WIDE OPEN: DUNES AND DON’TS

By Joe Kosch

DUNES & DON’TS

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Dune fun riding is one of the most thrilling things you can do with UTVs and ATVs. That’s a fact, Jack.  The sand dune riding season is already in full swing, in the hottest parts of the country. But, did you know that getting full enjoyment from a trip to the dunes, doesn’t require massive amounts of planning and preparation? With that being said, here are our recommendations of Dunes & Don’ts for sand lovers everywhere.

From personal experience, I’ve learned that several steps are vital to a good dune trip. By avoiding these common mistakes, which I affectionately call “sand doom”, you can make your next dune trip an all-around better experience.

Here are some points to remember so your next dune excursion creates lots of memories, but only the good kind.

DUNES & DONT’S

HAULING HAULERS…

Get your hauler ready before your UTV or ATV. Most UTV and ATV enthusiasts like all kinds of vehicles and many are just as crazy about their trucks as they are about their off-road machines. When duning season hits, something strange happens. UTV and ATV riders seem to instinctively go to fanatical lengths to dial in their UTVs and ATVs and pretty much forget everything else.

That’s why you have to force yourself to go over your hauler first; otherwise, you’ll use every available minute on your off-road rides and take off for the dunes in a truck that may never make it to the sand. You probably know just what tire pressure works best for your ATV and UTV tires in the dunes, right?

Don’t hit the road in a truck with tires that have slow leaks that you’ve been nursing for the last month. Lots of riders change their quad and UTV oil every couple of rides. Surprisingly, they can’t remember when their trucks’ last oil change was though. At least check to see that the truck has oil and coolant before you speed off towards the sand.

DUNES & DONT’S

RV KNOWLEDGE

From what I’ve seen, truck neglect is nothing compared to RV neglect. Don’t consider your trailer or motor home stocked just because you didn’t take anything out of it after your last dune trip. Look closely; what may appear to be food is often empty food bags and boxes. Taking off for the dunes with a full tank of fuel is always a good idea. That is unless it’s all in the RV waste tank. Empty that before leaving.

Shockingly, many mechanically aware ATVers forget RVs have tires and wheels, just like ATVs, UTVs, and trucks. Some also have engines that need occasional care. Before driving off, make sure your RV or trailer has wheels and tires in all the places where wheels and tires should be. Give yourself bonus points if there is a usable, inflated spare that is not already supporting your RV.

Having read the many maintenance articles in Dirt Wheelshttps://dirtwheelsmag.com/service-tips-between-ride-maintenance-on-a-sport-atv/  it’s likely your off-road machines are already in extraordinary shape for dune riding, or you’re dialing it in right now.

PADDLE VS. NO PADDLE…

As you ready your machine for the sand or when you arrive, there’s a good chance you’ll be swept into the paddle versus no paddle controversy. This has nothing to do with discipline in schools; it’s a much more important debate over the superiority of sand paddles or conventional tires in the dunes.

As I see it, you need both to experience all the fun sand riding has to offer. Paddles offer vastly better traction for drag racing, climbing huge dunes, and accelerating up dune faces for big air. Then again, regular tires rule for powerslides and easy steering. Find a way to take both. 

DUNES & DONT’S

HOLIDAZE VS. OTHER TIMES…

If you arrive at the dunes on a holiday weekend, expect a fairly crowded, festival-like atmosphere.  From time to time, it may seem like human-like aliens from another planet have gathered in the sand. This, so they can start their own colony. Join them.

As interesting as the parade of people and machines is, don’t forget the best riding is far from the crowd. Even though there may seem to be very few riders well away from the alien colony, be careful. These alien outcasts, with very little sense, or riding skill, can be on the other side of the dune you’re climbing, so always be careful. Have a human spotter watching for other vehicles if you plan to jump off any dunes.

Dune riding is one of the purest forms of UTV and ATV fun. But like any camping experience, in great natural areas, it will only be allowed to continue if people leave it as nice as they found it.

Always take your mess with you, even if that includes some of the friends you happened to bring along. The aliens will thank you.

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