If you‘re about to race in your first cross country navigation rally and all you have is your ADV gear, fear not: it‘s doable. It‘s not the best, obviously, but if you‘ve got to work within your means – and hey, you‘ll be just fine.
ADV Suit in a Rally
The biggest issue with wearing an adventure suit in a rally is that it seriously restricts movement. I spent three days racing in the TransAlenTejo Rally in Portugal, and while I had a blast, wearing the stiff Klim suit felt a little limiting, especially on steep hillclimbs and on rocky terrain where you move on the bike (ahem, as well as off) quite a lot.
On the other hand, unless you‘re tackling the Dakar, you can absolutely survive a rally wearing your ADV suit. Bonus if it‘s GoreTex: you won‘t freeze during the liaison stages when it‘s raining cats and dogs and you‘ve got to make distance.
ADV vs Off-Road Helmet
I wore my Klim Krios helmet in the rally, and frankly, I‘m not sure I‘d necessarily want an off-road helmet. Krios is feather-light, which is awesome when you‘re spending 8-10 hours on the bike.
Goggles, on the other hand, is something you don‘t want to skimp out on. I love my Klim ViperPros, but I failed to switch out the dark lenses. Result? Badly hurting wrists and hands from hitting too many holes and puddles (okay, okay, my crappy riding added to that too, but seeing things clearly would have helped). Pack a few spare lenses just in case and opt for a clear lens even when the day is sunny – you‘re likely to be riding through forest areas where there‘ll be lots of shadows on the trail, plus all the mud and rain is not going to make it easy.
Unless, again, it‘s the Dakar, and you‘re in the desert.
I‘ve been riding the Americas in my Gaerne SG12s for two years now, and I‘m a faithful convert to off-road boots as opposed to adventure boots, so this was a no brainer for me. I recently got a pair of Sidi Crossfire 3 SRS and they were perfect for the rally: the protection is unparalleled, but they are also incredibly comfy, even when you‘re standing on the pegs all day long and it rains.
Ideally, switching to fully MX gear for your first rally is great. But if you can‘t do that just yet, wear what you have, go anyway, and have fun!