I get it, when it’s time to ride, all we want to do is jump on the ATV and tear off down the trail, but we need to give consideration to proper riding gear. You’re exposed to high speeds, hot engines, flying debris, and more so you need to protect yourself when riding your ATV. What is the proper gear to wear when riding your ATV?
The most important pieces of gear to wear when riding your ATV include a good helmet, eye protection, long clothing, and foot protection. Gloves are also essential gear as you don’t want a branch or rock hitting your hands while you’re speeding across the ground. Your clothing should be breathable, but not bulky or baggy.
A few minutes of proper planning with the proper gear will make for a much more enjoyable ride. A fun, enjoyable day of zipping over the sand, or through the woods can be ruined when an errant rock flies up and hits someone in the face. Keep reading as we go over how to avoid this, by wearing the proper gear when riding your ATV.
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Things to Wear When Riding Your ATV
The following pieces of gear may seem excessive, but you don’t have the protection of a windshield or enclosed space like a car or truck. Even a bug running into your face at 20 mph can cause significant pain and lead to an accident.
1. Good Quality Helmet
This should be a given, but you need a properly fitting, good quality helmet that completely covers your head. A helmet with a face shield is also recommended to protect your face and especially your eyes. The tires from ATVs can and will kick up sticks, rocks, dirt, and other debris.
The helmet should fit snugly, and not be too loose or too tight. You should always keep it comfortably tight around your head and neck so it doesn’t come loose while riding. It is going to protect the most important part of your body.
When looking for a helmet, you should be spending between $60 to $100 for good quality head protection. They can get quite expensive, but you don’t have to overboard.
Next, make sure your eyes are sufficiently protected.
2. Eye Protection
If your helmet doesn’t have a full face shield, then you should definitely get a pair of goggles. You have to protect your eyes while riding because there will be plenty of dust and dirt being kicked up whether you’re in front or following behind another rider.
The average price for goggles ranges between $10 to $40.
While you’re at it, don’t forget the gloves.
3. Full Finger Gloves
Gloves serve as a double protector, so don’t forget this piece of essential riding gear. Not only will they protect against scrapes from branches and from flying rocks and more, but they will fend off blisters and hand fatigue. Squeezing the handles, and pushing the throttle and brakes during a long ride can cause painful blisters.
Expect to pay around $20 for a good pair of riding gloves.
What type of clothing should be worn while riding?
4. Protective Clothing (Long Sleeve Clothing)
You want to protect all exposed skin. Wear a long sleeve shirt, but be sure it’s breathable and snug. It doesn’t have to be skin tight, but it shouldn’t be oversized and hanging off and flapping in the wind.
You should also forego the Bermuda shorts and put on a protective pair of long pants. Branches can leave painful welts or cuts. The heat from the engine could also get to your legs without protection. A rugged pair of jeans, or canvas pants are sufficient.
If you’re mudding, crossing streams, or driving around in the snow, you might want to go for some waterproof gear to keep you from riding around in soaked clothes. Continuing down, let’s talk shoes.
5. Over The Ankle Boots
Leave the flip-flops at home and strap on a pair of over-the-ankle hiking boots or riding boots. You have to protect those tender “tootsies” from flying debris as they are very close to the front wheels and the heat from the engine. Pull your pants over your boots to keep debris from getting into your boots.
Good quality over-the-ankle boots will cost around $100. You can find much cheaper brands, but they won’t last very long and can be uncomfortable. Shop around to find the best deal and fit for you.
Do you need Pro ATV Gear or is casual clothing acceptable?
ATV Casual Clothing vs. ATV “Pro-Gear”
Wearing jeans and a long sleeved shirt along with leather gardening gloves is perfectly acceptable when casual riding on your ATV. There may come a time to spend the extra money on “Pro-Gear” though.
Pros of Wearing Casual Clothing
- You don’t have to spend more money on superior gear.
- Don’t have to carry around extra gear.
- Your clothes will almost certainly get dirty.
- Casual clothing can become damaged.
- Minimal protection when riding very fast or in an accident.
Pros of Wearing Pro Gear
- Made for extreme wear.
- Extra protection when riding extreme trails.
- Extra padding and protection for accidents and flying debris.
- Pro gear can become very expensive
- If you’re only casual riding, the extra clothing can be hot and uncomfortable
What else should you bring when going on an ATV excursion?
Can You Also Bring a Change of Clothes?
Depending on where you’re going to be riding, a change of clothes could be beneficial. Unless you are only leisurely crawling over hills and taking it easy along the dusty trails, you will most certainly get dirty, and possibly wet.
My sister and I went riding in a cow field years ago, and though we didn’t really “open it up,” we still ended up with plenty of “cow patties” splattered on our clothing. A change of clothes would really have been helpful for us.
Go ahead and bring an extra shirt, pair of pants, and especially socks! You might also want to add an extra pair of shoes as well.
Are there any other items you should bring? Yes, so let’s get to them now.
Other Things to Wear Trail Riding
One accessory that I have found to be indispensable when riding is a bandana. This versatile cloth can cover your mouth and nose to protect against dust and dirt, it can cover your neck, or act as an extra sweat rag under your helmet. You can also soak it in water and use it to help clean dirt and mud off your face and exposed bits.
Shin guards are another optional but highly recommended accessory. Long pants can offer some protection, but a well aimed rock will still leave a mark on your shins.
Lastly, probably the most overlooked piece of equipment is sunscreen. Yes, most of your skin should be covered and protected, but it never hurts to add a little sun protection, especially if you’re out in it for a long time.
Now a short word about what you shouldn’t wear when riding your ATV.
What Not to Wear When Out on an ATV Ride
Stay away from bulky, baggy clothing, and even belts. These items can get caught on handlebars, trees and branches, other riders, or even get caught in the wheels or engine. Make sure your clothing is form-fitting and snug.
When riding an ATV, the main thing to think about is your and the rider’s protection and safety. You’re not surrounded by protective glass and metal like you are when driving your car, so you need to add a layer of protection in the form of clothing.
A helmet, gloves, proper shoes, and eye protection are the most important pieces of gear you need when riding your ATV. You also need a snug fitting long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and a pair of solid, over-the-ankle shoes or boots. Other accessories that are useful include a bandana and sunscreen.
You don’t have to go all out and purchase pro riding gear, but if you ride all the time and have the money, it’s not a bad investment for your added safety. Have fun and be safe on your ATV!
I’m William Guzenski, ASE certified master automobile technician & automotive expert. I love to attend race events and car shows throughout the country. I also loves to travel 40-foot motorhome, exploring abandoned mines and ghost towns. I’m currently building another car for Bonneville Salt Flats and will be campaigning a drag car at several events.