You may think there is nothing better than riding your ATV or UTV through trails on hot summer days, but that’s only because you haven’t tried winter ATV and UTV trails! Fresh snow falling, powder on the ground, and no one else on the trails for miles; nothing can beat it! However, winter riding requires more preparation and products to keep your ride comfortable and safe. Here are some suggestions to keep your riding experience the best it can be!
Beginning with ATV’s specifically, here are some product recommendations:
1. Snow Tires:
With breathtaking snowy views, also comes the challenge of driving in it. If you plan to do a lot of driving in heavily-snowy areas, getting snow tires is a must! You may think that your deep-grip tires for the mud will work just as well in the icy and snowy conditions, but snow tires will provide the smoothest ride over the snowy surface. However, if your area does not receive much fresh snow, you could forgo the tires and get a product more focused on warmth (keep reading!).
Do you enjoy windburn? I’m guessing the answer is no. Although the feeling of the wind on your face is amazing in the summer, it can cause frostbite and windburn in the winter months. Installing a windshield will absolutely help this problem. Most windshields are removable as well, so you can remove it once the spring comes again! Most windshields also come with a windshield wiper, which helps with visibility.
3. Winch Thawing Supplies
All ATV owners know how essential a winch is for getting you out of those tough situations. But, how much use is a winch if it’s frozen? If you find yourself in a tough situation, and then do not have your winch to help you out, you are stuck until help can arrive. But this can all be avoided if you keep some spray-on oil in your ATV. The oil helps to melt any ice within the coil, without hurting the coil itself. It thaws the winch quickly, and helps you get back to your trip!
4. Handlebar Mitts
Handlebar Mitts, sometimes also gauntlets, are essential for cold-weather ATV riding. Although a nice pair of gloves will help protect your hands, nothing beats the protection of Handlebar Mitts. They do not impede maneuverability, and also add comfort! They are generally inexpensive, with some basic options, and others that have heaters included! They are also removable, so when the weather warms back up they can be easily taken off and stored for the next winter. Buying these is a win-win scenario.
Now here are some recommendations for the UTV owners:
1. Enclosed Cab
When it comes to winter UTV riding, nothing does the trick like an enclosed cab. These work by shielding you and your side-by-side dry and protected from the wind. Cab enclosures not only help keep the wind and snow out, but also help to insulate your cab, so you can keep what you want in, and what you don’t out! Cab enclosures come in many different styles, and it is up to the owner to decide what works best for them.
2. Track Kits/Snow Tracks
We all know UTV tires are built to encounter rough terrain, and they do a great job at it! But what happens if you are riding through the backcountry and hit a snow pile that is just a little too deep? Either turn around or risk getting stuck in the snow. Neither of these are great options, and they can be avoided with a nice track kit for your UTV. These tracks kelp eliminate any risk of getting caught in the snow, and are much more reliable than your standard all-season tires.
3. Heated Steering Wheel
While a heated steering wheel may seem unnecessary, it makes all the difference! With cold and fragile hands, it is much harder to react and steer in the way you intend to. With a heated steering wheel, your hands remain warm and comfortable, leaving you with one less problem to worry about!
4. Cab Heater
If you opt for an enclosed cab, an excellent addition is the cab heater! With all that extra insulation the cab enclosure provides, you can now heat the inside of your UTV just as you do your car or home! A heater will help create the ambiance of a summer day, with warm balmy air, while you get to enjoy all of the winter benefits outside of the cab. Many of these heaters even come equipped with a defroster for the windows, and additional vents for your passenger as well.
Well, what if I own a UTV and an ATV? What products could benefit both of my vehicles? Let me tell you!
1. Warm Clothing
As we all know, winter clothing will make or break your entire season. We have all watched relatives and friends move to the midwest and struggle when their winter coat does not do the job. But, we know better than that! Like any winter sport, durable, warm, and waterproof winter gear is a necessity. We recommend a sturdy pair of waterproof gloves, a neck guard, waterproof boots, and a nice winter coat to get you through your rides.
With the addition of a snow plow, your vehicle just got that much more useful! No one likes standing outside shoveling snow manually, especially when your family is inside and cozy without you. You can change that with the addition of a snowplow! Cut your shoveling effort and time in half while using your vehicle to plow the snow instead. This addition is also very useful for helping your friends and neighbors get out of tough binds if they get snowed in or stuck in the snow.
3. Heated Seats
If you choose to invest in heated seats for your vehicle, you will thank yourself on those long cold rides. Generally, heated seats are easy to install and easy to use. They are essentially heated seat covers, and can plug right into your vehicle! These, like the heated steering wheel, help the driver remain dexterous and control their movements better. They also assist in making your ride as comfortable as it can be!
4. Emergency Kits
If you take nothing else from this post, remember this: Emergency kits are absolutely essential for winter riding. Accidents happen all the time, especially in icy cold conditions, and it is always smart to be prepared in case something happens. These emergency kits include first-aid safety supplies, tools and flashlights for quick-fixes to your vehicle, and flares in case you are stuck and need emergency help. It is always better to be safe than sorry!