ATV safety gear: what to put on when you go off road

Your ATV apparel is the last line of defense between you and scraping branches, falling debris, and, well, the ground (which just sits there, but can be painful nonetheless). No matter what type of riding you do, we'll help you make smart clothing choices that fit your 4-wheeler lifestyle.

ATV riders: recreational vs. working

What you wear depends largely on how you ride: for recreation or work.

Recreational riders typically need higher-performance ATVs capable of handling diverse trails, bouncing over dunes, or keeping up when racing.

Working riders, on the other hand, tend to only need relatively basic utility ATVs (commonly called UTVs) for light labor such as mowing the lawn, hauling cargo, or plowing snow.

Both sets of ATV riders seemingly wear the same ATV safety gear — that is, they each cover roughly the same body parts. When you get down to it, though, much of their apparel can vary in material, grade, and detail.

ATV safety gear for recreational riders

Recreational riding can often be more intense, so your ATV apparel should offer the utmost protection.


ATV helmets for recreational riding should meet the same safety standards as those for work riding. When riding for fun, there's an even greater importance to having a full-coverage helmet, as you're often riding at faster speeds or on bumpy terrain.


If your peepers are compromised, so is your whole ride. This makes goggles a more essential piece than many think. Snug-fitting, long-lasting goggles work best. One additional feature you may want on the track or trail is a goggle roll-off — a dispenser that lets you replace a muddied outer lens with a fresh, clean one with a simple tug.


Your gloves should be heavily padded and abrasion-resistant. Also, since a lot of trail riding and ATV racing is done in warmer months, consider well-ventilated gloves to prevent excess moisture.


A cotton or synthetic riding jersey is great for wicking moisture. Get a pair of elbow guards, too, (if not already included with the jersey) to protect you if you fall. For pants, you'll likely want specialized riding pants with built-in or separate hip and knee pads.


If you're hitting the trail, look for official ATV boots with thick treads to hold their grip in muddy or slippery conditions. If you're racing with your 4-wheeler, try leather motocross boots, which have thinner soles to help riders drag their feet during competition. Go one size larger than usual to fit extra-thick socks.

ATV safety gear for working riders

Only doing some light work on your ATV? Here's an idea of which items can help get the job done … so you can finish yours.


ATV helmets for working riders should be motorcycle grade and DOT compliant. Since this riding may not require very high speeds, some might prefer an open-faced helmet with a chin strap. However, we'd always recommend a full-coverage lid (knock your teeth against the handlebars once and you'll get why).


Luckily, there isn't much variation when it comes to goggles (so shopping headaches are minimal). Just make sure they fit snugly, leaving no gap for debris or moisture to enter, and are durable enough to last.


Try specially designed off-roading gloves with extra abrasion and impact resistance. If you're working regularly in the snow or cold, consider waterproof or snowmobiling gloves.


Specialized riding jerseys and pants offer the best protection. But working riders can typically get by with at least a long-sleeve, heavy cotton shirt (brightly colored to stay visible) and long denim pants. These will help guard against scrapes, wind, sunburn, and other risks.


Thick leather boots that go above the ankle and have solid grips should do the trick. Again, go one size larger than usual to accommodate heavy, moisture-wicking socks.

ATV insurance for your custom apparel

Needless to say, after investing in the proper ATV safety gear, the last thing you'd want is to have an accident or theft force you back to square one.

Luckily, when you protect your off-roader with ATV insurance from Esurance, you can get coverage for your custom equipment and ATV apparel, too.

Start your free ATV insurance quote to protect your gear the same way it protects you.

ATV safety tips
You've got the gear. Now nab the know-how. Ride safer with these pointers from our blog.

Hazards of the ATV trail
ATV riders face routine dangers like twisting trails, narrow paths, and other riders.

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