“Off-roading is one of the most popular activities that involves taking your vehicle for an exploration of the wild, untouched depths of nature. It involves moving the vehicle on rugged, unsurfaced roads and tracks that are made up of sand, mud, grasslands, gravel, riverbeds, shallow water, snow, rocks and other natural terrains. It is an in-the-wild activity for people who like to live their life infusing it with a little adventure, fun and excitement. Off-roading is a tremendously thrilling activity that can last for several days at a stretch and can give you the exhilaration you needed. ATVs or all-terrain vehicles are the vehicles that are used for off-roading. These vehicles are specialized to operate efficiently on all the natural surfaces. They can either be a four wheeler or a two wheeler. They include four by 4’s, jeeps, rock crawlers, quad bikes, snowmobiles, dirt bikes, and sand rails. Every country has a natural habitat where off-roading is allowed.
Off-roading has come into notice not just as an outdoor activity but also as an activity that has a negative impact on the environment. There are various environmental groups that contend that the all-terrain vehicles used in the off-roading lead to soil erosion as they move roughly on unpaved natural surfaces thereby destroying the natural terrain. They are also known to cause harm to the species of plants and animals. The high level of noise that the ATVs produce is known to have a negative impact on the behaviour of animals living in the region. Apart from that since the ATVs work on two stroke engines they cause a lot of pollution that affects the soil, water and air. Keeping in mind the harmful impact that off-roading has on the environment, whenever and wherever you plan your off-roading trip make sure that you have as minimal an effect on the environment and the natural habitat, as possible. Adhere to using the public land and maintaining a peaceful environment. It is also important to make sure that the land on which you are off-roading is legal.
Apart from all the thrill and adventure involved in off-roading it is also a quite demanding activity. If you are planning for a long off-roading trip, then you have to make sure that you conduct all the preparations in the best possible manner. If you are taking your vehicle or even renting one from a private company, you need to make sure that it is in good working condition and will not betray you in the midst of your trip. Apart from that you need to have the right camping, food, water and first aid supplies. To help you prepare and prepare well for your off-roading trip here is the list to refer to while you are gearing up.
- The ATV Requirements: Checking all the ATV requirements include checking that the ATV you will be taking with you is ready to go on this rugged adventure.
- Get the vehicle serviced before your trip and also make sure that it is in proper working condition.
- If you are going on the off-roading trip for the first time, then get an idea of what is what of the vehicle. During the trip, despite all the preparations and professional checking you might face a condition where a problem occurs in the vehicle, and you might have to find out what it is. Since the main part of off-roading is the ATV, without proper knowledge of its internal parts and its mechanism you will never be able to resolve the problem and resume your trip.
- Check for its coolant, brake oil, steering fluid, windshield washer fluid, ATF, power steering oil, differentials and other oils.
- Carry extra fluids that include fluids for the brake, power steering, and windshield washer.
- Make sure that there are no leaks anywhere. If you own the vehicle, you must be aware of the problems it gives you, make sure that all the problems are solved and removed before hand.
- Check for any debris left in the air filter of the ATV.
- Check the condition of the tyres of the vehicle. Before you set out, make sure that they are properly aired and in the condition to bear the highway speed pressure.
- Always keep in mind the kind of terrain you have chosen for your off-roading trip. If it is your first-time off-roading, then get the advice of a professional regarding the suitability of your ATV according to the terrain that you have chosen to travel. Never make any assumptions because even a slight ignorance can claim your well being.
- Though the tyres of the all-terrain vehicles are well matched and extra tough to move on all kinds of terrain make sure that you still keep spare tyres.
- Check the shocks of the ATV. If they appear damaged or worn out, get them replaced.
- Check the movement of the tyres by rocking the wheel in and out. Do the same by rocking the tyre from side to side. If you notice any excessive movement, then get the help of an experienced and qualified mechanic and get it repaired.
- Check all the ball joints of the ATV.
