Nine months out of the year, I am riding an ATV for work. I’ve done things on quads many will never (and maybe should never) have to do on a four-wheeler. Things like submersion, bear encounters, and being left stranded are real things when you ride in Canada’s Boreal Forest. Here are a few things I’ve learned.
#1 If you are in lots of mud, have a good winch.
Without one, being high centered in the middle of a swamp can change from a 5 minute inconvenience into a 2 hour struggle. Do yourself a favor and upgrade to a synthetic cable, they don’t rust or cut your hands like frayed steel line. I use is the Warn Synthetic Winch line. Retail price: $85.49
#2 Snatch blocks are magic, always have one.
There is a box on the back of most sport utility quads under the rack. That should contain a small factory-issue tool tube. You should add a snatch block that your winch cable can fit through to that box. The bigger, the better as it gives a greater mechanical advantage than a straight pull, which is handy when you’re buried up to your fenders in muck. I use a Heavy-Duty 20,000 Lb ATV Winch Snatch Block 20000. Retail price: $57.56
#3 Gear Up
Get the right stuff, make sure it fits you. An MX helmet and goggles go a long way to keep mud, swamp water, rocks and plant debris out of your eyes and off of your face. Sturdy boots with grippy soles help when things get slick, and armor always helps with unplanned get-offs.
#4 Have an Emergency Kit.
Remember Wes Siler’s motorcycle survival kit story? Take one of those with you. If you’re spending time in bear country (like me), pack a bear kit. My favorite includes a huge can of bear spray. Supplement that with a full sized air horn, as it’s much easier to scare a bear than to have to resort to alternatives.