As we approach the end of summer and enter the fall season, many of you will head out on your ATV or UTV (or whatever your chosen mode of off-road vehicle is!), and for many it may be for the first time. I have always enjoyed fall for my ATV adventures as the roads and trails are a little less dusty, the days are cooler, more wildlife is about and, of course, there’s more mud to play in.
Before we jump on our machines and take off for a great day of fun and exploration there are many questions to ask yourself, key items to take into consideration and preparations to make.
- Safety. Do you have all the personal safety gear, tools, navigational equipment etc. to make sure you return safely and on time?
- Personal safety equipment Includes helmet, goggles (eye protection), long sleeved shirt or jacket, pants, boots and gloves.
- GPS, map and compass, SPOT Do you know how to use your navigational equipment? Are the batteries good? Do you have enough spare batteries? Does the map you have cover the area you will be riding? Do you know how to use a map and compass?
- The 10 Essentials Bring: A flashlight, fire starter, signalling device (whistle or mirror) extra food and water, extra clothing, navigation/communication aids, first aid kit, emergency shelter, sun protection. This list of essential items can be found on the AdventureSmart
- Take a friend You should always travel with a friend or, better yet, a group of friends. It’s safer and it’s always nice to share the adventures with others.
- Trip Plan Have you filed a Trip Plan with family or friends? An easy-to-use Trip Plan can be found on the Chilliwack SAR website. Just enter the details and forward it to a family member or friend who will be your emergency contact.
- Keep a clear head Avoid drinking alcohol or drug use while riding. Save that for the end or your trip. Nothing like a nice cold beer (or root beer… for the under 19s) at the end of the day, after you safely arrive back home!
- Equipment readiness. Have you maintained your equipment? Do you have a basic understanding of how your machine works?
- Engine operation Have you checked your engine oil, air filter, drivetrain fluids, tire pressure? Is your battery and charging system functioning? What is your fuel level, and do you have spare fuel?
- Winch Is your winch functioning properly? Is the cable in good shape with no fraying? Do you have other recovery equipment such as snatch blocks, tree savers, D rings, saw, hatchet, machete and shovel?
- Tool kit Bring a basic tool kit and check that you have items like a spare spark plug.
- What condition are your tires in ? Do you have a tire repair kit, plugs, tubes and a compressor?
- Environment and rules of the road. Be ‘in the know’ before you go.
- Where are you riding Is it on an approved ATV trail? Forest Service or private road? How are you going to access these areas, and do you have the necessary permission to do so?
- ATV registration Since 2015 all off-road vehicles (ORV) are required to be registered if they are going to be used on Crown Land. More information can be found on gov.bc.ca .
- Don’t make new trails There are many areas in our province that have dedicated trail systems in place for ORV’s. If you’re interested in making trails, contact your local ATV club. They are always looking for more members that share a common interest and it’s a great way to meet new people. You can start by going to atvbc.ca to find contact info for your local club.
- Watch your speed and know your limits Chilliwack SAR gets called out to numerous ORV incidents every year, including rollovers and collisions. ORV incidents are often due to excessive speed and/or inexperience, and they can result in minor injuries, serious injuries and sometimes, sadly, even death. Avoid potential issues by slowing down and knowing your limits.
These are just some of the basics that you should be checking and preparing for before you head out. As your experience grows you will add and/or remove equipment specific to you and the terrain you ride in.
Stay safe everyone!
Special thanks to CSAR Member (and machinery guru!), Rob W. for putting together this detailed list of considerations!