Best kit for adventure bikes | MCN's top picks whether you're blazing trails or traversing coffee shop car parks

As we’ve said before, getting the right kit for your ride and your motorcycle are crucial and it’s the same for riders of adventure bikes. Whether you are hitting the trails or travelling through the urban jungle, you will need some adventure motorcycle kit.

Clearly, there are both aesthetic and practical reasons to get the right kit for the right bike. A set of racing leathers would not only look daft on an adventurer, they would be extremely uncomfortable, as they are designed to be worn in a racing tuck and an adventure bike puts the rider in a far more upright – or even standing – position.

So clearly adventure kit must allow the rider to move around, as the bike will always be doing that if it is used off-road. They must be able to stand up and sit down and ideally, have a decent amount of ventilation or breathability, since off-road riding in particular can be very hard work.

Related: Best adventure motorbike jackets

Even if only used on-road, adventure kit still needs to protect the rider and be waterproof and windproof – the same as every other kind of clothing. Here is what we reckon is some if the top adventure motorcycle kit.

The only lid you'll ever need, and then some

Best adventure helmet
Tried and tested by Justin Hayzelden - "The Arai Tour-X 5 is a well constructed, comfortable and versatile helmet. It brings together some of the best features of the current range, such as the RX-7’s visor system, Quantic’s logo vent and Profile V’s wider base, along with improvements of its own, to stand as a testament to the company’s commitment to safety through measured evolution."

"With the peak fitted the T-X 5 is ideal for adventure touring, boasting ample room to flip the visor up and wear goggles if needs be, and with it removed makes a smart and practical alternative to a traditional full-face lid. In a previous review I said that the T-X 4 could be the only lid you’ll ever need, but with its quick-change visor, improved shape and enhanced ventilation, the Tour-X 5 takes that versatility to the next level."

Read our picks of the best adventure motorbike helmets here

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Versatile
  • Wide field of vision
  • Easy visor change
  • Excellent ventilation
  • High build quality
  • Adjustable fit

Cons

  • Cheek pads are a little too 'Velcro friendly'
  • Comfort
    5.0
  • Visor
    5.0
  • Ventilation
    5.0
  • Noise
    4.0
  • Looks
    5.0
  • Quality
    5.0
  • Value
    5.0
Weight 1,700 grammes
Construction Complex fibre laminate
Chin strap type D ring
Intercom ready Yes
Drop down sun visor No
Pinlock Yes
Interior Fully removable, moisture wicking and washable
Warranty 5 years
Safety standard ECE 22.06
  • Adaptive fit
  • Removable peak
  • Adjustable peak
  • Quick release visor
  • Fully removable and washable moisture wicking liner
  • Speaker cavities
  • Pinlock included
  • Adjustable vents

A textile jacket that's ready for anything

Best adventure jacket
Price: £304.99 (was £549.99)
Available both with and without an integrated In&motion airbag, the RST Pro Adventure X jacket and matching trousers (£219.99) are made with a MaxTex outer reinforced with ballistic nylon in key impact areas, to achieve a CE rating of AA (A for the trousers) and comes with Level-2 armour in the shoulders, elbows and knees with the Level-1 back protector integral with the airbag and pockets for hip protectors.

Both feature a removeable thermal liner with a SinAqua waterproof and windproof membrane bonded to it. The jacket has chest, arm and back vents and the trousers, large panels on the legs.

Read our picks of the best adventure motorcycle jackets here

Pros

  • Level 2 elbow and shoulder armour
  • AA rated
  • Waterproofing and vents for all weather

Cons

  • Airbag requires subscription to In&Motion to function
  • CE rating: AA (jacket), A (trousers)
  • Armour rating: Level-2

Matching textile trousers that'll keep up whatever the weather

Best adventure trousers
Price: £209.99 (was £299.99)
Read our picks of the best textile trousers here

Pros

  • Level 2 knee armour
  • AA rated
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • No hip armour included
Construction Abrasion resistant Max-Tex outer reinforced with Ballistic fabric
Armour CE level 2 shoulder, elbow and back
CE Garment Rating AA
  • Removable RST X-liner waterproof thermal liner
  • removable rear map pocket
  • Zipped ventilation

Rally ready summer gloves

Best summer adventure gloves
Tried and tested by Simon Relph - "The palms and fingertips are made from a suede like man made material which not only offers great feel when using the bikes controls but also offers protection, in the palm and on the two middle fingers silicon patches are printed on for additional grip of the controls. A simple looking, very comfortable, flexible glove with a lot of thought gone into them."

Read our picks of the best summer gloves here

Pros

  • Breathable stretch material
  • Great feel for the bike's controls

Cons

  • Not CE certified for road use

Does exactly what it says on the tin

Best adventure boots
Price: £179.99 (was £249.99)
Tried and tested by Jim Blackstock - "The first time I wore them was for a five-hour cross-country and motorway jaunt and they felt as good at the end as the beginning. These would work on any big bike adventure, on or off-road and keep you warm, dry and protected." - read the full review here

Tried and tested by Adam Binnie - "These are my current boots and I plan to use them until they're either completely worn through, or I've decided to stop riding motorbikes, whatever comes sooner. They're just superb - stiff enough to feel supportive and protective but flexible and comfortable enough for long rides too."

