Body Armor vs Chest Protector: Which One to Choose?

Riding motorcycles and dirt bikes are not the safest of hobbies, but it is one of the most enjoyable ones, given that you ensure your safety and that of others around you.

This is where the issue of protective gear comes into play. Most people find it hard to choose between a full body armor or just a chest protector. As with any two things, both of these equipment come with their own benefits and downsides.

These and more will be discussed below, and a comparison will be made on body armor vs chest protector when it comes to biking/motorcycling so that you can make an informed choice between the two.

Chest Protectors

Given that chest protectors are more basic and have been around for longer than body armors, let us start off by discussing those.

Though it is called a chest protector, it does also protect the rider’s abdomen and often the full torso. Chest protectors ensure safety while also not limiting body movement.

Starting from external impalement, the impact from the road or your vehicle, to roost and debris, this equipment can protect you from a lot when riding dirt bikes or motocross.

Chest protectors can also prevent friction and chafing, reduce secondary injuries, and increase the flow of air and ventilation so that you stay comfortable.

Speaking of comfort, that is quite an important aspect to consider when shopping for a chest protector. You do not want one whose collar pokes into your neck throughout the ride.

While it is relatively easy to make a chest protector look proper, it often happens that budget-friendly protectors miss out on key features such as protection from secondary injuries.

Most folks seem to rely on chest protectors as they are designed to protect the most significant internal organs. Broken arms are often less life-threatening and much easier to recover from than an impaled lung — Yikes.


  • Protects the whole torso from roost, impalement, and other injury to internal organs
  • Allows a good flow of air to keep the rider cool and comfortable
  • Keeps the limbs free for effortless and unrestricted movement
  • Lots of options available as the product has been around for a long time and has evolved to be better and better


  • Does not protect the arms from impact, injury, or roost

Body Armor

Coming to the second option, body armor for bikers is exactly as protective as it sounds. It covers more area than the chest protector (such as the arms).

This is a newer option on the market and seems to be quite popular. Not only do they protect more areas of the body, but they also stay in place very securely while also allowing for ventilation.

Some people may turn away from the idea of body armor, especially in very high-temperature climates. However, they do keep you relatively cool in hot weather.

If you are still concerned, though, you can always wear garments underneath the armor which wick away sweat and moisture.

Again, if you want to buy a legitimate body armor that will do its job properly, you will need to loosen the purse strings a bit.

Buying a good body armor for a higher price will still be less expensive than the hospital bills a cheaper armor might bring with it.

Body armor does what a roost guard or chest protector can do, and more. The only downside is that it may make you feel hotter, but that is an easy problem to fix.


  • Protects the torso and the arms from impact, injury, debris, etc
  • Ventilation is maximized to ensure the rider’s comfort during hot weather
  • Arm protection allows free movement while also providing increased protection
  • Many options to choose from even though it is a relatively newer method of protection for riders


  • May make riders feel too hot, especially in high-temperature climates

Body Armor vs Chest Protector — a Detailed Comparison

Now that we know the individual details about body armors and chest protectors, let us compare some of their key features.


This really depends on the material and brand of the product. Sometimes a body armor that covers the torso and arms fully can provide more ventilation than a cheaper chest protector.

However, it is very likely that you will feel cooler wearing a chest protector than body armor. Though, you may be partially sacrificing your safety to pay for that bit of comfort.

Even if a chest protector or body armor makes you feel too hot, you can opt for a moisture-resistant shirt to wear underneath it in order to keep cool.

Extent of Protection

Both body armors and chest protectors reduce the risk of injury to your internal organs.

Of course, body armors go the extra mile to also protect the rider’s arms. It may seem unnecessary to some, but in most cases of riding injuries, a lot of it is sustained by the arms.

While injuries to arms are relatively easier to heal, you should still opt for a body armor if you can afford a high-quality one.


For the extra protection it provides (and the extra material), body armors are almost always more expensive than chest protectors.

Most people who wear chest protectors usually have few complaints and do not mind their arms being exposed to roost and injury.

However, those who switch from chest protectors to body armors are often fully converted by the latter.

Final Verdict

Whether you go for body armor or just a chest protector is up to you. But a few key factors you should consider are your budget, your expertise as a rider, and the extent of risk involved in your riding.

You will be able to obtain an excellent chest protector under $100, and a high quality body armor at under $150.

Also, if you are just starting out with dirt bikes or motorcycles, it would be better to get maximum protection body armor, as they will last you a good few years before wearing out.

Lastly, evaluate the frequency of injuries obtained during your sport, and buy either a chest protector or a body armor accordingly. Also, don’t forget to share this Body Armor vs Chest Protector guide with your friends.

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