Gear choice for crossing the desert in June


Premier Member
June 16-25 2017 I rode a 48 in 10. I left Flagstaff on the 23rd with extreme heat warnings forecast. The night before I put as many water bottles in my hotel room freezer as possible and the rest of a flat in the fridge. I read all I could find on riding in the heat , and was very glad I did. I keep a soft sided cooler on the pillion seat to keep drinks handy. I started early drinking a bottle of water every half hour as a minimum. As I got closer to Needles the temperature started to climb it was 116F at 10:30, shoulda left earlier maybe. It got up a bit over 120 by Las Vegas around lunch time, definitely should have left earlier. Before Needless I put a couple of frozen water bottles inside my lined jacket and soaked my Dri wear T-shirt. My Goldwing has a center windshield vent that when open blows on my chest. Keeping my shirt wet, controlling my airflow and zipper, and drinking a lot of water and Gatorade kept me surprisingly comfortable. I ate at Subway, Cold cut subs, if you ask nicely they will cut and wrap separately in 3, I ate a third every gas stop. I rode a bit over 1000 miles that day, and felt great. I never suffered any ill effects from the heat, good thing as I was a long ways from home still. I did email my forms and receipts in this September 13 but they are pretty busy so certificate is still pending.


Premier Member
Last Labor Day, I made one of my 'attempts' at the SS1000, from Kellogg, ID to home. I didn't plan well, though, and even though the early temps were in the 70's and only predicted to be in the 90's, I found myself riding through 100+F temps in the Eastern Washington and Oregon deserts. I was in jeans, flannel, t-shirt, light facemask, helmet. My normal summer riding gear has consisted of a long sleeve shirt of some kind, due to the SPF factor of about 3 billion, but I generally don't ride long distances during the day on those 100F days.

I thought I was getting enough water, but by the time I hit around the 450 mile mark, I was starting to feel very sick. I ended up pulling into Ontario, Oregon for a fuel stop and my thoughts were screaming at me 'get Gatorade NOW!' I grabbed a couple of 32 oz. Gatorades, and finished those with my half-a-Subway sub in about 10 min. I gassed up and thought about hitting the road again, but I almost dropped my rig at the pump and thought twice. I pulled over to a little grassy area with some shade and laid down on the ground for about an hour before I started feeling better. Fortunately, the sun was heading down and a little cooler temps were coming in. I let it get to the high 80's (after sundown) before I started off again. I called the ball on it about 140 miles down the road and stopped for the night. In talking with others, I've come to find just how close to a hospital visit I was.

I used to take high temps in stride, being a desert boy for so long, but I fully appreciate now, that need to keep the electrolyte level up, along with the fluid intake! Never again do I want to feel like that! I truly got lucky.


Premier Member
My opinions as others will chime in:
You need at absolute minimum to get a decent jacket. You need to be able to control ventilation. Wear one layer of picking material under it. You want air to come in at the cuffs and out at the neck. Now here's the magic trick. Dump a little water down your neck and presto, you get evaporative cooling. Works just like a swamp cooler.
Once you get this dialed in you good well into triple digits.

And stay hydrated as well of course


Premier Member
IBR Finisher
During the IBR I had my first run in with really HOT weather. I had electrical issues east of Flagstaff and diverted to Phoenix for repairs in the comfort of a friends garage on July 3rd. I rolled out of Phoenix around noon and the temps were around 105 at least, maybe hotter. I normally ride with my face shield up, however in that heat it was not possible as my face felt like it was in an oven. I closed it and I felt significantly cooler.

The open the cuffs thing rarely works for me because my forearms block off most of the airflow in my Badlands jacket. I resorted to stuffing an 8lb bag of ice inside my jacket. 45 minutes later it was the size of a baseball but most of my body was soaked in cool water. I did experience some cooling due to air flow up my arms. Overall, it was bearable but far from comfortable. I may add that I am not a fan of high heat to begin with and for that reason skipped most of AZ and NV during the 2015 IBR.

I started feeling the beginning effects of over heating and stopped for a meal with some nice salty French fries and a burger along with 3-4 32 oz cups of lemonade. I also consumed about 1 gallon of water in 1-2 hours without needing to stop for a rest room. After about 2 hours of heading north the temp dropped enough so I was somewhat comfortable and I was very glad to be out of the oven of Phoenix
Yeah, it does get hot down in the Southwest. A few years back I was going to a Meet n ?Greet in W. Virginia leaving out of Michigan. I pulled a “Parrothead”, an inside joke, and detoured through Lake Havasu to help a friend on his recent move there. Was 125F departing his garage at mid day,(ambient temp-we know that an air cooled v-twin between your legs plus road surface heat reflected up will add considerably to this! Dropping down to the Phoenix area I overnited with another friend and did some catching up. The next morning when I hit the road it was a balmy 110, and heading for 115F. I ran hard and angled down towards I-10 to get me near another buddy in Peco, Texas. I thought if lucky I could stop in New Mexico for the night and continue the next morning. I had only taken one jacket, a Joe Rocket full mesh believing that my trip was going to be a hot one and that it be my best bet,( the jacket arrived the day before I departed). I did do some planning for the heat and wore a long sleeved cotton t-shirt under the jacket, along with my wine skin boat for thirst control. Previously I had tried a camelback set up for hydration but it was extremely difficult to drink from it at speed with a full face helmet. My plan developed to ride until the bike sputtered, carb’d, hit reserve, look for a station, fill up and park the bike in any kind of shade, go inside drink a Poweraid/Gatorade and refill my bota. Then back on the road. I learned to not only drink from the boat but I was able to squirt water around my neck and across my chest and down my sleeves, a great short term relief. As evening approached I cleared a pass and dropped down to a huge city which picked my curiosity. As I entered it I caught a sign that said Ciudad Juarez, WTH? How did I get into Mexico? Nope, was in El Paso, surprise, so I exited and stopped at a Burger King, free WiFi, got a quick bite, and drink fired up my I-pad to see what remained to make Pecos. Called yet another buddie there, we would be making the hike to W.Virginia together, and he said he would wait up for me there. Hit the road and did safely arrive in Pecos, but was extremely tired the next day. I learned that while full mesh is great from the 60’s up to the 90’s, my old Tourmaster Jett May have been better? Also, closing the faceshield, instead of cracking it open a wee bit for increased air flow, was actually more comfortable. You can teach an old dog new tricks! Oh, my system of travel, tagged nomad camping works wonders when crossing multiple states on a meager budget, thank yo. Hope this may enlighten some others.


