ATV Camping Tips
Going for a camping trip is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences one could have when owning an ATV, especially if you’re an outdoor enthusiast.
What better off-road adventure is there than escaping the familiarities of civilization and spending some time in the wilderness? Fresh air, astonishing nightscapes, wildlife interactions and of course, the thrill of the ride. However, when it comes to ATV camping trips, you can’t just hop on and go. Well, you can, but you’d be in for a rough and potentially dangerous excursion. With that in mind, here are some ATV camping tips to make the experience safer and more enjoyable.
Plan Your Camping Trip Ahead
Obviously a no-brainer here for any kind of trip, and this entire article really is all about planning ahead, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t make a simple mention of knowing all about where you’re going, how to get there and what you’ll need to bring.
To begin with, you need to find out if ATVs and overnight camping are even allowed where you’re going. You’ll also want to know what kind of terrain you’ll be navigating, so make sure you have basic knowledge of your planned trajectory.
Tell friends and family where you’re going and when. Give them an estimated timeline of destinations in case you get lost or stranded, and make sure you have trail maps and an individual GPS navigator. Don’t rely solely on your cellphone’s GPS, as you may reach areas with no signal, or your phone could get lost, run out of battery or break.
Get Your ATV Serviced
Part of planning ahead is to get your ATV serviced before going on your camping trip. Your quad will be your primary mode of transportation miles away from civilization, so do everything you can to prevent it from leaving you stranded. And even if you do your due diligence, your machine can still break down, so make sure you have the necessary tools for quick repairs, as well as tow straps, and of course a buddy or two to help you out.
Getting an ATV trailer will help you transport more stuff, but you still want to pack light. Prioritize only what you need. If it’s not essential, leave it behind.
Here are some basic ATV camping essentials you should pack:
A good rule of thumb is to pack light and keep it tight. Remember, you have limited space on your ATV even with a trailer behind it, so less is more. Use high-quality ratchet straps to tie your supplies down and prevent them from getting lost when taking sharp turns or riding over bumps.
Bring Repair Kits
Whether your ATV came with a basic repair kit or not, make sure you have one. The repair kit should have basic tools like wrenches and screwdrivers, as well as spare parts like fuses and spark plugs. You should also carry a separate tire repair kit to inflate and patch up tires, which can get damaged riding over rough terrain and debris.
Pack a First-Aid Kit
Bring a first-aid kit equipped with essentials like bandages, disinfectant wipes, gauze pads, and any personal medication you require.
Plan Shelter and Sleep
Weather can take a turn for the worse, so make sure you set up shelter accordingly. Bring along some rain gear and a dry roll bag to keep you and your camping supplies dry. As for sleeping comfortably, stick to carrying portable one-person tents that include a rain fly. If your tent doesn’t have a rain fly, bring a tarp along. Also, bring a sleeping bag rated for all-weather purposes that can be packed tightly. Weatherproof sleeping bags are more expensive, but it’s worth the extra money to make sure you stay warm.
Pack Easy-to-Prepare Meals
We mentioned bringing a cooler and ice, but it’s also a good idea to carry ready-to-eat meals that don’t need refrigeration. This includes canned food and snacks rich in nutrients like trail mix, power bars and granola bars. You’re still going to want hot meals for colder temperatures, so bring along freeze-dried meals that can be prepared by simply adding hot water. Freeze-dried meals take up virtually no space, and can be cooked quickly and cleaned up easily. You don’t want to attract hungry scavenger critters to your campsite, so easy clean-up meals and garbage bags are important.
Bring Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated is just as important as staying fed, so make sure you pack plenty of water. You’ll need it for cooking as well as for hydration. Plan on bringing enough water for at least 4 liters of consumption a day. Also, make sure you have a cantina or water bottle handy for refills, as well as water purification tablets or a filter.
Attach an ATV Trailer
We’ve mentioned attaching a trailer to your machine, but really it’s more of an ATV attachment for hauling extra gear and supplies if you have a passenger riding along. Ideally, each individual on your camping trip would have their own ATV, but if that’s not possible, then a rugged utility dump trailer with large tires designed to go anywhere is the way to go.
Carry Plenty of Straps
We’re not just talking tow straps here for getting out of sticky situations. Make sure you bring plenty of tie-down straps to protect your gear and supplies from flying off your ATV. Bumpy trails and debris can make stuff break loose and fall off, so bring as many straps and bungee cords as you can fit, and make sure you tie everything down securely.
Bring Spare Parts and Supplies
We already mentioned bringing repair kits and tire repair kits for emergencies, but it’s a good idea to also bring spare parts like fuses, spark plugs, a spare rim and tire, and an extra drive belt, which you can’t ride without. And again, you’ll need extra fuel just in case, so make sure you fill up your gas cans before you head off into the wilderness.
In addition to spare parts, make sure you pack the following tools and supplies:
- Wrenches and screwdrivers
- Lug wrench and jack
- Ratchet and extensions
- Zip ties and duct tape
- Portable fire extinguisher
- Wireless phone chargers
- Jumper cables or jump starter
- Accessory winch
Use the Buddy System
Finally, riding solo on ATV camping trips isn’t recommended. The buddy system works best, and having friends and/or family along not only makes the trip more fun, but it adds safety and security.
The possibilities for getting lost or stranded are many, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. Having people along for the ride is crucial for emergency situations like getting stranded, injured or lost. It also helps to have company in case you’re short on supplies, so once again, bring a friend.