Whether you’re on an extended tour through multiple countries or a 50-mile day-long ride, there are some pieces of ADV riding gear you should never leave without.
Regardless of distance, things can go wrong quickly. Having a few of these essentials with you—or on you—will keep you safe. And with a safe adventure arrives positive emotions, something every rider deserves.
The following are the essentials.
Quality Helmet That’s Not Expired
A helmet goes without saying.
But some riders continue to use helmets that are older than five years from the manufacturing date. The Snell Memorial Foundation, a non-profit that provides a “high quality of standard of safety for helmets,” says riders should not use helmets five years after the manufacturer’s date.
The main reasons are due to the materials of the shell breaking down. Even the slightest defect in a helmet’s construction can cause a drastic difference in safety.
Your head needs the most protection of all, and accidents can happen seconds from home or wherever you’re departing from. Make sure you not only always wear a lid, but one that’s within five years of the manufacturer’s date. And never ride with one involved in a crash.
When an accident does occur, and you have some riding to complete, just be extra cautious, knowing your helmet is not as safe as it was out of the box.
Fog-Free Shield or Goggles
You can’t ride without a clear vision, and the number-one culprit of lousy vision is a foggy shield or goggles.
Make sure this issues doesn’t rob miles from your ride—or your health. Most reputable helmets arrive either with a fog-free shield coating or a Pinlock anti-fogging insert lens. If not, there are multiple fog-free sprays on the market.
From the morning commute to rain on an extended tour to high-mountain passes, fog happens. Make sure you’re ready to combat it.
While discussing face shields and goggles, also remember to pack a microfiber cloth to keep things clean.
Unworn Jacket, Gloves, and Pants (Not Crashed!)
When leaving home and considering the state of your apparel, unworn and not crashed are the key focuses.
Just as an out-of-date or crashed helmet, your other apparel can’t protect as strong as it could before a crash. Textile and leather break down, some materials faster depending on quality.
And if you crash and land on the same portion of your apparel that was crashed previously, your protection will be significantly decreased.
This also goes for worn-out apparel, which mostly occurs to gloves due to the constant movement on the controls and being tossed around in bags or the campsite.
Waterproof is also ideal, of course, but sometimes it’s just not as comfortable (more below).
Waterproof Boots (Not Crashed!)
Boots can take beatings year after year, but they wear down quicker than all other apparel due to walking and standing (and constantly smashing those trees or rocks!).
Most riders have a favorite pair of boots and will wear them until protection levels are seriously worn. Check the soles before every ride, especially after an extended tour, along with laces (if equipped) and any loose stitching.
And for true adventure riders, waterproof boots should top the list of prioritized items on every ride. Weather changes quickly, and there’s always a need to take that adventure bike through streams or rivers.
Be prepared— the only thing worse than wet feet are wet hands. Both situations can distract drastically from your riding, leading to a crash.
The wisest decision that saves loads of frustration is to purchase full waterproof gear such as Gore-Tex. But sometimes, the hotter weather has you reaching for ventilated comfort.
Storms pop up everywhere, and if your trekking above high in elevation near the cloud line, moisture can ruin a ride - and quickly. There are many inexpensive rain suits available that pack of small, and don’t take up much space.
Again, although the waterproof appeal is the optimal choice, having a rain suit quickly available is the second-best thing, regardless of whether you’re riding to the store or across Moab.
When it comes to serious comfort, base layers, also called under layers, provide the ultimate solution.
They keep your skin comfortable from apparel and cool when hot and warm when it’s freezing. Multiple manufacturers within and outside of the motorcycle industry create base layers that keep you comfortable in any riding situation.
These are a necessity for long-distance riding and can help keep you comfortable for shorter distances. And when you’re comfortable, you can focus more on the ride.
Motorcycle-Specific Ear Plugs
Earplugs designed with motorcycles in mind provide that extra level of comfort that can further keep you safe regardless of the distance traveled.
For extended tours, the lack of distracting wind noises also helps keep your stamina higher, allowing you to travel safer for longer distances.
Again, motorcycle-specific is key here, though others on the market cancel the bad noises while keeping you in tune with what you need to hear. The problem with some of the non-moto ones is fit within a helmet.
Remember to always test a new pair on a shorter ride before leaving for a longer ride. Earplugs can keep you safe, but your risk of crashing increases if one pops out or is uncomfortable.
Neck Gaiter/Face Protector
Regardless of the weather, a neck gaiter/pull-up face protector can keep you comfortable.
When it’s cold, it quickly seals your neck and face. When it’s dust or your sweating, it keeps your neck free of debris and cool.
Plus, it packs away nicely and can be used as an emergency cloth to clean visors or goggles if you forgot a microfiber cloth.
Comfortable and quality equate to safer riding. And safer riding equates to more enjoyment for more miles.
To take it to the next level, especially on those extended rides, also remember to pack the following extras:
- Extra Gloves (waterproof and ventilated)
- Extra Goggles
- Extra Visor (hit a tree branch lately?)
- Extra Glasses (if you wear glasses, never ride with just one pair)
- Extra Bawe Layers and Socks (sweat or rain, having extras will make your ride much more comfortable and safer)
- Extra Earplugs
Let us know if you have any other thoughts or tips by contacting us today.