Spending a weekend shredding sand dunes with your side-by-side
can be a lot of fun; it can also lead to a lot of trouble if you aren’t
properly prepared. Below we have compiled a list of items that we feel are
essential to have in order to make the most of your sand session.
Look, it doesn’t matter how good of a driver you are or
think you are there’s always the possibility that you’ll end up getting dug
into a spot that you just won’t be able to crawl out of. Or you’ll come across
some poor soul that decided he didn’t need a set of paddle tires and now their
side-by-side is seat deep in sand. So do yourself and the rest of the sand
duners out there a favor and grab a recovery strap.
We like the Speed Strap because it’s effective and simple to
use. No need for hooks or shackles, this heavy duty strap features loops woven
into it that allows you to create loops at each end that you can wrap around
sturdy points on each vehicle and then weave the ends back into the strap
multiple times to create a secure metal free recovery strap. Speed
Straps are available in 1 inch or 2
inch widths and range in length from 15 to 50 feet. The 1 inch is rated at
10,000 pounds and the 2 inch is rated at 20,000 pounds.
It’s a question that people ask all the time, “Do I have to
run paddle tires/sand tires
in the dunes?” The answer is pretty simple, “No you don’t have to, but you’ll
have a hell of a lot more fun if you do.” You’ll be able to climb faster and
steeper and you’ll find yourself looking for someone with a recovery strap less
often. Sure you can run your stock tires or offroad tires and air them down but
you’ll still find your vehicle working harder and probably burning more fuel
than those that are running paddle tires.
There’s quite a few options to choose from when it comes to
paddle for your side-by-side. Last year we took a pair of Can-Am Maverick X3s
and an assortment of sand tires to test them head to head in hill
climbs and flat
drags to see which offer the best performance. You can see the results and
accompanying videos in the previous links but the gist is, no matter what
paddle tires you choose they’ll outperform offroad tires in the dunes all day
More than likely someone in your party is going to need some kind of medical attention. Whether it be something as simple as a bandage to dress a small finger tip cut, a couple Motrin to stave off the results of too much partying, or some antihistamine to treat allergies or itching from a bug bite the Ultralight Watertight First Aid Kit has a little bit of everything to treat a little bit of everything.
And if your going to be safe and pack a first aid kit, you might as well be well-prepared and pack some emergency survival supplies as well. The S.O.L. Survival Pack has a few basic items to help keep alive and help you get rescued should you find yourself...well S.O.L.. With this kit you get essential items like waterproof/windproof matches, a compass, a fishing/sewing kit, duct tape, mini rescue flash and trade signal mirror, as well a few other items. It might be pretty warm in the sand dunes during the day, but at night that sand can get pretty chilly, so don't forget to grab an Emergency Bivvy as well to help keep you warm when stranded in the middle of nowhere. The best things about all the items mentioned above, besides the fact that they can save your life, is that they are all extremely compact and can fit into the glove box of most side-by-sides.
Nothing is better after a long day of shredding sand dunes
than a frosty margarita. Unless your camper or toy hauler came with a
generator, you’re going to be hard pressed to find power in the middle of the
desert. So it’s best to juice up your camp with some portable power with a
generator from Yamaha. The EF2200iS is an inverter generator that makes clean power
and was designed with RV camping in mind. The unit only weighs 55 pounds is
extremely quiet, has 12 volt outlets for all your devices and power needs, a 30
amp RV outlet and the ability to connect two units together to double your
power. Quiet, efficient, and one of those things that can be used in an emergency
at home in case of a blackout a generator comes in extremely handy for all
sorts of situations—like blending up adult beverages.
Speaking of beverages, no matter if it’s a two seat Honda Talon or four seat RZR XP Turbo pretty much all side-by-sides come with beds to help haul gear so you might as well put that bed to use and carry around a cooler full of water—you know that life sustaining liquid that’s just as difficult as power to find in the middle of the desert.
We like AO Coolers for several reasons: first of all it’s a soft sided cooler that’s extremely light and can be compressed down for more compact storage when not needed. AO Coolers can also keep your items cold and ice frozen for 24 hours in over 100 degree temperatures. The vinyl series is made from heavy duty UV protected 1000 denier vinyl that has a tear resistance of up to 375 pounds. There’s an array of colors and sizes to choose from which means you can have a smaller 12 Pack travel cooler for toting around in the UTV and then the big 48 Pack Cooler for the campsite.
