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.
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.
There is adventure riding gear that looks the part and then there is gear that can stand up to the day-in and day-out rigors of long-distance off-road travel. Nowhere is this truer than with Adventure jackets and pants. Like helmets, generally there is a big difference in comfort, fit, protection and versatility on the upper end of the price spectrum. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of good options at all price points just that quality goes deeper than brand names.
Gloves play a big part in both comfort and protection when adventure riding. Frozen fingers or sweaty palms can be dangerously distracting. In an ideal world, you would have multiple pairs of gloves for varying situations: A street pair with robust protection and an off-road pair with proper venting and grip feel. If only one pair is in the cards, then we suggest prioritizing safety with a hybrid street/dirt, mid-cuff glove.
Staying hydrated while adventure riding is vital, having water on your back with a drinking tube encourages regular replenishment during exertion. There are motorcycle specific hydration packs with useful features like goggle storage and built-in tool pouches, but this is one area where any outdoor brand will do.
Comfort in adventure riding gear begins and ends with base and mid layers. A little forethought into layering can mean the difference between having an enjoyable ride and being miserable. Layering allows you to add or remove clothing based on the current temperature or cardio output. Synthetic fabrics like Polyester, Nylon and Merino Wool are your friend, they wick sweat away from your skin and evaporate it quickly. Cotton is an enemy to be avoided at all costs because it holds onto moisture and can cause irritation of the skin. Synthetics take up very little room as well and are much more resilient to odors than traditional fabrics.