ATV Riding Boots
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Most ATV riders always wear at least a helmet, goggles, gloves and boots whenever they go riding. These basic items, along with a jersey and riding pants, not only offer greater protection than ‘civilian’ clothes, but also make riding much more comfortable.
The protection concept behind this gear is two-fold. First, riding gear protects you from the elements—including branches, bugs, mud, dust and roost that may come your way. Secondly, riding gear protects you if you fall off or crash your ATV. This is when you’re really glad you’re wearing safety gear.
As an extra bonus, a full set of durable riding gear also eliminates the surprising wear and tear that ATV riding does to street clothes and tennis shoes. And when it comes to riding in cold and wet weather, the modern enduro riding jackets do an incredible job of keeping you comfortable.
|Alerts, tips and anecdotes|
|Tip A cool wet T-shirt
If the riding temperatures shoot into the high 80s and 90s F, you may want to soak an old T-shirt or rag with water and wrap it around your neck. As the water evaporates, it does an incredible job of cooling you down. Then, whenever you hit a water crossing, stop, dip it in the stream, and you’re ready for another round of natural cooling. Soaking your jersey works too, but it will get pretty dirty from the dust in the air.
Alert! Konk your head, toss your helmet
Nearly every helmet manufacturer recommends that you retire your helmet after a spill in which your helmet hits the ground or other obstacle. Even if you don’t see any exterior damage, the helmet’s crushable liner may be compromised. A hard hit from dropping it on pavement or rocks may damage the interior structure as well. This is one reason why you may want to avoid ever buying a used helmet since you don’t know what kind of hits it has taken.
Tip Color matters
If your style is all black, you may want to reconsider. Black helmets and black jerseys can make you miserable in the summer. White boots aren’t such a good idea, though—you’ll never get them clean.
Anecdote Roost hurts
Roost (the rocks and dirt kicked up by the rear wheels of an ATV) packs a lot more punch than you might think. If it can shatter headlights, imagine what it could do to your face if you’re not wearing goggles and a full-face helmet. Chest protectors not only protect you in the case of a spill, but deflect painful roost as well.
Tip Oily goggles for dusty riding
Goggles need to breathe, which is why they have a rim of foam ‘air filter’ around the frame. However, the foam does let in a certain amount of fine dust. If you know you’re going to be riding in extremely dusty conditions, take a small amount of motor oil and apply it with the tip of a rag to the exterior of the goggle foam. It will help catch dust throughout the day. Simply clean the goggles with soap and water to get the gunk out when you get home.
Tip Boot break-in
Walking around in a new pair of riding boots feels like you’re wearing stiff, plastic ski boots, and your first couple of rides could be quite uncomfortable. You can avoid that by breaking in your boots ahead of time with a simple soaking method. Soak them down by filling them up with a garden hose, then put the boots on and do some simple yard work or other chores for a couple of hours. The boots will break in much faster.
Dry the boots by hanging them upside down on a pole or a stick. Always store your boots upside down or on their sides. Storing them right side up will weaken the bend where the ankle meets the top of the foot and your boots will always flop forward.
When it comes to helmets, the decision to wear one can be a matter of life or death. Clearly, a helmet is the single most important piece of riding gear.
Those who always wear helmets often wonder what the problem is with folks who refuse to do so. Modern helmets are very comfortable and lightweight, providing the rider with a lot of confidence and protection from the elements. Many off-road helmets are also vented, so getting too hot is no longer a valid excuse for not wearing one. Of course, if you’re riding in an area where a helmet is mandated by law, well, you don’t have much choice.
There’s an old saying in the off-road world: ‘If you’ve got a $10 head, buy a $10 helmet.’ Basically, it’s warning riders to steer clear of the really cheap helmets. Not all helmets are as effective as the next, and the quality helmet makers have gone to great lengths to give their customers the best protection available.
One of the first things to look for when buying a helmet is to see if it meets one of the two performance ratings (these are stitched on the inside of the shell and on the box). The first is the department of transportation (DOT) rating that shows the helmet meets a certain set of standards as a legal helmet for street and off-road use. The Snell rating (named for a sports car racer who died of head injuries in the late 1950s) signifies that the helmet goes beyond the DOT standards and can withstand even harder blows.
Most automobile, ATV and motorcycle racers demand nothing less than a Snell rating for their headgear. Of course, the higher quality Snell helmets are going to cost more, but you should still find plenty of choices that are reasonably priced.