Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What the Best Dressed ATV Riders are Wearing

Welcome to my first – and most likely last – fashion post.  But if ever there were an event where the right attire is paramount, ATV riding would be it.  So, without further ado, starting at the bottom and working up….

1.  Boots.  Your boots should have good tread and provide ankle support.  Remember, you’ll need good traction on the trails and on-foot sightseeing.

2.  Socks.  Your socks need to cover the space between your boots and the inevitable lift of your pants when you’re seated.  Why?  The heat from the ATV’s engine can make the sideboards near the footrests very hot.  Save yourself the burn.

3.  Long pants.  Covering your legs protects them from windburn, sunburn, insects, flying objects and again, the heat of the machine.  The best riding pants have lots of pockets.  Ladies, the trail is no place for your designer handbags.  You need a pocket for your camera or cellphone, a pocket for chapstick, a pocket for tissues, and anything else you really need.  Don’t pack a comb or brush.  Trust me on this one.

4.  Long sleeved shirt.  Covering your arms has the same benefits as covering your legs.  I use a white cotton shirt on hot days, a pullover windbreaker on cooler days, and a parka for cold days.

5.  Bandanna.  Or maybe 2.  One should be tied around your neck so you can slip it up to cover your mouth and nose if you’re riding in really dusty conditions.  They make official dust masks for ATV riders, but so far I’ve found the bandanna to work just as well.  I use a second bandanna around my hair.  It keeps most of the dust out and makes it a lot easier to brush when we’re finally back home.

6.  Helmet.  This is the most important fashion accessory in the ATV riders wardrobe.  The benefits of wearing a helmet are many:
- It's the law (in Utah) if you're under age 18;
- It keeps wind and bugs off your face;
- It keeps rocks and dust out of your eyes;
- It keeps your ears warm on cold days;
- It keeps low tree branches from hitting you in the face, and
- It can save your life.

According to Riders West, “Recent research indicates that wearing a helmet while riding an ATV reduces an individual’s risk of death by 42 per cent and of suffering a head injury by 64 per cent. Head and spinal cord injuries are among the most common injuries incurred by ATV users.”
Don’t scrimp on the helmet.  Buy the best helmet you can afford and make sure it fits you well.  And if you should have the misfortune of having the helmet do its job, replace it.

But as for the pants, shirts, and windbreakers – the best source I’ve found is my local thrift store.  After all, why pay big bucks for clothing you intend to get dirty?

Happy trails!

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