By: Jerrod Kelley
If your idea of essential ATV gear consists of a FLANNEL SHIRT, BEEF JERKY, A SIX-PACK RACK and some cold ones, you may want to read this check list a little more closely.
Obviously, for every ATV ride you should take some basic supplies and tools with you so you can stay safe and not get stranded on the trail. However, what happens when you do more than a Saturday ride? When you’re talking about a particularly adventurous weekend escape or week-long ATV trip, you have no choice but to think about survival, not just having fun.
Let’s face it, ATV vacations can take you to extremely remote locations, far from plain sight and civilization. We’ve compiled a list of 25 items we think every ATV explorer should take with them on a long journey.
1. REGISTRATION/PROOF OF OWNERSHIP
While some of you may question this, we assure you it’s a wise decision. Not only does it help you prove to the local authorities that it’s your quad, it proves you’re a responsible ATV owner and follow the rules.
2. FIRST AID KIT
A “no duh!” item, a first aid kit should be carried by all riders. Someone in your party should have a larger first aid kit.
3. TOW ROPE
A tow rope is critical because you can use it for many tasks, like towing a disabled quad or freeing a stuck ATV. Also, it could be used to help clear a trail if you come upon a fallen tree, for example.
4. TIRE REPAIR KIT
We don’t care which kind of tire repair kit you pack, just have at least one for each machine. The best usually include CO2 cartridges, plugs and some sort of sealant. Another way to inflate an ATV tire is to pack a mini air compressor that can plug into a DC outlet.
5. SPARE PARTS
Take a CVT belt, air filter and spark plug(s).
We’ve seen hundreds of trail riders carry at least a 1-gallon fuel can with them. Speaking of fuel, remember to pack a few feet of clear PVC tubing to use as an emergency siphon.
7. TOOL KIT
Aside from the manufacturer-supplied tool kit, it’s wise to bring your own set of tools. We also like to include a multi tool (Leatherman), Vice-grips, needle-nose pliers, hammer, small hatchet and/or a small, hand-held saw.
How are you going to carry a lot of this stuff? Try a backpack. Clearly, this is one way to pack tools and supplies, but it also clears up rack space for other items, such as fuel cans and cargo bags.
9. GRUB & WATER
Some of our favorite snacks are granola bars, protein bars, jerky, licorice and almonds. Plus we usually take plenty of bottled water and/or fill our hydration packs.
10. CELL PHONE
Cell phones can help you contact the DNR if you see something strange on the trail, if you run in to trouble or are injured. And the integrated GPS tracking device might just might save your life.
11. GPS & MAPS
We like to take along a GPS navigation device, or a compass, plus a map of the local riding area.
12. MATCHES OR DISPOSABLE LIGHTER
If you have to stay out on the trail at night, waterproof matches or a lighter will help you build a fire and stay warm. Remember to practice fire safety.
One way to improve your night vision is to pack some form of flashlight. Whether it’s a SureFire light, a rechargeable model or something else, a flashlight will help you see your food, supplies and route to the bathroom.
Buck, pocket or “Rambo,” it really doesn’t matter.
15. DUCT TAPE & MULTI-USE WIRE
Duct tape, multi-use wire and cable ties can be used for quick fixes and repairs. Also, some duct tape and a few sticks can make a temporary splint.
This simply means to think ahead and pack insect repellent, Chapstick, sunscreen, antibacterial spray and some form of diarrhea or infection pills.
Whether you choose a wool blanket or a solar model, they will provide you with additional warmth.
Pack at least one set of spare socks, clothes and a waterproof jacket. Store them in a sealed garbage bag with the blanket to ensure they stay dry, even if the rest of your cargo gets wet.
19. WATER PURIFIER
Outdoor adventurists always seem to have some sort of water purifier or purification tablets/drops in their survival kit. These let you “clean” creek or pond/river water.
20. HELP SIGNALS
We classify a help signal as anything that can make noise or display some sort of distress call. This includes a small battery-operated blinking light, whistle and compact mirror. Be careful if you use a flare to signal for help, especially during the dry season.
You can pack a small two- to three-person tent in a rack bag to provide an instant shelter.
A tarp might not make everyone’s list but it can be used for many things. Spread on the ground, a bright orange tarp acts as a “garage floor” in case you need to wrench on your quad and not lose nuts, bolts or any small parts. You could also use it as a canopy or even as a gurney to carry a wounded rider.
23. GARBAGE BAGS
Trash bags are valuable tools because they store garbage and keep things dry — even if you and your ATV sink in a river. We’ve also used them for riding ponchos and to store wet, muddy gear.
24. FISHING KIT
Basically, we’re talking some strong line and a few hooks to help you catch some supper.
Take photos of your trip so you will never forget the good times you had. Share them with a magazine and they might get published (hint, hint).
Originally published in the July 2008 issue of ATV Magazine ©