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Womens ATV Riding pants

Atv Riding / February 1, 2019

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I'm looking to get some opinions on the best clothes to wear for casual ATV trail riding this spring/summer. I've never been before and want to be comfortable without spending a ton of money on new stuff (besides the obvious gloves, helmet, and goggles) especially made for ATV riding. Jeans versus sweatpants? Hiking boots versus sneakers?

Location: Warm Springs, GA

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Thanks Brian M for the helpful input and suggestions!

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Location: Spots Wyoming

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Originally Posted by homemaze I'm looking to get some opinions on the best clothes to wear for casual ATV trail riding this spring/summer. I've never been before and want to be comfortable without spending a ton of money on new stuff (besides the obvious gloves, helmet, and goggles) especially made for ATV riding. Jeans versus sweatpants? Hiking boots versus sneakers?

To a large extent, that will depend on what kind of machine you ride, how aggressively you ride and where/when you ride. As far as safety gear, at the least, a good helmet, gloves, boots and a long sleeve shirt or jacket. As far as type of helmet, it's a bit of a toss up. Lots of people wear your basic "open face" helmet (no chin bar). I'm not a fan of these. If you do "bite it" you have no protection for your face/chin, nor do they keep branches from slapping you in the face. Better is a motorcross type helmet, that has a chin guard and is typically worn with goggles. You will want something over your eyes to provide protection and to keep the dust down. Personally I use a "flip face" or "convertible" helmet, that has a chin bar that flips up out of the way. I wear glasses, it's really nice to be able to leave them on when putting a helmet on or off. I like to be able to pull the chin bar down for protection and shield(visor) to keep the dust out or when it's cold. If you ride for any length of time, you'll probably accumulate several. A helmet is one thing that I recommend buying locally and make sure you try it on before buying, fit matters. They should be pretty snug when new, they will loosen up as the foam contours a bit.

As to boots, it depends on the quad. ATVs are loosely broken into two categories, "sport" and "utility". THe sport machines typically are 2 wheel drive, high performance, manually shifted machines, with foot pegs (like a dirt bike), rather than running boards. These machines are typically ridden fairly aggressively, and offer no protection from stick/branches thrown up by the tires. These can act like a spear, I've seen them driven through running boards and fenders a few times. With these, the best choice is an armored, motocross style boot. Utility quads are your more common (unless you ride dunes) 4x4 types, with racks, full fenders, running boards. They typically aren't ridden quite as aggressively (though some of us break that mold) and do offer significantly more protection. I think you'll find most riders just wear a good, heavy pair of hiking/work type boots. Get something that goes well over your ankle, both for protection and to help keep your feet dry. If you have to buy new ones, I strongly recommend something waterproof and breathable.

For pants/shirt, I'd recommend jeans over sweats. There are plenty of sticks that will try to poke or "spear" you, though generally not too badly. Sweats tend to be kind of "grabby" while pokers will often slide off jeans or other "harder" materials. For jackets, for good protection without being too hot, I'd recommend a mesh motorcycle jacket if you are buying something new. These have "armor" in the elbows, shoulders and spine, yet are made out of a very open weave material, so they breath really well. Now, for casual trail riding, the vast majority of riders do not wear armored jackets or pants, and some would say they are unnecessary. "Carhart" type jackets are very common around here.

For general comfort, the most important thing is to dress in layers, and allow for changes in temperature throughout the day. You should have an outer layer available that is both rainproof and wind resistant. Most clothes that are fine for hiking or casual wear at a given temperature let a bunch of wind through when riding and will be cold. A light windbreak can make the difference between comfort and misery. Unless riding in summer, generally stay away from a lot of cotton. If it gets at all damp it's cold. Various polypropylene materials (long johns or fleece) aren't expensive. There is one place for your sweats-"heavy" polypro ones worn under something windproof offer a lot of warmth for very little money. A cheap set of ski pants over the top works great. Obviously a light rain suit is worth having along. For spring/winter/fall riding, for gloves, I like Gortex ones with a Thinsulate or other synthetic liner. If it's at all cold and wet, you want something that will keep your hands warm and dry. I've had no trouble in single digit weather with these.

For hot summer days, try to at least wear jeans and a long sleeve shirt. Even without a wreck, there are plenty of branches to grab/slap at you, rocks tossed by other machines (or your own tires), etc, let alone sunburn from several hours out in the sun.. If you are looking for protection, look at what dirt bike riders wear. Some type of light jersey over a "chest protector" or "roost guard", with armor on the spine is smart...even though I don't ride with them. For gloves, any leather work gloves are fine, or look at some lightweight "dirt bike" ones. Most of these have an open weave to let air through, but have padding along the outside where branches, etc, will hit. As far as protection, as I stated earlier, a lot depends on how you ride. Elkhunter states that he's riding 10mph on the trails. I tend to ride significantly faster, and push the envelope a bit as far as where I ride. I've only had one significant wreck (due to stupidity, tiredness and excess speed) but things can go bad quickly. I've been around a good number of others, thankfully none with serious injuries. Nearly every quad will hit at least 50, with some hotter ones running well over 70. Ride sensibly and within your abilities.

I hope I'm not scaring you off. This is in general a very safe sport, and a wonderful way to get out and explore places only a tiny percentage of the population sees. Use some basic precautions, never ride alone (first rule), always wear a helmet (the other first rule) and don't ride above your abilities. If other riders are going faster than you are comfortable with, slow down. In the biking world, we call it "ride your own ride", at a speed you feel comfortable with. With regard to wrecks...a very large percentage happen at low speed, especially when loading/unloading from a truck or trailer. ALWAYS wear a helmet, even when it seems silly. And yes...I suspect we have all violated that one when just taking a ride around the property or to load.

Have a great time and let us know how your rides go.

One thing I forgot to mention. As a new rider, look into an ATV safety class in your area. They should be free or very low cost. A local ATV club should be able to help you out. Many safety related issues seem like common sense, but they aren't necessarily things you think about when first getting on one. Like never, ever, put your foot down if it feels like it's going to tip over!

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