If you’re new to off-roading, you’re going to want your first official off-road adventure to be a successful one. Learning these tips and strategies will keep you out of hot water.
Before heading out on the trails – or into completely uncharted territory – be sure to follow these basic steps.
Before You Leave
Do Your Research
You need to know what you’re up against. If you’re new to off-roading, it would be wise to pick an easy trail to gain some experience. Nevertheless, you want to do some research on the trail. Get an idea of the terrain and the weather conditions, and factor this into what your ATV or other off-road vehicle can handle.
You can find off-road trail sites that will give certain trails “difficulty ratings”. These sites will often have comments left by experienced trail-blazers who can help give you an idea of what to expect.
Get Your Vehicle Inspected
Find an off-road shop or auto shop that will provide a multi-point inspection service on your vehicle. Many local dealers and mechanics will check key areas of your vehicle and tune them up if necessary. They’ll check your belts, hoses, fluids, shocks, struts, and tires to make sure everything is filled up and working properly.
Tell Someone Where You’re Going
Better yet, tell multiple people. You want to give friends and family an idea of when you’ll be getting back. This way they can start a search for you if you don’t come back in a reasonable time.
What To Bring
Food & Water
You should have a good idea of how long you’ll be gone and how much food and water you’ll need. Now, make sure to add to that an emergency stash in case you get lost or end up trailblazing longer than expected.
Bring healthy food with plenty of nutrition – sandwiches, jerky, protein bars, granola bars, etc. Also, remember that soda only goes so far in hydrating you – bring plenty of water and Gatorade.
- Jump Starter & Power Bank: One of the last things you want is your vehicle dying on you while you don’t have a way of jump starting it. Not only will these get your vehicle up and running again, but they can also power up your cell phone and GPS unit.
- Tire Repair Kit: Depending on the trail, there’s either a low, moderate, or high chance of popping a tire. In any of these cases, you want a tire repair kit and a spare tire.
- Traction Ramp: Sooner or later, someone is going to get stuck somewhere. If you’re going alone, a traction ramp will help you get back on the trail.
- Winch: You can mount this to the front or back bumper of your vehicle and pull it to freedom if you get stuck by tying a chain or cable to a tree or large rock.
Don’t let yourself get stuck out there without a way of fixing the problem. Be prepared at all times for the worst – and have fun!