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How to Plan a Fun, Safe ATV Ride

Putting Everything Together for a Great ATV Trip


Map for planning an ATV trip

Map for planning an ATV trip

© Matt Finley

Whether you’re planning a Sunday morning run up the trail near your home, or a Tuesday run in the endless, trail-less sand dunes, knowing how to plan your trip can make it much more exciting, memorable and safe.

Get Yourself and Your Ride in Good Working Order

Because your 4-wheeler is a machine, just like your car, it can and will break from time to time, so be prepared for it both physically and mentally. Being sick or injured is not a good time to be on an ATV, especially if it's going to be a long or 'rough' ride.

Prepare your quad by checking all the fluid levels and condition including oil, brake fluid and engine coolant on liquid cooled machines. Make sure the tires aren't showing signs of wear and that you have the proper air pressure. Check if the brakes, clutch and throttle cables are adjusted and lubricated as necessary and that the battery and all the lights are working, if equipped.

If you're not in good shape both mentally and physically or your quad isn't running good it can make your trip long and un-favorable, as well as dangerous.

Take Necessary Items for Repairs or Emergencies

Along with getting yourself and your ride ready, you'll want to make a list of items to take with you, including an emergency kit. This list of items should serve as a good reference for you to plan your great day ride. You'll need a back-pack, bungee cords or some other container to pack these items.

  • Water
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Tow strap
  • Tool Kit
  • Tire repair kit with pump
  • Warm clothes
  • Cell phone
  • Map
  • GPS
  • Cash and credit cards (including change for pay phones)
  • Camera

Keep Important Items in Easy Reach

Be sure to pack the necessities towards the top where they will be easily available. Things like maps, water, cell phone and camera should all be within easy reach.

Be Prepared to Repair

A good tool kit is important and it doesn't need to be very big. The kit that should have come with your 4-wheeler (usually found under the seat or behind a body panel on some older models) has most of the tools you'll need.

If your ATV doesn't have a tool kit, or you've found that the one supplied with your quad is less than reliable, take a look at our review of a tool kit made specifically for ATVs and motorcycles.

Have a Plan and Share It

If you're going on a long ATV ride try to plan your stops beforehand. If you are not familiar with the area you’ll be riding in, review a map and try to pick places to stop and rest along the way that might provide something fun, interesting or scenic to enjoy as you rest.

It’s a good idea to let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return, just in case. If you are going to be reasonably late getting back, try to contact those you notified about your trip that you’ll be late and what your new ETA might be.

Remember: Some things just can’t be fixed while you're out on the trail, so it’s a good idea to ride with others, just in case.

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