TRAIL TOOLS AND SUGGESTIONS
Together, the staff of Dirt Wheels has over 100 years of ATV-riding experience. And throughout those decades, we have encountered numerous issues out on the trail. That knowledge has led us to carry a group of items with us on nearly every trail ride. The products and tools are simple, but can rescue us or our fellow riders out of virtually every jam possible. If you want to build your own similar kit to carry with you on your next ride, use this article as a guide to do so.
Well, these items are almost free, or at least it’s something every gearhead has in their toolbox and should take on every ride. Carry a small roll of duct tape and/or electrical tape, which can have numerous uses. You can also wrap a few feet of the sticky stuff around a wrench or screwdriver you may also be packing. Tape can be used for anything—from a Band-Aid or plugging a hole in a tire to splicing electrical wiring to splinting a stick to repair a broken A-arm.
A large, thick zip-lock bag can be used to transfer gas or water if needed. Until we need the bag, it holds a small roll of toilet paper. When empty, a plastic bag can be folded up and takes up very little space.
In worst-case scenarios, J-B Weld can be utilized to fix all manners of things, from a cracked engine case to a broken thumb throttle. The putty-type J-B Weld comes in a small tube that you knead together and form into place. It dries rock hard in under an hour and is available at almost any home improvement store.
Every quad is unique and requires a different set of tools. Heck, some quads don’t even come with an on-board toolkit anymore. Finding a small multi-tool or kit to carry along can prove very valuable. Remember, machines like Arctic Cats, Can-Ams and Polaris models uses Torx bolts, so that type of tool is a must. Companies like Motion Pro ( 594-9600) and Cruz Tools ( 536-0491) are a great place to shop for the right-sized kit for your machine.
TIRE REPAIR KIT
It’s a fact of life: we get flats on a regular basis. To combat this dilemma, we always carry a tire repair kit of some sort on every ride. Tire plugs or a liquid sealant are just as essential as the air to refill the tire. There are several ways to go about the repair. We have had great luck with the rope-style plugs like the ones in the Genuine Innovations ATV kit. Having an endless supply of air from a 12-volt pump like the smaller pumps Slime sells come in very handy. Basically, we have combined kits from these two companies for our needs.
The need for extra fuel can rear its ugly head in a variety of ways. You could get lost, you could spend a few more miles looking for game or, worse yet, you could crash and lose fuel that way. Carrying extra fuel can save the day, but there are very few ways to do it properly. Rotopax has a can and mounting solution that works. They have a 1-gallon all the way up to a 4-gallon gas can and sturdy mounting brackets to secure them to any ATV or UTV. Also, check out Rotopax’s catalog of other storage solutions for water and dry items too. Check out www.rotopax.com, or call them directly at (801) 299-1885.
12-VOLT JUMPER BOX
The advent of the CVT transmission and its subsequent widespread use is a good thing. It makes quads and UTVs easier to ride for a larger segment of the population. On the downside, if you suffer a dead battery for any reason, you cannot push- or pull-start a dead CVT-equipped machine. That’s why we carry a little portable 12-volt jumper box from a company called Antigravity. This little $120 Micro-Start XP-3 has enough power to start any ATV multiple times. Heck, we have even used it to jump-start our pick-up truck from time to time. In addition, the Antigravity jumper box can charge cell phones and other electronics and also doubles as a flashlight. Contact Antigravity Batteries at (310) 527-2330 or www.antigravitybatteries.com.
One of the best parts of trail riding is sharing the experience with a friend. We know not all of your friends can ride with you, but you can show them how great it was by recording the whole experience on a helmet cam. Depending on what you do with the footage, you could actually share your ride with people around the world. One of our colleagues has a simple Glamis video up on YouTube that has over one million views.
MTA has started distributing a simple-to-use, waterproof action camera called Drift Ghost that is remote-activated, offers video sharing and takes still photos at 12MP. The Drift Ghost comes in two versions and is available at most ATV accessory shops starting at $299.
We live in the wonderful age of GPS, and more of these products are become ATV-worthy. Trail Tech has the Voyager dash-mounted system that works on any quad. You can download trail maps, ride-area information, or create and share your own route through the secret forest. The Voyager sells for $289.95. Contact them at (360) 687-4530 or visit www.trail tech.net. If a system like this is out of reach, you can also use your smartphone to help guide the way. For example, Polaris has an app called Rider X that can be used to view user routes, check the weather, search for gas and even find a local dealership. No matter what brand you ride, this app will work for you. Check out www.polaris.com.
SAT PHONE/ TRACKER
If you are like us, you travel off the beaten path on trails that very few venture out on. You may also have family members who like to know you’re safe when doing so. Spot has two items that can help us stay in contact with worrisome family members. The first is a $499 global satellite phone that can be used like your cell phone just about anywhere on the planet. Like a cell phone, you have to pay a monthly fee and per-minute charge, but as long as you have a clear view of the sky, you don’t have to walk around shouting, “Can you hear me now?”
Another option from Spot is the $99 Trace. This product simply attaches to you or your quad, and when turned on, sends a signal every 2–60 minutes to a central website. A $99 yearly fee is also required. Before you head out on your ride, you can e-mail a link of the website to your loved ones that allows them to track your exact progress and see your location on Google Maps through any computer or smartphone. Both are great peace of mind for those worrywarts back home. Check out www.findmespot .com.
Taking water with you on every ride should be a no-brainer. Finding the proper way to carry it is not that hard, either. Most apparel companies offer many different options to do so. For years we have been relying on Fly Racing’s Hydropack. It carries all the water you need, plus has plenty of extra room for the other items listed in this guide. The $79.95 Back Country backpack is Fly Racing’s biggest, and has chest and waist straps to help comfortably carry any-size load. See your dealer or www.flyracing.com.