I get asked about gear all the time and I tell people what works for me may not work for you, but I will tell you and you can decide?
For rides like the TAT, CDR, BDR’s and a local daily or week rides I pretty much have always used the same type of gear and I’ll set you out a list below with links and point out why these items worked for me.
Your packing regime. Regardless of the length of your trip or your location, you should be wearing the minimal amount, basically, what would I wear on the hottest driest day? Everything else is luggage, right?
On this type of ride, you are going to be hot for sure, technical riding in difficult terrain raises body temperature so good quality gear that can breathe is a must so you don’t get fatigued. I have increased the quality of my gear as the years have gone on and even though what I wear now may seem expensive to some riders I am actually spending less in the long run because it lasts.
For me what works from the floor upwards –
I have used them for years, they take a while to wear in but the protection is superb, the fit and quality I was very pleased with. No, they are not waterproof – a full MX boot will not be, they do not exist, don’t even bother looking. Before getting the Gaernes I was wearing FOX boots for half the price, not as good but they were the best I could afford
I have used socks from various companies and the price is always in the same ballpark but the quality and how long they last aren’t. I currently have a pair these with me on my current RTW, which I used on my previous RTW and also on the TAT. They are a couple of years old and still in great shape. I am amazed, I have no idea what Klim does differently to make their socks but it works.
I prefer ITB pants because there’s less material to get caught on anything; cooler, lighter and again I use Klim as the price is similar to some other higher end brands that I’ve used but they just last longer, are made better and hold up regardless of how many get offs you have…but saying that, if your budget is small, a pair of MX pants will do the trick too
As MX pants don’t have built-in knee protection you WILL need some. My preference is a set that has two straps below the knee, the reason for this twofold – if you have a strap above the knee it can cause chafing and you may also want to get longer over the knee socks. While these are good for racing (short rides) they aren’t good for week-long rides as they make you too hot.
It can take a while to get used to knee guards if you’ve never used them, your boot and the straps will hold them in place perfectly in case of a fall. If I was racing I would spend a lot more on knee pads to stop hyperextension of the knee and if you have any knee issues you may want to look at something like this.
This is an area that is overlooked by a lot of riders, but if you think about how you fall? If you go down with the bike, there is a good chance that your hip will hit the ground sooner or later. Most pants have a small pad in a pocket that is worthless, do yourself a favor and spend a few dollars, the first fall they will pay for themselves.
Yes you can wear a t-shirt but a merino wool base layer will keep you cooler, stink a lot less, washes easier, dry quicker and feel better against your skin. I’ve found Icebreaker to be one of the better brands out there
My personal preference is a hardshell with a mesh body I feel it breathes better, but some people prefer a tight shirt type, I personally find this type too warm but its all personal preference
I like this to be loose, easy to get on an off over the compression suit which gives me a free range of motion. I wear a Klim because I got a smoking deal on sale from Amazon for $20 including shipping, in a basic shirt there is not a lot of difference in quality, $20-50 and what you like the look of.
If you go on a ride and you know the temperatures are going to be cooler than normal a heavier shirt might be better for all day riding when a normal shirt isn’t enough, layering is too bulky and a jacket just seems like overkill – you might want to think about this $140 shirt, WTF I hear you say $140, why would I pay that much for riding shirt! Well until you’ve seen one in the flesh you won’t understand, it is simply the best riding shirt money can buy for riding in cooler areas and amazingly durable, expect to get multiple seasons of use out of it, it will outlast your cheap polyester shirt over and over and over again.
Helmets. This could be the biggest expense of all, over the years I have used a lot of styles and brands, in the photo, I am wearing an Arai XD great quality helmet that I was happy with. After over 100,000 miles with it, I needed a new one and now wear a Klim Krios.
A carbon fiber work of art that is much lighter and a similar price but doesn’t create as much neck fatigue for me.
Years ago I would wear an MX helmet as I couldn’t afford anything too expensive and to me, all I wanted to do was ride, I would expect to buy a new helmet after every season or if I had a fall that my head was impacted.
Depending on your riding style and where you ride a neck brace might be an item you want to look at closely, I am seeing more and more riders wearing them and if its a safety item you are considering I think it is an item where quality is the best way to go, and it doesn’t get any better than this
Another item that can vary dramatically in price, I personally cannot see a great deal of difference for dual-sport riding so I go cheap and get a mirrored lens as they look cool in photos, all I need them for is to keep dust and sand out of my eyes especially in the west.
For racing I would spend a lot more for goggles, have the option to add tear offs or even a remote lens that scrolls. You are more likely to get roosted in a race than on a trail so added quality is worth it in that case.
Again I pick Klim here, maybe because I used them and they last longer, I’m willing to spend $10 more to have gloves last 2, 3 or even 4 times as long. I prefer a very lightweight glove to have more feel on the bars…YMMV.
It’s going to rain at some point, right? I hate riding in the rain and I hate getting wet, I searched around for a long time and found Goretex over pants were my best option, someone on eBay was selling some skiing over pants, they are perfect and I can put them on without taking my boots off, they also have stud fasteners on the waist to help to put them on quickly. These you’ll have to hunt down yourself…I paid $40 inc. shipping
When I found these I also found a jacket on sale from the same guy, lightweight snowmobile jacket that has been discontinued (was his description). Its Goretex again and packs small but keeps me dry and didn’t realize it when I bought it (because his photos and description were crap) it was Klim and I paid $150! You can still find them in a few select sizes I have friends who use MSR waterproof jackets and swear by them, and again these pack really small.
Hope this helps to give you an idea of what I have found to work for dual sport riding in the summer months.
You could fit yourself out for a couple of hundred dollars or over a thousand, it all depends on how deep your pockets are, and how long you want or expect things to last.
Any questions reply in the comments section and i’ll get back to you.