How to ride faster, safer, & longer
Almost every rider has wished he had one or more of the things on this list, BEFORE, he started off on his last trail ride. Of course, that's a little bit too late to discover that the extra bit of fuel you needed to get back, was sitting in the back of the truck, instead of on your bike, ATV, or UTV. The old adage that, the one thing you forget, is the one thing you will need, has proven to be true more times than we care to admit.
So the next time your riding buddies want to take off on a quick trail spurt....make sure you have equipped yourself with everything on this list. That way, if Bill, Bob, or Buffy has a problem, you're their go-to guy (or gal). Believe us, its a great feeling knowing you saved a lot of grief and gripping and end up saving the day and the trail ride. Nuff said.
1. Tow rope - In case you have major issues with the bike. No special rope is needed to do the job. Even a long tie down will do the job, but there are several tow ropes available.
2. Extra Tire Tubes - You never know if you will need one, or two, when you are far away from camp and get a unfixable sidewall cut or valve stem malfunction. Visit your local motorcycle/ATV shop and get a pair for your ride. Heavy duty is better (although heavier) than a regular tube. A good dealer will have several to choose from.
3. Fix a flat or tire repair patch kit - A tire repair kit should be standard issue for every off roader. Any good shop has amble choices to have you covered for every application available for every wheel made for your dirt bike, ATV, UTV, etc.
4. Tire Irons - While not an option for ATVs or UTVs, a set of good tire irons are essential for a dirt bike rider. These units provide more grip for those stubborn tires that are sometime too stiff and hard to work with otherwise.
5. Manual air pump - You will need one of these in case you don't have any Co2 cartridges or lost them on the trail. A company called DRC Products has a compact manual pump to carry in your back pack for trail emergencies.
6. Tools - Motion Pro Tools is the way to go for any tool or gadget you might ever have the need for. They have something for almost every situation and application (i.e.-valve puller, bleed buddy, 22mm ~ 26mm wrench depending on make of bike (you need these to remove the tires), 10mm, 8mm, 6mm allen, 4mm allen, general screw driver and Phillips head in one tool. Also, carry a good set of pliers or needle nose, zip ties, goggle lens cleaner, 2 shop rags, small amount of duct tape, and a flash light; Just in case you are stuck after dark, and need these tools to get back home or camp.
7. Extra fuel - Its always a good idea to have extra fuel for long rides. Use a small container and carry what you may need for the extra long, we didn't know we were going to get lost, haul.
8. Rehydrating fluids in a bladder - You always need hydration fluids for a long ride. Water is good. There are a wide variety of hydration systems available out there (see your local dealer or mail order house).
9. Power bar, trail-mix, or beef jerky -Like your bike or ATV, you need fuel to go. Take a power snack, in case you do get lost and need to refuel your body. Better to get something like Trail Mix to fuel up in case of an emergency.
10. First Aid Kit - Never forget one of these, it can be a life saver! A company called Bell Powersports has a small, simple kit, which you can carry in your back pack. Bell products are sold everywhere even in auto shops nationwide.
11. Map of the route or trail you will be riding on-It's always good to know exactly where you are going, how far it is there and back, and have a map SHOWING you how to get there. The Forest Service even offers these, free of charge, for some off road riding areas. Even if they charge for it, invest in one and take it with you on every ride.
12. Spare Goggles and Gloves - You know why. It's for Harry and Wild Willy, who always forget theirs and ask to borrow a pair from you. But start charging them everytime they do borrow them, that way, they are less inclined to do it on every ride.
13. Matches or a lighter - This is in case if you get stuck and it gets cold. Waterproof matches are good, if you don't know how to start a fire from scratch. Make sure you know the local fire ordinance rules, so you don't start a forest fire or worse.....Only use these in an emergency, when you are stuck somewhere on a trail. Fire strike sticks are available at every sporting good store and Walmart. Again, use common sense and extreme caution in starting any fire in the wild, and be absolutely sure its out before leaving.
14. Thermal blanket - These are small and compact, but will keep you warm if you are spending an unplanned night on the trail. This product is a must have, when you are on a long ride and you get stuck and have to spend the night out in the cold. Most sporting good store have them, and they fit compactly in your back pack.
15. GPS or Cell Phone - Not a bad idea to have both, as you will need one to make a emergency call, and one to give co-ordinates of where you are located. Some of the newer Smart phones have a GPS tracking device on them. Of course their are hand held devices that will do the job and Garmin is one of the most popular. The simplest one will do the trick for about any situation. Don't forget a handle bar mount, if you don't want to carry it in your bag or pocket.
*One more thing. You need at least one other experienced rider help carry and split up these necessities. You also want that person to have the knowledge and skills necessary to help with any issues that may arise on your ride.
It is always up to you, the experienced rider, to know what could happen, and to know what you need to make it back from where ever your journey takes you. Some may carry more and some less, but you are never over packing when you carry these 15 essential items on your next long ride.