The only thing you really need for gravel cycling is a desire for adventure, but a solid kit will make exploring the dirt a lot more comfortable. In this guide, we explain the differences between gravel and road kit and give you our picks for the best gear for your next gravel ride.
SHOP APPAREL | SHOP GRAVEL BIKES
Jersey and jacket
Gravel rides can cover a huge mix of terrain and conditions. Many riders size their jerseys to be looser and more comfortable, since aerodynamics usually doesn’t matter on a gravel ride. The POC Essential jersey is a quality jersey with great ventilation. Don’t forget to pack an extra layer if there’s a chance of rain: The POC Pure-Lite splash jacket is a light option, while the POC AVIP rain jacket is fully waterproofed in case of a proper downpour.
The quality of your chamois is critical, especially on rough gravel rides. It’s worth splurging on premium, Italian Giordana FR-C Pro bib shorts. The four-piece Cirro-S chamois is infused with aloe vera for increased comfort.
Shoes and pedals
Most people ride gravel with clipless mountain bike shoes and pedals. Gravel rides can include some spicy trails, so you might end up walking the gnarliest sections as you learn. That’s why we suggest Mavic mountain bike shoes with recessed cleats. They’re more comfortable to walk in than road shoes.
Road pedals and mountain bike pedals have different cleat standards, so make sure your gravel bike pedals are compatible with the bolt holes in your shoes. These affordable Look pedals use the Shimano SPD cleat standard and have adjustable tension.
Look X-Track MTB Pedals - $54.99
If you’re planning to stick to smoother roads for now, road shoes and pedals will work fine. You can save a little money and avoid a whole new shoe/pedal setup.
While there’s some debate over wearing gloves while riding, they’re definitely good to have. The gel padding on these Giordana Strada gloves absorbs fatigue-inducing vibration from the road. Gloves will also protect your palms in case you slide out around a dusty corner.
Fox Racing 6” Ranger Socks Black - $12.95
Gravel riding is all about exploring. Having the right equipment helps, but a good attitude and a lust for adventure are most important. You’ll have a great time finding new routes and shortcuts in your area. As you become more experienced, you’ll refine your gear and set-up. Check out our beginner’s guide to gravel riding for more tips and tricks to get you started.