- The Weather Conditions: Assessing the weather conditions of the place where you have planned your off-roading trip is an extremely important part of the planning and preparing for the off-roading trip. The reason is that the ATVs are mostly open, and if the place that you are planning to go to is forecasted to receive rain over the next few days, everything will become watery. Also, you can have no fun when you are all wet and cold. So find out about the weather forecast of the place for as long as you have planned your trip and update your packing with the necessities.
- If it will rain then pack the required rain gear, plastic bags to protect your electronic equipment and protective clothing.
- If it is going to be sunny and hot, then you need to have hats with a chin tie, sunscreen lotion and a lip balm to protect yourself from the sun. You will then need to pack airy cotton clothes that will soak in the sweat.
It is always a better option to be over prepared than even a little under prepared. Don’t be afraid to pack an extra of anything you think you will need during the trip.
- The important requisites: The important requisites include preparing for nature’s call. Since you are travelling in a natural habitat, do not think that you can defecate or urinate anywhere. Find the right spot, away from streams of water to prevent water pollution. Also, you have to make sure that your personal hygiene is maintained at all times. So carry a few rolls of toilet paper. Pack them securely in a zip lock bag so that they do not get dirty or wet before they are used. Take out as much as you think is necessary and pack the roll back in the zip lock bag immediately. Also, get a hand sanitizer to keep your hands clean.
- First Aid Kit: A first aid kit is an essential for any outdoor trip. Keep your first aid kit well equipped with items like bandages, gauges, cotton, tincture iodine, insect repellent, alcohol solution, antibiotics, prescription drugs, soap, hand sanitizer and any other material that you think you will need during the trip.
- Electronics: There are many electronics’s devices that you need to pack for your off-roading trip. They include the following:
- A fully charged cell phone for contacting relatives when in an emergency. If you are deep in the woods with a canopy of trees above your head, there are chances that you might not get any signals on your cell phone. There is a way to get a signal to place a call by going on a ridge or climbing on a tree. A cell phone drains more battery when there is no signal because it is continuously searching for one.
- Two power banks for charging the cell phone when it gets discharged.
- A power inverter of 120 volts for charging the power bank
- GPS is a must have, especially if you are going to a particular place for the first time. You do not want to wander off too deep and then not know the way back. When there is a device that can help you locate yourself and our path with no efforts its foolishness not to take it with you on an outdoor trip like off-roading. Also, get a car adapter for the device so you can attach it on your ATV.
- If you are going on the trip in a group, then make sure that every member of the group has a walkie-talkie in their personal bags. With a great range and portability, the walkie-talkies will keep all the members in contact with each other when all of you temporarily split up and head out in different directions for exploration. It is always good to contact each other with the press of a button in case of an emergency rather than to run around trying to find them.
- Food and Water: Food and water are a must have on any trip no matter how short because they serve as a source of energy. Any outdoor trip demands a higher level of physical activity, and it is important that the energy levels are restored as soon as possible. Pack energy bars, energy drinks, dried fruits and snacks. If you are going on a long trip then you need to do more preparations for food and water. You can go for MRE or meals ready to eat. The MREs are made especially for such outdoor trips because they are packed in a hermetically sealed environment and are ruggedized to withstand the toughest of conditions. They do not lose their nutritional value over time and provide energy of 1300 calories per meal per person. They are high in vitamins, minerals, proteins and other nutrients. A single MRE pack for the day contains meals for the entire day including breakfast, lunch and dinner, so you don’t have to worry about packing separately. Thus, MREsare space saving foods. MREs do not need to be heated before their consumption. They come with a self-heating system. They have a long shelf life, from 3 days to 5 years. All you have to do is open a pack and eat on the go without any hassle. They also come with water supplies, so you don’t have to worry about carrying water separately.
- Miscellaneous: The miscellaneous items are the ones that you must not ignore. They include:
- Extra set of fresh batteries
- Blocks of wood
- Sleeping bags
- Spare bulbs to replace the fused headlights, tail lights and brake lights.
- Toolkit containing the basic tools of the vehicle
- Tyre repair kit
Off-roading, no matter how thrilling it seems is also a very dangerous outdoor sport. The trip will give you a lot of memories and a lot of adventure. You will have the most fun but only if you have prepared yourself well.”