Dalton Highway Riding Gear

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by kbcrunchy, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. kbcrunchy

    kbcrunchy n00b

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    The planning for the 2020 ride to Prudhoe Bay has started. I am curious about the riding outer gear that people have worn; jacket, pants, boots & gloves.
    #1
  2. Fishenough

    Fishenough Team Lurker

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    Years of living on the Alaska highway, and seeing hundreds of motorcyclists headed north to the Dalton, I can confirm that most riders were wearing jackets, pants, boots, and gloves.

    3 years ago met a young couple of the ferry coming back from the Dalton on CRF250's wearing large garbage bags as overgear.

    All kidding aside, be 100% certain your outer shell is water and wind proof you're golden. Remember a pack of HD full dressed bikes that turned around when dropping into Skegway in may, as most of the riders wore skull caps and it was raining at barely above freezing in the White Pass. My girlfriend was with me that day, in full gear that wasn't waterproof, but was comfortable wearing my rain jacket and pants over her gear.

    Cheers

    That day on the White Pass

    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. motokeith

    motokeith Been here awhile

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    Did the Dalton in July 2014 and saw lots of rain. It usually wasn't all day rain but rather an unpredictable shower here or there as we covered ground. I was very thankful to have gear with a GoreTex shell rather than gear with liners, just close some zippers and be watertight. Friend with liners got soaked a couple times from playing chicken with the dark clouds because he hated doing the roadside liner dance. Waterproof boots and gloves are obviously a part of this.

    Take a mosquito head net that fits over your helmet and keep it handy. The two seasons in Alaska are winter and road construction, and you will find yourself sitting at a standstill on the Dalton waiting for a pilot car to guide you through a construction zone. Within about a minute of stopping you will see one mosquito, 10 mosquitos, 100 mosquitos, then all the mosquitos.



    Full ride report here on ADV...
    https://advrider.com/f/threads/another-boring-deadhorse-ak-ride-report.1015696/
    #3
  4. rider1150gsadv

    rider1150gsadv Long timer

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    #4
  5. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    No helmet, eh?

    @OP you want to have something to take 400mi whole day rain at close to freezing temperatures and good enough to protect in 60mph off while being comfortable at 90F at the top. That said most likely temps will be in 60s/low 70s unless you come in September.

    Last year it snowed on Dalton in June the friend of mine got caught in it in Deadhorse was fine 2 days later. We were lucky missed it on Dempster. You probably want to carry tent or some kind of shelter just in case if you get caught in it. There's no potable water in camps; the friend of mine carries extra gas coming from Prudhoe just in case if Atigun pass is closed and he has to make back. IMHO it is excessive AccuWeather radar check in Deadhorse will give you heads up.

    I rode in Motoport airmesh with waterproof and insulated liners, carry set of thermals, set of summer and winter gloves with heated grips had been enough. Would probably go with electric liners for comfort/flexibility.
    #5
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  6. rider1150gsadv

    rider1150gsadv Long timer

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    I made my run in July of 2007 and had great weather all the way up to Prudhoe but on the way back I needed my electric vest, heated grips and rain gear as it was 35 in the AM and foggy. On Atigun pass I had 40 MPH wind gusts and rain... Once in Fairbanks all was well again.. The weather changes faster than one could change their underwear so just be prepared for the worst and go with the flow.
    #6
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  7. BeachMoto

    BeachMoto Been here awhile Supporter

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    In June of 2013, I rode from Va. Beach to Denver then up to Whitefish, Montana and up 93 to Watson Lake and then Alaska Hwy on to Fairbanks and rode up the Dalton on June 23rd. The temps in Alaska ranged from 40s to low 90s. The weather on Dalton ranged from beautiful sunny to 3-4 hours of blinding rain and cold. I wore what I wear on all of my other trips, a Goretex jacket (Stadler) and my Aerostich AD-1 light pants. I wore my heated jacket liner once I crossed into Canada. Didn't need to turn it on every day. I also had two pairs of Goretex gloves, one summer weight (BMW Pro-Summer) and one pair of winter weights (Japanese all leather sold by Aerostich). As others have mentioned, a head net is a MUST. I also left a lot of my gear in Fairbanks and took the minimum I needed on Dalton. When it rains, that mud is a bitch. I also carried two extra gallons of gas ('09 GS) and my SPOT since I was traveling alone. The only issue I had was the battery in my camera which ran out because of all the pictures I took.:D You will love Dalton Hwy, I hope to go back soon.
    #7
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  8. kbcrunchy

    kbcrunchy n00b

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    Thank you for the info & the humor. I have read articles about the dos & don'ts (thank you for the link). I will have all my normal camping gear that I take on my trips.
    Full face helmet is a must, already have that on the list.
    Great point on the heated grips.
    Gloves, thank you for the brands, I know I'll need multiple pairs.
    Mosquito net, had it on the list, but didn't think about one that fit over your helmet (thank you) now that is on the list.
    I was trying to figure out if I need to buy different outer gear or could I get by with wearing my rain gear (Tour Master) as my outer wear, then layer up underneath.
    #8
  9. motokeith

    motokeith Been here awhile

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    I used three pair of gloves. A set of summer weight KLIM Adventure, a medium weight Revit made with Gore Windstopper that I treated with some NikWax spray, and Dainese Valeta GTX Gore-Tex that I could combine with silk liners for the cold and/or wet.

