • Adjustability: adjustment straps at waist, adjustment tab at ankles
  • Ventilation: VCS I zippers at upper legs
  • Features: stretch lips at back and knees, short and long connection zipper, adjustable protector pockets, calf zippers
  • Pockets: slit pockets


I’m a Canadian writer, adventure motorcyclist and world traveller of British and Libyan descent. I’ve spent the past two and a half years travelling the globe by motorcycle as one-half of We Love Motogeo, following a route that makes little sense to anyone else, while supporting our non-profit organization, the Lost for Good Project. I’ve been chased by all manner of animal, detained as a spy in North Africa and waited out a hurricane in the bowels of a ferry. While I’m no spy (honestly), I am a lover of decent coffee and great yarns sewn around a campfire.


  1. Comment by Anna

    Anna July 20, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I miss you guys so much!

    ha! ha! After reading your reviews, I want to run out and buy a REVIT jacket and as you know I don’t even ride.

    Be safe and take care! Pinches, Hugs and Kisses, Anna

    • Comment by Issa Breibish

      Issa Breibish August 10, 2013 at 12:34 am

      Anna! Your first comment! We knew you were out there somewhere….

  2. Comment by ruffstuff

    ruffstuff July 20, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    very creative. how do you simulate all those falls. 376-ruff

    • Comment by Issa Breibish

      Issa Breibish August 10, 2013 at 12:35 am

      Stunt-doubles ;)

  3. Comment by Jan Thain

    Jan Thain July 22, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Seeing pics of the falls, it’s reassuring to know how well the gear holds up…I too hope you never have a “major” spill, but reading the review at least I feel better that
    IF it should happen your bodies will be a lot safer in what you have chosen to wear! Good Job REV’IT for keeping you both safe! :)

    • Comment by Issa Breibish

      Issa Breibish August 10, 2013 at 12:36 am

      The gear made them almost fun. Almost :)

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