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No matter how careful you are while driving an ATV, no matter what precautions you might take or how experienced you are when in the saddle, accidents will happen. Even the most experienced off-roaders know that you can’t control the many factors that occur while tearing through the mud or across expansive dirt trails. And given your driven speed, the consequences of those actions can be serious, even deadly. That’s why pros wear the right ATV safety equipment, and why everyone else should.
Much like motorcycles, ATV riding doesn’t often come with seat belts, and even if your rig does have safety belts and a roll bar, you still want a serious helmet to protect your head and a pair high-end goggles to keep the mud, dust, and dirt from obscuring your vision. Beyond that, ATVers should also consider a cadre of other protective wear, including gloves, padded chest protection, long-sleeved shirts and jerseys, bomb-proof boots, and even a neck brace for when the going gets truly rugged.
Considering typical off-road conditions are common to both ATVers and dirt motorcyclists and moto-cross riders, the option of gear makers is refreshingly wide. But that can also make it a bit daunting to find the right equipment for your next outing. We’re here to help navigate that morass of merchant options. Take a look below to find the best ATV safety equipment to buy today.
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Perhaps the most obvious piece of safety equipment: A full-faced helmet. But Bell’s Moto-9 Helmet isn’t merely protection for your entire head. This new helmet is marketed to moto-cross riders, so it’ll handle all the variables in ATV riding. It uses the industry-leading Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS), a slip-plane technology that sits inside the helmet and is designed to reduce rotational forces that can result from certain impacts. This protection is buoyed by Bell’s MERS system, which utilizes a series of pads that can be removed for washing and — in worst-case scenarios — let emergency responders remove your cheek pads before taking off the helmet.
The exterior, meanwhile, is a proprietary mix of Aramid, carbon fiber, and fiberglass that claims to deliver all the weight and strength benefits of a full-carbon helmet but at a fraction of the cost. A fully-ventilated EPS-line chin bar paired with the air-intake vents on the adjustable visor and Bell’s Velocity Flow venting system keep things from getting steamy.
Everything stays secure thanks to the D-ring closure on the padded chin strap, and the helmet is compatible with most goggles. Best of all, the Moto-9 comes with an industry-leading, five-year warranty.
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Tailored specifically to help you discern subtle transitions in dirt conditions, Oakley leverages their legacy for top optical performance in this ATV- and moto-cross-specific goggle. The Airbrake MX Heritage also boasts serious impact protection, thanks to Oakley’s proprietary Plutonite lenses, which come equipped with an F3 anti-fog coating.
The frame is made from injection-molded polycarbonate to deliver a precise contour for optimal fit and a shockingly wide field of vision, so you don’t lose anything on the periphery. If conditions prove too bright — or too low-light — for the Plutonite lens, you can also avail yourself from Oakley’s wide range of the other stand-alone options, which can be swapped into place thanks to the easy-to-use Switch-Lock Lens technology.
The goggles come in a variety of colorways, from black to yellow and black to gray, but the blue-white-red model wins bonus points for its retro aesthetic.
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The right ATV glove isn’t just about delivering a sure grip on the throttle and break. With unexpected spills, small rocks, and pieces of wood flying at you at every turn or acceleration, the best ATV glove should offer armor-like protection from the elements. And, as its name implies, the ILM Madbike Steel-Knuckle Gloves do that in spades, thanks in no small part to protection points made of alloy steel that have been injected-molded onto the glove, so that they’re comfortable and fashionable in a Game of Thrones kind of way.
All finger joints have been engineered according to the way the hand moves, with serious anti-collision protection, while the rest of the glove has been designed using 3D plastic non-slip lines to bolster the non-slip grip in a full range of different grasping conditions. The cuff fits tight, marrying nicely with your arm protection while easily flowing under the long-sleeved jersey without snagging, with a Velcro strap to keep things snug.
Sizing ranges from medium up to XXL, and colorways vary from all-black to red, yellow, and blue. You can also consider fingerless options, with protection that covers the first knuckle of the hand, if you typically ride in warmer climates.
