Having the right winter ATV riding essentials can mean the difference between enjoying a brisk charge down a snowy trail and a miserable afternoon spent wet, cold and stuck. During the snowy months, you need to protect your machine, and yourself, from the effects of harsh wind, below-zero chill and shifting trail conditions. Here are the winter ATV riding essentials that will hold you over through the cold weather months:
The best way to beat the cold is by layering on protective clothing that will retain as much body heat as possible. You should aim for at least three layers in total:
- An inner layer that’s relatively thin, tight to the body and designed to absorb moisture.
- A thicker layer that will keep you dry.
- An outer layer that is breathable, but also waterproof and capable of blocking as much wind as possible.
When layering, make sure that your outfit isn’t so bulky that it impedes your movement when riding, as you don’t want to lose your reflexes or be uncomfortable in the driver’s seat.
Ice is slippery, and snow is deep — it may seem obvious, but always keep this in mind when you’re riding in the winter. It’s easier to get stuck on the trail in the winter than it is in the summer, and you should be prepared to deal with this scenario.
There are three important winter ATV riding essentials that will get you out of the majority of sticky situations:
- A collapsible shovel for digging out of a snow bank.
- Portable traction aids for when you get stuck on ice.
- A winch for tugging yourself to safety.
It’s also worth mentioning that winter tires that have a more aggressive tread pattern are a good investment for hardcore snow riding.
You may be tempted to leave your cellphone at home when you go out riding in the winter — after all, if your phone lands in a snowbank, water damage may break it. However, you should always bring a phone with you when riding so you can get help in case of an emergency. Remember to bring an external charger, too, since the cold temperature can quickly drain your battery.
If you are heading out too deep into the woods for cell service to keep up, have a radio that can tune into an emergency channel and summon rescuers if need be.
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Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.