For sure need to get some rides planned, while the weather is still great. As far as gear goes basically wear the level of protection that makes you comfortable. I wear tourmaster brand touring type gear. Textile pants and a textile Transition 3 jacket, with some cheap leather gloves and a pair of my old army boots. I took a little fall this last weekend up around the Tillamook state Forest area going downhill on a deep gravel road. I just ended up with a sore shoulder, bruised foot and a bruised hand. So I went out and got some gloves with knuckle protection, still debating real off road boots, oh and my helmet got some gouges so I bought a new one of those. The way I look at it, it's not if your going to go down it's when. But there were dudes with a lot more off-road experience than me just wearing jeans and a jacket this last weekend. Btw, I'm still pretty new to off road riding myself. All of my 15 years or so of riding experience was road race and on the track with a sport bike. I'm slowly but surely realizing the difference in skill sets between the two, road and off road, types of riding are almost exactly opposite from each other.