Read our picks of the best motorcycle boots here

Pros

  • Highest CE rating for protection
  • Superbly comfortable
  • Excellent grip for the bike and off it

Cons

  • Leather construction no good for Vegans
  • CE rating: 2-2-2-2

The ultimate soft luggage system

Best adventure luggage system
Price: €711.00 (plus VAT & import fees)
Tried and tested by Laura Thomson - "The Mosko Moto Reckless 80L Revolver is a rackless soft luggage solution that aims to give maximum capacity with minimum modification. Comprising a 1680D Ballistic Nylon yoke with leg holsters and three removable drybags (2 x 25l, 1 x 22l), the system is packed with pockets, straps and MOLLE loops, offering adaptability that isn’t seen anywhere else. The yoke attaches securely via four webbing straps, which don’t loosen under even the most relentless of riding."

"It’s not cheap - at €683.40 before VAT and import fees (when tested), it weighs in at considerably more than an equivalent Kriega set or Enduristan’s offering. However, the durability and clever design more than justify the premium. It's proof that light is right."

Read our picks of the best universal motorcycle panniers here

Pros

  • Excellent quality
  • Ergonomic and thoughtful design
  • No bike modification needed

Cons

  • Doesn't fit well on some popular bikes
  • Much more expensive than the competition

Will bring out the best in your adventure bike's road handling

Best adventure-sports tyres
Price: From £250 a pair
Tried and Tested by Matt Wildee - "A great set of tyres that improve our V-Strom in every aspect on road, with no trade-off. They make it feel lighter, easier to ride and more fun."

Read our full test on road-biased adventure tyres here

Pros

  • Light and predictable
  • Warm up quickly
  • Excellent road holding

Cons

  • A little nervous when pushed hard on the throttle
  • Steering
    5.0
  • Confidence
    5.0
  • Stability
    4.0
  • Ride Quality
    4.0
  • Feel
    5.0
  • Verdict
    5.0
Weight 5.25kg Front, 7.35kg Rear
Operating Temperatures 51ºC Front, 54.3ºC Rear
Braking Distance (70-0mph) 53.71m

Feature rich dedicated navigation

Best adventure navigation system
Price: £349.00 (was £499.99)
Tried and tested by Justin Hayzelden - "The unit itself is well designed and rugged (proven through my own butterfingered drop testing) and comes with an easy to install RAM mount. Thanks to the fused holder you can run power straight form the battery, making wiring it up a cinch."

"The display is a delight to behold, showing information clearly, and the menu is intuitive. Built in wifi makes map updates simple and the connectivity means that routes you create on your smart phone or desktop via the TomTom apps are easily accessible. Where it does fall down is on location accuracy from postcodes, and you can often end up a street away from your intended destination."

Read our picks of the best motorcycle navigation systems here

Pros

  • Easy to operate with gloves
  • Lifetime world maps included
  • Purchase price includes updates

Cons

  • Postcode accuracy not great
  • Smaller screen size compared to some of the competition

Compact and complete puncture repair kit for tubeless tyres

Best adventure tyre puncture repair kit
Price: £24.49 (was £34.99)
Tried and tested by Justin Hayzelden - "This particular pack has been part of my essential kit for the past two years. It has saved the day when road testing on more than one occasion. As a result, it has paid for itself at least twice over. It comes with full instructions and includes everything you need to plug a hole. Though it can get a bit messy once you start squirting the glue around. A good tip is to put some latex gloves in the accompanying storage pouch."

"There’s enough material to fix 5 punctures. However, the CO2 canisters supplied will only inflate one tyre. Top-ups are available separately though (£9.99 for 4). So replace them as you use them without needing to buy a full kit every time. Use it to limp home, then get the repair properly inspected and plugged by your preferred tyre specialist."

Read our picks of the best puncture repair kits here

Pros

  • Includes CO2 canisters
  • Easy to use and includes instructions

Cons

  • Can be messy to apply the glue

Bargain goggles on or off road

Price: $21.99
These goggles from Nenki get great reviews online at Amazon and with good reason; they are formed with a flexible TPU frame that allows them to move and fit all face shapes and sizes and feature triple-layer foam around the edges, for sweat absorption and comfort as well as shock absorption.

There are vents in the top to keep the iridium lens clear of fog and there are also posts for tear-offs, to quickly establish a clear view. They are also approved to EN1938:2010, the EU standard for road goggles.

Read our picks for the best motocross and dirt bike goggles here

Pros

  • UV and scratch resistant lens
  • Vents
  • Great value compared to the competition

Cons

  • Lesser known brand

Other options to consider

Price: $499.95

The Nexx X.Wed2 is an adventure motorcycle clothing winner in sister magazine RiDE's product testing and comes in three shell sizes with four liner sizes to get the right fit without becoming too large. Like most adventure kit, it offers excellent ventilation to keep the rider cool, with the chin vent removeable and replaceable with a mesh cover to allow plenty of air in.

