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Best Gear for Mountain Biking in the Desert

Mountain biking in the desert comes with its own set of gnar-gnar and awesomeness, but also with its own collection of ouches and oh-shits. Being that I live in Phoenix, I rock many battle scars courtesy of saguaro and sharp rocks. Over the years, I have tested out different gear options to lock in the perfect set up and I wanted to share that.

Here is a current list of the gear I use when Mountain Biking in the Desert.

(This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thanks!)

Protect Ya Noggin – Helmet

Let’s start with the most basic, a helmet. It’s kind of an important part of your body, holding the thinking noodles and eyeballs, so it’s a good idea to keep it protected. When it comes to mountain biking in the desert, it’s also vital to have great ventilation.

Smith Forefront 2 MIPS Helmet

Smith Forefront 2 MIPS Helmet

Why We love it: The most breathable, best looking, and comfortable helmet on the market

The Specs:

  • Smith’s premiere helmet for trail and all-mountain
  • MIPS low-friction liner disperses rotational forces
  • Aerocore In-Mold design is light, breathable, rugged
  • 20 large vents with Koroyd for increased breathability
  • Three-position visor is compatible with enduro goggles
  • VaporFit adjustable fit system for a customized fit
  • X-Static anti-odor lining with Reflective Cooling

Check the latest price:
Smith Optics | Backcountry | Amazon

Sweet Eye Protection with Style

I cringe when I see someone riding without sunglasses. I can’t tell you how many times an unseen branch or pebble pops up and tags the sunglasses which would’ve otherwise been in my eye. Plus, it’s also pretty important to see where you’re going, amiright? Why not protect your eyes, while killing the fashion game?

Smith Optics Ruckus ChromaPop Sunglasses

Smith Optics Ruckus ChromaPop Sunglasses

Why We love it: Matches the Smith helmet look, fits like a glove, looks badass, and comes with two lenses for when the light drops

The Specs:

  • Performance sunglasses for running, cycling, and training
  • Chromapop lens enhances clarity and natural color
  • Interchangeable lens system with included bonus lens
  • Rimless frame features nose and temple pads for a solid fit

Check the latest price:
Backcountry | Amazon | Smith Optics

Gore Wear C3 Trail Short

Gore Wear C3 Trail Short

Why We love it: Insanely durable, comfortable, and the perfect length

The Specs:

  • A versatile short that pairs well with our favorite padded liners
  • Durable, quick-drying fabric for full freedom of movement
  • Polyester mesh lining improves breathability
  • Two front and two side zippered pockets for small items
  • Reflective detailing helps keep us seen in low-light conditions

Check the latest price:
Backcountry | Amazon

POC Joint VPD 2.0 Knee Pads

POC Joint VPD 2.0 Knee Pads

Why We love it: Great for long rides because they breathe and don’t move around. Just enough protection without being overkill

The Specs:

  • Knee pads for trail, enduro, and downhill riding
  • 3D-molded VPD foam stiffens upon impact to disperse force
  • Perforated design offers plenty of airflow
  • Elasticized hook-and-loop strap customizes the fit
  • Slim fit easily slides under your shorts

Check the latest price:
Backcountry | Amazon

FiveTen Kestral Lace MTB Shoes

FiveTen Kestral Lace MTB Shoes

Why We Love these: I dig these because when the inevitable hike-a-bike section comes, these feel like regular (but stiff) shoes.

The Specs:

  • A durable and comfortable off-road shoe
  • Soft, tacky outsole for confident pedal grip
  • Nylon shank balances stiffness and walkability
  • Synthetic toe box provides extra protection
  • Lace closure with hook-and-loop strap for a customized fit

Check the latest price:
Backcountry | Amazon

Evoc Pro 3L Hip Pack

Evoc Pro 3L Hip Pack

Why We Love this: It keeps the sweat off the back and lugs my water around for me. Enough room for Al of the essentials and none of the fluff.

The Specs:

  • STAY HYDRATED – Stores the included 1.5L Bladder with space for your belongings in the 3L bag
  • QUALITY MATERIALS – Made with 3D air mesh, Airo Flex, and 210D nylon ripstop, the Airflow Contact system offers cooling back ventilation
  • VENTIFLAP TECHNOLOGY – The hydration waist pack adjusts quickly for uphill and downhill riding and built-in ventilation to keep you cool
  • EXTRA STORAGE – 2 bottle carriers with extra safety fixation are easy to reach, 2 hip pockets for storing essentials

Check the latest price:
| Amazon

Tasco Ridgeline Gloves

Tasco Ridgeline Gloves

Why We Love these: Incredible grip. Super comfy. Durable AF. Sweet designs. 

The Specs:

  • Pull On closure
  • Velcro Free Slip on Minimalist Glove
  • Vented Fourchettes (sides of the fingers) to allow for maximum venting
  • MicroFiber Sweat wipe on thumb panel – wiping your nose never felt better!
  • Conductive threads on the index finger and thumb to ensure you don’t miss that trail-side photo

Check the latest price:
| Amazon


Bonus | Some random goodness

Quadlock Case for Iphone 12 Pro – I have the entire set made by Quadlock: car mount, bike mount, armband, motorcycle mount. It’s the most versatile and substantial system out there.

Garmin Edge 830 – My guiding star. Keeps me pedaling without stopping to look at my phone. Makes sure I get home to the ol lady. Great battery life. Gives you bonus chirps when you jump!

GoPro Hero 10 – The best way to capture MTB goodness – high quality. Super cool hyper-lapse features. Durable af. The leader for the pack.

Fattys – Packed with protein. Freaking delicious. Keto friendly. I re commend the Original and Jalapeno flavors.

Ultima Electrolytes – The cleanest and healthiest electrolyte mix on the market. Super small footprint. Delicious. Keto friendly. My favorite is the watermelon flavor.


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Best Gear for Mountain Biking in the Desert