Essential Knowledge & Safety Items for ATV Riders

Essential Knowledge & Safety Items for ATV Riders

Man and woman riding ATVs on a dirt trail by the ocean

All of the items listed below are ATV essential for a successful ride. However, a little knowledge also goes a long way. Know the trail and area you are riding in before you really start riding aggressively. Are you covering great distances or are you riding in a commercial off-road park with a central parking area? If you are miles away from any help these items are critical to have with you. If, on the other hand, you are at a commercial off-road park or riding around in a small area, help may be close by and some of the below items could possibly stay with your truck or trailer. How much storage does your ATV/UTV allow for? If storage is at a premium possibly bring a backpack to store items on your person.

As with any power sport machine, ensure that it is in perfect running order and is maintained per the manufacturer’s guidelines to reduce the chances of a mechanical breakdown. Also, always try and ride with another rider in case of an emergency. If one machine breaks or gets stuck the other can go for help or double up on one machine in an emergency and ride out.


  • Proper riding gear – Helmet, boots, long sleeve shirt, gloves, long pants, and most importantly eye protection, also is your gear season appropriate? Will it be warm or cool enough for the duration of the ride even if it gets wet?


  • Winch – if you ride alone a winch is very important if you get stuck. If you don’t have a winch another machine and a tow rope should work.
  • First aid kit – Injuries from any sport such are common, some first aid supplies can go a long way.
  • Let others know where you will be riding and how long you plan on being gone, similar to a boater’s float plan. This way if you fail to return help can be summoned.
  • Cell phone with a fully charged battery - Although in some areas cell coverage can be sparse it can be a life saver most times. Helpful hint: put it in a plastic sandwich/water proof bag to protect it from water damage.
  • Tire repair kit and an inflation device – don’t let a flat tire strand you, repair it on the trail and ride out. Bring some form of inflation device as storage permits whether it’s an electric pump, manual pump or a CO2 inflator; fixing a hole in a tire does no good if you can’t put air back in the tire.
  • Water and possibly snacks – riding off road uses a lot of energy and in warm climates dehydration can and is a big concern.
  • Map – depending on where you ride a simple low-tech map can be a life saver.
  • Lighter and or matches – again depending on where you ride having the ability to start a fire could be a life saver. Hint: put these in the waterproof bag with the cell phone.
  • Basic tool kit.
  • Small jump pack in case of a dead battery - most ATV/UTV’s today are electric start with no good way to push start or kick/pull start. There are several small battery packs that can be used with cables to jump start a machine and also provided added battery life for your cell phone.