It could be argued that ATVs were created solely for trail riding in the fall.
Yes, 4-wheelers indeed offer an abundance of freedoms.
Quads get you further than going on foot and in areas where cars can't roam. Please, feel free to pick up the pace at your comfort or meander along taking in the sights. They're easy to ride and the novice can learn its habits quickly. ATVs offer great family fun, a romantic outing with a significant other or blazing fast excitement for the thrill seekers.
Regardless of your pleasure, you need to bring some things. Autumn is a popular time of year for ATV riders of all backgrounds so we've put together a list of things we'd take along whether it's for sport or foliage. This goes beyond the basics (and obvious) like riding gear and protection.
You'll notice some items you probably needed in year's past if a fall ATV ride is an annual ritual. If it's your first time making the trek, here's some things you need to get you out of trouble and out of trouble with the law.
A Tow Strap
The fall months bring rain with little evaporation which means mud and deep bogs. Someone always seems to find this trap and it often occurs when taking a trail off the beaten path. An ATV wheel deep in mud means a stuck ATV. The tow strap and another quad is the only thing getting you home by sundown.
Tire Repair Kit
Thorns, sharp-edged rocks and even the carelessly thrown bottle that's left shrapnel on the forest floor love to pop tires. Simply put, it sucks and when it happens there's no such thing as a spare tire. You need a tire repair kit along with tire plugging tools. It's take 30 minute or so to get back riding but that's a lot better than limping home or left stranded miles from camp. Don't forget the tire pump!
Backpack (Sport riders)
A backpack for the obvious reason and not so obvious reasons. You can carry lunch, and extra set of gloves but also your basic tools like screwdrivers, T-handles, and ratchet set. Basically, backpack carries whatever you might need to repair that flat tire, screw in loose bolts or loosen tight bolts when you need to get at something. Plus, a snug backpack keeps you warm on a cool fall afternoon.
Rack bag/box (Utility ATV)
Utility ATVs work great around the farm but also transition from the work horse to the fun seeker. These cousins of the Sport ATV typically have a rear-rack which serves as a trunk, of sorts, and allows you to carry more than you probably need. So forgo the backpack on this style of quad and grab a rack bag or box for tools and any spare parts you might need.
Everybody's favorite tie-down is a must-have with ATV owners. You can safely and easily secure any bag or utility box by employing grab bars, bumpers and pre-installed racks.
Too many reasons to list. Grab a roll.
What good are zip ties? You'll know when you need them.
If you're riding on public trails you better equip your ATV with a spark arrestor (4-stroke and 2-stroke). You won't get arrested but expect to pay a heavy fine if caught. Or, expect your day to end before it starts if the trail police stop by as you're getting ready.
Off Road Permit/Operators Card/ID
Another must-have when riding on public trails. Not only can you expect steep fines but possibly have your ride impounded. So, play by the rules just like driving a car on public roads.
TAKE THE NEXT TURN! Use them once and you'll wonder how you ever rode without them. Headsets give you instant communication to other riders in your party. You can easily warn about objects on the trail to avoid, point out wildlife, suggest a lunch break, and if you're following and want to go right at the fork up ahead you calmly talk to the rider in front and say "Take the next turn."
You'll quickly learn the do's and don'ts and any additional items to take that ensure peace of mind for what hopefully remains or turns into an annual excursion. Feel free to post below any must-haves you take into the great outdoors while riding ATVs.
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Written By: AndrewT