    The silk liners were nice as I could often make a "half adjustment" in warmth rather then going up to the next bulkier glove.

    I actually treated my Wolfman Rainer tankbag with the Nikwax spray as well and it really helped keep it dry in all but the worst monsoon weather.

    You mentioned layering and I think it's key as you will see wide and varied weather. We had to deal with everything from the 106F of July in CA down to the 30's as we rolled into Deadhorse. I had two weights of base layer long-sleeve shirts, a pair of smartwool bottoms, and a KLIM Inferno jacket as my thermal layer for the cold. And I highly recommend ditching the cotton t-shirts and undies and using technical fabrics for your base layers. They are more comfortable, they deal with moisture and sweat better and don't get funky so much, and they can be washed in a campground sink and quickly air-dried.
    #9
  10. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    Be careful with modular helmets SHARP (UK organization) tested and quite a few of them opened in some types of crash. I rode in mine but will probably retire it. Love the convenience however friend of mine crashed in one on Dalton and ended up with broken jaw wired shut for a month.

    Mosqito net is good but if you forget to pack one they sell them in Walmart you know.. and pickup mosquito coils and a lighter. The coils is about only thing to keep suckers away. Also keep net, coils and head LED flashlight handy even to plug tire they will be first things you pull out and setup for sure. Probably not flashlight on Dalton but farther south it does get dark.
    #10
  11. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    The replies you've already gotten have things pretty well covered. Quite a bit will depend upon the time of year you head north, but the summer's overall weather will have an even greater effect. In past years, around the 4th of July, I have had great, warm weather all the way north of Atigun Pass up to around Pump 2 (~Mile 360) when it finally started cooling down. Even at Deadhorse it was around 50°F. On the other hand, earlier in the year I have had to stop at the last rest stop northbound (~Mile 355) to put on heated gear and button up as tight as possible to combat cold crosswinds.

    Snow at Atigun is a possibility any time of year, and steady rain in one direction, with blazing sun in the other, is another possibility that many riders experience. You can generally expect summertime temps south of Atigun Pass - even warm enough, along with the constant sunlight - to make sleeping difficult. But north of the pass can be more varied. So be ready for anything, as you may get to experience it all.

    Of more concern is the condition of your bike. You do not want to find yourself doing mechanical repairs alongside the road, the insect population being what it is up there.
    [​IMG]

    Picking up a mosquito headnet (or two - I always carry a couple to loan/give to someone needing one) at Walmart - as mentioned above - is a good example of being prepared. And hope you don't need it. The only time I've used one in the past 50 years or so was to help a rider get his bike back into shape for riding after he dumped it on some wet dirt surface up there.

    Also, some experience in riding on less-than-perfect surfaces is priceless at times. There is always some road maintenance going on along the Dalton, and weather can throw in some extra challenges on a whim. Take along a good dollop of patience, and you should have no serious problems.
    #11
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  12. MGV8

    MGV8 Been here awhile Supporter

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    In my three trips North, My Darien Jacket and pants worked just fine. Kept me dry and it was easy to use lots of layers on or off depending on the Temperature. Always wore the Electric vest and used it most of the time but then I am a wuss and don't like the cold. Expect rain even if you start out on a beautiful sunny morning, just seems to work out that way as you will put on lots of miles each day. I took a bug net but never used it. Found that the coils worked just fine but I never really had a bug issue other than getting stung by wasps numerous times while at speed. They seem to find their way in to my gear no matter how I bundle up. Grrrr. Last year I hardly needed to use my sleeping bag as the temps in the NWT were above normal for late August. The same thing when I camped at the Arctic circle on the Dalton. But nearly froze my ass camping near Glenallen, I think it was mid July. Not so lucky this year , cold and wet just about every night. Snow over the Richardson Mountains on the way to Tuk. So I would forget the rain gear, just get a really good jacket and pants that will keep you dry if it rains but can breath if it is hot. Lots of different layers that you can take off during stops as the days warm up, if they do!!! good luck
    #12
  13. Janus9

    Janus9 Been here awhile

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    Mosquitos, rain and colder than you think summer should ever be.
    #13
  14. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    Yes as others had mentioned while not likely weather up north can change very quickly we had experience of going from 16C to rain/hail and snow on the ground within minutes and this was on Dease pass much farther south still in BC. Got hypothermia wouldn't be stopping and putting liners in this shit electric gear is more flexible if you can afford it.

