ATV/UTV - Tips for a Great Off-Road Ride

My grandparents bought a Honda 350 in the 1990s. They let me drive it one day. I was HOOKED! We would take it to the family cabin in southwestern Montana and ride it every chance we could. Eventually, they added another one. Then my dad got one. Fast forward to the 4th of July, we had 18 ATVs at the cabin for the family reunion. 

We have traveled many thousands of miles of dirt road and 4-wheeler trail. Some of us have ATVs and some have graduated to the UTV market. We trek all over the country side enjoying nature, looking for wildlife, camping out, and more.

If you haven't tried ATV/UTVing you're in for a treat!

How to Enjoy the Perfect ATV/UTV Trip

Over the years we've learned how to set up the perfect ATV/UTV trip. We've learned how to plan, what gear and supplies to take, how to prepare for the weather, how to stay safe and how to ensure we get back home safe.

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Below you'll find the following topics:

  • Tips for setting up the perfect ATV/UTV trip
  • How to build the perfect day pack
  • Top ATV/UTV product reviews
  • Best ATV/UTV resources

If you're like us you'll love the trail and ATV/UTVing will become second nature. Let's get started.

ATV/UTVing Tips

Over the years we've learned how to set up the perfect ATV/UTV trip. We thought we'd list a few tips to consider for your next outing:

Basic Tips

  1. Service your rig - before you go out, make sure your tires are good, oil is fresh and leveled off, battery is charged, power steering fluid is topped off, etc. It's really lame to get stranded - an ounce of prevention...
  2. Plan ahead - even if you decide to go on a spontaneous ATV/UTV outing, take a minute and plan just so you're prepared. If your trip is more involved, spend the time you need to make sure you're ready.
  3. Know your route - pull out the map or GPS and locate the trailhead and exit. We've been very lost a few times and the GPS got us out.
  4. Gear up (Day Pack) - make sure you have the right gear and supplies. Most ATV/UTV rides are single day events. We recommend taking a day pack with you (see below). At minimum carry:
    • tire patch kit
    • toolkit
    • multi-tool
    • water filter
    • first aid kit
    • sunscreen (MUST HAVE)
  5. Dress right - know your weather, climate and terrain. Be sure to dress in layers so you can add or subtract a layer if you get cold or hot. Consider these layers:
    • Waterproof Jacket
    • base layers (for cold weather)
    • zip off pants  - you can have shorts when it's warm and add the pant legs as it cools off
  6. Footwear - take quality hiking shoes. If you break down or get stuck in the back country you could be walking for some time.
  7. Tell someone where you're going - be sure someone knows where you're starting, your route, and when to expect you home. Don't forget this one! You want someone coming if you get injured or lost.
  8. Buddy up - Take a buddy with you in case you get injured or lost.

Advanced Tips

  1. GPS - On longer bike rides you've never done before or in terrain where you can get lost easily, take a GPS dievce.
  2. Topo Maps - If you are scaling a steep trail you'll need a topo map so you can read the grade of the territory.

Outdoor Tips

  • Leave No Trace
    Leave the outdoors better than you found it
  • Buddy System
    Always take someone with you
  • Give Notice
    Always tell someone where you are and when you'll be home
  • Safety First
    Be prepared for the elements and first aid situations
  • Layer Up
    Dress in layers so you can adjust your temperature

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GPS - Garmin

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Survival Kit - 2 Person

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Safety First

We all have different risk tollerances. As I've gotten older I've consciously slowed down a lot and take fewer risks. I've seen guys with life-altering injuries who can't enjoy the outdoors any longer. I talked with a man this week who has messed up his knees and joints so much he can't go on a simple hike. That can't be me!

When we venture out, we need to keep in mind that we have future outdoor experiences to enjoy so we need to get home safe after every one. Our chances of survival and safe return increase with a few principles:

  1. Prepare before you go out
  2. Take adequate first aid supplies - just in case
  3. know your limits and opt for safety over risky activities.

Having the right first aid supplies handy can help a lot. Make sure you have the right supplies for the activities you're doing. 

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Survival Medical Guide

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First Aid

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First Aid Kit - Tactical

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First Aid Kit - EDC

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Shop First Aid Kits and Supplies

Build the Perfect ATV/UTV Kit

I take my day pack on every outing. I'm often surprised how often I needed the gear and supplies in the pack. Over the years I've locked down the perfect day pack for my climate and area. This checklist is highly recommended trail gear for every day pack. Of course, you can adjust for your area and outing style.

Carry vehicle tools and supplies and a personal day pack. I divide my personal gear and supplies into 3 kits: gear, first aid, toiletries. These kits go into my pack and are with me on every outing.

Vehicle Gear

We put large containers/trunks on the back of our ATVs and bins in our UTVs to carry gear.

  • Tire fix kit
  • Tire pump or CO2 tire pump
  • Toolkit
  • First aid kit
  • Extra fuel

Personal Gear

Gear Kit

  • Water filter
  • Multi-tool
    • blade
    • saw
    • tweezers
    • screw drivers
  • Paracord
  • Lighter
  • Ferro rod
  • Emergency blanket
  • Poncho
  • Emergency fishing kit
  • Snares
  • Duct tape
  • Head band (ear protection)
  • Safety pins
  • More...

First Aid Kit (IFAK)

  • Bandages
  • Ace bandage
  • Tablets
    • Pepto
    • Tylenol
    • Allergy
  • Bug spray
  • Sun screen
  • Alcohol pads
  • Burn cream
  • More...


  • Pocket tissues (perfect portion of toilet paper)
  • Carmex
  • Toothbrush (handle cut off)
  • Toothpaste
  • Nail clippers
  • More...

Top Rated Products

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Rubbermaid Lockable Bin Container

Sturdy, lockable, plastic industrial totes/bins for survival gear

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Sterilite Bin Container

Sturdy plastic industrial totes/bins for outdoor gear

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Rain Ponchos

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Emergency Blankets

Radiant survival mylar blanket

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Sturdy, lockable, plastic industrial totes/bins for survival gear

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Ultra Bright Headlamp

Ultra bright, rechargeable 6000 lumen LED head lamp for hands free outdoor activites

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Top ATV/UTV Product Reviews

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Comfortable, waterproof jacket for emergencies

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Insulated, durable, stylish waterproof jacket for winter outdoor activities

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Waterproof Gore-Tex Snow Boots

Best of the industry waterproof, Gore-Tex Winter boots

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Wool Socks

Durable, stretchable, breathable wool socks for cold weather

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Top Rated Products

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Leatherman Wave Multi-Tool

The most popular, reliable outdoor multi-tool on the market

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Personal Water Filter - Sawyer

Affordable, long lasting personal water filter and purifier for the trail

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Rechargeable LED Headlamp 450 Lumens

Durable, rechargeable 450 lumen LED head lamp for hands free trail use

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Wool Blanket

Emergency wool blanket for warmth, even when wet

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ATV/UTV Resources

Being prepared with some survival skills, trail information, and weather forecasts can make your hike relaxing and help you get home safe.


Don't get lost! Find the right map for your area. We recommend reviewing the map BEFORE your embark on your adventure. Get a feel for the topography, water sources, trails and roads, etc.

Choose Your Map


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Time to Hit the Trail

We love our trail time! We hope your outings this year are memorable, relaxing, full of adventure, and safe. 

We'd love to hear about any memorable stories you experience. Submit them to us and if we feel the story matches the site we'll publish it.

Gear up, prepare, and hit the trail! Enjoy!

1This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
2 As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
3 Most reviews are based on personal experience from one of our content editors. Some are based on research and the opinions of other reviewers.


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