Ocelot AF-1 Helmet
If you’re tired of chewing on sand particles for hours on
end after every ride then this helmet is for you. Designed to blow air into the
helmet to maintain pressure and help keep sand and debris from flying in the
AF-1 is an inexpensive solution to a clean ride through the dunes. The helmet
has a side port that can be utilized with the Ocelot
AF-1 Replacement Pump system or it can be used with a third party air pump
system like the ones that PCI Race Radios offer. If you don’t want to use a
pump system, the combination of the flip down faceshield and the helmet skirt
that comes with the helmet to cover the neck does a decent job of keeping sand
The nice thing about the Ocelot pump is that it’s portable, extremely
lightweight, and much less money than most other pump systems. The pump also
comes with a quick disconnect wiring lead that can be hooked up to a 12-volt
power source. Basically you can get the helmet and pump for less than you can
get a pump from most others.
If you don’t wear a helmet or you helmet doesn’t have a
faceshield then you’ll definitely want to wear a pair of sand goggles. No matter if you’re
the driver or a passenger you won’t be having any fun or seeing anything if
your eyes are filled with sand. You can wear standard moto goggles, however
sand goggle usually have special features like double or triple layer foam or specially
designed foam to help keep sand from getting into your eyes.
Rotopax Spare Fuel
If you’ve ever run out of fuel on the side of the road then
you know how easy it can be to get some roadside assistance from a company like
AAA? Well it’s not as easy out in the sand dunes. For one depending on your location
you might not be able to get cell service to call anyone for help. And if you
can’t place a call good luck pushing your SXS back to camp or anywhere for that
The best thing you can do to help keep from getting stranded
in the middle of a giant sandbox is to haul gas with a Rotopax fuel container. Available
in various sizes from one gallon up to four gallons you can load up your
machine with these stackable fuel containers and save yourself or someone else
from a dry spell. Rotopax offer all sorts of different mounts
so you can secure them to your roll bar or whatever way best suits your ride.
Pretty much all recreation areas that have sand dunes
require all vehicles riding on the dunes to have a whip mounted to the rear. It
may not have to be one of those fancy LED
lighted whips that you see all over the place but it most likely has to be about
8-feet tall from the ground to the tip when mounted. The flag can be a triangle,
square, or rectangle, but it has to be at least 6 inches x 12 inches in size,
can’t be mounted more than 10 inches from the top, and has to be either red or
orange in color.
Hill climbs and roosting your buddies in a sheet of flying
sand is fun and all but your vehicle works a lot harder and hotter when driving
in sand. Heat can be a belt killer and can wreak havoc on a fresh belt if you are
really driving aggressively and not letting things cool down once in a while.
Just like running out of fuel, if you bust a belt out in the middle of the
dunes it could be a long time or a long walk before you get help. If your
vehicle is belt driven there’s no reason why you shouldn’t always have a spare
belt on hand. Belts are pretty compact and can easily be stowed so that they
are out of the way until needed. You can even pick up a belt bag
like the one offered from PRP Seats or a mount to keep your spare secure.
Antigravity Batteries Micro-Start personal power supplies are
so convenient and handy after you use one you’ll probably pick up a couple
more. Seriously these little bricks pack a punch but are so light and small you
can fit them in your glovebox, doorbag, or even jacket pocket. The XP-3
Personal Power Supply only weighs about 12 ounces and measures 5 inches x
2-7/8 inches x 1 inch but comes with a ton of features. Amazingly this mighty
juice box can jump start your side-by-side, car, or truck (up to 5.7 liter). It
can also charge your phone, laptop, GoPro, tablet or other USB device that
needs some life injected to it. Need an emergency flashlight, no problem the
Micro-Start has one built in. Best of all, the XP-3 comes in a case that
includes mini jumper cables and everything you need to charge your devices as well
as recharge the unit itself. And if you find that you want even more power
(because c’mon who doesn’t?) there’s the XP-1.
So there’s our list of must have items that you should consider
grabbing before heading out to the dunes. There’s plenty of other items that could
be added, so let’s see your suggestions below.