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Equipping the Bike - what's the best gear? Anything to do with the bikes equipment, saddlebags, etc. Questions on repairs and maintenance of the bike itself belong in the Brand Specific Tech Forums.
Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA



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  • 5 Post By Grant Johnson
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  #1  
Old 23 May 2020
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Never go on an adventure ride without these 10 things

A guest post by Martin Varrand, retired 2x Junior World and 6x National Estonian Motocross Champion and now adventure and dual sport rider. He also hosts his website, Motocross Advice


When Enduro becomes Adventure, and how that changes the game

At Motocross Advice, we have been chatting about adventure bikes and asking the question; at what point does an Enduro ride become an adventure ride? We think that the duration of the journey, coupled with the distances covered have a lot to do with it. If you are riding for a whole day, over mixed terrain, that is an adventure. If you extend that over a series of days then whatever bike you are on, you are well and truly in adventure territory. While this conversation makes for good banter over a coffee at your favorite stop off, there is a serious side to the question.

Dirt bike riders, Enduro riders, and weekend trail riders may all dabble in adventure riding at some point. When taking the step up from a few hours out on the trails, to a full day or more, it is essential to be adequately prepared. When you are in the saddle for an extended period, there are a whole bunch of things that change. Fatigue, temperature, equipment and contingencies all come into play. As any regular adventure rider will tell you, things can change fast, and being caught out miles from civilization is no picnic.

We took some time out to think about what we would change if we were to head out on an adventure ride. Motocross is a different beast, but Enduro riders, trail riders and adventure riders actually have a lot in common when you start to analyze what is important to them. Critical elements for all of these disciplines include, (in no particular order):
  • Warmth and weatherproofing
  • Ease of movement, balanced with protection
  • Strong contingency planning for emergency situations
  • Robust navigation tools
  • Nutrition and hydration
  • Safety and protection
Whether it is your first or your furthest, we have pulled together a list of the top ten things you should not leave home without, when embarking on an adventure ride. These are the items that will keep you safe, warm, dry and rolling.

Lightweight, premium performance Helmet
A quality helmet is an absolute must. Whether you ride an adventure bike and opt for a dual-sport design, or are a dirt biker extending their ride into an adventure, there are some crucial helmet features you will want to have covered. First and foremost is the weight. A heavy lid will put more pressure on tiring neck muscles, and add to rider fatigue. When riding off-road, you will benefit from super lightweight carbon, or carbon composite construction. This will add hours of comfortable riding to your day.
Next up is ventilation. Muscling bikes around over trails and obstacles is hot work. With temperatures up and down all year round, a premium helmet should include adequate adjustable ventilation channels and de-misting vents. Proper vents will keep fresh air flowing around your head when it is hot, and stop your goggles or visor from misting up when it is cold.
Impact protection is a must-have when you are hitting the dirt and trails. Even a sideways tip can result in a significant blow if you come down wrong. Any premium helmet should include a proprietary impact resistance system, and rotational force system. These layers of materials will allow slip in rotational planes, and absorb varying degrees of impact depending on their direction and severity. The main benefit here is the reduced chance of a concussion, meaning you can dust yourself off and carry on riding-once you have been given the all-clear by your groups designated first-aider. If you get these three things right with your helmet, you cannot go far wrong.

Sturdy, hi-tech off-road boots
Boots are another area where dirt bikers and adventure riders absolutely agree. At Motocross Advice, we often talk about the three main points of contact; Feet, hands and ass. Feet are arguably the most important of the three, as they not only have to operate controls, but are also subject to impact from debris, branches, and rock, take vertical compression impact and are critical to the balancing of your bike. This means that an excellent off-road boot has to provide useful feedback through the pegs, allow flexibility for ankle rotation, deliver outstanding grip in all conditions, and withstand everything nature can throw at them.
A premium off-road boot should have robust gaiters to keep mud and wet out. It should also have multiple impact zones, particularly around the heel cup, toes, and shins. Buckles should pull the boot firmly to the foot and leg in at numerous points while allowing heel flex for braking and gear changes. Wicking material will remove moisture from your feet, and some models will allow for the use of an inner bootie to increase rider comfort.

Multiple Layers
Dirt bike riders are well known for wearing gear with very little waterproofing. While this might be OK for a thirty-minute session on a track if you set out on an adventure ride without adequate temperature regulation, you are asking for trouble. Enduro and adventure riders both know that cold winds, rain and hail can quickly turn from an annoyance into a severe situation. Whatever type of bike you ride, layers are king. A high quality, wicking and breathable base layer is a godsend when things turn inclement. You can always take it off, but if you haven't got it when you leave, you may well miss it.

Premium performance gloves
The second point of contact is the hands. Like the feet, they are controlling essential levers, and throttle control, and dealing with the more aggressive bits of nature. All off-road riders know that feel and flexibility is necessary when it comes to the gloves they wear. When stepping up to an adventure ride, you must wear a glove that adds waterproofing and wind shielding. If there is one thing that can pile misery onto a problematic trip, cold hands are it.
Premium gloves will allow a balance of protection to joints, and wrists, as well as grip on the palms. They do all of this with waterproofing and wind chill taken care of. Never underestimate the value of a good glove.

