What Riding Gear Do I Need?

Derrek Sigler
by Derrek Sigler

Riding an ATV or driving in a Side-by-Side (SxS) means wearing the proper riding gear. It makes sense to do things safely, and you want to be able to keep on enjoying your time with your machine. Who wants to spend time during a riding season dealing with an injury, or worse - never being able to enjoy another one again? One of the questions we get asked often is, “What riding gear do I need?” We will provide you with the basics, and some reasons why you need it.

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You should never go riding in any type of ATV or SxS without an appropriate helmet. The reasons should be obvious - you like breathing. When the ground comes up and meets your head, especially at a high-rate of speed, things go bad very quickly. Many states require the use of a helmet for riding an ATV. But don’t think that just because you're riding in a SxS, you don’t need a helmet. Yes, some states don’t require it because you have a seatbelt, but you still should wear one. Why is that? Simple. You may have a Roll Over Protective Structure (ROPS), but that doesn’t mean things can’t come into the cage to meet your melon. Your seat belt can’t protect you if a tree comes through the cage. And that roll cage isn’t very forgiving, should you smack your head on it during a roll over accident. WEAR A HELMET!

Eye Protection

A good pair of goggles is a must when riding an ATV or in a SxS. Yes, you can have a windshield, but things can still reach your eyes. Your vision is too important to not wear the appropriate level of protection. At the very least, have a visor that covers your eyes on your helmet.

Long Sleeves

A jersey or long sleeved shirt is a must have, too. It protects your arms and keeps you covered. A sweet-looking jersey can help you with your style, and is often vented enough to help you stay cool in the summer months, too.


Your hands need protection, too. Gloves can help protect your palms from blisters and give you better grip and therefore better control of the machine. We prefer gloves with some padding on the backs to help protect your hands from impacts from things like brush and rocks along the trails.

Long Pants

We cringe whenever we see people riding in shorts. If you are on an ATV, long pants are vital, but they also make sense in SxS models, too. It is all about keeping you safe, and there are pants available that are ventilated to keep you cooler during a hot summer ride. If you wear shorts, you’re asking for injury. This can include burns, which is the most common thing we’ve seen happen to riders who opt for shorts over common sense.


You should always wear over-the-ankle boots for added protection when operating an ATV or SxS. If you’re riding on a track with a Sport ATV, like the podium-proven YFZ450R or Yamaha Raptor 700R, wearing motocross boots for their added rigidity and support is advised.

Why Do I Need All This Stuff?

We can’t force you to wear the appropriate riding gear when you are on your machine. All we can say is this. We want you to be safe and enjoy the ride, and be able to keep on riding. We wear the right gear ourselves and we encourage you to do the same. Injuries suck, and things can go bad in a hurry in the event of an accident. The proper riding gear isn’t for the stuff you can think of, it’s for those moments you can’t that should make you want to wear it.

Check out the New Riders Hub for more articles geared towards new off-road enthusiasts.

Derrek Sigler
Derrek Sigler

Derrek's love for all things ATV started when he was a mere 11 years old, growing up on his family farm. His mom gave him and his sister a choice - get a horse, or a three-wheeler. The sister wanted the horse, and Derrek wanted the ATV. Luckily he won out, and was soon burning up the trails on a Yamaha Tri-Moto 200. By the time he was 14, he had saved enough of his own money by working on the farm and in his folks restaurant to buy a new 4-wheeler. That happened the day he and his mom were driving past the dealership and saw 1987 Banshee. His mom had no idea what he was buying, and he never looked back. He's been riding ever since, and been writing professionally for many years. He has ridden all over North America and been behind the controls of just about every machine out there. And yes, he still has his 1987 Yamaha Banshee.

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