It has an internal drop-down sun visor, extendable peak to prevent the sun or debris hitting the visor and is Pinlock ready.
  • SHARP rating: N/A
Price: 32.99

These short gloves from Spada are formed with a neoprene palm and a nylon mesh material to the back of the hand and across the top of the little finger for cooling airflow yet include CE rated armour, hard across the knuckles and with vented TPU protection on the fingers.

There is padding on the heel of the palm and printed grip panels with silicone sections on the tips of the first and second fingers, for gripping the brake and clutch levers on the bike.
  • CE Rated: Yes
Price: 289.98 (was £299.99)

The Nolan is a dual-homologated helmet that is incredibly versatile. You can wear it as shown in the photos; you can remove the visor and wear it with goggles instead for increased airflow to the face or you can remove the chinbar and wear it as an open face, either with the visor or goggles for maxim cooling air.

The peak can also be removed very easily if you need to do any distance on the road and it comes with both a drop-down sun visor with a quick-release pop-up system and a Pinlock insert in the box.
  • SHARP Rating: N/A

For strenuous riding off-road or in hot climates, this adventure motorcycle clothing from T.ur will do the trick. Both the jacket and trousers (£199.99) use an outer formed of a combination of heavyweight Cordura in key impact and abrasion areas with open mesh in non-contact areas to provide exceptional airflow.

The jacket is CE A-rated and the trousers are A rated and each comes with a separate thermal, waterproof and windproof inner liner to keep the elements out. There is CE Level-2 armour in the shoulders, elbows and knees and there is a pocket for a back protector in the jacket, as well as a drink bladder.
  • CE rating: AA (jacket), A (trousers)
  • Armour rating: L2
Price: 266.38 (was £332.99)

These off-road boots are Sportsbikeshop's best sellers and with good reason; intended for both touring and off-road use, they are constructed in full-grain microfibre and feature a Gore-Tex membrane to prevent water and wind getting in but allow the feet to breathe.

There is an inner gaiter for fit and comfort and significant reinforcement, including to the heel and toe cups and an ankle bracing system that both protects the bones and prevents rotational injuries.
  • CE rating: Unknown
Price: 149.99

Another best seller on Sportsbikeshop, the Oxford Montreal 3.0 is about to be superseded by the fourth-generation of the popular garment, so the retailer currently has them on a massive deal. Both the jacket and trousers (at £89.99 instead of £119.99) feature useful vents to allow cooling air in and there is a removeable thermal liner and waterproof drop liner to keep you warm and dry when the weather turns.

There is also a RainSeal hood to go under your helmet to keep water from running down the back of your neck.

Tried and tested by Adam Binnie, commercial content editor: "I used this jacket for several years while first learning to ride and then onto my first big bike. I picked it because it had a magic, confidence-inspiring combination of loads of armour and high-vis."

"It was very comfortable and had a good amount of ventilation for hot days. It didn't come with a back protector but Oxford sells a level two insert for just over £20, which fits in perfectly."
  • CE rating: A
  • Armour rating: L1
Price: 76.50 (was £85.00)

Part rucksack, part hydration bladder, this pack from Givi uses a two-litre drink bladder within its total of three litres capacity to allow you to carry water as well as essential bits and pieces.

It has a breathable back and the bladder is housed in the main pocket, while there is also a secondary pocket. The shoulder straps are quick release to make it easy to get on and off and there’s a chest strap with a whistle.

What to look for in adventure motorcycle kit

When you’re taking your ride out on an adventure, you’ll be expecting a lot from your adventure motorcycle kit. Your kit has to be safe, comfortable, functional, durable, multi purpose, and ideally lightweight too. Managing this combination of features is no mean feat, for manufacturers or riders, so here’s some key points to look out for when you’re looking to buy some adventure motorcycle kit.

When it comes to safety, look for a high level of safety for whatever kit you’re considering. Adventure riding often puts you in stressful, tired, or otherwise sub-optimal riding conditions, that put you at higher risk of being involved in an accident. Even riding on the other side of the road in another country can throw you off when it matters most, so make sure you invest in safe gear with high CE ratings.

When it comes to comfort, make sure your kit fits well and that you feel completely comfortable wearing it. Your adventure motorcycle clothing needs to be ergonomic – you might be living in it full time when you’re on an adventure, and even the smallest annoyances can turn into real discomfort over time.

When it comes to functionality, consider how practical your kit will be. Look for practical design features like pockets, waterproofing, vents, and how the bike will feel while wearing it. The little things about your kit will often be the things you notice most when you’re tired and hangry out on an adventure, especially if it’s poorly designed or not suited for what you’re doing. Consider multi purpose kit, such as all-season textiles, since you can take less luggage with you if each item does two or more jobs for you.

When it comes to durability, look for the quality of the materials used, especially frequent contact points like zips and straps. Your kit will go through much more rigorous use on an adventure compared to day-to-day commuting, so look for quality materials that will take the punishment.

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