    Trucks and dust is another big challenge dust whiteout and they can push you to the side. Could be end of the ride if you get sucked into soft shoulder. Also in several places like Atigun pass and Oh Shit corner they have to take whole road to make corner. The trucker we spoke to said he misses guardrail only by a few inches.. and sometimes don't so it's better to let them clear turn as they can't really stop there too. The best strategy is turn right blinky, slow down and take to the right they will respond to it in proper manner. Be nice to them they bring everything you will consume and they all have CB if you piss one others will know. Better yet go there on Friday most of trucks start in Anchorage on Monday and don't want to get stuck there on weekend.

    The other challenge of Dalton is wide variety of surface it can go from good pavement to thick mud or deep pea gravel in no time.if you see anything different color, orange flag, etc slow down and figure out what it is. And calcium chloride is like soap when it gets wet.
    #14
  15. motokeith

    motokeith Been here awhile

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    Preach it, the trucks are no joke. Passing one going the opposite direction is a momentary brown-out along with a bunch of flying gravel. Sometimes you don't realize it but what is coming at you is actually two trucks nose-to-tail and you get the double blaster as though go by. The trucks going south are usually empty and hauling ass, but they will get over to the right as much as they can. The northbound trucks are loaded and usually going slower, but they won't venture anywhere near the shoulder with the weight of their load.

    The sketchiest part of dealing with the trucks is passing them as every truck is trailed by a zero-visibility dust cloud. Our strategy was to trail far enough back that when the truck dropped into a shallow between two hills we could see over the truck and dust cloud to check for oncoming traffic. If it's clear you commit to the pass at a brisk pace to get through the dust cloud as quick as possible. Good fun.

    As cyclopathic pointed out, bottom line is be nice to the truckers and do your best not to hinder them trying to do their job. The Dalton was built for them for a specific purpose, not for the tourists.

    Since this is an equipment thread, the lesson about dust and trucks and bugs is don't underestimate the amount of cleaning supplies you need to pack for keeping your helmet visor, GPS screen, and windscreen clear of grime. A small spray bottle of some soapy cleaner and a few microfiber towels area a life saver.
    #15
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  16. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    I would highly recommend dust mask or bandana except it will prevent you from using hydration pack which is equally if not more important.

    Bring a rag and glass cleaner along to clean the visor; you will use it more than a few times.

    Beware of construction zones besides fresh potentially pea gravel they also water it and calcium chloride is like soap when it gets wet

    And last but not least there are alot fewer trucks on Dempster and you can actually deep your wheel into Arctic ocean.. just saying.
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  17. Fishenough

    Fishenough Team Lurker

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    Wow great advice here!

    I've brought simple bought anywhere dust mask before long off pavement rides. I always carry the head net in the side of my tank bags. I hate liner, the chaps I rode with on the Dempster on the KLR's first ride there used those Frogg Toggs to great success keep the grim off there bike wear. They kept them in plastic bags behind their seat, quickly pulling them off and on.

    Trucks, great point, that dust cloud on my single Deadhorse trip were intense. And we had perfect conditions both directions, with of course a road construction stop. I grew up on the back roads of British Columbia, and big trucks on logging roads, only witnessed that some riders haven't ever experienced that. On my first ride in Laos with a group of riders, we had 2 riders go down, with no ride stopping injuries, when the huge Chinese transport trucks created the huge dust clouds. The best advice on the trip was don't panic, slow down gently to you can ride to your visibility
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  18. Twojump36

    Twojump36 Been here awhile

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    I used my layer system with regards to clothes..... I used an Under Armor base layer, then a quarter zip fleece pull over, and a KLIM jacket and pant combo. Alpinstar Corzal boots and waterproof warm winter gloves along with a pair of Mechanix gloves. My helmet is a Aria XC 4 I think.
    I took a head net, baby wipes, lens cleaner, couple micro fiber towels, extra fuel and water.

    The best part of my gear was the "Common Sense" that I brought... Don't ride too fast and stay safe
    #18
  19. kbcrunchy

    kbcrunchy n00b

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    Thanks for Dempster idea. We are now looking at that in parallel to the Dalton. It would be really great to ride the bike into the Arctic Ocean.
    Also visor/bike light cleaner gear is on the list. Normally I carry enough to clean just my glasses, but will increase the amount.
    #19
  20. motokeith

    motokeith Been here awhile

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    Just to give you an idea of how bad the bike windshield gets...

    That's all bug guts

    [​IMG]

    Calcium chloride... yeah, those are supposed to be clear screens

    [​IMG]
    #20
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