Technically, the best gear for adventure should be adventure gear – and in most cases, it is. But we’re all different, and sometimes it’s a good idea to mix and match motocross/enduro and adventure gear for the best comfort and protection depending on how much off-road riding you do. , the climate zone you are in and if you are on the road for long periods of time.
I pretty much live on the road, trying to ride off-road as much as possible and this season I plan to try my hand (well, the wheels) at enduro rallies. So for me what matters most is decent crash protection, durability, waterproof features, layers, light weight and minimalism. If that sounds like an impossible combination, that’s because it is, but here’s how I handle it: mixing ADV and motocross gear for adventure.
I have tried so many different riding boot options that I think I should be an expert on these.
First came Forma Boots which I bought used. They didn’t last very long and were too big and leaking. Lesson learned: used boots are a terrible idea.
Then I splurged on a brand new pair TCX X-Desert GoreTex Boots. They felt like heaven at first – super comfortable to ride and walk in and completely waterproof. However, they started leaking after less than six months of use, Italian customer service reps informed me that they were on vacation for a month and couldn’t help me, and when I finally got a replacement from TXC USA about two months later, I had more than enough. Also, while comfortable, these adventure boots were quite short and the protection felt a bit flimsy, so when I moved up to more off-road riding, they just didn’t feel good enough.
After that, trying to be smart, I tried mining boots thinking that miners should: a) walk a lot in it, b) have strong protection, c) have waterproof features. The reasoning was that I would have sturdy, waterproof riding boots that I could also hike in when not on my bike, because carrying a pair of chunky hiking boots around the world just wasn’t not an option.
While the idea of mining boots sounded great at the time, it turned out to be a complete disaster. The boots were heavy and made my feet feel like they were encased in cement; I had blisters on my heels on day two, and on day three it was obvious I wasn’t going far.
My current pair of Gaerne SG12 intended for motocross riding feel like a decent solution: these boots are incredibly tough and offer great protection. I crashed on a paved path with the bike landing on top of me, trapping my ankle between a rock and the bike, and I didn’t even feel it; likewise, I didn’t get a single bruise when I crashed onto the pavement and slid a dozen yards with the bike still on top. I love my Gaernes for saving my feet and ankles, and I love their durability.
What they are not, however, is waterproofness and they are not the most comfortable boots for long walks. Get off the bike and walk around for ten minutes or have a coffee? Sure. Going for a short hike or wearing the boots on your international flights to save on the cost of luggage? Surely not. Still, the pros outweigh the cons, and so far the Gaerne SG12 seems like a great fit.
Hand protection, both from the elements and from accidents, is something that is close to our hearts, and if you have enough space in the panniers, carry spare winter gloves that will provide extra warmth. and protection during cold months or when traversing high altitude regions.
I always wear my raincoat Klim winter glovestoo, but I must confess that I haven’t taken them out of my saddlebags since 2018. That’s because for me, their Dakar Pro Gloves are a perfect fit on any terrain, any bike and in any weather.
Yes, these are primarily motocross gloves, but at the same time they provide just enough protection for occasional tarmac riding and are great in any weather. They aren’t waterproof, but they dry really fast, and I love the Dakar Pro’s level of comfort and durability.
Visor, goggles or both? I rarely use my visor because I feel the goggles protect my eyes better, especially off-road. As a contact lens wearer, I have to be very careful with my eyes, and my Klim Viper Pro Off Road has been my best bet so far – I don’t get dust in my eyes even when riding on bulldus or sand or in a sandstorm or very windy weather.
Even on cloudy days, I wear the glasses with red or gold tinted lenses because the world is simply more beautiful that way, and when the sun comes out, the red/gold tint protects my eyes just enough. Only problem is that when it gets dark I have to use my visor – sure I could stop and change the lenses of the goggles but most of the time it’s much easier to just lower the visor. I try to avoid riding in the dark as much as possible, so it’s not a big deal, and the goggles always give me optimal comfort and protection.
What is your favorite motocross gear for adventure? Let me know in the comments below!