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ADV ProductsADV Riding GearAdventure Riding Gear: The Basics You Need to Get Out There

Adventure Riding Gear: The Basics You Need to Get Out There

Essential ADV gear to safely and comfortably venture off the beaten path.

Published on 10.09.2018

Stepping out of the cage and becoming a motorcyclist can be intimidating; taking on adventure riding can be even more daunting. Adventure Riding is a scene within a scene that contains strange looking dirt bikes on steroids and heavily-armored riders. The general appearance of your average ADV enthusiast can leave people asking, “Why do they look like they are ready for intergalactic travel?”

Despite somewhat misleading appearances, there is a rhyme and reason to why ADV riders dress the way they do, but as a new adventure rider, how are you supposed to crack that code? Unless money is no object, getting outfitted with the proper riding gear for your indoctrination in ADV can be stressful and confusing. The snowballing popularity of this motorcycling segment has brands clamoring to bring dirt-worthy equipment to market. This saturation in adventure-oriented riding gear has spawned a generous selection that can be puzzling for the uninitiated. We’re here to sort that out and help you decide what you need and why you need it!

Adventure Riding Gear Guide for New Riders


The following is a breakdown of the riding gear required to safely and comfortably start venturing off the beaten pavement path. Some key things to consider before starting this process are what climate you will be riding in, temperature extremes you will face, and typical terrain. Dress for your environment or the various climates you plan to travel through. Compromises in riding gear are just as common as compromises in motorcycle selection, one jacket or bike will not be perfect for every situation, but it is possible to find one that handles most cases well. Read on to learn more about the six Adventure Riding gear essentials.

1. Boots

Unfortunately, your old trusty hiking boots will not do double duty for adventure riding. Imagine the entire weight of a motorcycle coming down on your ankle or punting a log at speed… Doesn’t sound very enjoyable right? With proper adventure boots, you have a much better chance of avoiding serious injury in these scenarios than if you were wearing non-specific riding boots.

Guide to Adventure Riding Gear - boots

Boots are of the utmost importance when just getting started off road because you are more likely to have mishaps. In the beginning when you are bound to fall a lot, worry less about comfort and more about protection. A boot with motocross-style features is a wise choice for any new adventure rider that wants to get off the asphalt.

What To Look For In ADV Boots:

Ankle Support: The biggest flaw with most adventure boots is the lack of ankle support; don’t think this is acceptable just because it is the standard.

Protection: Shin, inner leg and toe protection are useful features to look for.

Comfort: As stated above this should be a secondary consideration but still something that factors in. The most important thing in regards to comfort is how they feel after standing on the pegs for long stretches of trail.

Weather Resistance: Do you like wet feet? Even if you don’t live in a damp climate, streams, puddles, and mud are ever present in adventure riding. If you do live in a wet environment, true Gore-Tex waterproof materials should be high on your list.

2. Helmet

A good adventure helmet can be expensive but then again so is your brain! Generally, more expensive helmets are quieter, have a better fit & finish, last longer, and have better aerodynamics. Frequently the most significant difference will be weight, with less expensive helmets being heavier. It may not seem like a big deal when you compare two helmets on the showroom, but your neck and back will beg to differ after a long day on the pegs! If you are trying to prioritize budget dollars, then this is where your money should go first.

Adventure Riding Gear - Helmet

What You Should Know About Adventure Helmets:

What is the difference between a street helmet and an adventure helmet?
An adventure helmet varies from a street helmet in that they generally have a large peak/visor, more robust venting and the ability to accept goggles.

Why is the peak necessary?
The peak comes in handy when you are pushing west at the end of a long day or when your buddy shoots a barrage of roost at you from point-blank range.

Why more venting?
Adventure riding can be physically demanding and is often associated with travel through warm climates. Any additional airflow you can get when sweat is running down your face is welcome, right? It’s also nice to be able to close off vents when temperatures drop.

What’s with the goggles?
Goggles keep dust and debris out of your eyes better than a windscreen and also allow for even more airflow.

Adventure Riding Gear - Dual Sport Helmets

What is a modular helmet?
Modular helmets have a flip-up chin bar exposing the riders face for slow speed maneuvering and interactions like toll booths & border crossings. They can also come in handy when snapping photos or conversing with pillions.

What do safety ratings mean to you?
DOT and Snell are the two major organizations that set the standard for motorcycle helmets in the United States. ECE is the standard used by more than 50 countries in Europe. Any helmet sold in the United States must be DOT approved but when it comes to safety ratings the more, the merrier! Do your research on potential helmet candidates to find out what safety ratings they carry and why.

Try on as many helmets as you can!
One person’s glass slipper helmet is the next person’s hot spot nightmare. Head shapes vary from Long Oval to Round and so do helmet shells. Try on several different helmets and you’ll start to figure out which brand fits you best. Or you can figure out what shape your head is and do some research to find brands that conform to your head.

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Author: Spencer Hill

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Adventure Motorcycle Clothing
January 3, 2022 8:34 pm

[…] of bike you want, you can start shopping for the accessories you need. When you’re shopping for adventure bike clothes, you’ll probably notice that there are two main types of products available. One is made […]


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