Make your trips more enjoyable By Lane Lindstrom Photos courtesy of SuperATV and Lane Lindstrom

Aftermarket accessories are big business in the powersports industry. Industry figures show that side-by-side/UTV owners spend up to $2000 accessorizing a new machine before they even leave the dealer. Those numbers seem valid. Go to a UTV rally or jamboree or any popular riding area, and it’s rare to see any vehicles without some aftermarket add-ons.

So, what would you add to your UTV? All the products we chose for our list of five are accessories we’ve installed on our own vehicles or wish we had installed. Yes, some people might think of them as luxuries, and we did, too, until we installed them and found out how valuable each of them are. They improved the quality of our ride, but some proved to be important for safety.

We purposefully did not include any performance products, like clutch kits, pipes, tires, shocks, etc. These are strictly products that are creature-comfort-oriented.

Here are our top-five picks in random order.


All you need is one ride in the desert in the heat of the summer to realize how valuable a roof can be. A roof does more than just turn back the sun’s rays, though. It can help protect against flying debris (mud, rocks, etc.), as well as tree branches that want to intrude into the cab of your UTV. More and more manufacturers are adding a roof as OEM equipment, because it’s a great selling point and not an over-the-top (pun intended), expensive accessory. So, if your vehicle doesn’t come with a roof, it’s a wise investment, regardless of where you ride.


 Easy to install with a few hand tools. And, it doesn’t take too long, either.

 Options to fit your needs and style include aluminum, high-impact plastic and polycarbonate. There are even Bimini tops, which is a heavy cloth, like what you see on some boats. Each has its own benefits and strengths. Figure out which is best for your UTV.

 In addition to the protection benefits, a roof can also help keep the inside of your UTV’s cab clean. 


Do your homework on what roof will fit best on your rig. There are all types and sizes available for most any side-by-side on the market. We’ve been in vehicles sporting roofs, some of which had a great fit and finish and were snugly attached to the roll cage and others that rattled throughout the ride while letting dust seep in through gaps.


If your roof does develop a rattle, find out where it is coming from and tighten up whatever is holding the roof on. In fact, it’s a good idea to regularly inspect the latching points and tighten them if loose.


Starting at $175. Bimini tops start at about $80.


Depending on the type of UTV you own, you may have room for a rear cargo box or cargo “bag.” Utility and sport rec vehicles usually have a bigger cargo area and can fit larger cargo boxes. Sport models (think RZR, Talon, Maverick, YXZ, etc.) usually have a much smaller cargo area, but some aftermarket companies have figured out how to create cargo boxes to give you extra carrying capacity.


 Dust is nasty, gets in everything, and nobody likes to have gear, food, drinks and other equipment coated in dust when a cargo box or bag can protect against not only dust but rain (and snow) and mud.

 The sizes, shapes and materials used to make cargo boxes are quite extensive and give you lots of options to match your UTV and even your riding style. And, if you don’t want the cargo box to fill the entire cargo bed area, you can choose smaller versions if you have a good tie-down system.

 Other options include cargo bags, cargo racks (these look so awesome on a side-by-side and are functional as well) and bed enclosures. Bed enclosures are ideal for sport side-by-sides with no tailgate.


Think of your long-term cargo carrying needs. For some, the bigger the cargo box, the better. Others want one with insulation so it can be used as a cooler, while others prefer a bag because of its flexibility in fitting places a more rigid box won’t. Think about and even measure the things you carry the most and would put inside a box or bag, and then choose your cargo box or bag accordingly.


Regardless of which cargo box size you choose, we’d recommend getting one with a seal that helps keep the dust out. If it doesn’t have a seal, dust will penetrate in places you didn’t know were possible. We found that out the hard way.


Starting at $80. Flexible bags are less expensive. Bed racks are usually less expensive than cargo racks.


The protection a half door offers is amazing. Doors can keep out water, mud, sticks and other debris while adding to the look of your side-by-side. All UTVs come with some sort of door or netting or a combination thereof. Some “doors” offer very little in the way of protection from all things outside the vehicle, while others are very decent and a nice standard feature.


