Disclaimer: This post on becoming a dirt biker contains affiliate links. We are members of the Amazon Associates Program. We receive a commission for qualified purchases at no additional cost to you. More information on our disclaimer page.
This is essentially a detailed shopping list of everything we purchased to be dirt bikers. Now, I use the term “dirt biker” very loosely when describing us. I mean we have dirt bikes and are semi-functional on them. We don’t ride professionally or anything crazy like that. I have a tendency to fall off mine several times each trip. Since we are complete beginners, we got pretty much every item of protective gear we could find, but kept the rest minimal-ish. So, here’s our list of what we use as dirt bikers.
The Absolute Essentials
There are some things that you need in order to be a dirt biker – For instance, dirt bikes. There’s other stuff that are nice to have, but not entirely essential for riding.
You cannot be a dirt biker unless you have a dirt bike or access to one. There are so many different types of dirt bikes out there. Before we looked into it, I had no idea there was such a wide range. The one we have, a KLX230R is relatively new and meant more for trail riding than MX riding. We ride just for fun. If you want to ride competitively, then you’ll probably want a bike directed more towards whichever style of riding you’re going for.
Additionally, if you are on the shorter side, you’d probably want a smaller bike. I’m 5’6 and I can’t really touch the ground on both sides easily.
Another note, we’ve had more maintenance issues than we anticipated with these bikes, so if you can find older dirt bikes rather than brand new ones, that would be easier. There aren’t any used dirt bike places here, so our only option for trail bikes was these two.
Evan needed a vehicle when we moved here. Since we had motorcycles then and planned on getting dirt bikes, he got a truck. Since dirt bikes are not street legal, we need to use the truck to transport them to and from the trails and parks.
In order to get the bikes into the truck, we need either a hill or ramps. We can’t spontaneously cause hills to appear, so we bring ramps with us. These are the ones we have from Harbor Freight. They’re trifold, so they fit into the truck with the bikes easily.
Once you have the truck and have the bikes rolled up into it, you need to tie them down. We have one and another partial set of ratchet straps. Our first set had one strap that malfunctioned, thankfully not while the bikes we were driving. We bought the second set to replace that one and as backups in case something happened to any of the others. https://amzn.to/3rjtXfJ
You can ride without a helmet, but it is a stupid and foolish thing to do. While dirt bike riding is generally at a much lower speed than street riding, it would still hurt. Additionally, if you ride on trails, there’s rocks and trees. Oh, also if you’re here in New Mexico, there’s also cacti in most places to ride. So, unless you would like an unnecessary head injury or cactus to the face, I would recommend getting a helmet.
Here’s a link to the ones we have: https://amzn.to/3ahQ4MD. We go ours thrown in when we purchased our bikes, but they are available on Amazon. Yes, in addition to matching motorcycles, we have matching helmets.
Boots protect you from the knee down. If you don’t wear them you are more susceptible to ankle injuries when you hit the ground, as well as scratches or bruises from branches/rocks/your bike.
Evan was able to find used boots on Facebook Marketplace or Letgo. Mine are from Amazon: https://amzn.to/2YvcWmo. It’s harder to find non-pink women’s dirt bike gear compared to street riding gear. I just embraced the pink, so all of my gear is pink and black.
If you would like to have eyesight during and after riding, goggles are a must. Dirt, sand, bugs, wind, etc. will come flying at your face. Your helmet protects your head from all that except your face. Dirt bike helmets are not like street bike helmets. There’s no protective visor. I don’t think there’s much of a difference between mine and Evan’s other than the color. They are both relatively inexpensive and get the job done.
