Gear essentials for dirt biking the dunes

Dune season is upon us. While many have transitioned to four-wheeled pursuits in the sand, for me the dunes will always be a two-wheeled adventure.

While my bikes pauses for a close-up, my shadow is diligently checking the front tire for air pressure. Photo: Courtesy Mike Stravers
While my bike pauses for a close-up, my shadow is diligently checking the front tire for air pressure. Photo: Mike Stravers

I encourage every rider to make the pilgrimage at least once in their life; it is well worth the abuse you and your dirt bike will endure. Having the right equipment will make or break your trip, so grab these gear essentials to make your life on Mars easier.

uniWHIP 2.0 MX Flag Mount ($34.95)

The uniWhip 2.0; set it and forget it.
The uniWhip 2.0: Set it and forget it. Photo: Courtesy of ZenXTen
House rules: If you want to ride, you have to fly your flag. How easy is it to snap a fiberglass flagpole? Pretty easy, as it turns out — unless you have the right mount.

There are many ways to mount a flag whip to your dirt bike, and for one reason or another they all tend to suck. The uniWhip 2.0 is the best design I’ve seen to date.

Because the mount fits on your rear fender (as opposed to the rear axle), your flag will whip far less than with other mounts. The flexibility of the rubber straps adds a second line of defense to any potentially flag-snapping jolts.

Once you trim and set your flag in the rubber block, you have a system that goes on and off in just a few seconds and requires no tools and no modifications.

Sedona Tire Dunatik 10-Paddle Sand Tire ($85.95)

The Dunatik comes in 8 or 10 paddle configurations to suit your engine size. Photo: Courtesy of Sedona Tire
The Dunatik comes in eight- or 10-paddle configurations to suit your engine size. Photo: Courtesy of Sedona Tire

You can ride with a knobby tire in the sand. You can also beat yourself in the head with a hammer, but I guarantee you won’t enjoy either. A paddle tire is, hands down, the single most important piece of gear you will use in the dunes.

Picking the right paddle is a matter of preference, but in my experience the Dunatik is the right choice. Available in an eight- or 10-paddle design, the ultra-lightweight paddle will give you the ample thrust you need to charge through the monsters out there.

Sedona chose to omit the center ridge in the Dunatik’s design, which I find makes for a much more stable tire at speed. Do you want to enjoy your trip? Buy this.

EZ3 Utility Jug with Flow-Control Spout and EZ3 Boot ($79.97)

The EZ3 Utility Jug with Flow Control Spout and EZ3 Boot will keep you safe secure and spill free. Photo: Courtesy Risk Racing
The EZ3 Utility Jug with Flow-Control Spout and EZ3 Boot will keep you safe, secure and spill free. Photo: Courtesy of Risk Racing

If you see a gas station in the dunes, act fast, because it’s a mirage and you are likely dying of thirst. If you want to ride for any length of time, you’re going to have to haul in some fuel.

The EZ3 Utility Jug is smaller than most at 3 gallons, but I find it to be more than enough fuel reserve for a two-day trip. Plus, anyone who’s tried to muscle around a full 5-gallon container knows how unwieldy they can be.

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Aside from its manageable size, the accessories are what really make this setup shine. The flow-control spout (which actually is a universal fit you can put on pretty much any utility jug you already have) makes use of a magnetic plunger to ensure you don’t drench your tank and seat in gasoline.

The built-in hose bender angles the spout perfectly, and, provided you keep the plunger centered in your gas tank, you can literally fill your tank with your eyes closed. As the tank fills, the plunger snaps shut, cutting off the gas flow.

The EZ3 Boot floor mount fits snugly around the bottom of the jug, preventing tip-overs during transport and giving you the ability to secure your fuel with a padlock if you so desire. In a market consisting largely of uninspired utility jugs, this one really stands out.

Apex Illumination Moto Series Light Kit ($309)

At 3500 lumens, Apex Illumination's Moto Series Light Kit will keep you on the throttle all night long. Photo: Courtesy Apex Illumination
At 3,500 lumens, Apex Illumination’s Moto Series Light Kit will keep you on the throttle all night long. Photo: Courtesy of Apex Illumination
This product was once a luxury, but the popularity of side-by-sides has dramatically increased the likelihood of your group heading out for a night ride. If you want to partake and avoid a run-in with the law, you’re going to need a headlight.

If you have a 450cc engine, you’ll love the raw power and easy installation of Apex’s Illumination Light Kit. (Unfortunately, the brand currently doesn’t offer kits for 250s.) This plug-and-play kit wires up in a snap — no cutting, splicing, soldering or modifying any OEM parts.

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When I say bright, I mean bright. With just four LEDs generating a whopping 3,500 lumens, this thing lit up the sand so well, it got both me and a buddy home. When his battery-powered light died on the way back to camp, we just rode abreast the rest of the way without incident.

With Apex’s kit, there are no batteries to speak of; it runs on your bike’s own electrical power.

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