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These boots would make Mad Max turn green with envy. Created to help Fox Racing’s moto-cross athletes handle long days in the saddle without overheating or sacrificing any of the bomber protection needed, they come with improved overall traction for really rough riding on unpredictable trail conditions. Four aluminum alloy buckles lace each boot, which reaches up to just under the knee, for an easy and assured fit and solid protection, which includes a plastic chin plate medial guard for solid coverage where you need it most. They also come with larger lugs than the typical off-road boot for added traction when conditions demand that you leave your ATV and enter the mud yourself.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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Think of this as the equivalent of an armored chest plate — only, unlike some medieval monstrosity, it provides complete, unrestricted coverage and protection. And, because it’s made of plastic and foam, it weighs only ten pounds. It comes with two side plates and an extended lower back that’s CE-certified, with an integrated buckle system at the hips and shoulder to help dial the ideal fit. Comfort comes from the double-layer, bio-foam system, which also helps reduce the force of any unexpected impacts. And the shoulder and bicep plates are adjustable and can be ditched when that extra protection feels like overkill.
It’s also neck brace-compatible, with a front plate that can be adjusted to accommodate that extra layer. Total flow-through venting keeps things shockingly comfortable. Only two sizes are available: small/medium and large/extra-large, but the adjustments should accommodate most torsos.
Fox offers the Raptor Vest in four colors, including black and orange, black, white, and a loud-and-proud yellow with blue accents.
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Unlike other items on this list, which boast padding or metal — or both — to keep you protected, products that almost universally grow out of the off-road market, these pants come from Arborwear, the self-proclaimed “original tree-climbers’ gear company.” The first product in their now-extensive line, the Original Tree-Climbers’ Pants is a heavy-duty piece of apparel that’s both rugged enough to stand up the travails of the trails but comfortable and roomy enough to wear for hours, even days, on end.
Made of 12.5-ounce pre-shrunk washed canvas, they feel broken in from the jump and include a three-piece gusseted crotch for added maneuverability when on your ATV or wandering the parking lot for post-ride beers. And they’re super durable, with industrial stitching and double-layer knees and boot-friendly work cuffs that taper to keep them free from gears and easily tuck inside your boots.
They come with two front pockets, as well as a utility pocket on the right thigh, with seven belt loops in all sizes save the 30-inch-waist model, which has five. Both waist and in-seam sizes break out in even numbers, and they come in brown, beige, green, and blue. Also available in men and women models.
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If you’re already outfitted with chest protection, a neck brace, and gloves — and maybe elbow pads — adding a padded jersey is overkill. Instead, you want something that’s loose enough to slip over that bomber kit. Crank Jersey does all that — and makes one hell of a statement as well, thanks to the explosion of graphics that mix rock iconography (a vampire version of the Rolling Stones logo? Check.) winged flaming eyeballs, and ’50s-era pin-up girls…just for starters.
The multi-panel construction and a V-neck collar mean it’ll move with you, and an extended tail offers addition butt protection (or just make it easy to tuck it in and keep it in place). Tapered cuffs make it easy to wear the jersey with gloves, and it breathes well. Customers vary in their opinion on fit: Some say it runs big, but if you’re planning on wearing it over the rest of your stuff, extra space is precisely what you want. And yes, you can get matching pants.
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Serious ATVers know that, when it comes serious protection against the unexpected, there’s no substitute for a neck brace. The reason should be obvious: Because a high-quality ATV neck brace will help prevent industry leading neck and back injury. Atlas’ neck braces are known for their patented split-flex frame design, which lets the rear of the brace mimic the natural movements of your shoulders.
Overall, you get a minimalist design with flex, suspension, and the largest brace-to-body contact ratio (27 percent) on the market. It uses a tough and impact-resistant polymer construction that can withstand multiple impacts and has been engineered to slow down violent clashes by spreading and reducing the impact forces, rather than coming to an abrupt stop.
The brace sits around your spine and sternum, so that it transfers the impact forces to the larger muscle groups rather than directly on the more fragile areas, with a chest suspension system that keeps the head moving to provide tuck-and-roll maneuvers during the accident.
That chest support employs a “leaf spring-style” design that provides 30mm of suspension to further redistribute and reduce impact, with each one operating independently to provide strategic and effective protection. And that’s just the start.
The Altas Air also includes a wireless tether, an easy-open release system, two height adjustments, six settings to fine-tune the fit, and a hybrid strap that lets you wear it underneath or over your jersey and chest guard. Sizing is based on chest circumference (measured just under the arms).