The Ultimate Desert Riding Kit: Our Top Gear Picks
Crisp fall days are here at last, and what better way to celebrate the season than on a bike? Cooler temperatures, empty trails, and peak colors bring fresh energy to fall rides, and this year, we’re particularly excited about riding in the desert.
This month, we’re partnering with Ride Force, a Jackson, Wyoming-based company that makes inclusive gear to empower all riders. Our partnership came to life at this month’s Roam Fest in the desert playground of Fruita, Colorado. The festival was a three-day celebration of women and mountain biking, and we’re so glad to have been a part of it.
We loved teaming up with Ride Force to support the awesome female riders sharing the stoke at Roam Fest. In celebration of this partnership and the incredible community at Roam Fest, we’re eager to share a list of gear for desert riding, just in time for the gorgeous shoulder season. Check out our suggestions before hitting the trail!
Desert Riding Essentials
One of our goals at Mazama Designs is to make hydration easier while you’re riding your bike. That’s why we’re including two of our favorite hydration reservoirs at the top of the list.
Our new Intake 2L Insulated Reservoir keeps water cold for hours on the trail. No matter what time of year you’re riding, the desert sun can be powerful, and you’ll be glad to have cold and refreshing hydration accessible at all times.
If you want to replenish those electrolytes on a longer ride, our DUAL 2L Hydration Reservoir can help. With dual chambers in a single reservoir, you can keep water and a replenishing sports drink on hand. The DUAL is perfect when you’re working up a sweat and need to replace those electrolytes on the go.
Sometimes you want the ease of a water bottle — between rides, when you’re warming up, or cooling down. Mazama's unique, squirt-or-bite BPA-free Sports Bottle is convenient and taste-free. With two easy modes of drinking, hydration is easy when you’re on-the-go. A one-handed closure system is easy to use and prevents unwanted leakages whether you stow your bottle on your bike or throw it in your pack.
Our partners at Ride Force make the perfect long-sleeved jersey for sunny desert riding. Offering both sun protection and maximum breathability, these jerseys have the perfect balance for shoulder season riding.
Inclusive sizing is geared toward all genders. The jerseys have a long drop tail for maximum coverage and angled shoulder seams for a comfy backpack fit. They even have a hidden microfiber cloth for cleaning goggles or sunglasses.
If you tend to run warm, Ride Force also makes this jersey with a 3/4-length sleeve.
Wild Rye’s flagship women’s short, the Freel is ready for wherever your bike takes you. Durable and comfortable, these shorts have a four-way stretch that moves with you. Shrub- and mud- resistant fabric can stand up to a tough ride, and the beautiful prints will make you smile!
The Patagonia men’s Dirt Roamers are shorts you can wear all day long. Stretchy, breathable, and ultra comfy, these’ll take you from the hot summer rides in the desert to mild and even chilly fall days.
Eye protection is no joke, especially when you’re mountain biking on dusty desert trails. These affordable Tifosio Sledge glasses for both men and women have large frames to keep the dirt and debris out, so you can focus on your ride. They also come with three different lenses, so you can switch ‘em up depending on conditions and lighting.
Say goodbye to sweaty palms with these padded, wicking women’s gloves by Wild Rye. These fun-loving gloves have cushiony gel padding and are great when you want a little extra protection. With convenient features like a cotton thumb for wiping a runny nose and touch screen-compatible thumbs, these stylish gloves check all the boxes.
These versatile men’s Dakine gloves will get you through the shoulder season in comfort. With gel padding on the palms, you can expect a comfortable and smooth ride. A mesh back lets your hands breathe, so you can say goodbye to sweat and moisture. This comfortable glove has a synthetic suede palm to keep you protected if you do take a tumble.
Protect yourself when you’re on your bike, especially on unforgiving terrain like desert slickrock. G-form knee and elbow guards are the streamlined, flexible pads that work hard to protect you. Lightweight and packable, these guards harden on impact to give you the protection you need.
A buff just might be the multitool of outdoor apparel. It works as a headband, a scarf, a mask, and — in the desert — a much-needed sunshade for your neck. Ride Force makes an all-season buff that’s perfect for fall days on the trail. Breathable and protective, this multi-use buff gives you the best of both worlds.
This highly breathable, highly packable women’s jacket from Shredly is the vibrant answer to your fall weather needs. With several beautiful prints to choose from, this jacket is the perfect functional piece to throw in your pack. Wind and water resistant, this jacket has zippered pockets, a stashable hood, and a vented back panel.
This men’s men’s Pearl Izumi jacket is a high performer for shoulder season rides. This extremely versatile layer converts from a jacket to a vest, expanding its utility in your mountain biking kit. Breathable and wind and water resistant, this jacket packs down small and fits well over layers. It’s also made from recycled materials, which we can’t complain about.
First Aid Kit
Any outdoor pursuit has inherent risk, and mountain biking is no exception. Anyone on a bike should carry a first-aid kit no matter where they’re riding, and this Adventure Medical Kit fits easily inside a pack. The kit is compact but includes the essentials: an assortment of bandages, gauze, wound care items, and more.
When you’re on your bike, you want snacks that pack easy, fill you up, and (most importantly) taste good. Picky Bars fit the bill, and they come in a bunch of different flavors — like Blueberry Boomdizzle and Cinnamon Roll’n — to choose from. Born in our hometown of Bend, Oregon, these bars are made to satisfy on the go. They’re the perfect pick-me-up for any mountain bike adventure.
What better beer to cap off a desert ride than a cold New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale? Inspired by the sport itself, this well-balanced, easy-drinking ale is the perfect end to an active fall day on the trail. If you’ve bagged your ride early, Barley Brown’s Breakfast Stout is a great choice to accompany that missed breakfast.
Share the stoke and hit the trail this fall
At Mazama Designs, we're committed to getting more people on bikes. We feel it's important to not only welcome but to actively support women, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC riders through events like Roam Fest, and by sharing amazing gear made by some of our favorite women-owned and inclusive brands. We hope this list helps you feel inspired and prepared to hit the trail this fall season.
Did we miss anything? Share your favorite gear for fall or desert riding in the comments below!