Premium performance Jacket and pants
While the dirt biker may feel that these are an unnecessary luxury, the Enduro and Adventure rider know better. Lightweight, hi-tech materials are a must here. Your jacket and pants should zip together for warmth and protection. They should have armoured sections for safety, and wicking sections for comfort. Multiple pockets and utility functions really add value on a long ride, as having places to stow small tools, emergency rations and your mobile phone and wallet, are all highly desirable. Without the protection and comfort of a quality jacket and pants, you may well find it is an early shower for you.

Hydration pack
Another product that all off-roaders know is a necessity. When you are heading out for extended rides dehydration is a serious concern. When dehydrated, the brain will send confusing signals, causing rider error and lapses in concentration. Even in the freezing cold, you will lose water from your body through sweat. A good hydration pack is a must so that you can take on liquids at regular intervals. Make sure you only drink pure water, with no added sweeteners, or sugars, as these are not good for hydration packs. At most, you can add a teaspoon of salt per litre to do the same job as an electrolyte drink. Other than that, keep it pure and simple.

Premium GPS with offline content
Self-explanatory. No signal on your phone or GPS = no directions. If you are going out into the wild stuff, get yourself equipment that allows for offline content. Don't just rely on your phone. Phones are far more susceptible to moisture, impact and battery consumption. Invest in a robust system or a map.

Comprehensive tool roll + tire levers
A high-quality tool roll, with sturdy tire levers, is not just advisable, it is a necessity. Things tend to go wrong fast off-road, and the difference between riding your heavy bike for five miles, and pushing it is chalk and cheese. Punctures, broken levers, loose covers, and other broken bits are less of an issue if you have tools with you. If you can squeeze a roll of duck tape in somewhere, you may well find that to be a lifesaver too.

Tubes and tire repair kit
It's not if, it's when. It may not be you, especially if you have puncture-resistant fluids in your tires; however, there is always someone who is going to get a flat. Our record is four in one day on the same bike in four different places! Embrace the fact that punctures happen. Carry the kit, and practice changing tubes in the garage when you have a spare hour or two. It will pay off in the desert, or up that mountain.

And finally...
A spare key!
Come on – we have all done it. Tape it somewhere safe. But don't go off on an adventure without one.

Whatever nature throws at you, with these items ticked, you can ride with confidence.

Have fun out there!
Martin Varrand
Motocross Advice
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Old 23 May 2020
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Great advice. On the duck tape wind it around one of the tyre levers. I also wind some electricians tape around one as well it space.
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Old 24 May 2020
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An interesting read but I suspect Martin's idea of an adventure ride may have more MX DNA in its parentage / mindset than mine. It doesn't change the validity of much of what he says but it is quite narrowly focused. Those of us that get our adventure kicks primarily on the road, riding road orientated bikes, may need to pick the nuggets of wisdom out of much of what he says and store the rest away for any future off road forays. So for many of us Never go adventuring without these 10 things might be hyperbolically overstating it a bit. It's advice from somebody coming at it from one angle, not the 10 commandments. Read it and parse it through your own experience.
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Old 24 May 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
An interesting read but I suspect Martin's idea of an adventure ride may have more MX DNA in its parentage / mindset than mine. It doesn't change the validity of much of what he says but it is quite narrowly focused. Those of us that get our adventure kicks primarily on the road, riding road orientated bikes, may need to pick the nuggets of wisdom out of much of what he says and store the rest away for any future off road forays. So for many of us Never go adventuring without these 10 things might be hyperbolically overstating it a bit. It's advice from somebody coming at it from one angle, not the 10 commandments. Read it and parse it through your own experience.
I was trying to put this into words myself but you have summed up my thoughts pretty well there.
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Old 3 Apr 2023
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Great list, though there is one item that should be added. First Aid kit and the knowledge of how to use it. Don't need to carry items for every eventuality.

Something to deal with cuts, sprains, breaks (some way to stabilize the limb/body), painkillers, antiseptic, scissors, tweezers.
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Old 13 Apr 2023
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Totally agree with the last post . Learning how to recognise / deal with heatstroke / altitude sickness / shock / hyperthermia.....all of which can kill.....either with you or your riding partner(s) .
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Old 18 Apr 2023
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Nobody ever mentions packing toilet paper. A couple of rolls weigh about the same as a can of and the enjoyment & satisfaction last much longer than a . My packing list starts with a roll of good T-P!
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Old 19 Apr 2023
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All good points, but a little off putting because of the Touratech style sales pitch or maybe slighly oversized assumptions about bike type and travel aims.

You don't need a high-tech ADV spec NASA designed hydration pack advertised by your favourite Paris-Dakar winner. You can just as well use an ex-army issue bottle or suitably packed plastic bottle of Perrier/Evian from a supermarket. Stopping and taking a few photos between having a drink, consulting your map/notes (no need for offline database either) , having a little look round the bike, is better for your overall performance than trying to break the record for that section.

Tubeless tyres are good too.

Andy
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Old 19 Apr 2023
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
Nobody ever mentions packing toilet paper. A couple of rolls weigh about the same as a can of and the enjoyment & satisfaction last much longer than a . My packing list starts with a roll of good T-P!
It's certainly on my list, and after last year's unfortunate err, 'medical' issues on the way back from Morocco, the more rolls the better. You never know when the'll be worth their weight in gold
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Old 20 Apr 2023
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A list like the OP posted is great. However, as alluded to above, traveling and recognizing what you need will always beat any list posted on the internet. Individual needs and preferences vary. After a trip, I store a lot of items in a cardboard box, so they all are in one place when I pack up for another trip. It's the small things that one forgets.
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