Premier Member
IBR Finisher
This is a pretty old thread. Over your body temp in ambient temp, mesh just dehydrates you even faster. Some would draw the line at about 95F.

Ideally, stay away from cotton as a base layer. It retains too much moisture and holds it against your skin. A fabric like LDComfot uses will hold the moisture, but keep your skin dry and avoid rash, but still work very, very well as a cooling method.

It makes me cringe when someone types about drinking when stopped. It is much, much more efficient to drink while riding. And I'm not just talking about stopped time, I'm talking about hydrating your body. Many sips is far better than big drinks at stops. You can't absorb those big drinks as well as smaller sips. It's too late when you get dehydrated. You're not going to recover by sucking down a couple of gatoraids at a stop. Preventing dehydration in high heat means taking a sip when ever you think about it. A gallon of ice water with a drinking hose on extreme days won't get you thru the entire day if you're staying hydrated.

It can be very inexpensive to create your hydration system that will allow you to drink while riding and not wear your water. Pick an insulated jug you like and think about where you will mount it. The passenger footpeg is a common spot. Or the rear rack for those that have that area free. Some food grade tubing from the freezer section of the Home Depot or Lowes, a bite valve from the sporting goods store, Amazon, etc and a card or key retractor and you're in business.

My wife's GSA uses a 1 gal Bubba Keg and I attached an aluminum plate to her footpeg after removing the factory rubber and drilling one more hole. Using the existing hole and the new hole I secured a dog dish and the aluminum plate to her foot peg. Drilling some small holes allowed me to insert bungee cord hooks into the holes, closing the hook to capture them on the back side, then two more holes on the front for the criss cross bungies to attach to the dish after going over the jug. A length of tubing and a bite valve with an ID card retractor to keep the bite valve end at the bars when she's not sipping from it and you're done. Total cost about $40.

On my bike I had room on my flat bed fuel cell, so used a $3 cake pan from WalMart, a $5 1 Gal Igloo jug from ebay, (free shipping!), a mix of hard and soft tubing, two quick release fittings, (Camelbak), a bite valve and a key retractor. The Q/R fittings were expensive, $10 each, so my total cost was still about $40. The Q/R fittings make it easy to remove the jug for filling, or take the tank bag inside at hotel stops. The webbing and plastic buckles to retain the jug to the cake pan cost me $7 for webbing and buckles and $3 for the local equestrian tack repair shop to sew up. I already had the key retractor and bite valve and the tubing was from the same roll I bought to do my wife's set up.

I'm making a mini hydration system for my day ride bike now. I spent more than I usually do on a system since the FZ6 has very little available space for a bigger jug. A Tal 40 oz insulated jug for $15 - a $5 coupon, so $10, (the 64 oz costs the same at WalMart), a Blackburn Outpost cargo water bottle rack was a splurge at $25, a $5 piece of aluminum bar from the local metal supply house, a bite valve, $6, a Q/R fitting, $6, some tubing, plus a key retractor & hardware I already had. Total cost $52. I can upgrade to the 64 oz jug or some other insulated 1/2 gal jug by just swapping jugs. The Blackburn rack will hold a variety of sizes and has long straps to secure the jug. I could have taken my jug to the local thrift stores and found a metal cup the right size and bolted that to my aluminum bar instead, saving me most of the $25 I spent on the Blackburn rack. Shopping around helps too! I saved about $6 on the rack by shopping around and got free shipping.


Premier Member
IBA Member
With the temperatures here in the desert southwest for the next few days hitting records of 108° and higher, a great opportunity for this old thread from a few years ago to pop up!

A rider from a few years ago discussed 'wet bulb' temperatures a couple of times in other threads in other forums. As a pilot, he'd have working knowledge of why that's useful for flying. We need the data for heat stress reasons.

Wet bulb temperature and 'Wet Bulb Globe Temperature' (WBGT) is similar, but not derived in exactly the same methods. WBGT is much more accurate for those that will be in direct sunlight for extended durations. It's described here (from the Tulsa, OK) weather pages:

If you click on the top map, you can scroll to your local lat/long. The sliders to the right of that map will populate with some basic data; adjust as needed (I've got NO cloud cover today, for example)

So, my wet bulb temperature will be about 87°F, when the max temperature is 107°F today. The purple chart at the bottom shows how much heat stress you'll be under while outside in those conditions.

We'll be seeing up to 113°F or so here in ¡Baja Arizona! thru the weekend; the normal should only be 101°F

Death Valley will certainly be missing their European tourists this year as it will be well above 120°F this weekend.

Be safe out there!