What to Wear When ATV Riding? (A beginner’s guide)

The first thing you need to do before booking an ATV tour with your friends is to figure out what to wear. Most people only focus on what kind of ATV they want to ride and don’t spend even one second thinking about what to wear when riding. They end up full of scratches and dirt. This doesn’t need to be the case for you.

When riding ATVs, you need to wear the following:

  • Helmet (it’s a must!);
  • Long pants;
  • Long sleeve shirt or jacket;
  • Any pair of sneakers (or riding boots if possible);
  • Gloves.

The most important item to wear when riding ATVs is the helmet. You need an off-road helmet that will provide you with maximum protection in case you fall or get hit by a branch when riding the ATV.

Knowing what to wear when riding ATVs can make the difference between having a good time and a bad experience. Don’t worry, I will present everything you need to know so that your first time riding an ATV is awesome.

infographic showing what to wear when ATV riding

What to Wear When ATV Riding?

3 kids riding atvs through the woods

Hands down, the most important thing everyone should wear when riding ATVs is a helmet. Believe me; you don’t want to get hit by a tree branch when going full speed through the woods. This happens to everyone, and by choosing to wear a helmet, you will be safe when it happens to you. That’s not all. In the unlikely scenario of falling off your ATV, the helmet will keep you safe from serious damage. There are lots of helmets on the market, but I really like the O’Neal Slick Helmet.

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Now that we settled just how important it is to wear a helmet when riding ATVs, the next step is to select what type of clothing you should wear. From my experience, long pants are essential. Long pants will keep you safe from unwanted bruises and scratches that will get on your legs after riding four-wheelers all day long. In addition, you will have an easier time sending the pants to dry cleaning than getting the mud off your feet if you choose to wear shorts. The most common reason people don’t want to wear long pants when riding ATVs is that they will get warm. This is not always the case. You can wear a pair of breathable pants that are made from materials such as nylon or linen.

Are you thinking about getting a pair of ATV riding boots? While it’s always better to wear ATV riding boots, it’s not essential. I wrote a full blog post that goes over this detail. Read now to find out more.

As previously mentioned, I recommend everyone to wear a long sleeve shirt on their outdoor adventures, especially if you want to go ATV mudding. You will be riding at fast speeds on your ATV (even if it will be the first time you get on one), and you will get lots of scratches on your forearms. Luckily, this all can be avoided by choosing to wear a long sleeve shirt. Another good idea is to wear a jacket. The jacket will do a fantastic job of keeping your arms safe, and you can take it off when taking a break. If you are riding during the hot summer days, you will be thankful that you can take the jacket off.

The last essential gear to wear when riding ATVs is gloves. If you rode bicycles when you were a kid, you know very well that the handlebars can cause damage to your hands. The same goes for ATVs. Using gloves for riding ATVs will make the experience much more enjoyable because you will have an easy time maneuvering the four-wheeler, and you will not have to deal with cuts, blisters, or bruises on your hands. If you are going on an ATV tour, the guide will lend everyone gloves.

Here is a short summary of what you should wear when riding ATVs:

  • Helmet;
  • Long pants;
  • Long sleeve shirt or jacket;
  • Any pair of sneakers;
  • Gloves.

Sidenote: If there is one “trick” that I learned the hard way when riding ATVs all summer long, it has to be to wear sunscreen. Even though you might cover up your arms and legs with clothing, you still need to put some sunscreen on your face and neck. I sometimes wear a bandana around my neck to keep the skin protected from the sun. You can try this as well if it’s not too hot outside.

Should You Wear Long Pants for ATV?

3 kids riding together on small ATVs

In general, it’s best to wear long pants when riding ATVs. You can choose short pants if it’s a hot summer day, but you need to be ready to get scratches on your legs and end up dirty. I highly advise choosing long pants because your skin will be kept safe from harm and you won’t even get too hot because you will be riding at fast speeds. In addition, you can wear a pair of pants that are made from a breathable material such as nylon.

Are you looking for some cool ATV outfit ideas? Check out this post where I highlight some really awesome-looking outfits.

Can I Wear Flip Flops ATV?

While it may be tempting to hop on your ATV with the casual comfort of flip flops, this choice of footwear can actually pose significant risks. Flip flops do not provide the necessary protection, stability, or grip that proper riding boots or closed-toe shoes offer when operating an ATV. In the event of a mishap, wearing flip flops increases your chances of sustaining serious foot injuries due to their minimal coverage and lack of support.

Furthermore, flip flops can easily slip off your feet or get caught on the footrests or other parts of the ATV, which can impede your ability to control the vehicle effectively. For your safety and to maintain full control of the ATV at all times, it is highly recommended to wear appropriate footwear such as over-the-ankle boots or sturdy, closed-toe shoes. These options not only protect your feet from potential harm but also greatly improve your ability to operate the ATV safely and efficiently.

Are Jeans Safe to Wear When ATV Riding?

Jeans are a popular choice for many ATV riders due to their comfort and widespread availability. While jeans provide more protection than shorts or light fabrics, they are not the most effective option for ensuring rider safety. Jeans can offer some level of protection from cuts, scrapes, and minor abrasions, but they lack the specialized features of purpose-designed riding pants, such as padding, armor inserts, and durable, abrasion-resistant materials.

For enhanced safety while ATV riding, consider investing in a pair of riding pants or overpants. These are specifically designed with the demands of off-road riding in mind. They often include reinforced stitching, adjustable ventilation, and integrated protection for critical areas like the knees and hips. While jeans are a convenient and comfortable option, dedicated riding pants are designed to provide superior safety, durability, and comfort during your ATV adventures.

Bob Kelly

Hey there, my name is Bob and I've been riding ATVs, dirt bikes, and UTVs for most of my life. Going on outdoor adventures has always been my passion. I love sharing tips and tricks with beginners who are getting ready to join the world of outdoor enthusiasts. You can reach me at bobtheatvguy@gmail.com if you want to get in touch.

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