 Aftermarket doors come in basically three varieties: quarter, half and full (meaning a half door with a window), one of which should suit most any UTV rider’s needs. We almost prefer half doors as they offer great protection but don’t obscure your side vision. And, they provide some ventilation compared to a full door, depending on the full door’s type of window or enclosure.

 In cold weather, doors—half and especially full—are very good at protecting against the elements. Any time you can block cold wind from coming inside the cab it’s a plus.

 Doors can add to the look of your UTV. If you don’t want all those glances, then there are doors sporting just one color, usually black.


Again, do your homework on the size and type of door you want. Some doors are soft (heavy fabric) while others are rigid. Of course, the soft doors are usually less expensive, but are, for the most part, only offered as full doors or enclosures. Additionally, if your UTV comes with half doors, the manufacturer and aftermarket companies may offer upper enclosures to make it a full door.


Make sure the doors seal to the vehicle’s frame well or dust (or water) will seep through and coat the inside of your cab. Some aftermarket doors don’t come with a seal/gasket. Spend the extra money to get one that mates with the door frame for better protection. We experienced this firsthand when a vehicle with improperly sealed, gasketed doors was a dust bowl inside.


This varies widely, depending on if you are getting half doors (starting at $400 per set) or full doors (starting at $800), soft vinyl doors (varies), hard plastic or aluminum (usually about twice as much as hard plastic).


You don’t know how handy a winch is until you need a winch. You decide to tackle a mud hole that was deeper than you thought, and you’re (or better yet, your buddy is) stuck up to the hubs in mud. That’s when a winch shines. We may or may not have been stuck in a snowbank or two and relied on the winch to extract our vehicle. Some manufacturers include a winch as OEM equipment on their side-by-sides, which adds to the value of the vehicle.


 Winches can increase the fun factor of your side-by-side and allow you to tackle tough obstacles (think rock crawling) that you might not normally be able to.

 Winches also allow your side-by-side to be a workaholic (if you so desire). Need to move that log off the trail? A winch can help with that. Need to do work around your property? A winch can help with that, too. A winch is very versatile.

 If you’re handy, a winch is moderately easy to install, especially if your machine has been pre-wired for it. Some UTVs are winch-ready. That means the mounting location is built into the front of the vehicle and is pre-wired.


Learn how to use and practice with your winch before you’re in a spot where you need your winch to get out of a situation. While winches are easy to use, they do need to be used safely and within the weight limitations of the winch unit.


If you think you’re going to use your winch on a ride, be sure to bring heavy gloves. Handling the wire or synthetic rope is hard on your hands. Second tip: pay attention when you’re rewinding the wire or rope, making sure it retracts evenly and doesn’t bind up inside the casing.


Starting at $200.


We like the wind flowing through the UTV cab when we’re out riding. The wind keeps us cool and is kind of what powersports riding is all about—you know, being in nature and all. Then there are mornings when a Siberian wind is howling through the cab or when the dust is thick and choking or it starts to rain. We are happy to hop in the vehicle with a windshield or wish ours had one.


 They are so easy to install, depending on the type and size (quarter, half or full) you choose. You can install a windshield in a short time with ordinary hand tools. There are some installations that are a little more involved, but not overly so. Windshields are just as easy to take off if needed.

 Choices of windshield sizes and types (glass versus poly) are numerous, but there are additional features like wipers and even windshield-washer capabilities. In addition to quarter, half- and full-size windshields, there are some that fold down from full to half or flip up or flip down. And don’t forget there are rear windshields.

 The price range for windshields is wide. If your budget is tight, you can probably find a windshield to fit your needs. If you want something pricier, well, you can find that, too.


With so many options out there, you should research what will fit your needs. There are arguments for and against glass and poly windshields. Dust sticks to poly windshields, and poly is susceptible to scratches from dust, rocks and branches than glass, but poly is usually more impact-resistant. But, the best thing about having to make those decisions is that there are options.


Regardless of whether you go with glass or poly, clean your windshield properly. Just wiping your windshield down with a paper towel or regular cloth (we prefer microfiber cloth/towels) can scratch the surface by moving the dust particles across the surface. Use glass cleaner and paper towels, which should fit nicely in your cargo box. We’ve seen some riders just rinse off their windshields with water. However, if the water isn’t completely dried off with a towel, the water particles just collect dirt.


Starting at $120.

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