Whether you’re a first-time rider or a professional racer, wearing the right gear on the trails is important for performance, comfort, and safety.
The essential ATV riding gear includes a helmet, goggles, gloves, chest protector or guard, and riding boots. Sturdy pants and a long sleeve shirt are also great to have, but don’t necessarily need to be designated riding gear.
Finding quality gear for a reasonable price can be hard, but it’s important to do so that when the time comes to replace that item you know you got your money’s worth.
Below, you’ll find a look into our research on riding apparel and protective equipment that every beginner rider needs to be familiar with. Additionally, we give you some reliable options at a great price.
What Do You Need To Wear On Your ATV?
If you were to fall off, you want to make sure the head is protected. The technology in today’s helmets provides the best head safety. In most falls, the head will hit causing the neck to strain as the body comes down.
Many helmets have the newest safety technology, the MIPS energy management system. MIPS, Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, allows the head to move in the helmet and keeps the energy and momentum from straining the neck reducing brain injuries.
You can find the MIPS system in brands such as Bell and Fox Racing Co. Most brands are made with a polycarbonate shell, although they do make some with carbon fiber. All of the brands have a ventilation system to allow the head to cool. The liner in most of the helmets are made of an antimicrobial material that can easily be removed and put in the washer to clean.
When it comes to affordability, HJC Helmets and Thor Helmets are in the $100- $150 range. Fly Helmets meet every price range and quality. Their range is from $90 to $640.
Goggles are important in eye protection as off-road helmets do not typically have a shield. Goggles have Lexan lenses that are anti-scratch and anti-fog. They are made with a lightweight polyurethane frame for comfort. There are posts on the goggles so that tear away strips can be put over the front of the lenses. When they get dirty from sand and dirt while riding, mostly in a racing atmosphere, you pull the tear away and have clear, clean vision.
There is foam between the frame and face for comfort, as well as keeping sand and dirt from getting to the eyes. The adjustable strap will often come with silicone grips to help it stay in place on the helmet.
You can get the lenses with UV protection and a mirrored appearance. If your child wears glasses, many goggles have an expanded eye port that will fit around larger glasses frames. 100% brand has lenses that will darken with the amount of light exposure, which is great for extended riding.
FMF Goggles have integrated foam pockets to give relief for temple arms as well as a removable nose guard to deflect roost and debris from riding. For the protection they provide, goggles are a necessary and affordable piece of gear. Since the straps will expand and contract to fit around the helmet, they can be used for a good amount of time before you would need to upgrade.
Depending on the brand, goggles cost anywhere from $17-$60. For youth the most common brands for goggles are Oakley, Thor, Fly, Spy, Answer, 100%, and FMF.
Chest protectors are commonly worn by youth riders. They provide protection to the core in a fall, protecting the spine and chest. They are made from a lightweight material that has foam underneath for comfort.
Straps on the sides help provide a perfect fit that grows with the child. Depending on the model, shoulder pads are a part of the chest protector for added protection.
Popular brands for chest protectors are Fox Racing, Leatt, O’Neil, and Troy. Depending on the brand and model, these can range anywhere from $40-$200.
Elbow and Knee Guards
Elbow and knee guards are an extra gear to obtain if you want the extra protection. The guards are built with molded hard plates with foam padding beneath for comfort. These come as one size fits most so that once you have them, they will always fit. Fox Racing and Thor make them and they are reasonably priced in the $10-$20 range.
When riding a sturdy boot is important in protecting the ankle as well as the shins. While riding in the woods, you run the risk of having branches hit the shins. In a racing atmosphere, you need a study boot for when you are standing and using your feet to help give balance and cushion when going over bumps and ridges.
Many people are hesitant to buy specific riding boots when they can go to the store and buy a pair of regular boots for the job. The biggest issue with buying regular boots is if the boot has laces they can get attached or stuck to things such as branches and sticks, which could in turn cause injury to the leg or ankle.
Riding boots come with buckles that are on the side of the boot and provide protection for the shin as well. They are made of heavy constructed leather that breaks in fast and holds up well to abuse.
Many of them have Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) plates in the boots at vital spots, such as the shin and toe box, to provide protection and resistance to impacts. Extra foam around the ankles and the collar help with comfort. A synthetic gaiter helps keep out dirt and water from the boot.
Many of the riding boot companies have made boots that are well built, yet affordable. The brands to look for when buying riding boots are Fox Racing, Answer, Thor, Alpinestars, O’Neil, and Fly. The price range for riding boots is anywhere from $90-$220.
Gloves are helpful for grip and hand protection while riding. Riding gloves are made to protect the hands, yet provide cooling to keep the hands from sweating. They come with silicone on the fingers for lever grip and the index and thumb that are compatible with touch screens, for those that use GPS or MP3 players while they ride.
Knuckles have TPR, Thermoplastic Rubber, to protect the knuckles from impact. The palms have suede to help with grip and durability on the handlebars and better throttle control.
Fox Racing, Thor, Fly, O’Neil, and Moose are some brands that sell quality gloves. Gloves range from $12- $40.
A jersey isn’t necessary for the average rider but they don’t hurt, and they do have some benefits. Jerseys protect the skin from being hit by roots and if you’re going into a wooded area it will protect the skin from scratches from branches.
Jerseys are made of a moisture wicking material and mesh blocks in the sides to help keep the rider cool. They also have a drop tail in the back of the shirt to keep it from coming untucked riding in a leaned over position. Dyed sublimation helps keep the design on the shirt vibrant and from fading.
Riding pants are made of a sturdy material with stretchy zones in the knees and seat area to help with movement. Since the knees, inner legs, and seat areas tend to rub on the ATV, they are reinforced. The waist has a buckle enclosure and the bottom of the legs are tapered to prevent bulk.
Moisture wicking material is also utilized to ensure the rider stays cool. The prices range from $60-$150 and are made by Fox Racing, Thor, O’Neil, Fly, Moose, and Alpinestars.
Most of the gear listed above is your basic gear for riders of all skill levels. Your riding style and goals will determine which gear is necessary. If you are looking to become active in power sports like racing, much of what is mentioned above is essential. If you are looking to ride for utility purposes, such as hunting or farm work, you may not be interested in jerseys and pants. You may only be interested in the helmet, goggles, boots, and gloves.
About THE AUTHOR
I'm 30 years old. I am a software developer and I am a freelance writer on the side. I've been riding ATV's since I was 15. I personally own a Polaris Sportsman and a Can-Am Defender.Read More About Shawn