These are mine: https://amzn.to/3ow7QRb
These are Evan’s: https://amzn.to/39xZep9
If you fall, which you probably will if you’re a beginner like us, your hands will thank you for wearing gloves. Also, if you ride in forested trails, they’ll protect you from branches. Evan’s are from the dealership near us. Mine are from Amazon: https://amzn.to/3csOJFu
Even though you will probably be wearing long sleeves, pants, boots, gloves, and a helmet, sunscreen is still important. I’m sure you know why sunscreen in general is necessary, but you may not think about it for dirt biking just because you’re mostly covered. Here is just one example of why you should wear sunscreen while riding:
I had sunscreened the back of my neck, but evidently not my wrists. I pushed my sleeve up for what seemed like a short time, but due to the altitude and season, I burned/tanned pretty quickly. It took roughly 3-5 months for that to fade.
Chest protectors protect your chest and spine. I believe the two we have are roost guards rather than actual chest protectors, although Evan’s might be an actual chest protector. It’s kind of hard to tell. Brands don’t really differentiate well. They protect more from small items flying around rather than full on crashes. However, neither of us do any crazy riding. I just fall off my bike at low speeds. From what I can tell based on browsing different articles, chest protectors can be bulkier, but offer more protection. Your decision on chest protectors vs. roost deflectors comes down to your riding style, how much you want to spend, how much you care about safety, and whether you prefer something lighter or over/under jersey.
Evan’s was used. It’s also EVS brand, but I believe it’s an older version. My roost guard is a men’s one. Due to my unfortunate genetics, low body fat, and pectoral muscles, my chest is built more like a dude’s, so a women’s chest protector wouldn’t fit me well.
These have saved my legs many a time. I have photos of bruises from after my first fall without shin guards. It was not pretty. I will save you from the grossness and not post bruise photos on here. I will however, share a link to the shin guards we have. This is the second set we’ve tried. The first ones included both elbow and knee/shin, but they seemed flimsy, so we returned them.
Nice to Have
The following are things that help us out a lot. They aren’t necessarily essential for riding, depending on the type of riding you do and your situation. We wouldn’t do well without most of these, but they’re a little more niche.
Jerseys and Pants
You can technically ride in jeans and long sleeved shirts, but for comfort and protection, we both have jerseys and riding pants. I wore jeans and my street gear on our first trip out because we got our bikes before I got all my dirt bike gear. It wasn’t the most comfortable and I scuffed my nice leather boots, so I wouldn’t recommend street gear. Also, to look like a dirt biker, a jersey and pants are kind of necessary.
When we go to the OHV park, we bring camping chairs with us for our snack and water breaks. They’re more comfortable than sitting on the tailgate. https://amzn.to/3pEu6d1
Long socks make the boots and shin guards more comfortable. I have thigh high ones so that my skin isn’t touching the knee part of the shin guards. They rub and are really uncomfortable after riding without extra tall socks.
Insulated Water Bottle
We bought a small ice chest for water bottles, but switched to just using my little one when we’re away from the truck and leaving Evan’s insulated water bottle in the truck for breaks. We throw ice in there in the morning when we leave. Usually there’s still ice when we come back home. I can’t find the exact one we have. There’s no brand name or anything on the bottle and Evan found his a few years ago.
If you have a small truck like us, a tailgate net can give you some reassurance that whatever you put in the bed won’t go sliding out. We’re not able to close the tailgate with the bikes in there, so we use the net. If you can close your tailgate, obviously you don’t need this.
If you have a small truck or don’t want to keep all your gear in your cab, using plastic bins works well. We put all our gear in 3 bins and wedge them between the dirt bikes in the bed. Ours are from Wal-Mart, but they’re flimsier than we would like and the lids don’t stay on too well, so I wouldn’t recommend those. If you can find ones with the latch handles, those would be better and feel more secure.
So, that’s everything we have purchased for dirt biking. I did not include add-ons for our bikes, but I can do another post on that if that’s something you’re interested in. One thing about this dirt biker post that’s different than a lot of our other posts is most of the items were purchased new. Typically we talk about used items or stuff we’ve been given rather than strictly new things. We tried finding used gear and bikes, but didn’t have as much luck in the dirt biker area compared to clothes or furniture. Dirt biking does take a little initial investment, but as we’ve discussed in our post 4 Things We Spend Money On, riding is one of the few things we’re ok spending more on.