Have you ever really wanted to go ride but thought, “Baby, it’s cold outside?” Have no fear of winter riding when you’ve got the right cold weather riding gear.
The best cold weather riding gear has to meet some pretty tricky standards. It has to, of course, keep you warm, but it also has to still meet the safety requirements you’d expect of any off-road riding gear. It also can’t restrict your movements. Luckily, we’re here to help. Many of us live and ride in areas where the temperature drops below freezing, sometimes well below zero. Does that stop us from riding? No way! What it has done is given us a platform for testing the very best cold weather riding gear. Here’s what has been working for us.
The best cold-weather helmet is an easy proposition. If you’re not looking to buy a new helmet, just for cold-weather riding, get a breath box for your existing helmet. Of course, if you’re looking to buy a new helmet, may we suggest the Fly Racing F2 Carbon MIPS Cold Weather helmet. This helmet is light weight, fits great and comes with a vent block-off kit and a breath box that fits perfectly in the helmet. The bright orange color is actually a good thing for riding in cold weather, especially snow. One important aspect of safety in winter conditions is visibility. The Multi-Impact Protection System (MIPS) is part of the construction, making this a very safe helmet to use for your cold-weather riding fun.
Cold weather goggles have to have some way to keep the lens from fogging so you have a clear field of view. The face foam should also cover well to help protect your face from the biting cold wind. They may be pricey, but the best winter riding goggles out there are the 509 Sinister X5 Ignite. These goggles cover your eyes and skin well and protect from the cold. They also use a lithium-ion powered pack that heats the lens up to 104-degrees. This keeps fog and frost away and ensure you have a crystal clear field of view while riding.
The best cold weather riding gloves keep your fingers warm while still allowing full movement of your hand and fingers so you can safely operate your ATV or UTV. They should grip well and offer some amount of protection as well. Mechanix Wear Impact Pro Winter Gloves work great for cold-weather riding. They have C40 3M Thinsulate insulation and a waterproof liner, along with a grippy palm and fingers that allow you to keep your manual dexterity. The index finger and thumb are ever mobile compatible to let you use your smartphone when you’re stopped trailside.
The biggest things to look for in a cold-weather riding jacket are wind blocking and freedom of movement. Most of us wear a shell-type jacket that is waterproof and windproof and made for active movement. Insulation is best if it’s minimal in the jacket, so you can layer underneath. One of the best out there is the Klim Tomahawk Parka. It has two-layer GORE-TEX construction and is guaranteed to keep you dry. It’ll keep wind out as well and has a dust/snow skirt to keep stuff from blowing up your back, too. Also, the zippers are all sealed to keep out the elements. This is a seriously high-quality riding jacket.
Getting the best cold-weather riding pants is similar to the jacket in terms of what you need. You want to keep out wind and moisture, while retaining body heat and having freedom of movement. The Klim Powerhawk pants covert from pants to a bib, so you can wear them however you like. The bib version will help keep them pulled up in back, which is an issues for some. This ensures that everything is covered up. They use the same GORE-TEX construction with high-quality throughout. Best yet, these pants were designed for riding, so the movements you would make, whether riding an ATV or in a UTV, feel natural in them.
Finding the best riding boots for winter can be a little tricky. You need to find boots that balance warmth with protection for your feet and ankles. Boots made for snowmobiling work great for ATV riding, but are considered by many to be far too stiff for driving UTVs. One boot to consider is the Columbia Bugaboot Plus III. These boots have 200 grams of insulation and Columbia’s proprietary OmniHeat material that reflects your body heat back to you while pulling away moisture. They provide good support for your feet and ankles and complete protection from the weather. Be aware, however, that if you are riding a sport quad with regular footpegs, you will not want to wear these boots as the soles will not last long.
Other important cold-weather riding gear that you’re going to want to have includes a balaclava. The FXR Racing Boost Balaclava is comfortable, looks great and doesn’t cost a fortune. These work great to help keep your head and neck warm on cold rides.
You’ll need some good boot socks and one of the best is the Wigwam Minus 40C Silver. These socks are a blend of merino wool, nylon, polyester and olefin. They are a premier cold-weather boot sock and will help keep your toes toasty without being too bulky.
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